May 05 2017

Gov't denies draft papers on Oromia, Addis Ababa relationship

Government spokespersons declined to confirm the leaked documents regarding Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa.

A draft proclamation and a concept paper regarding Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa surfaced online last weekend. HornAffairs published the draft proclamation and a summary at the time. We have now also published the concept paper as a matter of record.   

On Wednesday, the spokesperson of Oromia state, Addisu Arega, told newspapers: “I have no knowledge of what’s being circulated as a draft proclamation or a concept paper. I don’t know how such a document could surface in the public arena.”

Addisu added, “Oromia regional government and OPDO/EPRDF have submitted to the concerned organ the details of political, economic and social rights that should be included in the implementation of Article 49 (5) of the Constitution”.

Asked whether the document submitted by Oromia have been to the Council of Ministers, Addisu said, “I don’t know if it was submitted to the Council of Ministers. Since the responsibility of drafting a legislation is that of the Council of Ministers, we can’t comment on that”.

Similarly, Dr. Negeri Lencho, spokesperson of the federal government, commented: “We have no knowledge of the alleged draft proclamation. I can’t comment on such a document”.

Negeri added, “draft legislations pass through proper lawmaking procedures. They are not for social media consumption.”

The two officials didn’t provide further clarifications.

According to the House of Representatives procedures, draft proclamation can be tabled by the government (Council of Ministers), the House of the Federation, the Federal Supreme Court, the Speaker or Standing Committees of the House, by MPs or by governmental institutions directly accountable to the House.

The leaked documents are certainly not parliamentary legislative documents in the technical sense defined above. It would have been a public document by that point.

While Oromia government didn’t deny submitting a document on the matter, it declined to confirm the exact content of the document.

It appears the regional ruling party has made multiple revisions since last year to the document it submitted to the federal government. The last, perhaps the only, discussion on the matter along the senior federal leadership was made two months ago.

Some sources in the federal government claim that the concept paper was submitted by the regional government, while the draft proclamation was prepared and distributed by the office of the Council of Ministers along with Oromia experts.

Senior officials are on total radio silence on the matter for fear of being associated with the leak due to the sensitivity of the matter.

While such documents are not top secret materials, their publishing online created arguments in the government.

Neither the federal government, nor Oromia government appeared ready to deal with the intense and complex debates that any version of Oromia Special Interest in Addis Ababa would bring about. 

Some Oromo activists criticized the documents as inadequate to ensure Oromia’s interests in the Addis Ababa.

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