By Ali Ege Duale
The Ethiopian government have been through a tumultuous period of upheaval and agonizing conflict. These unfortunate circumstances have been brought upon a young democratic country, since the overthrow of the monarchy, heading towards political and economic advancement, and the unfettering of the shackles of poverty and feudalism as well as the internecine ethnic conflict. The negative circumstances was being manipulated by elements under the behests of foreign intrigues who capitalised on attacking the soft underbelly of Ethiopia- a characteristic it shares with most African countries- which is pouring salt to the wounds of ethnicity. It also used the clannish divide and particularly creating irrational so-called conflict between the Oromo- Somalis both within and outside the country. The appearance of the new prime minister into the scene is making new strides of confidence and nation building make significant achievements and headways to allay the fears of the population and a slap in the face of saboteurs. Somaliland has and will continue to frustrate Arab efforts to saw discord among brotherly ethnic groups in Ethiopia.
The Somaliland factor remains a crucial and important element in the pursuit of progress and the consolidation of peace. With these issues elucidated as departure points for the argument, present conflict in Somaliland’s eastern frontier is being waged by the Somalia government with hand-in-cloak by Arab countries. The Puntland regime is fighting, as publicly stated by their leaders, to unite the Darod clans of same affiliation, including the Dhulbahante clan, as part of their dominion in Puntland. They call the border demarcated in 1897 that formed the Somaliland Protectorate as baseless. The idea of Darodism is not lost with the President of the Fifth Region in Ethiopia who, through his positions of authority, made deals with the Majeerteen to reciprocate a ministerial nomination – i.e. a Majerteen minister in the 5th region in exchange for a similar nomination, an Ogadeni, in the Puntland cabinet. This secret arrangement was meant to bolster the grand Darod connection in all regions and unequivocal support to one another. This might be presented as serving Ethiopia’s interests but the long term prognosis is evidently ominous and may well be the strategic links being forged by the Arab saboteurs. By ignoring the boundaries and linking up clans across borders means that the present fighting inTukaraq will soon spur new wars along ethnic lines in the region as a whole. Such wars might become difficult to stop if Ethiopia does not rein in on the 5th Region’s president and his overzealous Darod agenda and clan aggrandizement. It would be in Ethiopia’s interest to support Somaliland’s effort to secure its borders.
It has been the prevalent outlook in the Ethiopian government’s modus operandi to keep the Somali Republic and its federalist views intact because it resembled the Ethiopia federalist framework. Nothing could be further from the truth. No resemblance of any kind exists between Ethiopia’s model and that of Somalia save the similarity in name. The Ethiopian model is well thought out and is based on a genuine desire to reconcile and accommodate different ethnic and religious groups. Somaliland has from the start accepted the federalist view of the Ethiopia political framework but is adamantly opposed to a concocted patch work in the name of federalism of the Mogadishu regime. The Mogadishu government was constituted top-down by foreign elements, including International Organisations, and other so-called stake holders from the region and Arab countries in the gulf. The constitution itself, drafted by the UNDP, in Kampala and without Somali input, commenced by the declaration of a ‘sovereign unitary state’ without room for compromise and without consent to would be participants’ acquiescence. It failed to conform to internationally accepted norms of decency and civility by seeking Somaliland’s approval through the exercise of a plebiscite. It was particularly worded to insult the Somaliland people and aspirations. The government formed by such means will remain illegitimate and a pariah state. The Mogadishu regime would never be a viable state and the support it gets in terms of weaponry and money is being futile as it would only encourage further conflict both within and across the borders by flaming discord and sawing discord among communities. These outsiders would continue to pillage their resources and further aggravate communal infighting causing enrichment of the few who each time assume the reign of power at the helm. Somaliland and Ethiopia should struggle shoulder to shoulder to fight the anarchy and chaos being encouraged by foreign Arab countries in the region.