- Federal Government of Ethiopia, National Regional State of Oromia, City Gov't of Addis Ababa
We, the Oromo people in Ethiopia, the Oromo diaspora across the globe, friends of the Oromo people in and outside of Ethiopia, all other progressive forces in Ethiopia and beyond, and all forces dedicated to the ideas and ideals of justice and democracy, and those of us committed to the principles of liberty and equality of all peoples everywhere, stand together in protest to the proposed Addis Ababa Integrated Regional Development Plan (otherwise known as the Master Plan).
In particular, we request the Federal Government of Ethiopia, that of the National Regional State of Oromia, and of the City of Addis Ababa to immediately stop the implementation of the Master Plan. As the Caffee Oromiyaa meets to adopt the Urban Development Bill of the Region (Wixnee Labsii Magaalota Motummaa Naannoo Oromiyaa Hundeessuf [dhiyaate]), a bill in which the matter of the Master Plan is to be passed in disguise, we like to remind the members that they are at a rare historical moment, a moment when each of them should try and align the call of their conscience and their constituency to that of their party. We urge them to vote the bill down and stop the implementation of the Master Plan. We urge them to start wide-ranging, consultative, and participatory meetings directly with the people in order to address discontents that emerged in relation to, and triggered by, the release of the Master Plan.
So doing is of utmost urgency to the people of Oromia (whose human rights are being violated), the Government of Oromia (whose right to self-governance is defied, whose territorial jurisdiction is bypassed, whose special interest is ignored, and whose stability is endangered), and the government of Addis Ababa (whose people’s rights and interests are ignored, whose right to just administration is repeatedly violated, and whose peace and stability is increasingly at stake).
We demand the interruption of the implementation of the Master Plan and a reconsideration of its process, content, and consequence anew. We do so fully aware of the fact that, as it stands now, the proposed Master Plan lacks legitimacy in the process of its making, in its content, and in its consequence. We believe that the process was not consultative, transparent, and participatory. Its content violates the right of Oromia to self-governance, the rights of the inhabitants to socio-economic rights (such as the right of farmers to subsistence, of people to adequate standards of living, of the Oromo inhabitants to cultural rights such as language, education, and other social services), and the power of Oromia to co-equal administration of the city as its capital. Moreover, its content illegally excises the towns and Woredas of the Special Zone out of the jurisdiction of Oromia and unconstitutionally unites them with the city of Addis Ababa. In short, it expands the territorial and jurisdictional extent of the city to Oromia. In its consequence, it is neither legally defensible nor morally justifiable.
We believe that it will have, as it already had, a negative impact on the people and governments of Oromia and the inhabitants in the area. Thousands of farmers are, and will be unjustly deprived of their only means of subsistence. They are, and will be, removed from their ancestral land and displaced by the wealthy few that favor the regime in power. These farmers and their families are and will be dispossessed, homeless, and unemployed urban poor. The development the regime claims to bring about are not development of the people but an illegal and unjust enrichment of the few. To the Oromo people, its result is eviction en masse through a systematic state act of ethnic cleansing. Its result is the unconstitutional usurpation of the region's power. It is a forced incorporation of the Oromo territory and people into a city administration that is illegally made already outside of the administrative jurisdiction of Oromia, an administration to which the hosts, i.e., the Oromo, are made the guests. The implementation of the Master Plan exacerbates the already grave conditions in which the Oromo of the area live. It dissolves the constitutionally recognized special interest of Oromia in the city. It imposes a forced cultural assimilation of the Oromo mass by marginalizing their language, invisibilizing their culture, and misrecognizing their identity. It poses a major threat to peace by intensifying conflict between investors and the local inhabitants. It poses a major threat of pollution caused by liquid waste and other acts of environmental degradation, which, too, is against the constitutional right to a clean and pure environment.
The implementation of the Master Plan has provoked an Oromia-wide mass protest in 2014. In response, the government brutally murdered over 70 Oromos, wounded hundreds, and illegally detained many more. Not a single one of the perpetrators have been brought before justice to date. To continue to implement the plan now is to invite another round of protest that may result in an even worse violence that might in turn result in a more intensely violent clash between the government and the people and among interest groups in the area.
Therefore, we, the undersigned, seek to draw the regime's attention to these flaws in the process, content, and consequence of the Master Plan and we urge the government to stop causing an imminent disaster even as it disguises the issue in the new Urban Development Bill. We stand united as a voice of the underprivileged and silenced poor. We stand as a voice of conscience, a voice for justice.
We demand an immediate cessation of the implementation of the Master Plan because we believe it is legally indefensible (as it violates the constitution and other laws of the country), politically implausible (as it has been comprehensively rejected by the people, even through sacrifice in lives, limbs, and futures), and morally unjustifiable (as it is an unfair eviction of poor farmers from their land, denial of their right to the only means of subsistence, deprivation of their identity, a systematic act of mass displacement, and a blunt attempt to cleanse of the land of its Oromo inhabitants).
We also urge that the government starts to enforce the special interest of Oromia over Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) in accordance with the constitutional imperative in Article 49. We demand that the governments of FDRE, Oromia, and the city of Addis Ababa to establish, jointly or separately, independent and impartial commission(s) to inquire into the government's violence unleashed on the protesters in 2014 and to address the discontents around it.
The SAY NO TO THE MASTER PLAN petition to Federal Government of Ethiopia, National Regional State of Oromia, City Gov't of Addis Ababa was written by Tsegaye Ararssa & Girma Gutema and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.