Ethiopia to deploy 6,000 referendum observers


The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia today invited 6,000 volunteers to observe the upcoming referendum of Sidama Zone.

In its public announcement on state broadcaster, ETV, this evening, the Board invited volunteers to personally appear at the electoral board office and register.

Sidama Zone, which is found in the Southern Regional of Ethiopia, is schedule to conduct referendum to upgrade the administrative status of the zone to region. In Ethiopia currently there are nine regions in Ethiopia and two administrative regions (the capital Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa city).

To be considered as volunteer referendum observer one has to be at least BA Degree holder in any field of study and has to be not older than 45 years. After getting training, the volunteers will be serving for one month period getting pocket money, according to the announcement.

It is recalled that Sidama referendum is scheduled to take place on November 13, 2017. On July 18 this year, dozens of non-Sidama ethnic group people were killed and their properties including Orthodox churches were burned in some towns in Southern Region of Ethiopia by youngsters who set the July 18 as the day to declare Sidama as a region without a referendum.

The deadline was set by advocates of Sidama zone’s quest to be upgraded to region, who created strategic partnership with some Oromo extremists and popular activists who described themselves as, Kush coalition.

Following the decision made by both Southern region of Ethiopia and the federal government to hold Sidama referendum, many zones are currently demanding the government to hold similar referendums to upgrade their administrative status to region.