Addis Ababa residents told to vacate homes for PM palace project: Report

Residents of Chelelko neighborhood, Woreda (District) 5, Yeka sub-city in Addis Ababa have been told to vacate their homes within three days period to make space for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s palace project, Balderas for Genuine Democracy Party disclosed in a press statement on Tuesday.

Balderas said residents have told it that they are in great distress after being told by authorities to demolish their homes in a narrow period of time without being provided neither alternative plots or compensation money. The demolition order also comes in the middle of the school season imposing another hardship for residents who have school age kids.

Balderas disclosed the expensiveness of rents as alternative accommodation have put Chelelko neighborhood in further distress. The party estimates thousands of Addis Ababa residents will be displaced by the PM’s palace project.

In November, PM Abiy told parliament he is planning to build a 500 billion birr (9.4 billion U.S. dollars) “satellite city” project. Abiy further told parliamentarians they don’t have right to ask about the sources of funds for the project.

When the announcement was made by PM in November, many Ethiopian netizens expressed fears about the adverse impact on cost of living that could be brought by the disbursement of such vast amount of opaque money.

Official figures show Ethiopia’s inflation stood at 35.1 percent for November 2022.

On Thursday, the oldest non-state aligned human rights group, the Ethiopia Human Rights Council (EHRCO) disclosed four of its staff were detained while trying to observe house demolishing activities around Addis Ababa.

Authorities in Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia region are currently undertaking large scale house demolition of mainly low income residents accusing them of being “squatters”. Residents in turn accuse authorities of conducing sudden demolitions and making them effectively homeless.

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