Ethiopia Abandons Addis Ababa Expansion Plans After Protests

Ethiopia Abandons Addis Ababa Expansion Plans After Protests

Ethiopia has decided to abandon expansion plans for the boundaries of its capital, Addis Ababa.

This decision by Ethiopia’s government follows months of deadly protests and demonstrations by the people from the Oromo ethnic group.

The major concern of the Oromo ethnic group is that there are rumours that once the expansion is completed, Oromo farmers could be displaced.

Already human rights groups have estimated that at least 140 people were killed by security forces during the protests  but however the  government has disputed the death toll quoted by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, saying the figure was an overestimation and that the protest were hijacked "by people whose intention it was to induce violent confrontation".

The state broadcaster EBC reports that the ruling party in the Oromia region, the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO) said it was dropping the plan following discussions with local people. In view of the above the OPDO made the decision after three days of talks.

The OPDO, along with the Addis Ababa city authority, would have been responsible for implementing the "master plan".

The government has also said that plan was going to be implemented only once "a consensus had been reached after in-depth and full discussions".

The master plan was proposed as a way to incorporate the areas close to Addis Ababa into the capital's rapidly developing economy.

Oromia is Ethiopia's largest region, and completely surrounds the capital. The recent wave of protests began in November last year, but anger over the proposed expansion of Addis Ababa goes back to 2014.

Observers say that the Oromo protests build on long-standing complaints that the community has been excluded from political and economic power.

At the last census in 2007, the Oromo made up Ethiopia's biggest ethnic group, at about 25 million people out of a population at the time of nearly 74 million.

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