Why the EThiopian Wave of Change didn't Strike the Somali Region? By Mohamoud Samatar

Sun 22 July 2018.

    For non somali it's a puzzle to understand the politics of the Ethiopian Somali region  including for former EPRDF, and for the current PM Abiy Ahmed's plan to shape the future politics, good governance and transparency in the Somali region. Three organization like ONLF, Ogaden National Liberation Front, SRAJ Somali Region Alliance for Justice and  Dulmi-Diid/Jidwaaq are vowing to replace Abdi Omar/Iley promising fairness, anti clanism and inclusiveness by ignoring their past dark history of tribalism and narrow mindedness.  


        Ogaden is a Somali clan, Ogaden clan inhabits in South Somalia, parts of  Ethiopia and Kenya border, and in parts of  Ethiopia Somali Region  like many other Somali clans such as Abaskuul, Akishe, Gari,   Gadabursi,  Gurgure , Jarso, Hawiye   Issa, Issaq and shekhash etc.. 


     The Ethiopian Somali region, West Somali,  is made of two regions, the 1948 region which the British ceded to Emperor Menelik after the end of World War II and the Hawd and Reserve Area region which the British ceded again to emperor  Haile Selassie, which was part of Somaliland.


       To divide and rule the Somali region clans, in 1959 Emperor Hale Selassie divided the Ethiopian Somali region/West Somali Region  to two districts. Ogaden clan district/ Qabri Dahar district under governor Demise Tefera,  and Jigjiga district/non Ogaden clans district, Hawd and Reserve Area  under Governor Germa Neway. Hale Selassie also name d Dire-Dawa District under Issa and Gurgura Somali clans, the two main inhabitants of the district,  meaning in Amharic(Ye Issana Gurgura Awraja). 


        On June 16,1963 Garad Makhtal, Ogaden clan leader, formed OLF/Ogaden Liberation Front  movement against Ethiopia, which was   the beginning and the day of naming  Ogaden the  Ethiopian Somali Region/West Somali region began. From that day Ogaden clan members who support the renaming of the region under the clan name,Ogaden,  spread the word and the international press and media adopted  calling the Region Ogaden, which became  more familiar during 1977 Ethio/Somalia war,  known as Ogaden War.   


    Again in 1984  former  Siad Barre military officer including  the current tribal /ONLF leader, Admiral Mohamed Osman and few other  tribal leaders created the  Ogaden clan organization/ONLF, Ogaden National Liberation Front. From 1984 until this month after PM Abiy Ahmed denounced ONLF being  a terrorist group, ONLF had been waging a war against Ethiopia to liberate the  Somali region in the name of  Ogaden  clan. ONLF fighters had every right to fight against Ethiopia  for  Ogden clan self determination  of Qabri Dahar Distict or the inhabitants of Ogaden clan. The  irony is fighting under clan name Ogaden/ONLF have made other non Ogaden clans  in the region to distance themselves and not associate with anything related to ONLF and its members  for  distorting the history of the region, Hawd and Reserve Area region, and West Somali, blanketing the region under one clan, Ogaden.  


    Hundreds of ONLF fighters and innocent Ogaden clan civilians have died, tortured and imprisoned by  Mengistu Derg regime,  and by current Somali Region leader, Abdi Illey. Since Abdi Omar Illey took power of the Ethiopian Somali region July, 2010 he began  to silence ONLF movement to stay in power , win praise and trust of EPRDF, the Ethiopian Ruling party who have no clue of Somali clans formation and rivalry, but only interested to keep peace and return of law and order to the region.


             For the last two weeks ONLF leaders have been holding conference in Asmara, Eritrea  preparing  to hold future  talks with PM Abiy, and  to  convince him to transfer Power to ONLF from Abdi Omar, so they can  create another one sided clan/Ogaden led administration in Jigjiga regardless of other non Ogaden clans in the Somali Region. Few days ago ONLF organization while convening in Asmara selected Fourteen Ogaden clan members from its top Fifteen leaders, except Hamud,the lone Issa clan member of ONLF, which puts the leadership of ONLF running and governing the Ethiopian Somali Region in awkward position when it comes to inclusiveness and full representation of non Ogaden clan in the region.  


    Likewise end  of 2017  SRAJ, an ONLF splinter group and former Abdi Omar Illey supporters  was formed in Kenya, after they decided to distance themself from the clan stigma, Illey cruelty, and narrow mindedness , where on the other hand most of the leaders and members belong to Ogaden clan except few including its leader, Mohamed Ismail,who are put there to mislead other non Ogaden clans to show inclusiveness. Since PM Abiy announced to change EPRDF policy and its leadership, SRAJ leaders have  been sighted on social media suggesting smooth power transfer from Abdi Omar/Iley, preserving Liyu Police his paramilitary,  militia,rapist, criminals and its leaders  giving them immunity for clan affiliation purpose. SRAJ leadership gave reason to keep Liyu Police to battle Oromo militia perpetrated by Abdi Omar Illey to start war and violence between the Somali region and Oromo to stay in power and win the trust of  EPRDF when it was struggling to calm dawn the Qero, Oromo Youth, uprising. SRAJ  works with ONLF behind the doors also since most ONLF and SRAJ belong to Isaaq sub-clan of Ogaden after Abdi Omar Illey  targeted the Isaaq sub-clan of Ogaden  by arresting, killing and torturing the clan members for not abandoning  ONLF, while his sub-clan Abdille joined him leaving ONLF for Isaaq Sub clan of Ogaden. 


      Beginning of 2017 when Abdi Illey arrested his security chief, Abdilahi Ethiopian, the  mastermind of arrest and torture of innocent people  who belonged to Jidwaaq Clan  after Abdi Omar Illey suspected that he talked to EPRDF behind his back to sabotage and replace him.Abdi Omar began targeting Jidwaaq clan members, including his cabinet , Liyu Police and civilian by arresting, killing and torturing them in prison in a barbaric  way of punishment. After Abdi Illey began targeting Jidwaaq clan,  Dulmi-diid, Jidwaaq clan organization  was formed in Minnesota, USA mid last year,2017 by former Abdi Omar Illey supporters, like Mohamed Bade, Omar Dol and many others who used to welcome Abdi Omar with Red Carpet whenever he had visited Minnesota, humiliating ONLF and  marginalized clans by Abdi Omar Illey. Dulmi-Diid, Jidwaaq clan was the main supporters of Abdi Illey in Jigjiga and forefront fighters against ONLF battle and dissidents of Illey from all walks of life. Today Dulmi-diid is in a marathon competition criss-crossing between Addis Ababa, Dire-Dawa and USA vowing good governance and transparency to replace and  unseat Abdi Omar Illey from the helm. 


        Like it was a mind boggling for former EPRDF leadership to find a replacement for Abdi Omar Illey, it's  beyond the reach for PM Abiy to choose a trust worthy and honest leader from the competing Ethiopian Somali clan leaders like ONLF, SRAJ and Jidwaaq,

except Fadumo Tani the lone Abdi Abdi Illey critic of Minnesota, USA of the century until recently joined by fake critics of Illey like Jidwaaq and SRAJ. Another exceptional future leader that should be considered by PM Abiy  is , Abdirashid Ali Shuaa, who is lost between SRAJ and Jidwaaq fake power hungry rhetoric.



      Mohamud Aden Samatar 


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