After weeks of political instability, haphazard and disarray situation, Mustafa Dhagjar was appointed the president of the Somali region in order to run the region the remaining two years mandate of the ruling party in Somali region.
Dhagjar was renowned human rights activist and outspoken person. His nomination as a president becomes ironically, because he was not member of the ruling party in the Somali region. According to the rules of procedures of the ruling party in the Somali region , says” anyone who becomes the president of the Somali region must be a member of the Somali region’s parliament, so Mustafa is going to be Acting president until he joins the parliament.
Democratization of Ethiopia: Short-time Pain, but long-time Gain
In every change across the world have its own challenges and opportunities. Explicitly, departing from a hundreds of years of dictatorship to slash democratization is not something easy to undertake, it entails precaution and cool minds. In the short time pain, it may cause security fragility, because this country tends and behaves to tight the security by any means, so this transition period can cause unprecedented damage especially the Ethiopian security apparatus. In the long-time gain, this brilliant and milestone can lead and propel a lasting peace, democracy, prosperity, development, political stability and all inclusiveness. Because each and every one of the society get his/her rights without exception and discrimination
There is a drastic need for grassroots change in Ethiopia
Ethiopia used to run centuries and centuries a fiefdom regime and that regime tend and behave to deprive the citizens their own rights either political, economic and freedom of speech which stipulates and promulgates all the International Human rights Conventions including Universal Declaration of Human rights which was adopted 1948.
In this respect, EPRDF the ruling party in Ethiopia for the last three decades tend such kind of oppression and lack of freedom. Moreover, the political structure of EPRDF is unfair and there are apparent disparities. For instant, EPRDF is formed and united only four parties from four kilal (State) namely: Oromo, Amhara, Tigray and Southern Societies or Dabub, out of the nine states which Ethiopia is currently consisted of. So, this means, EPRDF represents and protects only the rights of those four Administrations which are unfair. Additionally, EPRDF listens and reflects only the demands and the wishes of those four states while ignoring and disregarding the other five states.
So, they pressure and propel the other five regional administration to accept forcibly the policies of EPRDF without asking them whether they like or unlike to their policies and guidelines. So, EPRDF policy which reflects only four out of nine states is just like inviting vegetarians to barbecue!
Somali Region encounters misrepresentation at the Federal Level!
In federal level, the Somali region has no a genuine representation. Politically, the MPs of the federal government of the Somali region is 24 MPs and the Tigray region gets 38 MPs. So, you can see the disparity.
In this regard, the population of the Tigray region is half of the Somali region’s population, Somalis community is the third humongous population in Ethiopia and they are receiving a less quota which Tigray receives , knowing that the Tigray people is one of the minority communities in Ethiopia , so you can see the hallmark!. In the federal troops including the military, police and intelligence, Somali region gets less representation.
In the Administration level, the staff from the Somali region is very rare in the federal level. For example, the immigration, if someone from the Somali region goes to the Addis Ababa so as to receive the Ethiopian passport, he/she get shocked! Because all Ethiopian communities get the passport smoothly and plainly, but Somali community is hard and rare to offer them the passport, and this refers to several justifications including:-
- The representatives of the Somali region in the Immigration are a few people compare to the other regions in Ethiopia
- Even those few people representing the Somali region are not loyal to the Somali region, but they tend ruthless actions which are against the people they represent. They refuse to offer them the passport and sometimes they cut their (Mutawaqiya), the national ID card, and sometimes they refer to federal CID to face interrogation and ultimately goes to jail them. And this ruthless and relentless actions fizzle outs the Somali community! So, you can anticipate the difference between the Somali community and other communities in Ethiopia.
Somalis: The Permanent Victim in Ethiopia!
If you look back at the history of Ethiopia, every change and regime takes the power oppresses and violates the rights of the Somali community in Ethiopia. For instant, the long time of Amhara administration leading by Atto Mengistu Haile Mariam who was leading the country since 1977- 1991 tends and acts to kill, torture and mistreat the Somali ethnic group in Ethiopia.
The next administration which was leading by Tigray ethnic group , especially Atto Males Zenawi sustains and continues to oppress and mistreat them. Furthermore, Malez tends to retaliate the Amhara ethnic group who was running the country the largest period of time in ethiopia’s history. But the shocking and stunning was , Males uses as proxy the former president of Somali Region Atto CMC in order to fights against the Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups who are the first and second largest segments of Ethiopia. And this deepens and exacerbates the feud among Amhara and Oromo one side and Somalis the other side.
After long time closely to three decades from now of Tigray administration, Amhara and Oromo ethnic prevail and win to step down the Tigray regime. Oromo immediately takes the lead to run the country for the remaining two years time of EPRDF mandate. But the other misfortune is, Oromo embarks instantly to target and revenge the Somali community which serves and contributes the brutality and discrimination policy which is against the Somali ethnic group in Ethiopia.
The other stunning is, Abiy, the new prime minister of Ethiopia acts so meek and mild when Oromo kills daily the Somali community in Ethiopia! And he refers his misdeed and negligence to the former president of Somali region saying he was serving the tigray the former regime of Ethiopia.
Who’s to blame the previous misdeed in Ethiopia?
If we immerse a little bit, the former Tigray regime’s fault and misdeed against the other ethnic groups in Ethiopia, who is going to take the responsibility? In my point of view, EPRDF was leading the country for the last thirty years, and every action which takes place in Ethiopia either positive or negative refers to them. Because they were imposing and dictating their policy to the whole country and the regional administrations were mimicking and mocking to their policy weather they wish or unwished.
Abiy’s role in EPRDF
Ahmed was served as the former army intelligence officer in Ethiopian government and he becomes the ministry of science and technology. Explicitly, he is the one who imposes to cut off the internet and lock the mobiles if any region in Ethiopia tries to antagonize and criticize the federal actions. But ridiculously, currently when he becomes the head of state, he tends that he was not in room when EPRDF oppressing the indigenous people and enforcing an audacious policy. Dude! So, it is unfair to abuse and mistreat the Somali region’s administration, but the mistreatment and vetting process should be the whole previous administration including EPRDF and the current prime minister in Ethiopia in order to meet a lasting peace and justice discourse.
Preliminary pledges of the new president in the Somali region
Atto Dagjar, the new president of the Somali region announces a milestone and brilliant promises during his few days in power and he gains immediately a warm welcome with applause in the Somali region and the Somalis across the region. His promises and actions includes:-
- He returns the previous Flag of the Somali region and its Song
- He proposes and begins himself whole forgiveness within the Somalis and the other communities in Ethiopia especially the Oromo ethnic group as longest they are neighbor and share more cultures and values including the Islamic Religion
- He unleashes the freedom of speech and human rights, except instigating a fighting among the Somali tribes in the Somali region and the other ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Also he strongly prohibits insulting our Islamic religion and he emphasizes to keep the ethics when pushing back something including the government’s actions and its leaders.
- Also he declares to recruit the people based on meritocracy system not nepotism and political patronage.
- Also he denies that he is not going to revenge anyone as longest he is a former victim. Because the previous administration in the Somali region kills his brother and deports some of his family
Challenges and opportunities to his Preliminary Pledges
In a country which experiences a centuries of dictatorship is not easy to impose and enforce a democracy system. So, democratization in Ethiopia generally is quite tricky and defy. In more specific to the Somali region is much harder than the other regions in Ethiopia. Because they lack the basic and the endowment rights of the human being. So, it is a long way to go and it entails a lot of dedication, sacrifice, solidarity and unity.
Expectations from the New President
The previous administration of the Somali region focuses improving the infrastructure, beefing up and building a strong troop such as the Liyuu Police (Special Police). So, this new administration is anticipating to:-
- Keep and protect the human rights as primary responsibility
- To reach the region a free and fair election , after ends the remaining two years of the ruling party’s mandate in the Somali region
- To advocate and takes the Ethiopian government the rights of the Somali region
- To improve the relationship among the Somali community and Oromo ethnic group.
- To deter prevent any potential conflict and clashes among the Somali tribes in the Somali region
- To end a long standing believes and superstition of Ethiopian ethnic groups particularly Amhara, Oromo and Tigray which is that , the Somali region’s land is owned by Ethiopian government, but the people live in who is the Somali community are not Ethiopian citizens! And this discrimination causes and propels to deny the rights of the Somali community. So, this fancy conception must be exterminated!
- Not target the technocrats of the previous administration unless they become and show dereliction
- To stay away to exploit him Oromo to revenge the Tigray and former Somali officials as same the former regime of Tigray uses to revenge the Amhara and Oromo ethnic groups
- Not to accept the humiliation quota of the natural resource in the Somali region which the prime minister announces deliberately and unripe manner that he is offering the Somali region 5% the Gas/Oil which has been found and discovered the Somali region especially (Korahey) Region and which is currently functional.
- To reject the proposal of Ethiopian government towards the Gas/Oil pipelines to import the Eritrean ports and alternatively suggest to refer the Somalia or Djibouti ports
- The Somali region did not include the fabricant of the Ethiopian constitution and its referendum, so there is a need to include the process of adopting and voting the articles of the constitution. Because they cannot take and accept what they did not aware of.
Ethiopian government must compensate the Meddling and intruding the Somali region and its damage!
Oromo insist and continue killing the Somali ethnic group since their demonstrations begin in 2016 which was against the previous regime of Tigray. Since then, they target the Somali community mainly the students who are studying and learning under their territory, the travelers, those reside their land who are all of them innocent people. More specific, when Abiy takes the power Oromo doubled and augmented their envious and brutal actions against the Somali community.
Abiy becomes blind and deaf the misdeed of his origin ethnic group. So, the Ethiopian government leading by the prime minister must compensate the lost and the damage of the Somali community, and also must be stood in front of the justice the perpetrators, otherwise there is no justice in the ground. In the mean time, when Ethiopian troops intruded the Somali region especially Jigjiga , the capital city, they killed several people and tortured enormous, so all that crime must be counted and compensated.
Anwar Abdifatah Bashir :
Freelance Journalist and Independent Researcher