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OSA Symposium: Understanding the Land Transfers and Political Crisis in Ethiopia: A Multidisciplinary Assessment of the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan and Popular Uprising in Oromia January 16, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Odaa OromooOSA



OMN: Haala Yeroo Oromiyaa Irratti Walgahii WQO/OSA Geggeessaa Jiru

Program Theme

The theme of this extraordinary session of the Oromo Studies Association is Understanding Land Transfers and Political Crisis in Ethiopia. The symposium was prompted by the outbreak of massive protests in the Oromia region against a decision to lease community land in a small town west of the federal capital of Addis Ababa to a private investor. Protests quickly took on a form of resistance against the federal government scheme known as the Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan and the whole program of land lease that allows eviction of farmers. Within days, demonstrators took to the streets in large numbers in cities and towns all over Oromia, voicing slogans that condemned the practice of transferring smallholder arable lands to private investors. Lately, the protestors’ calls have included the reinstatement of genuine self-rule at the local level. Government response was swift and brutal, killing many people, arresting hundreds of protesters, and taking into custody even Oromo political leaders who were not directly involved in the protests. For days, it seemed that the security forces had quieted down the protests. After brief lull, protests emerged in unexpected places as the Oromia enclave in the Amhara region and resumed in the eastern and western parts of Oromia. All told, the protests have now lasted for two months. Both the Master Plan and the protests are unprecedented in Ethiopia. The Master Plan is the most blatant form of state confiscation of arable rural land of indigenous Oromo people arguably since Menelik’s conquests. It is an integral part of the massive land transfers that have been taking place in the Oromia region for quite some time. The reaction it provoked has been demonstrably visceral and sustained in the face of a military force that had no qualms summarily executing child protestors as young as eight years old. The symposium is convened to begin addressing the question of why the Master Plan provoked such profound pan-Oromo reaction. The papers are expected to explore the constitutional, political, economic, cultural and environmental consequences of the Master Plan. They will be substantive, documented and clearly articulated to be accessible to specialists and the lay public. While it is the goal of the symposium to unpack the Master Plan, it would be a mistake to boil down the protest movement to the issue of urban planning. If the Master Plan were the main cause, it would be a technical problem that would be addressed by technocrats. The Master Plan was the trigger, not the ultimate cause. The main issues are structural and the protests reveal a crisis of the state. The papers also attempt to place the Master Plan in the context of a crisis of state which now seems to have entered an advanced stage of decomposition. At this moment, the protestors’ demands now include the end of EPRDF’s stranglehold on the political landscape, ethnic discrimination in allocating national resources, and the rule of violence in Ethiopia.


VOA: Simpooziyemii Addaa Mormii Oromiyaa Keessaatti Fuuleffate

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