Ethiopia to give ID cards to Rasta­far­i­ans

Observer on Saturday - - News -

- Ethiopia will is­sue na­tional iden­tity cards for the nearly 1 000 Rasta­far­i­ans who long have been seen as state­less in the East African na­tion, the govern­ment an­nounced.

The de­ci­sion means they can en­ter with­out visas and live with­out res­i­dence per­mits. The move also af­fects Ethiopian Jews and for­eign na­tion­als who have made pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tions to the coun­try.

“These in­di­vid­u­als have long been un­able to en­ter and leave the coun­try eas­ily,” For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Me­les Alem told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“In the case of Rasta­far­i­ans, we have three gen­er­a­tions of peo­ple re­sid­ing here that have blended well with our cit­i­zens. But sadly they were nei­ther Caribbean nor Ethiopi­ans so were some­how state­less. This na­tional ID will ad­dress this prob­lem.” Close to one thou­sand Rasta­far­i­ans live in Ethiopia, es­pe­cially in the cap­i­tal, Addis Ababa, and a south­ern town called Shashamane. Ethiopia’s last em­peror, Haile Se­lassie, granted land for the Shashamane set­tle­ment for black peo­ple who helped fight off Fas­cist Ital­ian forces in the 1930s.

Rasta­far­i­an­ism, which be­gan af­ter the em­peror came to power, has fol­low­ers who be­lieve he is god. “We are over­joyed,” said Ras King, a prom­i­nent mem­ber of the Rasta­far­ian com­mu­nity who first came to Ethiopia in 1982. “We are ex­tremely happy be­cause this has ful­filled our con­fi­dence in our fore­fa­thers’ vi­sion for a united Africa and black peo­ple from the West.

ADDIS ABABA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Swaziland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.