Ethiopia Electoral Board sets date for Sidama referendum; $2.6 million will be allocated

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia said preparations are underway to hold the referendum on the Sidama people’s request for statehood on 13th of November 2019.

The board says action plans and budget have been sent to the regional council for the referendum. Accordingly, the Board will recruits more than 8400 electoral officers and more than 1690 polling stations will be installed.

It is to be recalled that the Council of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region on November 2018 accepted Sidama Zone’s request to become a state and restructured other administrative districts.

The election board apparently considered the situation of SNNPR council and gave a new date, as indicated in the letter released on Thursday, August 29, 2019, to complete the task of preparing a legal and administrative arrangement on the status of Hawassa and the rights of non-Sidama ethnic communities. The council has now until October 3, 2019, to finalize the work.

At least seven other zones in SNNPR have are pushing for statehood and demanding referendum after Sidama Zone was allowed to have one but it remains unclear if the Federal government has a stand to respond to those questions affirmatively as it did to Sidama zone.