Showing posts with label ethiopia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ethiopia. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Ethiopia's Sidama Zone Votes to Become Regional State

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Political map of Ethiopia's regional states, highlighting Sidama Zone, which in November 2019 voted to split off from the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR) to become a new regional state.

Sidama Referendum Passes

Last week, we reported on a status referendum in southern Ethiopia, where the Sidama Zone was voting on whether to secede from the country's Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR).

Over the weekend, the Ethiopian government announced that the referendum had passed by a very large margin: According to preliminary results, an enormous 98.5% of voters chose increased self-rule. (Voter turnout was also reported to be extremely high, at 99.8%.)

Ethiopia's government has signaled that it plans to respect the result, making the Sidama Zone into the country's tenth self-governing "regional state". This comes despite warnings that Sidama's promotion will supercharge campaigns for statehood in other regions, which could lead to a cascade of mini-secessions that would shake up Ethiopia's administrative structure and politics.

But the Sidama Zone won't become a state immediately - there will likely be a long, contentious process, which requires an amendment to Ethiopia's constitution. One major issue is that the SNNPR's capital city, Hawassa, is located inside the Sidama Zone. If it's going to become the capital of the Sidama Region instead, then the SNNPR will have to find a new capital and move all its government institutions there.

Sidama will become the second-smallest of the Ethiopia's regional states, after the Harari People's National Regional State (the cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa aren't considered regional states, even though they stand separately from the other regions). Its promotion will also create a new state-level exclave - a part of a state that's not connected to the rest of the state - by cutting off the Gedeo Zone to its south from the rest of the SNNPR.

Want to know when these changes actually happen? You'll hear about it here on PolGeoNow!