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Special Edition: How the “Special Interest” of Oromia over Addis Abeba became a vacuous exercise in legal rhetoric. What is Next?

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The “Special Interest” of Oromia over Addis Abeba

Hollow Constitutional Promise, an empty legal rhetoric: The Draft Law on the interest that is not so special

By Tsegaye R. Ararssa

This week, the government is seeking to force “public consultation” over the “Constitutional Special Interest” of Oromia over Addis Abeba. It is to be recalled that such consultation proposed by the Legal Affairs Standing Committee of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) in late 2017 was interrupted and postponed mainly because it came at a wrong time for the Oromo people, at a time when close to a million people were displaced and languishing in make shift rehabilitation camps, a time when the military was still killing people arbitrarily, a time when the Liyyu Police’s continued aggression on the borders was raging, and much else was ailing the Oromo nation. The public consultation is to be conducted based on a draft proclamation prepared by the HPR. The draft proclamation is tellingly entitled, “A Proclamation to Determine the Special Interest of Oromia over Addis Abeba.”


But what is it that the federal government seeks to discuss with the people? What exactly do they want to consult the people about? What have they proposed in this draft legislation? How does that tally with the demands of the #OromoProtests? Is it even constitutional? What should be done in order to properly acknowledge the interests (rights and prerogatives) of Oromia? In this piece, I reflect on some of these questions.

Please download the full version of this special edition assessing the multi-dimensional social, economical, legal and constitutional aspects of the “ Special Interest” of Oromia over Addis Abeba.


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