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November  17,1999

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Wollaitigna to be Academic, Working Language for Wollaita People

AWASSA, Nov. 17 (WIC) An emergency joint meeting of Wollaita woreda councils held in Wolaita town has decided that Wollaitigna language be the working and school language for the Wollaita people.  In an eight-page resolution they adopted following their joint meeting, the participants said they have decided that Wallaita language, be the academic and working language in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia which provided for full respect of the rights of nations and nationalities.

The participants in the same resolution demanded that all schools which had been closed down because of the language problem be reopened and that conditions be created for the students who had stopped classes to resume their education.

The resolution also indicated that it is the constitutional right of the Gamo, Gofa, Dawro and Konta peoples to learn in their own languages.

Noting that the various nationalities of North Omo Zone are inter-related by bonds of blood, culture and language, the participants expressed their keen desire that the various nationalities continue to consolidate these close relations.

They also noted that some ill-motivated forces have been actively working in the name of the identity of the various nations and nationalities with the aim to set the Wollaita, Gamo, Gofa, Dawro and Konta peoples against one another.

In a report he presented to the meeting, the vice-chairman of South Omo Zonal Council, Ato Daniel Demissie, said the previous curriculum which was put into effect failed to win popular acceptability because of some complaints that arose over technical names.

Meanwhile, Ato Alem Seged Gebre Amlak, representative of EPRDF, noted the fact that the coming together of North Omo Peoples into one zone is a good example of the genuine struggle conducted by EPRDF in support of peoples' unity.

Ato Alem Seged said the recent language problem created in Wallaita constitutes a negation of the constitutional right of the people and has to be fought resolutely.

Similarly, Dr. Kassu Ilala, Chairman of the South Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Font said the question raised by the Wallaita problem concerning the language problem is relevant and appropriate since language is after all the expression of the identity of the Wollaita people.