News: Stalemate in Guji zone, Southern Oromia as protests over government’s decision to incorporate Negelle town into East Borana zone continue

Protests continued in several districts of the Guji zone (Picture: Badhasa Hailu/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – Residents of Guji zone in Southern Oromia have continued protesting against the incorporation of Nagelle into the newly established “East Borana zone’ whereas the government clung to imposing the decision by force, residents told Addis Standard.

Protests erupted in the zone last week, a day after the regional council publicized a decision to incorporate Negelle town and three districts from Guji into the “East Borana zone’ on 27 February 2023.

On 03 of March, Addis Standard reported that at least three civilians were killed, two were injured in Bore district and several others were arrested in the ongoing protests. 

The people of the zone have boycotted regular business activities over the past three days, and mass demonstrations have been taking place in several towns of the zone according to residents.

Business activities were boycotted in protest against gov’t decision (Picture: Badhasa Hailu/Facebook)

“It [the regional government] passed the decision suddenly without consulting the people of our zone [Guji]. That’s why the people are skeptical about the decision. Again, it is rushing to forcefully execute the plan by disregarding people’s concern,” a resident of the controversial Nagelle town told Addis Standard.

The resident stated that massive protests were held in Seba Boru and Aga Wayu (Dawa) districts yesterday, and have been halted for today as the community leaders who arrived in Addis Abeba are set to discuss the matter with the federal government.

Addis Standard learned from sources close to the matter that negotiations between regional officials and local officials including Abba Gadaas haven’t been successful in bringing the desired outcome.

The Caffee Oromia, on Monday, February 27  announced major restructuring and merger of cities and creation of new zonal administration, East Borana zone which will be formed as the 21st zone of Oromia, and the former zonal capital of Guji zone Nagelle would be the seat of the administration of the newly formed East Borana zone, while the administration of the Guji zone moves to Adola Rede.

The decision which the regional parliament said was made “to respond to the long-standing demands of development, security and good governance of the people” was outright rejected by residents of the Guji zone leading to massive demonstrations in several cities and towns of the zone. AS

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