Dire Dawa, A City PM Abiy Ahmed Ignored

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Dire Dawa known mostly as the city of peace and diversity has been rocked with unrest for the last couple of days. Roads were closed, tires were burning and part of the city was on lockdown due to blockage of movements.

Several youths were out on the streets to address their need on good governance and power assignment. According to some young men who gave their comments to state media EBC, there is a wide variety of problems in the city including unemployment, bad governance and so on.

One resident of the city said that “Changes in Ethiopia hasn’t yet come to Dire Dawa. There is still a high level of corruption, unemployment, and bad governance throughout the city.” Adding “people who have lots of acceptance by the community have not yet come to power. Familiar faces change their places of administration from one to the other, no changes at all.”

Dire Dawa quota system 40/40/20, that allocates 40 percent of administrative staff to Oromo and Somali while leaving only 20% for the rest of ethnic groups has always been controversial.  “This quota isolates senior residents of the city.” said one young man to EBC added that “this isolating system failed to achieve mutual benefits to the people of Dire Dawa, and caused this kind of dispute. ” According to 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the ethnic composition in the region include the Oromo (46%), Somali (24%), Amhara (20%), Gurage (4.5%), and the rest (5.5%).

The mayor of Dire Dawa Mr.Ibrahim Ousman, on the other hand, said that the city government is working on creating 30,000 (Thirty Thousand) job opportunities per year, and last year they have managed to create 27,000 (Twenty Seven Thousands) jobs.  

“We have a bright future in front of us.” said Mr.Ibrahim “We are working tirelessly to create opportunities not just for the city but also to the eastern parts of the country as a whole.”

About 40/40/20 the mayor said that there were questions for the ownership of Dire Dawa from both Oromia and Somali Regions, that caused the city to be administered with a transitional government for a number of years.

After a while according to Mr.Ibrahim “by copying the charter practiced in Addis Ababa the questioning bodies will be selected for administration for 5 years interchangeably.  20 percent assignment for other ethnic groups avoided isolation and made them to participate in the decision-making process.”

According to the reports, Dire Dawa is now back to a relatively stability. Dire Dawa still remains as the only region in Ethiopia where PM Abiy Ahmed did not make a visit. His highly anticipated arrival few weeks back was canceled due to security concerns in the region. P.M Abiy visit to Dire Dawa will also test PM Abiy ability in addressing the controversial  40/40/20 quota.