Monday, May 20, 2024

Fana Bole takes City Admin’s decision to court over prime plot demolition in Bole


Fana Bole Consumer Cooperative Societies, a consumers’ association, takes the Addis Ababa City Administration Cabinet to the Federal High Court over the demolition of two popular community facility hot spots and transfer of the same from the community to private investors.
The consumer association lamented that the city administration has not only demolished the facilities but also aborted the social economic values of the society in the process.
Word on the evacuation saga actually broke out last year, where the area government administration body, Wereda 3 of Bole Sub City, cited that a decision coming from the City Cabinet informed the Cooperative Societies to evacuate the premise located at the prime sought after areas around Bole in front of EU delegation and behind Millennium Hall.
According to the information that Capital obtained from the leadership of the Cooperative Societies, since last August, the Cooperative filed a possessory action claim to the First Non-Contractual Bench, Lideta Division of the Federal High Court against the Wereda and Addis Ababa Mayor’s Office.
The Cooperative Societies went a step ahead to also ask for the injunction of the city administration’s decision but was later lifted by the Court on Friday February 24. On the same day, the Court passed a decision stating that it did not have the power to oversee the case.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

On Saturday February 25, a day after the court’s ruling on the matter, a demolishing taskforce accompanied by security forces fully bulldozed the two community facilities to the ground.
As Cooperative Societies’ board members inform Capital, a day prior to the demolition, the Wereda administration had issued a letter of evacuation for the tenants within a 48 hour timeframe. On a positive light, some members of the different sport Cooperative Societies s in the 17/19 stated that although the property was put the ground on Saturday morning, their property was not taken.
Those who viewed the demolishing process expressed that it only took a few hours after which the two compounds were immediately fenced by sheet metal.
“This is a testament of how well organized they were,” one of the observers said.
As per the written document of the Office of the Mayor of Addis Ababa, which Capital reviewed, the city cabinet in writing approved the transfer of the two community properties for two individuals and one company.
The document indicated that on Saturday March 26, 2022, the city cabinet approved the transfer of 7,889 square meter plot of Fana Bole (17/19) to MWS Trading for the development of a mall and apartment.
On the same day, the cabinet approved the transfer of Fana Bole (17/23) to Ageru Abere, who took 9,118 square meters together with Bekele Legesse who took 9,655 square meters for the construction of five star hotels.
The cabinet document indicated that the plot located at 17/19 was the property of the Kebele, a local government whereas the 17/23 facility was partly owned by the Kebele and consumers.
But as those close to case argue, the cabinet on this case made a misinformed decision.
“Since the establishment of the facilities, the local government has not had a stake on the sites,” they explained.
They claimed that the two properties have been fully owned by the community living in the area. “Asedir, a traditional cooperation association, was part of the members of the community who constructed the one floor building hall that was erected four decades back at the 17/19 vicinity,” one of the elders who mostly spent time at the facility said.
“We are the full owners of the facilities but letter we facilitated the area with the Kebele administration to take offices there. So the decision that was taken by the mayor’s office and the cabinet is given with lack of information,” he said.
The community members argued that the facilities do actually have title deeds.
He reminded although the city cabinet gave the properties as per its meeting on March 26, 2022, Fana Bole Shemachoch, which was reestablished as per the city administration consumer cooperative societies’ regulation no. 46/2012, that was issued 11 years ago, the cooperative had renewed its title deed on May 9, 2022.
A regulation which was set to provide the transfer of public shops and other income generating institutions to consumer cooperative societies set up at wereda level to the Addis Ababa City Government regulation no. 46/2012 defined the public shops and other

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

income generating institutions as institutions set up at the wereda level of Addis Ababa City Government which are commonly known as kebele shop and recreation center that render various services to the public which possess or own movable and immovable properties and other fixed assets, public shops, grain mills, butcheries, stores, vehicles, machines, sporting fields, restaurants, bars, rental houses and other used for recreational and income-generating institutions.
Article 4 of the regulation indicated that every property belonging to public shops and other income generating institutions set up at the wereda level of the city government hereby transferred to the consumer cooperative societies as an initial capital as per this regulation and the next article added that the city Trade and Industry Development Bureau shall provide proper support to execute the transfer.
“We got the title deed back in the 1970s. However, as per the new reestablishment process we have also secured the new digital title deed in May last year. However, a few weeks later, the city cabinet decided to transfer our property to other individuals. This is why we say the city cabinet or mayor’s office has made a misinformed decision on the properties,” the board members argued.
The Fana Bole facility at 17/19 has three tennis courts and other recreational facilities. At 17/23 there are four tennis courts and football field besides other different health facilities like its counterpart.
Members of the community said that the latest measure taken by the city administration is against ‘Sport Facilities Administration Proclamation No. 729/2012 Sport Facilities Administration Proclamation’ that gives room for at least compensation or replacement by other plots if the existed sport fields are required by the government.
They lamented that the city administration has not only demolished the facilities but also aborted the social economic values of the society in the process.
“The facilities provided services to the society at affordable price points not only for the residents in the area but also for others who come from different parts of the city,” an individual who knew both facilities said.
According to leaders of the association, the facilities created jobs for several people besides providing community services in the area.
Now the Consumer Cooperative Societies filed its claim to the Administration Bench, Lideta Division of the Federal High Court to suspend the city cabinet minutes and administrational decision taken by the city administration and to adjure in favor of the original owner.
The case will be appeared in mid-March, while the court has rejected the claim to give an injunction.
So far Capital informed that those who take the plots have already commenced site clearing at the compounds.
Fana Bole Consumer Cooperative Societies, administer four centers, 17/17, 17/18, 17/19 and 17/23 and one coordination office. It operates also several shops with over 5,000 employees.

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

It has been stated as one of exemplary community service in the country and even recognized by the city government as best operator in the sector.
A member of the community association which also hosts local cooperatives, such as ‘edir’, said that the halls and other building infrastructures have provided services to the community and even the local government.
“Despite being owned by the local community, the hall provided services for different social activities, meetings including for governmental offices,” a member, who lived around 17/19 said.
He argued that the Wereda should in the least consult with the community first before taking such drastic harsh measures.
He said that several residents mostly elders were surprised by the incident that transpired on February 25, “I saw some of the elders tearful when the task force bulldozed the long-established facility.”
However, in its response, the court argued that it implied the decision taken by the higher body of the city and said that it had consulted the case with the board of the association a total of three times.
Fana Bole also claimed that the Wereda did not consult with the community directly.
“They were asked to consult the case with the community at their premises, which we rejected,” one of the board members said.

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