FSS organizes public dialogue on rising calls for national statehood, Zonal and Special Wereda statuses, and implications for building democratic society in Ethiopia
FSS organizes public dialogue on rising calls for national statehood, Zonal and Special Woreda statuses, and implications for building democratic society in Ethiopia

Forum for Social Studies (FSS), in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Ethiopia, held a half day public dialogue event under the main theme: The proliferation of the call for national statehood, zonal and special woreda statuses in Ethiopia and its implication for the emergence of a democratic society, on Thursday, September 29, 2022 at the Inter Luxury Hotel

The event was organized in the wake of a series of political developments in Ethiopia – the formation of Sidama, and South-West regions, and follow up calls for regional statehood, and that of zonal and special woreda statuses.

The event started with a welcoming address by Dr. Yeraswork Admassie, FSS Executive Director, and an opening speech by Susanne Stollreiter, Resident Representative of FES. In his welcoming address, Dr. Yeraswork explained that the dialogue event was organized by FSS to create a platform for stakeholder to discuss the drivers, challenges, and future directions of these proliferating calls for regional statehood and zonal and special woreda statuses. Miss Stollreiter, on her part, spoke of the activities of FES in Ethiopia and its areas of engagement and partnership to support Ethiopia’s democratic reform process. The Resident Representative recognized the importance of the dialogue event in creating understanding around the issue and helping generate evidence-based recommendations for government policy makers to further strengthen the democratic reform process in Ethiopia

Four presentations were made on the event. The first presentation) titled: The demand for national statehood and for zonal and special statuses in the Ethiopian federation (በኢትዮጵያ ፌደሬሽን፣ የክልል፣ የዞን እና ወረዳ ጥቀዎች እና የመፍትሄ ሃሳቦች) was made by Dr. Haileyesus Taye, Assistant Professor of Federal Studies at the Debre-Berhan University (DBU), and current Director General of Constitution and Federalism Training Center at the House of Federation (HoF). The second presentation titled: The self-administration structural demands in Ethiopia: drivers, government responses and recommendations in Ethiopia (የራስን በራስ አስተዳደር መዋቅር ጥያቄዎች በኢትዮጵያ፤ ምክንያቶች፣ የመንግስት ምላሾች እና የመፍትሄ ሃሳቦች) was made by Dr. Asnake Kefale, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Addis Ababa University (AAU).

The third presentation was made by Gebre Yintiso, Professor of Social Anthropology, formerly at AAU, and first President of Jinka University in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) on the topic: Mistrust and structural demands in Ethiopia (አለመተማመን እና የመዋቅር ጥያቄ በኢትዮጵያ). Finally, Ato Andargachew Aseged, a veteran politician and Country Representative of Humanitarian Action for South Sudan, presented a paper on the topic: Building a democratic federal system in Ethiopia: Some thoughts (ለዴሞክራሲያዊ ፌደራል ሥርዓት መገንባት አንዳንድ አስተያየቶች).

In their presentations, the speakers analyzed the Constitution of the EPRDF and the federal arrangement, including the resultant effects as reflected in the proliferating quest for national statehood and for Zonal and Special Woreda statuses and the implications on the democratic reform. They also forwarded recommendations for government policy makers to deal with the prevailing situation. In the lively discussion that was chaired by Dr. Zerihun Mohammed, Executive Director of Good Governance Africa-East Africa, participants forwarded their views, and comments and reflected on their experiences.

Around 70 participants from different sectors including senior government official, academics, civil society representatives and higher educational institutions, and the media attended the dialogue event.

PDF versions of the four presented papers on the subject will be uploaded on FSS official website shortly.

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