We must say no to the myopic policies of ONLF. By Nuur Hassan

It is more than 15 years since ONLF come to prominent. In 1993 they have accepted and participated the post-Mengistu arrangement of Ethiopia as a federal democratic republic with 9 ethnically organised autonomous states. While the leaders of the other 8 newly established autonomous states were engaged in massive-rebuilding effort  and educating their citizens on their constitutional rights, ONLF due to their sheer incompetence and lack of cohesion had produced two failed regional presidents*and unconstitutionally forced the then ONLF-dominated state council to rectify self-determination bill.

If this wasn’t bad enough, their then leaders have without warning20vacated their posts and offices and engaged in a violence campaign against what was a fledgling democratic federal government, what happened after that is now in the history book. Fast-forward to present day, today we have divided ONLF with spineless leaders who cannot understand the gravity of the untold desolation they brought on the very people they claim to represent, who cannot comprehend that their ill-fated 15 years anti-peace activities in region five has yielded nothing but calamity, who are only happy to be hosted and entertained by tyrant and despot presidents such as Isaias Afwerki( whose interest is only to play a proxy war against Ethiopia with this bogus leaders), who are unable to articulate what they hope to achieve in their doomed struggle, who are only good at playing blame games.

ONLF claim to enjoy the full support of the Ogaden clan, this could not have been far from the truth, it is true that ONLF draw its support predominantly from the Ogaden clan, but it is equally true that most of the educated and intelligent Ogadens including myself made their position known on and off the record that ONLF and its good-for-nothing leaders are part of the problem rather than part of the solution in our region. Now it is imp erative more than ever that ONLF and its dwindling diehard supporters stop being presumptuous about the region and its future direction.

ONLF neither speaks for everyone in the region nor does it have any mandate to discuss the nation’s future aspirations. It is also equally essential that the other dozen of Somali ethnics/clans who lived in the region with their Ogaden brothers peacefully side-by-side for centuries to stop punching below their weight and unite with peace-loving Ogadens and help the state government and its newly appointed leader to achieve full economic, social developments and prosperity for all in our region. 

On the other side of the coin, the Ethiopia we have today is not the Ethiopia of 20, 50 and 100 years ago, it is a fledgling democratic Ethiopia, with 9 autonomous estates, with democratic powers they never had before. As every fledgling democracy, the transition has not been an easy one, mistakes were made and lessons have also been learnt. In region five (Somali regional state) today we have infrastructure we never had before, such as roads, airports, communication facilities, hospitals and higher education institutions. We have a state government run exclusively by ethnic Somalis, we have state parliamentarians, we have our own state budget (which if spend wisely can make difference). Under previous regimes the aforementioned changes would have been unimaginable, but today thanks to the democratic federal system in Ethiopia we have our destiny in our hands. I call upon all the stakeholders of the region to unite and put their difference a side for the sake of our people.

I call upon all the clan leaders/elders, intellectuals to say once and for all no to the narrow-minded thinking of not only ONLF but to all anti-peace elements in our region and to jettison their quixotic plans. Remember peace and developments go hand-in-hand.

Nuur Hassan nuurhussein@ao.com

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