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Addis Abeba, July 18/2019 –  In a statement released via the Facebook page of the Wolaita Zone Administration, head of the Zone, Dagato Kumbe, admitted that Wolaita zone representatives who were attending the ten days Central Committee meeting by the Southern Ethiopian Democratic Movement (SEPDM) have boycotted the meeting.

Dagato’s statement came at the same day when SEPDM released a statement denying “social media claims of boycott by some members of the central committee” but sharply contradicts the party’s claim.

In his statement Degato said that during the 10th organizational conference of SEPDM, which took place in Hawassa in September 2018, a direction has been put in place to accommodate questions of reconfiguration of the Southern region based on public demands and within the limits of the constitution.

Members of the Central Committee of SEPDM met in Addis Abeba to consult on the results of a study conducted by a group formed based on the directions given by the party, according to Degato.

Subsequent public consultations held by the Wolaita zone at all levels have approved the proposal to establish Wolaita regional state and a letter was submitted to the regional Council on December 19/2018. However, the regional council did not respond to the request as it failed to meet.

The indecision of the Council has led to a massive rally held in Sodo city, the capital of the Wolaita Zone, on May 17, 2019, the statement recalled.

Degato said that despite these attempts, the meeting by the Central Committee was one that has “sidestepped” the Wolaita people’s demand for statehood, leading all its members to walk out of the meeting in protest.

However, all the Wolaita representatives have given their full support for the approval of the Sidama statehood, but rejected the notion that the rest of the region should continue as one region in post-Sidama referendum, the statement quoted Dagato as saying.

The statement said there were rooms left for further discussions as the decision at the Central Committee meeting was not a final decision and that the zonal administration hopes to get its request recognized.

The statement revealed the deadlock within SEPDM and its potential outcome of lack of agreement at the party’s council meeting, which has not been announced yet despite the importance of the meeting in approving the next budget for the regional state. AS

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