The ruling party administration is to implement controversial master plan for Hawassa city that possibly will displace thousands of Sidama farmers from their ancestral land
The AddisFortune magazine, which is close to present Ethiopian regime, recently disclosed that federal and South Ethiopia People Democratic Front(SEPDM) are implementing Hawassa city's master plan with allocated budget of over 12 Million Ethiopian Birr without consent and knowledge of Sidama people. According to the magazine, the master plan will extend city's plan to additional 10 surrounding kebeles of Sidama zone possibly displacing thousands of Sidama farmers from their holdings. Paradoxically enough, the city belongs to the Sidama and will remain cultural, social and economic center for them. Any plan that excludes their involvement in deciding the fate of the city will remain illegal. The Sidama people are not aware of this scheme nor were they have legally been consulted which is possibly building yet another tension between the Sidama people and local and regional governments which also put the region in turmoil. Even worse, the plan attributes ownership of Hawassa city to the SNNRP party, which was created by TPLF to represent TPLF interest in south region, and Sidama people have been demanding the party's possession of properties in Hawassa as illegal since the Sidamas have been demanding an independent region. The plan also fails to mention Hawassa as capital of the Sidama and that planned expansion will adversely affect Sidama farmers living in these 10 surrounding Kebels. We recall the similar daring plot to remove the Sidama administration from Hawassa and relocate to other town was ended up in failure and massacre of Sidama people at Looqqe on may 24 2002.
Map: Newly released Hawassa master plan map that extends the city's boundaries deep into more than 10 surrounding kebeles.
Read the Fortune article below:
Hawassa City to implement new master plan (Ethiopia)
Hawassa City, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities & People’s Region (SNNPR), will implement a new master plan for the city that will reduce the eight sub-cities to five this coming September.
The master plan is designed for the following decade with a total budget of 12 million Br by the City’s Urban Planning Institute.
A total of 70 to 80 people participated in the design, with experts from the fields of road-networking and transportation, environment, land use management and rural-urban linkage. The master plan will extend the city to the Hawassa Airport and 10 surrounding kebeles within the SNNPR region.
“The socio-economic, political and environmental impacts of the new plan were assessed,” said Menzimo Gelgle, head of the Institute.
An increase in population plans for a railway line and the need to upgrade Hawassa every other decade, according to provisions by the federal government for cities, necessitated a new plan, according to Menzimo. It will have to be sent to the city council for approval after a couple of months.
The city that is made up of 32 kebeles, has a population of over 350,000 people in its eight districts. Lying on an area of over 157sqkm, the city was founded more than half a century ago by Ras Mangesha Seyoum, who was the administrator of Sidama province. It is a tourist destination with close to a quarter of a million tourists having arrived the past fiscal year.
The city is also home to the Hawassa Industrial Park, which became operational last year at the cost of a quarter of a billion dollars, with three times that amount put aside by the federal government to finance projects there. Such massive investments are not new to the city which also saw Rori Hotel Hawassa, constructed for a cost of 400 million Br, open its doors last year.
Hawassa’s first master plan was prepared by the Municipalities Department, of the-then Ministry of Interior and lasted until 1988. The current plan is known as the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and was prepared by the Federal Urban Planning Institute 11 years ago.
And in designing the new plan, the Institute looked at the experiences of other cities, according to Selamu Bulado, a senior urban planning expert at the Institute which was established a year ago and has 22 permanent employees.
Another city that will recently see a new master plan implemented is Adama City, inside the Oromia Regional State. The region’s Urban Planning Institute designed it for 11 million Br and will replace the 13-year-old master plan.
Woldamlak Bewketu (prof.), an environmentalist with over 15 years of experience at Addis Abeba University (AAU) commends the new masterplan for Hawassa associating it with future development in the city.
“It will be an instrument to avoid further challenges to re-develop and help determine the development stages of an economy,” he told Fortune.