ONLF position regarding the apparent change of leadership in Ethiopia
April 4, 2018 (Ogaden Today) — Yesterday, the Ethiopian EPRDF parliament has approved Abiy Ahmed to become the new prime minister of Ethiopian autocratic regime. However, the Somali people and even the Ethiopian peoples are skeptical of the current political moves by EPRDF to bring any meaningful change due to the culture and negative history of this party that is characterized by deceit, the hegemony of all political power and use of violence and grave violations of human rights against its opponents. On many occasions, EPRDF has consistently misinformed both the people and the international community in order to divert attention from its grave transgressions and undemocratic rule, especially against the Somali people in Ogaden.
Furthermore, the Somali people, who were marginalized and brutally suppressed for almost a century since Ethiopia occupied the Ogaden, became a new victim for EPRDF which further committed acts tantamount to a genocide that surpassed the inhumane acts of all previous regimes and destroyed the dignity and lively-hood of the Somali people. Hundreds of thousands were forcefully displaced internally and externally, thousands are languishing in temporary detention centers all over the Ogaden, thousands were summarily executed; close to one-third of Ogaden women were raped and humiliated, using rape as a weapon of war. Many were disabled or died through extensive tortures. Similarly, this Alliance committed atrocities and denied all fundamental democratic rights to all peoples in Ethiopia, although not as grave as what happened in Ogaden.
In addition , although all Ethiopian regimes including EPRDF claimed that Ogaden is part of Ethiopia , Somalis were never allowed into the inner circle of top Ethiopian leadership had no say or input in the election of this new Prime minster or all the previous leadership hierarchy in Ethiopia, despite being the third largest nation and having the second largest territory which is almost one-third of Ethiopia or nominal regional Somali state.
Despite all that, ONLF believes in resolving all conflicts through peaceful means and has on many occasions engaged with the regime in a negotiation process both bilaterally and with the participation of third parties but to no avail. Therefore, unless there is a genuine fundamental change in Ethiopia that addresses the age-old issue of the Somali people, in addition to the general lack of democracy in Ethiopia, a change at the helm of an autocratic regime will not bring any meaningful change to the Somali victims who suffered and are still suffering under EPRDF rule nor to the multitudes in Ethiopia whose human and democratic rights had been violated. Unless the culture of violence and to address political grievances in Ethiopia is stopped, Ethiopia will always be the land of the living dead.
Therefore, The Somali people in Ogaden will judge Abiy Ahmed by his actions and not by his polished rhetoric.
Issued by Ogaden National Liberation Front
April 3, 2018