Sidama Statehood Vote to be Held ‘within 5 Months’

ADDIS ABEBA – The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) says it is making a preliminary preparation to conduct a referendum on ethnic Sidama’s demand for statehood.

NEBE announces it will be held within five months – a decision that basis on the constitution and rejects the ultimatum given to the government by Sidama activists who claimed will declare statehood on Thursday.

The referendum will be carried out within the time frame granted by Ethiopia’s Constitution article 47/3/b/, which calls for a referendum within one year after a demand is received, according to the electoral board’s statement issued on Tuesday night.

The electoral board said that it has received Sidama Zone, which is under Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region, the decision in November 2018.

NEBE is currently preparing a code of conduct, recruiting and training independent election executives, organizing security arrangements, and more, to carry out the referendum in the next five months, the statement indicated.

It also called on federal, regional and Sidama zone police to prepare a detailed cooperation plan to ensure electoral security and work with the election board.

Accordingly, councils of SNNP Region and Sidama zone will have to make a legal and administrative arrangement regarding rights other ethnic groups in Sidama zone and the region’s capital Hawassa City, and notify that to the election board, in writing, until July 26, 2019.

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