By Dr. Ismail Qodax
A high level delegation from federal government of Ethiopia has visited Somali region capital, Jigjiga two weeks ago; the motif of their visit is to assess the government of President Abdi Illey who has ruled in an iron fist, has corrupted the regional state and has created bogus Diaspora offices in the last three years.
It has been known that President has alienated other Somalis except his own clan while he has been ruling with an iron fist. He has used “Liyu Police” to harass and jail whoever he might think to oppose him; although, he was pretending to fight ONLF and those who do not want to see peace in Somali Region. In other words, EPRDF has crowned Abdi, the father of security while he pretended to fight the ghost of ONLF as well as alienating other Somalis in that region.
Having exhausted lies and fabricated stories, Abdi Illey is figuring out how to stay in power; a few months ago, he boasted to separate from Ethiopia because he had twenty thousand Liyu Police militias, and this has precipitated the thoroughly investigation of his power and open a Pandora’s box of hidden abuses. 35 percent of the Somali regional budget is currently injected in the military, the Liyu Police’s equipment’s and ammunitions.
The other important elements to be the stroke that broke the camel back were his bad governance, the corruption and the mismanagement of Diaspora affair. Somali Regional President has been misusing the budget of the regional government without transparency and accountability. Spending thousands dollars in Diaspora, Abdi has managed to fool the federal officials that he was working hard to collect money and fund the dam that is under construction.
Moreover, he set up committees in Diaspora loyal to his political ideology and alienates Somalis, originally from Somali Region, who do not have any clan affiliation with him. For example, he has recruited Somalis from Somalia and opened office to promote his own distorted politics. He sent some money to Diaspora, collected back and informed the federal government that the Somalis in Diaspora have raised some fund for the dam.
According to a reliable source, the Federal government opts to propose his removal and introduce a change in leadership; sets up a new cabinet composed from the nine districts that will lead to a process to appoint a diverse cabinets so that they guarantee transparency in voting and reforms to an unequal funding structure that has been often skewed toward Abdi’s own clan districts.
The federal government is aim at galvanizing that the new cabinet will spend the budget on education and boosting the nation’s crumbling health care system, among other things; consequently, Somali Region will restore the good old days of Dr. Abdulmajid Hussen’s legacy that had a balance of power and strong executive party ushered a good governance, a free and fair election, a strong inclusive party of all Somalis so that they will participate the economic boom that is going on in the other parts of the country.
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 while he framed others clans to be part of terrorist groups who are crossing from Djibouti, Somalia and Somaliland. Fulfilling its duties to the federal government of Ethiopia, Abdi has pretended to secure 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 dead 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. The other Somali front, WSLF, had been dismantled by the late dictator in 1977 when the fine gallant of this front were summarily executed. Additionally, having created and trained ONLF, the current ruling advisors and 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.
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 did not have absolution 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.
However, this time, EPRDF led by PM Hailemariam has promised to right the wrongs that Somali Region was exercising for so long; it is not too late to bring justice and democracy to the region.