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News: Despite public protests over exclusion, admin hurdle, Shaggar City Council established, mayor sworn in

Dr Teshome Adugna was sworn in as mayor of Shaggar City today. Photo: Shaggar City Communication

Addis Abeba – Municipal council of the recently established Shaggar City has held its inaugural assembly to form a Council and has appointed officials including speaker and mayor to the controversial would be Shaggar city. The decision to establish the new mega city was recently passed by the Oromia Regional State government by merging towns, districts and some villages located within the Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinnee.

Towns like Burayu, Sululta, Laga Tafo-Laga Dadhi, Galan and Sebeta and some villages in neighboring districts of Addis Abeba that below to the Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinnee, such as Welmara, Sululta, Barak, Akaki and Sebeta Hawas have come under the Shaggar City.

Thus, the Shaggar City Council that was established today constitutes members of the councils of these cities. Accordingly the Council will have Qabato Albe as speaker and Tsehay Dabale as deputy speaker. In addition, Dr Teshome Adugna who was appointed as mayor earlier was sworn in at the Council’s establishing session today.

The establishment of the Shaggar City council comes amid protests by residents whose villages were excluded from the city’s structuring. Last week, residents of villages in Barak District in the Oromia Special Zone Surrounding Finfinnee staged a protests demonstration in Sandafa town, complaining about their exclusion from the city and administrative hurdles they are facing.

Residents who spoke to the BBC’s Afaan Oromoo service say out of the 23 villages in Barak district, only 10 have been incorporated into the Shaggar City administration while the rest 13 were left to be under the Barak district which will now be administered by North Shoa zone of the Oromia regional state. The residents of the 13 villages complained that the decision will have forced them to travel up to 200 kilometers to the zonal capital in Fiche to get basic administrative services. They also said that the government has not held any discussions with the them regarding the establishment of the city and its subsequent outcomes.

Similarly, residents of Sebeta Hawas District held protests on 28 December, 2022 regarding the structuring of Shaggar City. The Sebeta Hawas district has 41 villages, of which 17 villages fall under Shaggar City and the other 24 remain under the district and which will now be administered by South West Shoa Zone. The residents say the decision will divide communities.

Residents who will be directly affected by the decision to establish Shaggar city are not the only ones who protested. As early as 01 December, State Minister of Peace, Taye Danda’a, became among the foremost critics of the establishment the City saying that the decision was not transparent and did not follow legal procedures.

However, in a recent interview, Dr Teshome Adugna who was sworn in today, dismissed the complaints and blamed the protests on “lack of understanding,” about the dynamics of big cities and that “there is nothing to complain about”.

“…for example, those who say they have to travel to North Shoa for services, there is nothing that takes them to North Shoa. We have said this over and again. All the services they need, including the Court, are there. A city is established on the basis of urban science, but if you include every village it loses the meaning of the city. This comes from ignorance, lack of understanding” he said, adding that there have been repeated discussions with the people on the issue.

Speaking at the inaugural assembly of city’s council today, Dr Teshome said that the first objective of establishing the city is to expand market centers and infrastructure developments to ensure rights and interests the Oromo people should get from Addis Abeba and the surrounding.

The City council has approved appointments of heads of various offices for Shaggar City which is constituted into 12 sub-cities and 36 districts. AS

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