Oduu Haaraya

President of Oromia Lemma Megersa discloses that he did not request involvement of federal security forces.

 Speaking to the state owned OBN Afaan Oromoo he condemned the recent massacre of farmers in Chelenko by federal armed forces calling it a criminal act and vows to bring them to justice. He has also called for Oromia regional security forces to side with the public and safeguard their safety and security against attacks.

There has been pressure on the president to disclose whether the federal forces are intervening in regional affairs per his request or without it. Article 52(2) of Ethiopian federal constitutions affirms regional governments are empowered “to establish and administer a state police force, and to maintain public order and peace within the State.” Oromia regional state constitution Art 47(2) also reaffirms the stat’e autonomy over internal security affairs. The federal constitution also clearly stipulates when and how federal security forces could be deployed to regions. Article 51(14) says the federal government “shall deploy, AT THE REQUEST OF A STATE ADMINISTRATION, Federal defence forces to arrest a deteriorating security situation within the requesting State when its authorities are unable to control it.”

This article has been further elaborated in proclamation 359/2003 titled “System for intervention of federal government in Regions”. While affirming article 51(14) of the constitution that federal forces intervene at request of regional administration, it adds that they could only intervene if and when regions are unable or unwilling to safeguard security and constitutional order. Even then the federal security are not given blank check. It is the federal house of federation ( the upper chamber) that has the power to investigate and determine whether a regional government has endangered the constitutional order and then direct the prime minister to send in federal forces.

As of now the regional president did not say the security situation in Oromia is beyond the control of the regional security and did not request intervention of federal forces. Neither have the house of federation investigate the situation, determine intervention and direct the prime minister to act. Hence the current deployment of federal security forces in Oromia is unconstitutional, illegal and illegitimate. Oromia regional security forces and the public would be within the law to defend themselves against any and all members of the federal army and police forces engaged in harassment and mass killing. This is exactly what the president reiterated in his short interview.

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