Political Maturation & Growing Image of Somali Region of Ethiopia (Ahmed Deeq Hussein)
Ethiopian-Somali region is more peaceful and politically stable with notable improvements in basic social services; developments, infrastructures, good governance, judiciary and justices. The region is now constructing its broader political image. This will reverse perceived bad perceptions and negative attitude of other Ethiopian people and international community towards Somali region into positive one.
: – Somali region was known as one of most complex region in country in terms of longstanding conflict and political instability. Due to multiple fueling factors such as anti-security insurgent (ONLF/UBBO) and al-Etihad Islamist group; clan based political parts, &immature political leaders with external ideology e.i great Somalia was part of complex.
Further, frequent changes of leadership (president) had also had negative consequences for developments and stabilities of the region. This is aggravated by deep rooted security related issues. But with such trends have completely changed into positive perspectives for the past several years.
In 1994 G.C. ONLF (UBBO) and al-Etihad Islamist declared war against a premature transitional government of Ethiopia led by EPRDF (Ethiopian People Revolutionary Democratic Front). Then the region started with prolonged conflict, which caused mass grave and deaths, injuries, violence, robbery and rapes to civilians.
Therefore, with intention to overcome threats related security problems and to achieve a sustainable and everlasting peace in the region and country at large. Security became top of priority agenda for the region and country. In response with security concerns & find solution the regional state established own especial force known as LIYU POLICE in 2008 G.C. and trained, & equipped with modern arms with support of federal government; particularly, southeast division of National defense force.
Primarily, Liyu police is intended to stabilize the region’s deep rooted security threats and eliminate armed insurgence rebels (ONLF & al-Etihad) from territory of Somali region, and to protect the people of the region from enemies either internal or external including international terrorist such as al-qushash.
For goodness after only two years of Liyu police military operations against armed rebels such as ONLF (UBBO) and al-Etihad, their military power had completely destroyed and severely harmed up to the level—that has no a such impacts for the peace and security of the region, and the people. And everybody witnessed—that the Liyu police accomplished their primary objectives that had been established, which was to save the people of the region and no one should be a victim for security problems and concerned crisis within the Somali region of Ethiopia.
The key indicators achieved by the regional state the past five years as Developmental progress
Somali regional state has attained tremendous improvements in basic social service, such as safe drinking water, farming, education, and health care, roads, telecommunication coverage, urbanizations and human capital investment have also improved over the past five years (2002 – 2007 EC).
For instance, in education has achieved 1401 Elementary schools (1-8) from 765, whereas primary school enrollments increased from 683, 682 to 1,235,898 with female enrolment rate of 55% increments. Somali region is providing scholarshipsto Somalia, Somaliland, Punt-land and Juba-landof diploma programs in various field of studies.
When it comes to health sector, can be mentioned 106 health centers have constructed—that 52% increment which make the current functional health centers 203. Hospitals and Health Posts have also increased from 6 to 10 and 711 to 1030 respectively. The region determined to sponsormedicine for about 300 students from the region to be trained for different Universities of country such as Jimma University, Haramaya University etc. in order to strength health care services of the region.
In water sectors, the region has increased Safedrinking water coverage from 47% to 85% for Urban and 38% to 72% for the rural. The boreholes, river intakes and Huffier dams increased from 278 to 519, 3 to 13 and 40 to 40 respectively. Further to strength and build capacity of water sectors; the regional state imported four deep drillers (500m to 1200m).
Ethiopian-Somali region is properly a key pillar for peace, security & stability of entire country. Since the Somali region has more than 3000 Km international border with Somalia; a country known as center for international terrorist in the horn of Africa like al-shabab and others. Which could be potential security risk for countries in the horn, like Ethiopia, which is realized as target country for terrorist attack.
The Special Forces are protecting the long border with Somalia, which make impossible for enemies to invade Ethiopia across Somali region borders with Somalia. Because, security is very tight around border areas. Similarly, in the recent the region no anymore al-Etihad Islamism but may be possible to seeONLF/UBBO residual on social media like face book. Otherwise no effect on stability, peace and security, and their military power was totally eliminated & destroyed by Liyu police.
On other hand, ONLF (UBBO) has no supporters within the people; because, the people of the region have extremely offended to them. Apart from their baseless propagandas; ONLF/UBBO are subjecting unexpected killings, torture, and rapes for the innocent civilians of the region. This facts were exposed and disclosed to the public with evidences the reality of this group.
Eventually; the Somali region has secured from anti-security groups, meantime security agenda is being shifted to development and good governance agendas as top of priority for the region. Of course the known trends in Somali region has already been changed into peace, development, and good government–that attracted the attention of people of the region, local and diaspora, other Ethiopian people, federal government, regional and international community.
Political and Leadership
Ethiopian-Somali region is more stable and the ruling part ESPDP (Ethiopian Somali people Democrat Part) has successfully achieved to stabilize the region—that was known frequently political fluctuations & turmoil.
The current officials of Ethiopian-Somali Region are free from external ideologies—that against the integrity and co-existences of Ethiopian people, nations and nationalities. On other hand, the people of Somali region are proud being Ethiopian citizen anda part of big family of Ethiopia, which is governed by 1995 national constitution—that ensured equity, equality & rights of all people, nations, nationalities and citizens of Ethiopia.
However, the region has young visionary leader HE Mr. President Abdi Mohamoud Omar, who could able to direct, shape and lead people of the region into right truck towards country’s policies, strategies and developmental goals. Therefore, it must be mentioned and acknowledged leadership qualities and capabilities Mr. President Abdi M Omar. It’ was his keen support & determination to stabilize and secure long time security complexity of Somali region.
President’s efforts to harmonize and build the trust between federal government & people of Somali region cannot be undermined. Before him, ONLF was assimilated the entire system but now the system is free from ONLF supporters. However, we are familiar a few years ago when most resourceful positions were occupied ONLF (UBBO) backers within government institutions. Therefore, it was surprising when the government budget were supporting to those armed and fighting with government. Because, UBBO had insiders within system but now they have null/nothing the current system because of Mr. Abdi Mohamoud His excellence the president.
Communication and public relation
The region has strengthened and enhanced public relation to reach continental corners to convince people of the region in abroad who are misinformed and misguided but know nothing about the reality on ground.
The regional state’s highest officials have visited many countries around world like North America, European nations, etc. to meet with diaspora communities. The primary purpose of meeting with these diaspora communities is and was to have evidence-based discussions and consultation about the positive and progress happening in the region – and to essentially convince them.
The diaspora communities were/are invitedto come and see their homeland and invest, to contribute to the extraordinary development of the region and country. These diaspora attracting activities are visible and viable footsteps of Somali Region in becoming a model region in communication, social mobilization and public relations beyond or outside the country.
The regional state undertakes bi-annual consultative conference with various segments of the community at all level to build up accountability, transparence, trusts, and community participations; and to create a sense of ownership between community and regional government.
Consultative conference with various community segments, jigjiga, February, 2016.
Good Governance: – Good Governance is broad term and an ideal, which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Because Good Governance has many controversial arguments. Therefore, according to Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan noted that “good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development”. However, to ensure sustainable human development, and to overcome gender disparity are agreed as basic principles of good governance.
Having with above principle, Ethiopian-Somali region decentralized the budget to woreda administration, which is determined at woreda level through community participation during project planning stage. Similarly, the system decentralized to kebele level, which is lowest structural unit of government
The Somali region is leading and well promoting region for gender equality; women empowerment and reduced gender disparity between men and women in economical, educational, political and leadership opportunities. It is the current regional state—has given for women strong political and leadership roles, and better access to economic opportunities and education. The Women in Somali region constitutes 35% of current Regional Parliament, and 52% of federal Parliament representation for Somali region.
Ethiopian-Somali region is the utmost region—that politically influenced and empowered women. For Instances, in Somali region; women have key political positions at all levels. At regional level women have vice president of regional state; bureau of agriculture, bureau of water resources and energy development, bureau of women and child affairs, HIV/AIDS prevention & control office, Meyer of city administration; and deputy speaker house of regional parliament. Allworedas and city administrations finance heads and almost all cashiers at all level of regional state are women.
Ethiopian-Somali region established vital institutions such as Ethical and Anti-corruption Commission, and Grievance Rendering submittal and Inquiry Determination Commission and also there is Ethiopian human right agency in Somali region of Ethiopia.
In this regard, Somali region has attracted the attention of federal government and international community including donors, bilateral & multilateral developmental stakeholders, & UN agencies, leaders of western European countries, and USA and Norway embassies—that brought them to visit Somali region in various occasions within last three months.
The Federal government and international community have encouraged and praised to Somali region, the promising positive happening in the region, specifically; empowering women to politics, leadership, and in generally, existence of reliable security, stability politics and palpable developments of Somali region was appreciated.
As a matter of fact, before 5 years, annual budget from federal government treasury was only source of funds, which disproportionately allocated, planned; poorly managed, and inefficiently utilized. However, the things are different from the traditional trends. Currently; the budget is properly allocated, managed and timely utilized according to project plan. Actually the past few years region’s income tax and revenue has proportionally been increased, properly collected and effectively managed for the utilization.
Livelihood:- the region strengthened the efforts to improve livelihood status of people through establishment of socio-economic development enterprises such as micro scale enterprises and micro finance enterprise—that provide money transfer services, credit and startup capital loan for poorest families of community particularly; youth and women including divorced & widowed women.
The most vulnerable people are organized & established into group based cooperative associations to be provided business and life skill training packages, saving and finally to be provided startup capital—that would create job opportunities in order to improve socio-economic and livelihood status of the people.
Among thousands of poor families and households of the community was given startup capital to start income generating activities and become economical productive societies to change their livelihood status and improveliving standard.
The regional government gives special supports for families, and households who are victims for security purpose and those children lost their parents and orphaned due to struggle against armed insurgents and anti-peace groups for securing and stabilizing the region. In this regard, the region established three boarding schools for orphaned children and created to them their families an economic development schemes. For example, giving import and export LC trading licenses for those securityvictims and their households, and also providing the startup capital; and PLC companies have also established for these particular sub-group.
Conclusion: – the region politically matured and growing up its image for last several years. Specifically, the region politically stabilized, granted with reliable peace and security; strengthened public relation, communications; social mobilization, advocacy & created enabling environments for local, national and international investors to invest and to contribute the developments carrying out in the region—that would improve socio-economic status and livelihood of people in the region.
The region has completely stabilized its political chaos, ensured peace and security; realizing developmental infrastructures, and improved basic social services; as well as income tax and revenue collections have also improved. Of course, the region achieved to build up its broader image and changed the perceived bad images, perceptions and attitudes of others towards Somali region. Thus, this is attracted the attention of national and international community.
For example, in several occasions, Ethiopian-Somali region were visited by high level officials from federal government including the Prime Minister of Ethiopia HE HailemariamDessalaign, President of Ethiopia HE Dr. MulatuToshemeandother high level officials of some European countries, and embassies including USA, Norway, Sweden, confederation of Switzerland.
Currently, Ethiopian-Somali region has very dedicated and result-oriented President HE Abdi Mohamed Omar, who is committed to bring a real change for every aspects of well-being for the people, region and the country of Ethiopia at large.
“Bright future for Somali region and country at large with peace and prosperity”