Facts: Things you should know about the news about Gura Ferda settlement in Southern Nation and Nationalities.
Aigaforum April 2, 2012-
Much has been said about the removal of people who have settled in the particular region of the Southern Nation and Nationalities Kilil in Ethiopia. The usual media outlets that will leave no stone unturned to defame the Ethiopian government have been fanning the issue like there is no tomorrow!
In the process many good meaning people may have been heartbroken and in fact may have started a campaing to help financially the allegedly uprooted. There are many poor Ethiopians who can use the help so we say kudos to those who are raising funds regardless!
But what are the facts behind this issue and what is simply propaganda! We talked to a high level federal official and here is what we know.
Fact 1: The regional government of the Southern Nation and Nationalities is trying to regulate and control the rampant expansion of clearing forest by new comers from all parts of Ethiopia including from its own Kilil. The official told us many people from highland Ethiopia including Amhara, Oromia, Tigrai and even Sidama and Gurage zone has moved in to farm in the affected area.
Note: Those few affected are not of any particular ethnic! They come in all colors so to speak.
Fact 2: The regional government alarmed by the encroachment and the potential disenfranchisement of the local inhabitants is trying to protect the indigenous people. The new comers have been dislocating the local inhabitants since most of these people do not farm for living.
Note: The directive is not to divide people nor to deny any Ethiopian from living anywhere but to protect those indigenous people's rights, avoid future trouble and also to save the environment
Fact 3: Most of the new settlers who have started farming and have been there for long will continue their life undisturbed. The government will enforce new expansion with the aim to protect forest area and protect indigenous people.
Note: People who have been farming there for long are not asked to leave. Infact there is more land to farm in the region and more will be given with proper guidance and fair allocation. There is no shortage of farm area!
Fact 4: It is true in implementing the new directive there were some irregularities observed and some may have been affected but overall things are moving smoothly.
Note: Some of the people have chosen to politicize this by siding with the opposition, but, those who have been affected by the irregularities will be heard and are being heard.
As you all know, Ethiopia is in a huge campaign to rehabilitate the overgrazed and eroded land. This campaign started in Tigrai many years ago. The results are remarkable and many Ethiopians from all regions have been trekking to Tigrai to see for themselves so they can do likewise in their area. In fact the very same issue we see today in the Southern region has happened in western Tigrai also. Many from central Tigrai moved to the Kunama area some 20 years ago and disenfranchised the local inhabitants. Once TPLF realized what was happening the new settlers were moved to another area and the indigenous people were brought back!
The extremists in Diaspora as expected have been jumping from one issue to another in the hope of finding the magic key to Minilk palace. We are sure this one is not the magic key since most Ethiopian knows Ethiopia is on a critical transformation phase and they are willing to see it succeed. People understand there will be many ups and downs which they are prepared to buckle up and remain steady to make sure, Hedase dam is built, the train rails are placed, the highways are completed and in short the Transformation is achieved!