Ethiopia:EPRDF’s Distorted Policy Aggar (Associates)

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By Gorse Osman

The Somalis voice from Somali region of Ethiopia has finally been heard by the international community. The United States, the United Kingdom as well as the EU Parliament have in the recent past openly expressed their concerns over alleged humanitarian crisis in Somali Region. The U. S House of Representatives has particularly asked Ethiopia to provide human rights and humanitarian organizations with free access to its Somali region. It is about time that EPRDF listens, works hard to rectify its mistake and aligns a genuine federal system in region by dissolving the so-called ‘Aggar” associates concept.

Similarly, Bruce, a social scientist of higher caliber, wrote that it must be recognized that although force can surely be used to protect the interests of a ruling elite (EPRDF) against the agitation of subordinates strata, this is quite different from saying it can ensure social stability. In the same line of thinking, Abdi Mohamed, Somali Region President and his Liyu Police or ONLF, will not keep a lasting peace and stability in that region unless a rule of law prevails and democratic institutions is implemented and free and fair election is held( a warning to upcoming election 2015).

EPRDF executive is so busy by assigning their satellite clientele such as the current President of Somali Region, Abdi Mohamed and hoping that miracle will materialize in terms of good governance, institution building and implementation of federal constitution in the region. In the last twenty two years, more than ten presidents were dismissed, forced to exile, and put in jail in Somali Region.  The essence of this blunder is “ Aggar” policy of EPRDF. In other words, the four parties of EPRDF impose its will and check lists on the rest of “ Aggar” associates regions. The officials in that aggar regions are loyal and fulfilling the instructions of federal government officials than the people whom they govern.

The outcome of this distorted policy is liyu police and the cajoling of secessionist ONLF as if they are the true representative of Somali Region people while it is isolating the true and genuine Ethiopian Somali. Luckily, the donors international countries have requested to access to Somali Region. The militias Liyu Police loyal to the current President of Somali Region, Abdi Mohamed, have killed innocent villagers. The inflicted massacres have been known, but this time the events unfolding in regional state have captured the eyes of the UN and other human rights organizations. In the meantime, the villagers have taken their rights in their own hands and fought back these roaming and wild militias ( Liyu police).

Furthermore, historically Somali clans had clashed for century on grazing land and water wells; however, these days the regional government of Somali Region armed with sophisticated ammunition in the name of Ethiopia is framing others clans to be part of terrorist groups (the newly masterminded policy tool of EPRDF to silence its opponents) and fulfilling its duties to the federal government of Ethiopia that they are securing that region from rebels. This Machiavellian scheme of Somali Region officials was intended to keep the power exclusively in the hands of Abdi Mohamed and his clan, Ogaden, echoing Siad Barre dictator style of governance.

The majority of Somali clans namely Issa, Issaq, Gadarbusi, Gururre, Shekal and others have adamantly expressed their grievances to the federal government so that they benefit from the economic growth and constitutional rights in Somali Region, but they ended up in death ears; that is why in Harshin, Gashamo, Shinelle and Lafa Isse pastorals’ armed themselves and routed the militia liyu police made up of ONLF, ex-soldiers of Siad Barre and other Ogaden clan recruited from Somalia.

Ironically, the majority of Ethiopian Somalis are known to keep the territorial integrity of Ethiopia and fought along the line of other Ethiopian whereas  ONLF(ogaden clan) wanted to secede so as to join their Kismayo brothers in Somalia where 11 execute members of  ONLF were born. Having created and trained ONLF and the current ruling chief of Somali Region in 1984, the ex-dictator of Somalia, Ziad Barre, had thought them that force ( i.e, the exercise or threat of physical violence ) is an instrument open to a variety of uses by individuals or groups within any Somali society. They have regularly employed to hold power to compel obedience and suppress the majority of Ethiopian Somali.

To look into the crisis making in Somali Region, it is very important to analyze and go deeply into the question of who are Liyu Police and the clan make up politics. Additionally, the militias had been formed in the last five to six years to counter attack the so-called threat posed by ONLF, but wait a minute; how come the Liyu polices are only composed of one clan, Ogaden and fighting to mitigate the threat against ONLF. Any person in the right mind would figure out  that there are no difference of ONLF rebels and the police forces of Somali Region (Liyu Police); they are two faces of the same coin. Simply put, the majority of militias of liyu police are ONLF.

The President of Somali Region, Abdi Mohamed, has been fabricating his own stories and fooling the Federal government officials that his regional state has been fighting with ONLF, which was far from truth.  During the arrest of Sweden journalist, Abdi Mohamed has paid the money and put together the theater of these journalists crossing the border from Somalia to Ethiopia. His agents were following the journalist and videoing all along. Recently, as he exhausted all flying lies, he beats an empty threat of drum to separate from Ethiopia in case he is not allowed to do whatever he wants in Somali Region. EPRDF has created this monster that they should deal with him.

 Bruce, the leading Chicago’s school of sociology, narrates that discourse supplements force in several important ways, among the most important of which is ideological persuasion. For example,  in the hands of  EPRDF elites and of those professionals who serve them discourse (Revolutionary developmental state) of all forms not only verbal, but also symbolic ( the nations and nationalities celebration)  discourses of spectacle, gesture, costume, edifice, icon, musical performance and the like strategically employed to mystify the inevitable inequities of any social order ( distorted policy of aggar) and to win the consent of those over whom power is exercised, thereby obviating the need for the direct coercive use of force and transforming simple power into legitimate authority. 

Recently, having celebrated nations and nationalities days in Somali Region, EPRDF had showered with praise the dictator Abdi Mohamed as if he is the only savior to keep peacefully Somali Region and to add insult to injury, all non-Ogaden Somali Ethiopian officials were not allowed to attend the ceremony. Divide and rule per excellence as colonizers of British and French used to exercise their myopic powers is practiced.

Further, this will also lead us to embark on the idea why ONLF rebels’ soldiers are interwoven with the militias of Somali region. In other words, this is not different and is a typical segmentation of clan politics that destroyed Somalia in the last twenty three years. Today, Somali Region looks a “little Mogadishu”:  the top advisers of Somali Region  President are the ex-official  of Siad Barre,  the hegemony of one clan is omnipresent, the absence of rule of law is daily routine to citizens of that region,  one man rule is echoing Siad Barre style of dictatorship, the killing and raping of innocent villagers are synonym of  horror daily life, the dislocation of  villagers from their lands are rampant, and the silence of Federal government is an excuse that Somali Region is backward and an insecure place to invest.

Moreover, EPRDF bought into the lie of Abdi Mohamed, the one and only one clan of Somali Region dictator. They gave him the green light to dissolve the Execute party of Somali Region, they allowed him to select only his own clan (66 members of ministers only two are other clans), they did not question his corruptive style of governance and they did not listen to  majority clans in Somali Region grievances. This rings the bell that EPRDF does not have any solution to right the distorted application of federal system in Somali Region, “Aggar”. The core principle of EPRDF is to look over the “ Aggar” regions while they will follow a checklist to rule them indirectly from Addis Ababa. The emperor has changed the cloth of centralization in its brutal form of state.

As result of recent visit of Secretary Kerry, The U. S decided that Ethiopia must make sure that funds available for assistance of its military and police forces are not used unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations. Additionally, Ethiopia’s government is asked to implementing policies to protect basic human rights like freedom of expression, assembly and religion.

The U. S. Congress declared, “That Funds . shall not be made available unless the Secretary of State certifies . Ethiopia is implementing policies to protect judicial independence; freedom of expression, association, assembly, and religion; the right of political opposition parties, civil society organizations.”

The world power also asked Ethiopia to make sure that human rights and humanitarian organizations are provided free access to the Somali region of the country and journalists are allowed to operate without any harassment or interference. In addition, we, the original citizens of Ethiopia in Diaspora, are urging EPRDF to right its mistakes to implement genuinely the Federal system and removed the concept of Aggar  and allow the majority of Somali Ethiopian to rule themselves democratically, fairly and judicially.

 

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