The 12th Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day of Ethiopia/Constitution Day/ was colorfully marked in Somaliland, at Maansoor Hotel on December 7/2017 in Hargeisa under the theme of “Our Constitutional and Colourful Multi-nationalism for our Renaissance”. The celebration was attended by hundreds of resident Ethiopians in Somaliland, Community Representatives and families. Also present in the event were Somaliland officials including the State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Mohamed Mihile Boqore. A short documentary film that spectacles immense progress Ethiopia has made over the last two decades or so economically, politically and in the areas of diplomacy was on the show. Representatives of the Ethiopian Somali and Oromo community displayed Cultural unity songs and dancing in traditional dress.
The Day is celebrated in commemoration of the endorsement of the constitution that guaranteed and protected the rights of the various nations, and nationalities by declaring their equality and just representation in the political milieu, as enshrined in the noble document. With the demise of the dictatorship of Derg, the country’s first democratic constitution, enshrining all basic rights and freedoms, was ratified on December 8, 1995. That is the reason to celebrate December 8, the historic day marking the ratification of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a constitution which formally guarantees the rights and equality of Ethiopia’s nations, nationalities and peoples.
In his remarks, Consul General of the Ethiopian Consulate Office in Somaliland, B/General Berhe Tesfay, pointed out key issues being addressed in the FDRE Constitution which have helped Ethiopia and its people to join hands and usher their renaissance. These include the significant emphasis given in the current Ethiopian Constitution on the equality of all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia and of language, religion, culture and history. He also emphasized the attention being given to the full respect of human and democratic rights which constitutes two-third of the total volume of the current Constitution as well as the constitutional provisions pertaining to decentralization of power, self-governance and equitable utilization of national resources and revenues, equitable job opportunities to all and proportional basic services and infrastructure in all regions.
The Consul General also recalled the oppression during the previous regimes in which some of the nations and nationalities have been treated as second class citizens and deprived of equal opportunities within their own country. This led to the near two decades of struggle to create a political system under which their human and democratic rights can be respected, their languages, cultures, identities and history can be freely exercised and their right to self-administration and self-determination recognized.
B/General Berhe Tesfay further elucidated the outcome of the constitution by underscoring the progress Ethiopia has made in the expansion of infrastructure and social development over the last twenty six years. Total road network has reached over 110,000 km while the country is planning to build over 5,000 km railway lines in different parts of the country. It was noted that the electrified Addis Ababa Djibouti railway line has started operation and is expected to improve transport service significantly. Ethiopian nations and nationalities flagship project, Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is 63% complete and is expected to increase the country’s power generation capacity to 10,000MW upon completion. To realize the vision of becoming a manufacturing hub in Africa by 2025, Ethiopian government is establishing Industrial parks. Currently, Ethiopia has four operational industrial parks while another four are expected to be operational soon. It is hoped that these industrial parks will facilitate structural change in the economy and create millions of jobs.
The Consul General also explained similar achievements in key human development indicators: primary school enrollment has reached 96%, higher education expanding radically and the country has now over 40 government universities and students graduating in hundred thousand every year, child mortality rate significantly cut and the number of people with access to clean water more than doubled and reaches at 84%. Telecommunication is another area that has seen expansion of service coverage and it is noted that currently ethio -telecom has 57.34 million subscribers. The Consul General also accentuated how the stellar economic growth Ethiopia has registered increased its capacity to resist the worst drought it faced without loss of life.
And the results achieved so far have proven that various policies and strategies put in place by EPRDF in a bid to create peaceful, prosperous and democratic Ethiopia are bearing fruits and the journey of the country is at the right direction. Not only Ethiopia has been able to achieve sustainable development but has also been able to join the ranks of the world’s fastest growing economies. Moreover, structural transformation is already underway. In the area of diplomacy, Ethiopia is now becoming an influential nation in the world. The significant contribution Ethiopia has been making towards the maintenance of peace and security in Africa in general and in the horn of Africa in particular has helped it win trust, support and acceptability among the international community. This achievement has proven itself as promising. And the renaissance journey that the country pursues towards middle income economy would be realized in the coming ten years.
On the other hand, the Consul General congratulated the people of Somaliland for concluding the third round presidential election peacefully and democratically. He also underscored his government’s commitment and readiness to work with the new Somaliland government to further strengthen Ethiopia’s relation with Somaliland in security, trade and people to people relation.
Mr. Berhe Tesfay concluded his remark by urging all Ethiopians resident in Somaliland to renew their commitment to realize the renaissance of Ethiopia. He called on all Ethiopians to positively engage in the development efforts of their country and to play their own part to struggle the destructive activity of anti-peace elements, rent seeking and problems of good governance that are threats to the democracy and development of the country.
The State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hon. Mohamed Mihile Boqore who was attending the celebration delivers a speech and expressed his hope that the cordial relation between Ethiopia and Somaliland will be further strengthened under the new Somaliland administration.