A brief introduction of Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the largest countries in Africa, historically also known as Abyssinia, is Africa’s oldest independent country and it’s second largest in terms of population. It served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period, and was a founder member of the United Nations and the African base for many international organizations. Ethiopia has as many as 80 ethnic groups, each with its own language. Additionally, its population is close to 100 million according to the 2013 national census. Apart from that, Ethiopia is the regional actor when it comes to east Africa countries for sack its population and as well as its military capabilities. Moreover, Ethiopia consist of nine (9) regional states, namely Oromia kilal, Amhara kilal, Somali kilal, Tigray kilal, Gambela kilal, Southern nations nationalities and people kilal, Afar kilal, Benishangul-Gumuz kilal and Harari kilal. Additionally, there are two Administrative states (Addis Ababa City administration and Dire Dawa city council).
Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. The EPRDF and its allies control all 547 seats in Ethiopia’s parliament, which must confirm every new prime minister.
Parties united under EPRDF
The parties are: the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). Each one of these four regional states are eligible to become the prime minister of the country from 1991 when the party took the power closely 27 years which this party EPRDF was overarching the country. On the other hand, mass protests had been going on Ethiopia since 2015, when anti-government demonstrations broke out among the Oromo, Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic group, and later spread to the Amhara, the second biggest group. The protests, which initially began over land rights but later broadened to include calls for greater political representation at the national level, were met with a harsh government response, and this led ultimately to step down former prime minister of Ethiopia and chairman of EPRDF Hailemariam Desalegn in 15 February 2018. And his final word says at the time that he would be staying on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity, until the EPRDF named a successor. Hailemariam’s abrupt resignation prompted the government to declare a six-month state of emergency in a bid to stem political unrest amid long-standing demands for greater freedoms. In the mean time, in a meeting which was held the ruling party especially EPRDF council which comprises 45 members of each four parties united under this party which is total 180 members elected Abiy Ahmed a former minister of science and technology, as its new chairman 108 vote out of 180 to become the first Oromo prime minister in the 27 years EPRDF has been in power which paved the way a week later to nominate the prime
minister of the country , because the chairman of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition has historically also taken on prime minister duties. And finally the newly elected prime minister was sworn on Monday April 2, 2018, a statement from the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)
Expectations from the new prime minister
The youngest leader in Africa was anticipating him by ending:-
* To depart from a long-standing dictatorship system in Ethiopia to democratic system
* To end three years of protest in Oromia and Amara kilal as longest their demands are considered
* To offer forgiveness and not to revenge Oromo the other ethnic groups of the country as did TUTSI when they came in to the power in Rwanda and they didn’t retaliate their biggest enemy ( HUTU)
The anticipation became the other way round
Unfortunately, the Oromo ethnic group when they came in to the power, they started immediately revenging their previous rivals particularly Tigre and Somali ethnic groups after he fired Abiy several Tigre officials including Samora Younous former chief of staff of Ethiopia National Defense Forces (ENDF) and was replaced by Seare Mekonen. During the ceremony Younous was honored with Ethiopia’s highest military award for his four-decade service in ENDF. Also Getachew Assefa who is former director general of Ethiopia National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and superseded by General Adem Mohammed. In addition to that, General Gabre , who was the supreme commander of the Ethiopian military forces in Somalia and this step renewed and pervaded the a long-standing hostilities among Oromo and Tigre community.
Unprecedented journeys of Abiy to the region! First Somalia
Ethiopian leader visits in Somalia in June 16, a day after he received the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed forces Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Addis Ababa and discussed bilateral ties. And some people believe that this stunning visit of Ethiopian prime minister to Somalia is about mediating and thawing the relationship between Somalia and UAE which is steadily diluting and dwindling after the Somalia government stood a neutral role the Arab gulf crisis.
A landmark and milestone visit of newly elected Ethiopian Prime Minister Atto Abiy Ahmed in Eritrea in order to terminate its decades-long rival and at the same time to repatriate the relationship between the two countries, and this visit comes after 20 years of war and conflict among them. The other coincidence and stunning is by fully accepting a peace deal that ended a
two year border war between the two countries. Because Ethiopia became landlocked in 1993 after Eritrea which comprised the country’s entire red sea coast voted to leave.
Ethiopia and UAE
The UAE government pledges $3 billion to the Ethiopian government after the prime minister of Ethiopia visited UAE during last month on May. This amounts expressed UAE government that they allocated to use as an aid and investment in Ethiopia. In this regard, if I immerse this issue, UAE was one of the three Gulf monarchies that offered a lot of money to the new Egypt government after the military overthrow the former president Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood. So, the question is, why Gulf States are supporting and financing Ethiopia? In my sentiment, the assistance of Gulf States to Ethiopia is politically motivated, because there is feud between Egypt and Ethiopia for sack of a dam which Ethiopia is building on the Nile, which Egypt fears threatens its water supplies. And in the mean time, UAE is trying to leverage Somalia through Ethiopia, because when DP world exiled Somalia, then the diplomatic relationship between Somalia and UAE is gradually worsening afterwards.
Ethiopia and Djibouti
Abiy , the Ethiopian prime minister visited Djibouti as his first foreign trip in May , so as to enhance and robust the mutual interest between the two countries and the horn of Africa region at large. So, what is the benefit of that visit? Despite the 100 million people and the fastest growing and booming country economically in Africa for the last decade, but they depend on imports, and Djibouti is one of the countries that Ethiopia depends on their seaports
Somalia and Eritrea
Somalia president his Excellency Farmajo visited Eritrea last month after he received an official invitation from the Asmara government. This visit was also stunned many people, because Eritrea was backing and financing the rebellion of the Somalia governments for the last two decades. Eritrea and Somalia have not had diplomatic ties for nearly 15 years but the visit is expected to open the doors for diplomatic relations and new cooperation between the two nations and this unprecedented visit is heralding a new era of relation between Eritrea and Somalia. But the stunning and shocking was, when the Somalia president Farmajo calls to lift the sanctions the Eritrea government! And this premature decision triggered and freaked out the Djibouti country. Apart from that, this new relationship and diplomatic thaw between Somalia and Eritrea has remarkable advantages to the stability of the region and it is lucrative action, because it gives Somalia to stay away Asmara its support and financing the dissidents of the Somalia government, because Eritrea tends to host the Somalia oppositions for the last two decades.
Somalia and Djibouti
The diplomatic relation between Somalia and Djibouti is steadily worsening and dwindling after the Somalia president declared and requested the United Nations to lift the sanctions the Eritrean government. In the mean time, the Djiboutian ambassador to Somalia has released a letter which is expressed their decision towards the Somalia president’s calls. In this regard, the Djibouti government has a concern that Eritrea is occupying still part of Djibouti territory and also is denying that they are having Djiboutian prisoners. In a nutshell, Djibouti says:-
* Djibouti says “deeply shocked” by Somali President Farmajo calls to lift sanctions on Eritrea.
* The country said it would not “tolerate ruthless talks while our young men and women are yet here defending Somalia’s peace and stability.”
* Djibouti has taken issue with President Farmajo’s apparent lack of concern in pushing for resolution of its border dispute with Eritrea as he sought to restore ties with Asmara
Somali region (DDSI)
The premature reforms of Abiy became vulgar remark and hollow rhetoric, while his jubilation is ended bloodshed after last Saturday when the over speed leader ordered the federal troops to intrude the capital city of Somali Kilal (Jigjiga) and capture the president of the Somali region. In the morning, the federal military forces entered Jigjiga and seized the presidential palace and several important places including ESTV, but unfortunately, they encountered a drastic and resistance from the indigenous people which led to demolish several churches, Oromia bank and also plundered a huge business.
The other side of the coin, there was anti-protest against the newly elected prime minister, which was taking place in the Somali region for the last months, because Oromo ethnic group has been killing the Somali people who reside and live under their region including innocents, students, farmers, businessmen and others. In addition, Oromo is trying to capture some parts of Somali region, for instant (TULI GUULEED) is a district which is under (FAAFAN) region and it is far from their border and the Oromo militants entered the district by force and killed enormous people without prior conflict among them!. During those mourning days, the prime minister of Ethiopia which is originated from Oromo ethnic has acted so meek and mild, and he didn’t even criticize these brutality actions which Oromo is doing! The other shocking is, after the Ethiopian prime minister declared publicly that the federal government is allocated 5% the natural Gas (Oil) which has been found the Somali region notably Qorahey region, and this childness decision instigated the local people and deteriorated the relationship between the federal government and the Somali region.
In the mean time, Somali region (DDSI) was organizing before the attack of the Federal troops to the regions a convention which the indigenous people are deciding their future after they inherited a drastic violations from the Oromo ethnic group.
According to the federal constitution of Ethiopia denotes Article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution stands to grant all peoples of Ethiopia the right to self- determination without any ambiguity. In this regard, many Regions including Tigray and Somali Kilal are trying to adopt and meet that political right. Last week Tigray kilal proclaimed that they decide their self-determination if the federal government don’t refrain its ruthless policy against the Tigray people. Additionally AFAR and Benishangul-Gumuz kilal said also the same expression. So, the immature policy of Abiy is deterring the citizens and leading a hopeless situation to the people.
Lessons learnt from the Somali Region!
Before 10 years, Ethiopian government tends to replace every Somali region’s president without informing and consulting the indigenous people and most of them puts in to the central jail of Jigjiga which called later subsequently (JEEL OGAADEEN).
But this new regional government which is leading by His Excellency president CMC led the Somali region unprecedented development and stability, albeit there are a lot of human rights violations. And currently the people of the Somali region rejected to accept to impose the Ethiopian government to the Somali region whatever they wants, and no more jailing the presidents of the DDSI without permission of the indigenous people.
Potential consequence of the current haphazard situation in Somali Region
* To offer further concessions the federal government to the Somali region, especially the Gas issue and to soften and to improve the relationship with them.
* To resign the prime minister in order to resolve the political instability which is existed since the new leader of Ethiopia was elected
* To allow the Somali region to decide their own future through referendum , because it is a political right which the federal constitution of Ethiopia gives the Ethiopian citizens
N.B. Somali region in Ethiopia (DDSI) is wavering currently the Somalia flag! And this is an alert to the Ethiopian government.
Anwar Abdifatah Bashir (Freelance Journalist and Independent Researcher)
Xafiiska Shabakada Allbanaadir.com