Church restarts construction at Ras Abebe Aregay home

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The Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers Church has restarted construction of their headquarters at the historical Ras Abebe Aregay home despite being denied permission from the Addis Ababa Cultural and Tourism Bureau.
The seventy year old 2,600 square meter home located in Adwa square near Aware was demolished by the church eight months ago because they wanted to replace it with a G+14 story building. At that time the Bureau stepped in and presented the church with an order to stop their action.
Capital observed that for the last two weeks a basement has been being dug by United Construction.
Zewdinesh Mola, Heritage Protection Expert for the Cultural Bureau told Capital that they are surprised by the church’s illegal action.
“The only information that we have is the construction is being blocked for because they were not supposed to have demolished one of our historical homes. However, the church has ignored our order and recently has begun construction so we will be forced to take further legal action to stop construction.”
“Historical sites and homes are one of our identities and to demolish them for other purposes without legal permission is a shameful act.”
The Ethiopian Full Gospel Believers Church said they restarted construction after the Bureau failed to bring documents testifying that the homes are clearly registered as historical sites.
“We are not against historical heritages but the Bureau said nothing to us when we started construction they came and stopped us and we appealed to the court and they decided in our favor and that is why we started construction,” a pastor from the church told Capital.
Ras Abebe Aregay was a major leader of the resistance in Shewa against the Italians during the fascist occupation, and leader of the largest anti-occupation force in Ethiopia. He was among the guerilla leaders that escorted the Emperor back into Addis Ababa on Liberation Day, May 5, 1941. Ras Abebe served as governor general of Shewa, governor general of Tigrai, Minister of Defense, Minister of the Interior, Crown Councilor and Senator at various times. He was killed during the Imperial Guard coup attempt of 1960 and was buried at Debre Libanos Monastery.
Konjit, the wife of Ras Abebe lived in the home. It was later sold to a businessperson and then to the church for 1.2 million birr 20 years ago. Previously Muller Real Estate demolished the first historical Ras Abebe Aregay home. It was listed as one of the 440 historical houses in the City’s master plan. It sits on 1,800sqm and was used as a residence for Ras Abebe Aregay and his families. Under the current heritage proclamation in Ethiopia if somebody illegally demolishes a heritage site they may face up to 10 years imprisonment plus a fine.