Ethiopia: News Update - Zonal Restructure Not Agenda for Gurage Zone Council, Zone Awaits House of Federation Decision On Request for Own Region

Addis Abeba — The Gurage Zone Council has not yet lined up the issue of restructuring to join several other zones and special Woredas in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's (SNNP) regional state as agenda item; Zonal administration is instead waiting for the response from the House of Federation on its earlier request for a regional state status, according to Alemyirga Woldie, head of economic sector of the Gurage Zone Council.

Alemyirga told the Gurage Media Network that the issue was not booked as agenda item for discussion at the Zonal Council of of this moment, nor a date was decided. He added that the Gurage Zone request for self administration and regional state status has been around form several years and that the Council will work toward the realization of the question.

This past weekend, the local councils of several Zones and special districts in the SNNP regional state have passed resolutions to restructure a merger of their respective zones and special woredas (districts) in order to create two more regional states, bringing the number of new regional states out of the SNNP into four.

It was widely reported, including by Addis Standard that the Gurage Zone was one of the zones that would be restructured along with Hadiya, Halaba, Kembata Tmbaro and Silte zones, as well as the Yem Special Woreda.

The others were six zones: Konso, Gedeo, Gamo, Gofa, South Omo, and Wolayta zones, as well as the local council of five special Woredas: Amaro, Ale, Basketo, Burji and Derashe that have voted to restructure their administrative units into a newly organized regional state.

Alemyirga recalled that these zones and special Woredas had discussed the issue at different levels, but said that the Gurage people expressed their opinions that the question of the regional organization which was already approved by the Zonal Council and was still waiting for the decision from the House of Federation.

The Gurage Zone Council had unanimously voted for the establishment of a separate regional state status during an emergency meeting it held on 26 November 2018. "The council has no other option but to implement the people's request," Alemyirga said, reminding members of the Council that their accountability is only "to the constitution, to the people and their conscience," and that members should implement the Council's decision without anyone's influence.

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