By Staff Reporter
September 1, 2020 (Ezega.com) -- Former Deputy Mayor Addis Ababa city Takele Uma rubbished reports that the city government allowed land grabbing and transferred condominium houses illegally.
Takele described the report by Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (ECSJ) as “fake” which is aimed at gaining political profit and demolishing the nation.
In a report on Monday ECSJ revealed that more than 213,000 square meters of land have been illegally appropriated in the form of land grabbing across five sub-cities of the capital Addis Ababa.
“We have been fighting the land grabbing activity in the city and taking harsh measures since the first day we assumed office,” Takele said
“Those groups, who criticized us, had been accusing the city administration of uprooting the city’s residents in open campaigns as we took actions to combat land grabbing in the city,” Takele added.
The deputy mayor admitted that 20,000 condominium houses were apportioned to those farmers who used to live at places where the condominium houses are built.
The mayor claimed the transfer of the 20,000 condominium houses was done in line with the official decision of the city’s cabinet and subsequent media reports.
The city administration, however, neither disclosed the cabinet’s decision nor media reported on the transfer of condominium houses to farmers one and a half years ago.
The majority of the condominium houses are built in disputed place called “Koyefeche” which is located at the border between Addis Ababa city and Oromia region.
Even Though thousands of residents in the city won the lottery draw for those condominium houses built in the disputed Koye Feche area; they have not received the houses after the then Oromo activist warned the city administration.
“It would have been unfair to deny the farmers the condominium houses which were built on their lands. The farmers turned into daily laborers and guards in the condominium houses. It was wrong that we did not give the condominium houses for all 65, 000 households who were uprooted from those areas,” Takele continued.
This month Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed removed Takele Uma as Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa and replaced him with his close confidant, Adanech Abiebie.
“We are not ashamed but we are proud of what we did” the mayor added
However, residents have been demanding for an elected mayor. Opposition parties like Baladera for Genuine Democracy had been campaigning to expose illegal demolitions, land grabbing, and the illegal transfer of condominium units in the city. Its leader Eskinder Nega has been thrown to prison in what critics say trumped-up charges in connection with the latest massacre in the Oromo region of Ethiopia.
Nathnael Feleke, Public Relations Head of the ECSJ dismissed the mayor’s report as “false” and rather accused the mayor of apportioning the lands and condominium houses to officials and employees drawn from the Oromia region. “ECSJ would have not complained had the condominium houses had been apportioned to the farmers who were displaced from the area,” Nathnael said.
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