23 February 2019

Ethiopia: Of Deeds And Demolitions

Some residents in Legetafo Legedadi were given a week's notice to pack up and leave before their homes were demolished by the municipal authorities.

Apparently, the town council had approved a new master plan, and its implementation meant that their property stood in the way of development projects. Just in the past week, 3,685 houses were slated to be demolished, and eventually around 12,000 houses will be cleared.

Since they do not have title deeds, owners of the properties cannot receive compensation. But the town provided them with utilities, which they paid for, and land taxes were levied.

The town maintains it is within its rights to clear houses without title deeds and had held discussions with the residents. This is despite legal experts' view that the town's administration, in collecting taxes and providing services, encouraged the settlements and now lacks the moral argument to take such a measure.


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