Ethiopia: what is happening in Haud and Reserve Area
The Haud and Reserve Area was formerly a part of Somaliland British protectorate but handed over to Ethiopia, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selasie, in 1954, in accordance with the 1897 agreement the British empire made with the Emperor Menilik || without consent of the Haud And Reserve Area population.
The agreement between the colonial power and the Ethiopian government not only confer certain rights and freedoms on the population of this enclave, but also demarcated the international border between Somaliland and Ethiopia. It is the only border officially demarcated between Ethiopia and Somalian republic and is internationally recognised. It Is also a fact that the contracting governments are not in power now. Nevertheless according to international law, the succeeding states are under obligation to to acknowledge these agreements. It will not be possible to cherry-pick those provisions that suit one or another. However, Emperor Haile Selasie granted more favourable rights and freedom to the populace of the territory than the international agreement has guaranteed. On the other hand, the so called democratisation of Ethiopia seems to erode the rights and freedom conferred by the old treaty. The question we have to ask is then if this is a democratisation or backwardisation. Ethiopia is now partitioned into ethnically based states. Somali people were categorised as one ethnicity simply because somali people are wrongly or rightly considered as a homogenous, with one language, culture, religion. The reality is, nevertheless, completely different. Somali people are more divided by clans. They have different culture and way of thinking. The miracle answer for the problem of this regional state lies in finding the nexus between this consideration and somali people’s plight. If Ethiopia wants to make a headway in the conundrum in somali regional state, it has to understand this reality in Crystal clear term, without it I am afraid we will be in conflict in somali regional state for a long time to come.
Almost six months ago, the regional president has visited the isaq inhabited region, formerly known as haud and reserve area. The president talked to inhabitants and they told him a myriad of problems they are encountering since the regional state has been set up. Rather these problems have increased since the current regional president has taken office. As well know, many clashes between the liyu police and the residents had taken place in the past. in many occasions, the regional authority promised that such clashes will not occur and a host of marginalisation will be addressed. A group of diaspora members visited the regional state and after extensive visit and consultation with the people at the grassroots level, they presented a ten page document to the regional state. As transparency and openness dictate, the team published this report in several websites.
But according to news coming from the area, the regional state has not yet taken any initiative to address the grievances of the people. Instead the regional state is trying to court some individuals in its attempt to divert the people from being aware of their plight. some of our traditional elders are becoming Trojan horse for the hidden agenda of abdi Ilay. As well known, the Political, social and economic conundrum in the regional state is not a new phenomenon. There has always been perennial hostility and animosity between Somali clans and tribes in the regional state. However, these intransigencies have taken new turns since the Somali regional state was established. The isaq community thought they have achieved their constitutionally guaranteed equality and democratic right in the inauguration of EPRDF led government almost two decades ago. Nevertheless, the people are suffering in worst shapes and forms when compared to the situations that had existed in the former governments that reigned in Ethiopia prior to this current one in power.
Haud and reserve area looks alike a place where no development activities are carried out. Most of the schools built in this area were constructed by either non-governmental organisation, most of them now closed down by the regional government order, and diaspora community cooperation. No proper project to improve the road infrastructure is underway. Rather, the regional government has diverted a federal government sponsored road construction project between hartesheikh and all the way down to Gashamo. Although the regional state has bought a number of deep drilling machineries, they have not deployed in this area except an empty gesture they made around six months ago in which the regional government has started to showcase drilling work in harshiin area. Yet nothing is known whether they have succeeded in drilling proper borehole. As far as communication is concerned, the federal government telecommunication authority has finalised the installation of mobile masts in a numbers of districts and towns in the area. It is not known why the telephone system was not put operational yet. It is believed that the regional government, as it accustomed to do in the past, is misinforming the federal government institution. In the past, they accused the area inhabitants as al alshabab and and anti peace movement. The people of haud and reserve area have always been peace loving and law abiding citizens. They are well known by the Ethiopian people for their peaceful coexistence. Many people from other Ethiopian regional states who lived in the area due to their work or businesses know well the behaviour of the people.
The people of haud and reserve area know well that they don’t have to take arms to make sure their democratic freedom and rights are respected. However, they don’t remain silent when their democratic rights are violated. Recently, they have taught the liyu police a good lesson when they roused up and said enough is enough and stopped the notorious liyu police continue carrying on their atrocity. The somali regional state, instead of treating all its citizens with equality, it is engaged in series of campaigns to simply oppress many somali clans. Isaq is one of these clan currently facing a number of oppressions.
The regional government has introduced or using as a pretext to evict isaq Ethiopian from their ancestral homeland. It is important that all our people understand what these oppression are and devise a way before these oppressions become deep rooted and permanent. The regional government looks alike it stands for one somali clan. It has given all privileges and rights to one clan. Even the other somali clans have now come to be aware of the hidden agenda of the current regional state. All highest regional state military personnel are not only from one clan but also from one sub clan to which the regional state president belongs. The traditional leaders within his own clan were shrugged aside and he is now being advised and courted by his own subclan suldan called Ciro.
The Ethiopian isaq has no any grudge against the Ethiopian somali clan whom they have coexisted in peace and war for the past thousand years. The isaq and Ogaden clan lived in peace and as in any other part of the world sometime fought each other. However, they managed to solve these difficult with prudence and diligence. If I am not exaggerating now there is a high tension between isaq and Ogaden community. It is feared that a whole scale confrontations might happen in near future. The regional state is the sole responsible in waging friction between the communities so that there is a major war to convince the Ethiopian federal government to bankroll the militarisation of the somali regional state. The regional liyu police is a means to instabilise the regional state but to protect a clan interest in the regional state. No one oppose the establishment of regional police force. But it will be out of question their vetting, screening, accountability, training and discipline should be given importance as well. Without setting up these conditions, creating a police force will be a recipe for waiting disaster to happen. News coming from the regional state shows that many liyu police members are fleeing in drove because they were confused and lost motives as well as stamina after they were put in process that made them to commit murder, rape, illegal detention and many more atrocities.
I hope the Ethiopian defence force understand that it is a time to use soft force in convincing Ethiopian Somali to actively participate in Ethiopian economic and political development. What we are teaching our children and grand children should be an exemplary one that is not full of contradictions. The message we conveying should be everyone can play rightly within the realm of the law and respect each other. I don’t see a difference between the Amhara people evicted from benishangul-gumiz regional state from the systematic discrimination the ethiopain isaq people are encountering in somali regional state completely usurped by the one man leadership without any intellectual foundation.
Haudland democratic rights and freedom restoration Movement
By Haud land