Residents of West Hararge zone of Oromiya charge that committees created by regional government administrators are denying much-needed food aid to residents who did not vote in the past for local candidates of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization or the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.
West Hararge is within an area of Oromiya that two weeks ago was described by the U.S. Agency for International Development as “highly food insecure.” The agency indicated that humanitarian assistance needs were expected to be very high.
Residents of Miesso, Dobba and Boke told VOA’s Jalene Gemeda that local officials also are prohibiting residents from moving to other regions to live and to search for food. There are also unconfirmed local reports that some officials were fired for selling the assistance from the USAID’s Safety Net program for their personal profit.
Aliyi Kalifa, the administrator of West Hararge zone of Oromiya, denied there has been any misappropriation of funds or discrimination in the distribution of food aid. Local officials have given the farmers grain and food support and instructed them to use irrigation to maintain their crops. Aliyi told VOA the food shortage that has occurred in eight of the 14 districts in West Hararghe zone is the result of untimely rain caused by the global climate change.
Aliyi said local officials have not prevented anyone from moving from the area. In fact, he said, they are studying the impact of offering to relocate residents to other areas of the country.