Ethiopia-ONLF: The 2012 expected
when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.“
By anonymous sage.
The Kenyan government received the acceptance of the ONLF without a delay since it was the government of Ethiopia not the ONLF that was dragging its feet for so long from taking the offer of peace talks in the hope that it will wipe out the ONLF through brute military force. The Somali Region’s (Ogaden region) resistance to occupation stretches over a century and the region was and is a battle field between successive Ethiopian governments and national liberation forces. The region has been treated by the Ethiopian governments over the years as a buffer zone and its citizens as strangers that have no right in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia through its choice tool, military option, to address the genuine occupation question of the Somali region (Ogaden Region) made the region the least developed region in Ethiopia. Substantial number of its citizens grew up in refugee camps or in neighbouring countries for the third generation and whatever left behind either move from one IDP camp to the next at best or loiters in concentration camps called military prisons that are spread throughout the region at worst.
Human rights organisation’s yearly and daily reports consistently highlight the atrocities and human rights abuses meted against the region by the security forces of Ethiopia. The region is categorized and recognised as famine prone by the international development agencies and yet in pursuit of its military option the Ethiopian government sealed the boarders Ethiopia's starvation strategy of the region from all sides and pronounced it as no go area for international aid agencies, independent reporters and the likes. The Gaza- like status, open prison, is effective to this day and among the latest casualties of the notorious anti terrorist bill are the two Swedish journalists who ventured into the region on a fact finding mission - Ethiopia Jails Swedish Journalists
The people of the region have never been allowed to elect their representatives even at village level let alone at regional level. Since the region is garrison town under perpetual emergency rule, the army hand picks their young informers and crowns them to high offices. The educated and the elite of the region, who grow up in exile through fault of not theirs, were barred from running for public office and thus under - thirty year olds with no experience but loyalty to their appointed Tigrean masters are at the helm of the region.
The reigning Ethiopian government, under premier Zenawi, which the ONLF has to negotiate with, is an authoritarian state that has no tolerance for pluralistic views in any shape or form. The politics, military and the economy of Ethiopia is dominated by his TPLF/EPRDF party which claimed that it won 99.6% of the latest staged election when it is common knowledge that the reality is on the contrary - Total Domination of Ethiopia by Ethnic Tigrean . The most draconian anti – terrorist laws ever was introduced by his party to criminalise any form of decent, repressive press laws that saw the closure of all the independent media outlets is in place and rubber stamp judiciary that are tasked to dish out lengthy prison sentences that underwrites opposition party officials, journalists, human rights activists and the likes are kept behind bars; works round the clock.
Real peace talks, between Ethiopia and the ONLF, that are pencilled to start soon heralds a glimmer of hope for the Somali Region and the horn of African countries. If the Ethiopian government is sincere about the talks and prepared to negotiate within the framework of the Ethiopian constitution, all signs are that a successful deal is within reach. The core of the talks, from the Ethiopian government’s side, should be aimed Continued