By Mustafe Baroud
Suffice to say I am a Somali, from Somaliland, just next to Somali regional state in Ethiopian Federal Democratic Republic (EFDR), and I visit Jigjiga more often, to get more additional time to follow up the political maneuverings in the region. Therefore; I am fully aware how Somalis regional state politics is shifting nowadays.
Besides that; I was following with profound interest and rapt attention to Somali Democratic Party convention in Jigjiga, the Somali regional state capital, which was concluded recently in a successful and win-win political scenarios. Thanks to Dr. Abby, who attended the conference, after he mediated the two big elephants (Shide and Cagjar) in the region, and solved their political misunderstandings concerning power sharing and selecting party’s new members? It was hilarious moments and positive political tradeoffs in a region of delicate and fragile condition.
However; if you try to analyze Somalis and Somali Regional State affairs, it will be confusing and fluid. At this point you need to think twice before you hold your pen, because the issue will become so dimensional and extremely fragmented. Yet; to narrow my topic to your understanding, I am focusing the importance of Shide and Cagjar, two key political figures and same party actors (SDP), to utilize and capitalize Dr. Abby’s tremendous social, political and cultural changes, leaving behind all social and political ills and eliminating devastated yester-years political mint-sets in their region.
Currently; apart from Ethiopia’s politico-social shifts, Somalis in the eastern part of the country are under dilemma, as they used to be historically under previous regimes and governments. Briefly going back to the history; Somali Regional State in Ethiopia used to be cursed and unholy region in the state, according to other ethnics, tribes and nationalities in the various regions across the country.
Jigjiga; the largest and political city in the region, used to be a proxy place of different ideologies and personalized interests. To mention a few, Abdi Illeys’ Liyuu Police forces, Ethiopian military boots, Ogaden liberation National Front, Western Somali Liberation Front, and many others used the region as political chip to pursue their political agendas, leaving ordinary citizen in dismay and dysfunctional, and sometimes hostile among themselves or between them and their neighboring ethnics.
This second largest region after neighboring Oromia region, and third most populated in the country, has been severing lack of leadership and tit-for-tat political mind-sets since we remember. These covered political agendas, resulted the region to become the least developed and most fragmented region in the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Republic. Starting from the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie in (1930-1974), and up to the coup leading by the Marxist-Leninist regime of Mingistu Hailemariam in between (1974-1991), the region was a hot spot of Moqdisho and Addis-abbaba’s intervening and cover wars. Besides everything else; the unwelcoming war between the two states in 1977, left the region and its people to pay the most price, killing thousands and ravaging their economic vibrancy and social unity.
In addition to; Prime Minister Melez Zenawi and his mantra of regionalization and decentralization of national power, was not only reached the Somalis region, but exacerbated the situation. Its citizens remained in between state and militia doctrines and become a hub of anti terrorism policies and practices. Worsening the condition, the region’s people shares a very long border with the only unstable country in the horn of African region “Somalia”, whom they share everything in socio-economical and politico-cultural aspects.
These all above mention circumstances, made the region into a chaotic and ill conceived situation. Now; under this new revolution, the million dollar question is: Will Shide and Cagjar, become the new Somalis god-fathers and socio-political legendry, by reviving Somalis regional state from prolonged suffering and misrule?
To sum it up; Somali Democratic Party (SDP), chairman and deputy chairman, Mr. Ahmed Shide and Mr. Mustafe M. Omar (Cagjar) respectively, must fly with both wings, tightly holding their hands together, to turn their misfortunate region into blessing and wholly integrating into the greater Ethiopia. They should put Somalis on the same truck with other Ethiopian ethnics, tribes and nationalities to become a part of the current peaceful and voluntarily Ethiopian transitions into a fully democratic and promising country, leaving behind old bad days.
This very strategic geographical location and its people, shares a very long border with Kenya, Somalia, and self-declared Somaliland, which all of them have a sizeable share of Sea-lines, to use as commercial and economical purpose like neighboring Djibouti. Therefore; Dr. Abiy’s pledges and advocacy to add Somali Democratic Party into the coalition and ruling party of EPRDF (Ethiopia Peoples Revolution Democratic Front), is a golden opportunity, if Shide and Cagjar are ready to take advantage to show their talent and political weight to transform their region’s misconceptions and mismanagements and be part the huge cartel dragging by Dr. Abiy Ahmed.
If Shide and Cagjar become good examples and lead the region provocatively into the good direction; they can motivate Somalis Regional State next generations to make their region a peaceful, prosperous and democratic one.
PhD follow, Haramaya University
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