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The Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) dissolved the Addis Ababa and Oromia Special Zone Integrated Development Plan and has ordered the regional council to revise the amended City Proclamation. The Central Committee of OPDO, one of the four political parties forming the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), undertook an extra ordinary meeting which lasted for three days in Adama (Nazareth). OPDO has since disclosed its decision to cancel the plan, seen as a root cause for violent and fatal clashes between the public and security forces in some towns of Oromia region.
About a year and half ago, similar conflict erupted in the region but was not as widespread as recent clashes. The latest conflict rose following the regional council’s amendment of a new proclamation related with city development a few months ago.
According to the party, the integrated development plan, which is part of the new master plan for the capital city, has been dissolved due to the public disapproval.
Since the conflict erupted, the government has frequently stated that the plan will never be applied without public acceptance. The latest announcement, however, makes clear that the master plan is gone – and no longer will be tabled for discussion with the public.
According to the party’s statement, the central committee has also decided that the regional council needs to have a second look of some articles in the City Proclamation.“The public is expressed its suspicion on some parts of the proclamation so council have to review it again,” a statement published on state media indicated.
The Addis Ababa and Surrounding Oromia Integrated Development Plan was initially drafted by the city of Lyon, with financial support from the French Agency for Development (AFD). The master plan for the city and the Oromia Special zone covered 1.1 million hectares of land and the study that informed the plan was undertaken by the municipality of Grand Lyon, the sister city of Addis Ababa.
The project that was tabled in 2010, aimed to integrate the metropolis of Addis with the outskirts in the surroundings of Oromia. The development of highways and roads, parking lots for buildings, the establishment of several market areas throughout the metropolis, varied development of land, a detailed classification of mass and private transportation, the classification of metropolitan areas and the development of an international standard airport, were some of the infrastructure envisioned in the new plan.
Since the conflict in Oromia region took a violent turn, several international organizations and governments have expressed their concerns about government forces’ measures. Information from government has underplayed the death toll resulting from the violence over the last few months, but opposition and international human rights organizations say that as many as 140 persons may have lost their lives.