Leaked draft law of Oromia’s Special Interest in Addis Ababa: Summary

A leaked legislative document shows Oromia region is pushing for extensive rights in the capital city Addis Ababa. The draft proclamation to determine Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa was reportedly developed and tabled by Oromia regional state about two months ago.

The draft legislation is intended to determine the application of Article 49 (5) of the Constitution. The Constitution recognizes the Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa.

The implementation of the Constitutional provision was among the major agenda of the protests in Oromia last year. The federal and the regional governments pledged to translate Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa into effect within the year.

Map - Central Oromia and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Map – Central Oromia and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

According to sources in the government, the draft legislation was prepared and tabled by Oromia’s ruling party OPDO/EPRDF to the federal leadership about two months ago.

There hasn’t been much progress on the matter as it was met with strong objections, insiders claim. The document which was being circulated among officials for weeks have surfaced in the public arena.

Here is HornAffairs’ summary of the draft legislation (please give credit to HornAffairs if you copy this summary):

* The official name of the city shall be Finfine/Addis Ababa.

* The city boundary shall be determined by a mutual agreement of the city administration and Oromia state government. The demarcation shall be completed within 6 months of the enactment of this proclamation. 

* Afaan Oromo shall become “the working and official language” of Addis Ababa along with Amharic.

* This proclamation shall not limit the general statements of Article 49 (5) of the Constitution regarding Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa.

* Oromo residents of the city shall be entitled to the right to self-determination.

* Oromo residents shall be entitled to 25% of the city council, besides to their representation as residents of the city.

* Oromia shall have criminal jurisdiction on crimes committed “within the premises of and on the affairs of Oromia governmental and public institutions” in Addis Ababa and the right to detain and prosecute suspects of crimes committed in Oromia who flee to the city.

* Oromia government will have the right to obtain adequate land, free of lease payment, in any section of the city for the construction of offices and facilities for governmental, public and development associations and other historical, cultural, social and economic purposes. 

* Officials and employees of Oromia as well as Oromo residents shall have “15% priority” to buy or rent condominium housing provided by the City Administration.

* Oromia government and Oromo residents in the city shall have priority right to use “public squares, centers, halls, stadiums, etc.”

* The city shall establish schools that provide education in Oromo language for Oromo residents of the city. 

* The city shall provide various services for communities living in the surrounding Oromia districts.

* The historic names of various parts of the city shall be restored. 

* The city administration shall ensure Oromo history and heroes are commemorated in the naming of government buildings, public squares, roads, airports, villages and the likes.

* The city administration shall allot airtime for Oromo language programs in its television and radio services

* The city administration shall educate the public to know and acknowledge Oromo’s historic ownership of and forced dispossession from Addis Ababa.

* The city shall pay compensation, at market price rate, when it evicts Oromos from lands within the city and resettle them within the same vicinity.

* The city administration may utilize raw materials for housing, industry and factories as well as other natural resources from Oromia. 

* Market places shall be provided free of lease payment for farmers and cooperatives from Oromia.

* The city administration shall implement affirmative actions to attain fair wealth distribution between the indigenous Oromo population and the majority population residing in the city.

* The city administration shall prevent or minimize the dumping of waste to Oromia. The city shall compensate for any harm to human, animals and land as well as pollution to the environmental and air.

* Oromia government have the right to propose and be consulted on draft policies, plans and draft legislations pertinent to Oromo residents of the city and the relationship between the city and Oromia.

* Oromia government have the right to propose amendments to this proclamation. The House of People Representative and the Council of Ministers shall consult the Oromia before issuing an amendment to this proclamation or a regulation to implement this proclamation.

* The consent of both the city council and the Joint Council for any policy, plan or legislation affecting the rights and interests of the region and Oromo residents.

Oromo National Council

* Oromo National Council shall be established elected by Oromo residents of the city

* The Oromo National Council will enact laws policies and laws to preserve and promote Oromo language, culture and history as well as for the revival of the historic names of localities in the city.

* The Oromo National Council nominates the Mayor and the representatives of Oromos in the Cabinet.

* The city administration shall implement the decisions of the Oromo National Council

Joint Council

*A Joint Council consisting 22 representatives of Oromia government or the Oromo National Council and 22 representatives from the City  administration shall be established. The former group elects the chairperson of the Joint Council, the latter elects the deputy.

* The joint Council will be mandated with the supervision and implementation of the laws enacted regarding Oromia’s special interest on Addis Ababa.

* The Joint Council shall supervise the implementation of this proclamation and the policies, plans and legislations of the City Council and the Oromo National Council.

* It supervises the provision of education in Oromo language and the protection of the rights of Oromos evicted due to development works in the city.

* Any decision by any authority contradicting the decision of the Joint Council regarding Oromia’s special interests shall have no effect.

* The House of Peoples Representatives and the Oromia regional Council of Representatives shall supervise the implementation of this proclamation and subsidiary laws

* The Council of Ministers and the Oromia regional government shall have the authority to monitor and assist the proper implementation of this proclamation and subsidiary legislations.

* The Council of Ministers may issue subsidiary legislations. The Oromo National Council and the City Council may issue subsidiary legislations for the implementation of this proclamation.

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Update: You may read Official draft law on Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa (Abridged translation)

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Daniel Berhane

Daniel Berhane