Ethiopia’s Sidama vote on autonomy in test of nationalist passions

Members of Ethiopia’s Sidama minority lined up before dawn to vote in a self-determination referendum on Wednesday, a test of…

Members of Ethiopia’s Sidama minority lined up before dawn to vote in a self-determination referendum on Wednesday, a test of Ethiopia’s ability to peacefully manage ethnic demands and political change after more than a year of sweeping reform.

Sidama voters described the referendum as the achievement of a lifetime and culmination of decades of struggle for autonomy.

“I consider witnessing this day as if I were born again,” said Yerusalem Kawiso, 48, who stood in a queue in Hawassa, the lakeside provincial city the Sidama hope to make their capital, waiting to vote in a pink dressing gown.

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