More Than 2.3M People Registered for Sidama Referendum

By Staff Reporter

Sidama-VoteNovember 18, 2019 ( -- The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) disclosed that more than 2.3 million people have been registered for the planned referendum to decided on the Sidama people’s request for a regional state status.

Briefing journalists on Monday, November 18, 2019, NEBE chairperson Birtukan Medekissa said except minor offenses, including trying to take away voter registration cards; disappearance along with voters’ document and destructing movement of one observer, the registration process was peaceful and successful.

The referendum, which is expected to be conducted on Wednesday 20, 2019, will decide whether Sidama Zone becomes region or continues as zone.

Registration of voters took place from 7 Nov.-16 Nov.2019 in all districts of Sidama Zone and Hawassa city, capital of the South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ region of Ethiopia.

Unless minor problems related to the shortage of cards on the first day of voter registration, the process was peaceful, she noted.

The coming Wednesday referendum will decide whether Sidama zone will be upgraded to regional status, and become one of the 10th region of Ethiopia or remain in the current adjustment as one zone of the south region.

The referendum, which according to Birtukan, will take place in 1692 election polls with the help of over six thousand election execute rs will also saw the closure of government schools and offices across the region.

Earlier, the board announced that government offices, schools, and commercial institutions operating in Sidama Zone including the city of Hawassa will be closed on referendum day.

Based on electoral and political parties’ proclamation no-1162/2012, any institutions operating in Sidama zone and town administration should respect the decision and discharge responsibility accordingly.

According to her, more than 6,000 election officials were deployed in 1,692 polling stations established in the Sidama zone.

An additional 175 polling stations would be established in areas where there will be high turn out, Birtukan added.

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.

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