News: Opposition Sidama Federalist Party decry alarming maladministration, corruption, rights abuse in region

The Sidama Federalist Party head Office in Hawassa (Picture: SFP SM page)

Addis Abeba – The Sidama Federalist Party (SFP) decried the prevalence of alarming administrative failures in the Sidama Region, including behaviors and rhetoric of the incumbent high officials that dishonor the people of the region, non-consensual salary cuts from civil servants, excessive unemployment crisis, intensified corruption and organized theft, which the party said have become the feature of the regional state.

The party also accused the regional administration of restricting its political rights including the closure of its branch offices and detention of its to halt its activities.

In a statement SFP sent to Addis Standard on current regional issues, it claimed that although the people of Sidama gained their right to self-administer through immense sacrifices, the newly established regional government did not answer the economic, social, democratic and justice demands of the people over the past three years.

SFP pointed out that, despite this, the regional government is claiming regional status as achieved by the leadership. SFP also accused the regional government of presenting organized false development reports, eroding the unity of the people, spreading tribalism and, practicing discriminatory practices, not paying due attention to the development of the people’s language and culture, suppressing the democratic right to express ideas, Illegal detention and persecution of the people, high level of corruption and malpractice, lack of justice and various social crises as lists of characteristics issues that have been the manifestations of the administration of the region.

The opposition party, expressed its concern over recent behaviors of officials in forums held by the regional leadership where they have become full of insults and threats in a way that deviates from the law, the decency of Ethiopian and the values of Sidama.

The party said it had recently noticed “a growing tendency of publicly insulting the people and disrespecting the dignity and sovereignty of the public” by the high level government officials in the presence of media.

The other concern the party stated is slashing of salaries from government employees without their consent at a time when the cost of living is challenging the lives of workers both at national and regional levels.

The excessive unemployment crisis observed in the region is not only a part of the national unemployment crisis, the party said, but also the result of widespread mismanagement, corruption and discriminatory practices in the region, adding that the regional government is showing a “false narrative” that, “there is no unemployment” in every forum and making a common practice of abducting and chasing unemployed people when they demand their rights.

It also accused the regional incumbent of “highly organized theft” in areas including the licensing of the coffee industry, urban land administration, collusion with investors under the guise of investment and large scale smuggling.

On human rights front. the party said the regional state government is restricting the rights of the people to organize intending to establish a dictatorship in the political system, adding that the incumbent has moved to limit the party’s constitutional right and legal activity at the present time despite its legal establishment and full recognition by the issuing board.

In connection to this, the party pointed that some woredas are officially banning party branch offices from opening, the Hula woreda such in a case, where the woreda police harassed and threatened the party leaders and coordinators by removing the party’s sign board saying, “You cannot open it, because we have been given an order from the region to prevent the opening of the branch office,”. It also revealed the arrest of members in such incidents.

The party accordingly pleaded the regional government to stop disgracing insults and threatening the people; halt illegally cutting salaries of the civil servants; admit the unemployment crisis instead of covering it up.

Rebuffing the recently established anti-corruption commission in the region the party equated it to a local saying, “the father, the judge, the son, the extortionist”. The party pleaded a federal level of or another independent investigation with the participation of the community to address the issue of the excessive corruption in the region.

Further in the statement the party called for an immediate end to the government’s illegal and unconstitutional activities to disrupt and limit the constitutional right to organize in the region.

The regional government of Sidama has not yet responded to allegations put forward by the SFP.

It was in July last year that the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) issued a provisional registration certificate and issued full accreditation earlier last month to the party. SFP’s party program is rooted in the implementation of a true self-rule for the people of Sidama as the party believes that the Sidama people’s struggle for true self-administration hadn’t been answered despite decades of “bitter struggle”, which has led to the Sidama to become Ethiopia’s 10th regional state. AS

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