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News: Crisis-hit Amhara state capital gets new mayor, administrative leadership

Newly appointed Mayor of Bahir Dar city, Goshu Endalamahu (right) taking oath of office. Picture: Screenshot

Addis Abeba – In an emergency session it held today, the Council of Bahir Dar city, the capital of crisis-hit Amhara regional state, has appointed Goshu Endalamahu as the new mayor of the city with the rank of First Deputy Mayor.

Goshu’s appointment is part of the regional state’s efforts to restructure both the civilian administration and the security structures including regional police and peace and security office after widespread collapse of both in most parts of the region, which remains under the federally declared state of emergency.

On 02 September, the newly appointed President of the region, Arega Kebede, revamped the entire Security Council of the region, which included Regional Peace and Security Bureau, the Police, Militia and Prisons Commission of the region

The new mayor, who in the past has served at various regional state institutions including in zonal leadership positions, has subsequently formed his cabinet earlier today by appointing eight individuals to different offices including deputy mayor and Bahir Dar city peace and security bureau heads.

According to regional media, in his maiden speech the incoming mayor highlighted his plans to to ensure “peace through dialogue” in order to help the people of the region to get out of the current security crisis. He also vowed to address “the basic questions raised by the society”, the shortcomings of the incumbent in the areas of good governance, development and service delivery that the people of the region are complaining about.

Mayor Goshu has also admitted the region’s peace and security crisis, which has “subjected the people to great hardship,” but added that no question “can be answered by destroying each other and destroying the economy,” regional media quoted him as saying. “We should solve problems through discussion and dialogue,” he said.

Goshu highlighted the work ahead with the promise to address the pervasive “theft, corruption, fraud and other illegal activities to ensure law and order” is respected in the region.

Members of the city council expressed their views that solving the complex service delivery problem, including the problem of good governance, unemployment, and the rising cost of living requires everyone’s participation.

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The mayor has called on the people of the city to be on “the side of the city administration.”

On 29 August, the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said “at least 183 people have been killed in clashes in Amhara region since July, and expressed its concerns at “the deteriorating human rights situation in some regions of Ethiopia.”

“In Amhara region, following a flare-up in clashes between the Ethiopian military and the regional Fano militia, and the declaration of a state of emergency on 4 August, the situation worsened considerably,” the UN said.

It also criticized that the wide-ranging state of emergency gives the authorities broad powers nationwide, to arrest suspects without a court order, impose curfews and ban public gatherings.

However, sporadic clashed continued in the region involving the federal army and the non-state Fano militia, raising the specter of fear that causalities may be much higher than what’s admitted by the UN. AS

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