Voter Registration for Sidama Zone Referendum Delayed

By Staff Reporter

Sidama-ReferendumNovember 6, 2019 ( -- The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has delayed voter registration for the referendum to determine the transformation of the Sidama zone into a state inside the Ethiopian Federal system.

The registration was supposed to start on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, but postponed to Thursday, November 7, 2019, after registration materials did not arrive in some rural and far localities of the Sidama zone.

The registration would take place in Hawassa city and 598 surrounding localities of Sidama zone for the planned referendum to take place after two weeks.

1692 polling stations have so far been set up for the registration as campaigns are underway by the Sidama Liberation Movement in favor of statehood.

The board announced that 5500 election executives have been deployed and still delivering the necessary registration materials to the majority of the localities.

Awareness creation activities to voters are underway as banners and flags have been posted everywhere and members of security forces tightened security in voter registration stations.

Desta Lidamo, Sidama Zone administrator told local media that the Sidama zone has requested the electoral board of Ethiopia to set up additional 90 polling stations.

Meanwhile, the Sidama Liberation Movement has `accused the electoral board of inviting political parties to involve in the referendum against the constitution.

In a recent law endorsed by the South regional state’s council, non-Sidama ethnic people living in Hawassa city and Sidama zone can live, work and create wealth in the same living area in line with the country’s constitution.

Deputy President of the state, Restu Yirdaw, told local media that the seat for the administration of the South Nations Nationalities and People State will remain in Hawassa city until the city’s resource is divided as per the decision of the board.

The electoral board earlier requested the council to present administrative and legal documents on the legal rights and protections of other people and ethnic groups living in Hawassa city after the referendum.

 Accordingly, the council of the regional government submitted legal and administrative documents to the federal government on the sharing of resources of Hawassa city and the legal rights of all ethnic groups in the zone.

It is recalled that the Southern state council allocated 75,615,015 Ethiopian birr to conduct the referendum.

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