Aug 05, 2010

Oromo: Capital Addis Ababa Eludes Oromia State


Ethiopia's Federal Government has once again failed to write a legislation that would materialize the Oromia Regional State’s right over the capital Addis Ababa.


Below is an article published by


There is a privilege guaranteed nearly fifteen years ago for Oromia when a proclamation establishing the constitution was ratified. Addis Ababa is within Oromia Regional State and serves as a capital city of both the federal state and the region.

“The special interest of the State of Oromia in Addis Ababa, regarding the provision of social services or the utilization of natural resources and other similar matters, as well as joint administrative matters arising from the location of Addis Ababa within the State of Oromia, shall be respected,” Article 49 of the constitution reads. However, the article also reads that the particulars of the arrangement should be determined by a subsequent law, which until this year has not been addressed.

An official document released to Members of Parliament back in October 2009, when the retired House of Peoples’ Representatives fifth year was opened by President Girma WoldeGiorgis, announced that the bill regarding the particulars of Oromia’s rights to Addis Ababa would reach the House in the third quarter of the year.

The Federal Affairs Ministry was said to be responsible to ratify the bill.
Prominent MPs from the Oromia region including from the opposition camp had welcomed what they said is a long overdue move.

“It is overdue and we have been, for quite some time, demanding the proclamation. It seems that it is finally coming this year and it is a good thing,” Capital quoted former president Negasso Gidada (PhD) as saying.

The third house retired on Wednesday, July 7, passing 223 legislations and 50 decisions. The bill that would realize Oromia’s constitutional right however was not one of them.
“We didn’t receive the bill. It was supposed to be prepared by the Federal Affairs Ministry however it was not submitted to the House,” Hailemariam Desalegn, Government Whip at the federal parliament told Capital.

Hailemariam suspects that due to national and regional elections held in the period, the workload increase on those responsible could be the reason behind the delay.

“This is yet another testimony that the government isn’t interested to uphold the constitution and also the failure of the ruling in OPDO-EPRDF in Oromia to protect the interest of the region,” Dr. Negasso however offered a strong criticism.
The Oromia electorate commands 178 seats in the federal parliament, which is a majority from any of the nine regions.

The MPs, who are the majority, however didn’t use any of the House’s instrument such as question time- that would bring the Prime Minister or the Federal Affairs Minister- to explain why a fourth parliament should be held to realize a constitutionally guaranteed privilege.