Addis Ababa condominium houses awaken ownership claims

Melat Mulugeta

Ownership claim over Addis Ababa is the new fever for Oromo radical ethnic nationalist. When it almost seems that the issue has been put to rest, there is always a way to bring it up again. The controversial topic came up after Addis Ababa City Administration Savings & Houses Development Enterprise (AASHDE) announced the winners of 51,229 condominium houses. The announcement triggered waves of protests in many Oromia cities. The protestors opposed the transfers of the houses to Addis Ababa residents since Oromia state has administrative jurisdiction of the condominium sites.

Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) gave a statement opposing the house transfers to Addis Ababa and assured that the party will continue to fight to assert ownership claims over Addis Ababa. ODP’s radical statement came as a shock considering that it was one of the parties that have vowed to commit to the new reform. Takele Uma, acting mayor of Addis Ababa and ODP member, announced that Addis Ababa City Administration and Housing Administration Board has decided to transfer half of the houses without lottery draw to farmers and their families whose land was used for housing developments. Considering that he is an acting mayor of Addis Ababa, the announcement completely overlooked the Addis Ababa’s residents who have been waiting and saving for years.

Many spectators like Eskinder Nega perceived the recent claims and the controversial actions of Takele Uma as a perfectly curated master plan by OPD. According to Addis Ababa University Law and Governance lecturer Dr. Sisay Mengiste, Addis Ababa ownership claims originate from the intentional misinterpretation of Article 49 of the Ethiopian constitution. Dr. Sisay clarifies the situation based on the governing conditions of Lesotho and Swaziland with South Africa