Mrs Aster Mamo, the Deputy Chairwoman of the regional ruling party Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) said her party is pleased with the Oromo student protests happening in universities throughout Oromia. This week, thousands of Oromo students have demonstrated in several universities to express their concerns about the government’s investment plan around the capital Addis Ababa.
“Our party is pleased with the Oromo public activism and student participation,” Mamo told local media. “So far the protests have been mostly peaceful but we urge our young citizens to be cautious of anti-peace elements who might try to exploit them” she warned.
Last month, Mamo was appointed as Good Governance & Reform Coordinator. She said the successful Oromo student protests showed that democracy and freedom of expression is improving in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Desalegn Hailemariam recently appointed Aster Mamo as deputy Prime minister, becoming the first Ethiopian woman in history to hold the deputy PM position.
“OPDO is proud to have increased the number of small colleges and universities in Oromia by 400 % over the last 10 years but it is useless unless we create jobs for our new graduates” she claimed.
Mamo said the development plans surrounding Addis Ababa are meant to create more jobs and gain capital and industrial know-how from foreign corporations and investors. “Numerous public discussion forums” were held to involve the community and towns affected, she added. Mamo said the development projects and industrial zones will not affect Oromo farmers and the few hundred Ethiopians relocated will be properly compensated. She also advised people to avoid ethnic politicization of the projects, disclosing that not only in Oromia but all cities in Ethiopia are expanding with urbanization as well as redevelopment programs relocating the innercity residents of Kasanchis and Kirkos.
The OPDO ruling party official also revealed that several opposition parties have already begun campaigning for the 2015 national election thru out the country. She said the government is pleased with the discipline and professionalism displayed by local and state police “in the face of agitation by some protesters.”