The vice president of Oromiya’s regional government told VOA that claims by members of the federal and regional parliament about starvation are exaggerated and that the causes for the current food shortages are natural, not political.
Abo Abdulaziz Mohammed told Nigussu Negawo of the Afan Oromo service that there are only a few woredas in the region where hunger is widespread. He acknowledged that Ilfata was one of the communities suffering from food shortages. He said the regional government is serving the area and they can handle the food shortage without having to depend on non-governmental organizations.
Under new national policies, the federal and regional governments are trying to meet the needs of Ethiopia without the help of NGOs, Abdulaziz said.
Gutu Mulita, a member of the People’s House of Representatives who represents the region in parliament, joined regional parliamentarian Olbana Lellisa in raising the alarm late last week about food shortages in Ilfata and other parts of Oromiya. A resident of Ilfata told VOA many in the town were starving and one had died. Abdulaziz disputed the claim of a death by starvation.
The MPs also claimed that communities such as Ilfata have been strongholds of political support for opposition parties and that the food shortages were a result of political decisions by the government to deny fertilizers and seed to those communities who had not voted for the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
Abdulaziz denied that the regional government has been discriminatory in any of its services to the people of the region.