A legislation to determine Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa was tabled in the federal parliament on Thursday.
The draft legislation was adopted by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday this week, however the government kept the document secret releasing a vaguely worded statement.
Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa was acknowledged by the federal constitution 22 years ago.
Article 45 (4) of the 1995 Constitution stipulates: “The special interest of the state of Oromia with respect to supply of services or the utilization of resources or administrative matters arising from the presence of the city of Addis Ababa within the state of Oromia shall be protected. Particulars shall be determined by law.”
The Constitutional provision is a watered down version of the stipulation in the 1992 Transitional Government legislation which established a defacto federation. According to Proclamation 07 of 1992, the scope of Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa includes political and national rights. Oromo activists have always seen the matter in that broad context rather than a mere economic and administrative arrangements.
The Constitutional provision was not put to effect for more than two decades, despite several promises to do so.
Between 2005 and 2015, Addis Ababa’s urban core increased by 51% according to a World Bank Study. As the city border was never properly demarcated, the urban sprawl was often accompanied by annexation of Oromia’s territory into Addis Ababa. Expropriation of farm lands without adequate compensation and rehabilitation left many in destitution.
It was against this backdrop that Oromo activists rejected last year the French-sponsored draft Integrated Development Plan, a.k.a. master plan, for Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia areas. The draft plan was perceived as a means of further expansion of Addis Ababa evicting Oromo farmers. Hundreds were killed in the months long protests against it.
The implementation of the Constitutional provision of Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa was among the major agenda of the protests in Oromia last year.
About two months ago, a concept paper and draft legislation allegedly outlining the demands of Oromia’s government was leaked to the media. However, both the federal and regional governments immediately denied the documents.
This week the government suddenly tabled a different draft legislation to the Council of Ministers and the Parliament this week.
HornAffairs prepared an abridged translation of the new official draft legislation (please give credit to HornAffairs if you copy this abridged translation):
A Proclamation to determine Oromia’s special interest in Addis Ababa(draft)
(Note: Since the legislation is poorly drafted, we employed word-to-word translation in most cases to ensure accuracy)
* The city shall establish schools that provide education in Afan Oromo language for Oromo residents of the city.
* Residents of towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa shall be entitled to access public hospitals and health institutions of Addis Ababa in the same manner as the resident of the city.
Culture, language and artistic services:
*”For the purpose of providing the special interest services” stipulated in this proclamation to Oromo residents, Afan Oromo shall serve as a working language of the city Administration.
*The original Oromo names of Public squares, roads and villages could be restored as need be so as to represent Oromo identity and commemorate Oromo historic events in the city.
*Enabling situation will be facilitated for the establishment and promotion of theatre, entertainment, culture, and art centers that reflect Oromo culture and history in the city.
*The city administration will work in consultation with Oromia region administration to ensure Oromo heritages are provided in the city museums.
*Public media broadcasted in the city will include Afan Oromo.
*With relation to Oromia region, the previous Afan Oromo name of the city, Finfine, will have equal legal recognition to the name Addis Ababa. The particulars will be determined by a regulation to be issued by the Council of Ministers.
Oromia government will have the right to obtain land, free of lease payment, in the city, for the construction of buildings for various governmental and public services.
Addis Ababa administration shall provide potable water, covering the cost, to towns and rural areas of Oromia located on the source of Addis Ababa’s potable water supply and along the route of the water pipeline.
The provision of urban bus and taxi services as well as train services shall take into account the surrounding urban centers of Oromia.
* Youth residents of the towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa will be made beneficiaries of the job opportunities in Addis Ababa.
*Youth residents of the towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa will be made beneficiaries of the job opportunities that arise from water development, waste disposal, recycling, basin development, transport services and the likes.
Provision of Market places:
Addis Ababa administration shall establish market places in the city, covering the cost, for farmers’ cooperatives of Oromia.
Condominium housing provision:
Officials and employees of Oromia will be included, having a certain quota, in the condominium housing program of Addis Ababa.
Compensation and permanent rehabilitation:
*Farmers in Addis Ababa administration shall be entitled to compensation adequate for “permanent rehabilitation”.
*Farmers previously displaced in the city without adequate compensation will be provided with rehabilitation support.
*An agency dedicated for the two aforementioned tasks will be established.
Addis Ababa administration will cover the cost of basin development works to to be to be conducted by towns and rural areas of Oromia located on the source of Addis Ababa’s potable water supply and along the route of the water pipeline.
*Towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa have the right to be protected from environmental pollution and harm caused by city’s waste disposal.
* Environmental Impact assessment studies will be conducted and the necessary adjustments will be made.
*Towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa shall be entitled to seek compensation from the Addis Ababa for harms caused due to wastes disposed unprotected, uncontrolled and beyond the specified standard.
*Mining areas used for Addis Ababa city development will be rehabilitated to prevent pollution and restore their soil properties.
*Areas for the disposal of Addis Ababa city’s waste will be allotted by joint study of the city administration and Oromia and will be administered in a scientific manner.
*A joint council in which Addis Ababa administration and Oromia government will consult and decide on matters provided in this proclamation and related matters shall be established.
*The seat of the Joint Council shall be in Addis Ababa.
*The objective of the Joint Council will be to monitor, assess and support the implementation of the matters stipulated in this proclamation.
*The members of the Joint Council shall be drawn in equal numbers from Addis Ababa administration council of representatives and Oromia government’s council of representatives.
*The Council of Ministers will issue a regulation to provide for the organization, powers, budget and other aspects of the Joint Council.