Baladera Council to Field Candidates for Addis Ababa Seats

By Staff Reporter

Eskinder-NegaJanuary 11, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- The Addis Ababa Baladera Council disclosed that it will run for the 23 parliamentary seats Addis Ababa City holds in the House of Peoples Representative of Ethiopia in the forthcoming Ethiopian elections. It is filing papers to transform itself into a political party.

Briefing reporters on Friday, journalist and activist Eskinder Nega, who is also the Chairman of the Baladera Council, said his office has already selected its candidates who will be running in the 23 polling stations of the metropolitan city.

Eskinder Nega and his Baladera Council, a council formed to oppose claims of ownership by some Oromo groups over Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and most multicultural city. The now-defunct  Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), which was led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, had recently claimed ethnic Oromo ownership over Addis Ababa.

The EPRDF, in which the ODP was a member, was recently replaced by the Prosperity Party.

According to some estimates, more than 75 percent of residents in Addis Ababa are non-ethnic Oromo people who believe that the capital city belongs to no one but its residents.

Eskinder Nega, who had been in jail for years as a political prisoner, was released in mid-2018 after the reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power. Eskinder and his supporters have frequently entered into conflict with Addis Ababa and federal police while denouncing ethnic Oromo ownership claims over Addis Ababa.

The council will jointly work with national political parties to get its national objectives met, said the activist, who was on a tour in the US and Europe where he draws much of his support.

“I am confident that our 30-year struggle to topple the EPRDF will bear fruit after the forthcoming elections,” Eskinder told reporters while arriving at Addis Ababa Bole international airport.

The council is set to hold its next meeting on Sunday to modify the council into a political party. Following that, the council will go to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia to apply for an official certificate registering as a political party in the forthcoming elections.

The Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front  (EPRDF) should not win a single Addis Ababa seat at the national parliament in the upcoming elections. We will do our best to win 23 seats. The new party, which will be replacing the Addis Ababa Baladera Council, is expected to be a fierce contender against the prosperity party and other political parties inside Addis Ababa. According to some reports, city residents who are predominantly from other Ethiopian ethnicities are anxious by Oromo claims of ownership. Attacks by some Oromo youth known as Qeerroo that killed and wounded some residents in and around the capital a year ago are still fresh in the minds of many. These residents may come out in droves and vote for the Baladera Council.

According to Eskinder, his council will also strive to transform Addis Ababa city into a State as well as introduce a new amendment to the constitution negating that the Oromia region has a special interest on Addis Ababa.

The advocacy group opposes the current city administration under Mayor Takele Uma. His critics describe him as an ardent Oromo ethno-nationalist and a central committee member of the now-disbanded ODP, on the grounds that he was appointed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration unlawfully.

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