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News: Leading Sidama opposition party accuses regional government of forceful entry into its office, property looting

The Sidama Federalist Party head Office in Hawassa (Photo: SFP/Facebook)

Addis Abeba – The Sidama Federalist Party (SFP) has accused the Sidama regional government of forcefully entering its headquarters in Hawassa City on 07 October, 2023, looting property, and detaining one member. However, officials from the region’s peace and security bureau maintain that their actions were taken to enforce law and order after some party members incited disturbances.

Genene Hasana, head of the party secretariat, stated that security forces raided the office at 3:00 am, engaging in physical altercations and arresting Samuel Lankamo, a member whose current whereabouts remain unknown. Genene alleged that the forces “forcibly entered the office in police vehicles and disrupted operations. When asked to comply with the law, they responded with violence, detaining our colleague, whose family and we have been unable to locate since.”

Genene further alleged that the regional government is collaborating with a former deputy chairman of the SFP to weaken the party, which has been actively investigating corruption and mismanagement issues plaguing the region.

The party secretariat also revealed that security forces changed the office locks and imposed restrictions on access. “Several items were removed,” he said.

In response, Alemayew Thimotios, head of the Sidama regional peace and security bureau, stated that party members had incited disturbances on the mentioned day. He explained that after the former chairman left the country, internal disagreements arose, leading to the regional government’s intervention to establish order and detain one member.

Genene, however, claims that this is not the first time the party has faced harassment by the regional administration. He asserted that the regional administration has a history of harassment and arrests of party members in the past month, with currently 12 central executive committee members detained. Frustrated by the government’s inaction and denial of access to the office, the party has communicated its concerns to Ethiopia’s national electoral board.

A month ago, Addis Standard reported on the Sidama Federalist Party’s accusations against the Sidama regional government for allegedly arresting members of the SFP without warrants in Daye Town. A few days after the SFP’s accusations, the regional government denied all allegations, asserting that due process was followed in the arrests and accusing the SFP of spreading baseless rumors.

On 06 October, 2023, the Ethiopian National Electoral Board initiated an inquiry into the SFP’s complaint about the unlawful detention of its members in Daye Town. AS

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