By Biruk Alemu @Birukalemu21
Addis Abeba: The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has accepted a request by the House of Federation (HoF) to organize a plebiscite within the next three months on the efforts of 6 zones, Wolaita, Gamo, Gofa, South Omo, Gedeo, Konso, as well as 5 special woredas, Derashe, Amaro, Burji, Ale, and Basketo, to be reconstituted into a new regional state to be named ‘South Ethiopia’.
In a presser released today by NEBE, the electoral board stated that it has gathered different forms of input for the prospective referendum, including decisions passed at zonal councils, questions forwarded to HoFand other documents sent to the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR). It stated that the request’s accordances in line with legal frameworks were being assessed by NEBE.
The NEBE has indicated that it solely holds the authority to arrange preliminary preparations, decide on the time for a standardized referendum, and set a schedule, reforming and enacting it as per the need. The institution has said that it will send a comprehensive time schedule to the HoPR, the schedule will be inclusive of the time necessary to organize logistics, recruit and delegate electoral officials, assess the security situation, offer voters’ education, arraign ballot stations, license observer civil societies and discuss with concerned stakeholders.
Addis Standard had reported of a meeting held on 18 August, the HoF accepted the request by the forenamed six zones and five special woredas for a nascent regional state and passed an affirmation for a NEBE-managed referendum to decide on the outcome.
The House accordingly proceeded to send directions to NEBE to administer a neutral plebiscite that would respect the electorate’s opinion, within the upcoming three months and dispatch the results of the proceeding back to the HoF.
Additionally, it can be recalled that the HoF also decided to have Hadiya, Halaba, Kambata-Tembaro, Silte, and Gurage zones continue under the preexisting Southern Nation, Nationalities, People’s Regional state configuration, and simultaneously called upon leadership, at multiple levels, and security apparatus to dispense of responsibilities to ascertain the referendum is handled in a peaceful, democratic and popular manner. AS