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The Interview: Displacement crisis not a precursor for a very bad future but residue of a very bad past: Mustefa Omer

The Interview: Displacement crisis not a precursor for a very bad future but residue of a very bad past: Mustefa Omer

Born in 1973 in Degehabur zone of Somali regional state, Mustefa Muhumed Omer turned the deputy president of the Somali area in the midst of a crisis following the ousting of his predecessor Abdi Muhamud Omer, a.okay.a, Abdi Iley in August 2018. A well known critic of Abdi Illey’s ten yr iron fist rule in the region & the rampant human rights abuse by the region’s Liyu police (Particular Drive), Mustefa is an economist by training and has a Grasp’s of Science diploma in Agricultural Economics. He has worked, among others, for the UNOCHA in Somalia, Kenya and Zimbabwe earlier than being assuming his place in late August 2018. Since then, Mustefa has set in movement a sweeping reform which is essentially credited for stabilizing the region which has seen the displacement of more than 1.3 million civilians through the 2016 – 2017 violence involving the security apparatus of Somali and Oromia regional states.

On Might 06, 2019, Mustefa Omer participated in a BBC debate recorded in Addis Abeba along with three different panelists throughout which he said that Ethiopia was more secure as we speak than it was a yr ago before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power. Addis Commonplace’s Tsedale Lemma and Nasredin Mohammed sat down with Mustefa to discuss this and different points affecting nationwide politics.

Excerpts: 

Addis Normal: You participated in a BBC debate on Monday Might 06, 2019 throughout which you said that Ethiopia was more secure at this time than it was a yr ago, a remark which steered some controversy amongst Ethiopians who argue otherwise. Clarify to me why you consider the country is more secure as we speak when many others, together with international analysts and journalists, consider otherwise, particularly on account of increased violence and inner displacements 

Mustefa Muhumed Omer: I feel there’s a misunderstanding when it comes to how this stability is outlined. If individuals are debating concerning the number of individuals displaced in this nation, it’s a unique matter. However, if we’re speaking about stability in its a number of dynamics then the difficulty that we have now to take a look at are beyond inner displacements. Take as an example the key drivers of conflicts – we’ve got to see the place we have been a yr in the past and the place we at the moment are. Let me elucidate some of them. For example political violence: a yr, two or three years in the past we had a state of affairs where authorities forces, or regional Particular Forces have been brazenly destabilizing hundreds of thousands of individuals. We also had a state of affairs where a number of armed groups have been strengthening their army may: some from overseas, some from inside the nation, threatening the long term stability of the country.

So let’s take a look at a few factors and see where we’re in the present day. Political violence, threats from armed groups, in style help for violent teams or for armed groups, unmitigated use of state security forces for political repression, and the criminalization of tons of of hundreds of civilians by state security forces. For those who think about all these elements, I consider we’re much better as we speak than we have been a yr in the past. It is true that we now have a small difficulty with OLF, for example, in some pocket areas of the country. Beyond that we don’t have an armed group brazenly at warfare with the country for political purposes. TPDM, ONLF, Patriotic Ginbot 7, Gambela Liberation Entrance and Liberation Motion and all the liberation fronts have now agreed that the political area is enough to accommodate their views and have come back to proceed their wrestle peacefully. So this is one indicator that the country is on a better footing in the present day than it was a yr ago.

We will additionally take a look at the issues of injustice and impunity; rather a lot has been achieved in the final couple of months to crack down on impunity by authorities and that’s the key for the country. Impunity at the individual degree or at group levels can all the time be handled by state safety forces. There is a willingness by the government and there is a government capacity to reign down on vigilante; impunity by the state is what often fuels the chances of a state collapse and enormous scale violence. So on all of these counts we’ve completed main progress and that’s why I say we’re in a greater place stability clever than a yr ago.

But I need to make it clear that this is not to reduce the horrors we now have seen in current months, together with the killings and inner displacements of civilians. However they don’t seem to be a precursor for a very dangerous future, they’re the residues of a really dangerous past. That’s how I see it. That is the theoretical part of it. Virtually in case you take a look at the difficulty of inner displacement and communal violence, we should always understand that more than 1. three million individuals we now rely as displaced within the last one yr have been displaced greater than a yr and two years ago by state security forces. That’s the reason I’m asking “stability for who?”

It’s unlucky that we are speaking about individuals’s struggling in
numbers. But we can’t deny the truth that Ethiopia is now leading other
nations on the earth when it comes to the sheer variety of IDPs because of
violence. Do you consider that at any given time prior to now we’ve had a number
nearer to this because of the state led violence towards civilians?

Nicely one factor is obvious. The dynamics have changed. Immediately individuals are displaced contained in the nation. Up to now tens of millions of Ethiopians have fled the country because of political oppression and state led violence. For example more than 200,000 Somalis are believed to have fled to Somalia, Kenya and different neighboring nations. By my reckoning I know there are some estimates that say greater than 300, 000 Oromos have left their country and most of them have been youth who fled state repression and ended up languishing in Somaliland, in Puntland and in war-torn Yemen and Libya, among different locations. Sure, it’s now more seen as a result of they’re concentrated in given areas contained in the nation. However you possibly can’t say that immediately more individuals are displaced than earlier than. Perhaps you possibly can say the character of displacement have changed: we had more Ethiopians fleeing the nation, now we have now extra Ethiopians who are internally displaced.

So if we put it in that means it balances the evaluation however if it is introduced as if no one was displaced in Ethiopia, and solely now hastily three million individuals are displaced then I feel that’s only telling a part of the story and in that regard I don’t agree. I also know that communal violence just isn’t new. It used to happen between Borena and Guji. It used to occur between a number of different ethnicities in Ethiopia; take for example the Benishabgul Gumuz regional state, it happened prior to now and was even debated in the Parliament. Maybe now because of the transition and the fact that the government is now very cautious or not cracking down on vigilantes, we will say that the numbers have elevated in some areas. However once more, I feel that is part of the character of the transition. The comparison has to transcend numbers. It has to additionally examine the context. We will’t examine Prime Minister Abiy’s authorities when it comes to stability with the administration in place for the final 27 years. If this example of inner displacement as a consequence of violence continues for the subsequent three or five years, then I feel we must be legitimately concerned.

However at present I know that 50 % of the Somali IDPs who have been displaced earlier than PM Abiy came to power have returned. This is not part of the story when it must be; we’re solely telling the story of displacement, we aren’t telling the story of reintegration and the work that’s being carried out which is a continued work in progress.

In fact I am not disputing the fact that once individuals are displaced they might proceed to be counted as displaced. I am arguing that that does not essentially mean the state of affairs is worse. As an example in Somali and Oromia regional states, we had more than one million internally displaced individuals.

Are you referring to the 2016 – 2017 displacement of some 1.three
million civilians from the two regional states?

Yes, the Somali and Oromo displacement was the most important displacement pattern solely instigated by state security forces. In the event you take the Gedeo-Guji displacement of the last one yr, it turns into clear that a lot of the giant scale displacements are in Oromia and Somali areas and it involved state security forces, whereas a lot of the displacements in the last one yr occurred as part of the turbulence of the nation when the transition was about to be made or was underway. So we’ve got to take a look at how many people have been displaced after PM Abiy got here to power and how many individuals have been already displaced and why.

When it comes to the figures, the three million IDPs are the full IDPs both before and after PM Abiy got here to power. I can say that those who have been displaced earlier than at the moment are more secure than they have been a yr in the past. A yr ago they have been operating round, now they are a minimum of sheltered in secure places, receiving assist and different providers and undergoing a gradual relocation and reintegration to their locations of origin. We will all the time argue concerning the effectiveness and velocity of relocation, however they’ve the federal government’s and that of improvement partners’ full help. Again, what I’m saying is I’m not making an attempt to reduce the impression of the communal violence in the nation in the final one yr; I’m simply saying in our analysis we’ve got to take a look at different elements and convey nuance to the assumptions and the narratives that examine Ethiopia to Syria, Iraq and Yemen in the making merely because of the number of IDPs. That is utterly improper. In Syria, Yemen and Iraq the governments have utterly did not implement the rule of regulation. That’s why international forces have gone into these nations. In Ethiopia for all the problems we’re talking about and regardless of its shortcomings, we have now a state that is still implementing the rule of regulation and defending the internally displaced individuals. It’s not AMISOM, nor is it the United Nation. The state’s safety equipment and its capability to deal with these issues continues to be intact.

Nevertheless it’s plain that there’s a obvious indication displaying the
government’s failure to preemptively forestall some, if not all, of these violence
that led to such tragedies and reluctance and failure to detect precursor
indicators and even early warnings from residents about eminent attacks.  There are situations when government forces
have failed to stop them and in some instances regional safety forces have
grow to be bystanders in the midst of conflicts. Part of the blame is the
notion that the federal government is weakened and its security construction
is overwhelmed by an ever robust and partisan regional security forces. Is that
how you see it?

Under no circumstances. The state security equipment is unbroken. It’s robust. It could actually implement the rule of regulation. The power shouldn’t be a problem. Nevertheless, it’s exercising most restraint in dealing with this stuff. There is usually a room for enchancment when it comes to early warning and stopping displacement earlier than they occur. Nevertheless, the state is coping with the residual issues one among which is that so many issues that have been planted between totally different ethnic groups: hate, and hate politics. And because of that the state can’t handle all of these issues via merely implementing the rule of regulation. In many elements the communities which are preventing are the identical, and this has happened because of injustices and malpractices by previous administration which have been there within the last 27 years. All of that can’t be addressed overnight. But if individuals are disillusioned with the government for not implementing the rule of regulation the federal government has already accepted that and has vowed to try this. But when individuals need to venture the country as extra unstable and to paint the longer term as extra worrying, then I see the state of affairs of the last 27 years was extra worrying for the nation than the state of affairs right now as a result of immediately there’s an settlement that the human rights state of affairs has improved. There’s an agreement that a democratic area has broadened and there’s also an settlement that the political repression in the nation has totally gone. There’s also an settlement that almost all of populations who felt marginalized in the earlier regime feel they acquired again their rights. For those who would simply go by the areas, in most elements of Oromia individuals are proud of the change; in most a part of Amhara individuals are proud of a change; whole part of Somali region individuals are very proud of the change, which suggests the legitimacy of the government and the prime minister in the eyes of the general public has increased. A key issue of stability is when political legitimacy increases; the federal government has possibilities to outlive. Nevertheless, there are issues to do with the state and nation constructing nature in Ethiopia. The fact that the process shouldn’t be outlined and subsequently there are lingering questions around accompanied by turbulence and ups and downs need to be rigorously managed. On the brilliant aspect, I feel there’s a good deal of nationwide and worldwide goodwill to make the nation work. And that’s why I’ve been very optimistic that what we’re experiencing now with sporadic outbreaks of violence and the breakdown of rule of regulation right here and there’s a passing cloud.

Let’s move to a different matter that you simply’ve mentioned that left many
individuals guessing. You talked about a few new political get together formation in the
making. As we get closer to the election subsequent yr, offered that the election
goes to happen, what’s the significance of your indication a few
attainable new political get together formation in the making? Where do you see your personal
social gathering, Somali Democratic Social gathering, in this alignment?

Thank you Tsedale. The truth that there shall be new political formation shouldn’t be a matter of conjecture. The Prime Minister already indicated that and we’ve got already heard him say; he has already indicated that the best way to go forward can be to return as one and type a united celebration to rework EPRDF from a Front into one a party the place everyone who shares widespread concepts can come collectively as a nationwide social gathering quite than as a Entrance or as a coalition of different parties. So this indication has already been given by the Prime Minister. But in addition you don’t must be a political scientist to know that the pursuits of the constituent members of the EPRDF are diverging and subsequently that may finally deliver the query of who can be with who when the election comes. That’s why I’m confident there might be a brand new political preparations. As Somali Democratic Get together and the Somali region, we are nicely conscious of the dynamics, we are ready and of course we have now picked where we would slot in any potential political formation of the country.

One of many prospects insiders are entertaining is a
strengthening of what could be termed as a South-South political parties’
coalition within EPRDF itself. Do you anticipate SDP to have clear alternatives to
develop into one in every of EPRDF’s mainstream ally? The opposite assumption is the Sidama
regional state potential to grow to be a regional state in its own. Does that give
you the image of a South-South alignment, notably in the backdrop of
TPLF’s current outright rejection of the thought of uniting EPRDF as a single celebration
regardless of it being in the making for years? Do you see the remaking of EPRDF or
its disappearance all together? And the place would SDP see itself on this?

I might not need to base my
projection on my whims or what I feel would happen. I feel positively what I
see is that there is a floor for a brand new political formation simply because the
dynamics have changed and that finally means individuals will speak. Elites and
politicians will speak and that speak will decide who will probably be with who; however in
basic it’s well-known that a number of the events who’ve now an excellent position
in the national politics might not agree with the path that has been given
by the Prime Minister. In that state of affairs I feel no one has a veto power to
halt the progress that the political dynamics of the country now requires. I
can see some dropping out, and I can see somebody added to EPRDF. But I feel
the core foundations of the dominant political get together in the nation will stay
the present get together, EPRDF, and notably the Prime Minister. I feel the
coalition would remain the dominant celebration within the nation.

The other point you might have mentioned as essential to reconfigure
EPRDF was the purpose of “de-ethnicizing the politics”. Do you assume the new
EPRDF in the making, assuming that there’s one, will take this suggestion
significantly?

Definitely the political pronouncements made by the Prime Minister and by implication his social gathering the EPRDF – and subsequently it’s protected to imagine that his statements also mirror the positions of the celebration – point out that the intention is to de-ethicize the nationwide politics. This is not to say abolish ethnicity on this country. These are two various things. Ethnicity is an id. Nevertheless, whether or not our politics should completely be based mostly on delineations along ethnic strains is a matter that I feel many people agree can result in infinite violence and inter-communal clashes as we’ve seen.

In Ethiopian historical past the Ethiopian
state has by no means been seen as ethnic impartial.
This historical incontrovertible fact that the Ethiopian state has by no means been ethnic
neutral was one of the core explanation why individuals are organizing themselves alongside
ethnic strains. If the state can now perform as a nationwide state that respects
all citizens, no matter one’s background, and that additionally insures the totally different
divergent interests of groups in Ethiopia, including minority ethnic teams, and
addresses the problems of political representation in a very democratic and simply
approach, I feel we will ultimately transcend the distractive facet of id
politics.

That stated, I’m not somebody who
believes id politics will disappear from Ethiopian political panorama
any time quickly. For that matter even advanced democracies are discovering it
troublesome to transcend. The traditional knowledge has been that id politics
is a primitive thing and subsequently when democracies mature it’ll disappear
and other people will transfer out of that. The proof we at the moment are seeing in America,
Europe and all over the place is that that’s not the case. In reality it is now agreed
that id is an intrinsic thing and other people will continue to determine
themselves as one thing and that will even influence their political outlook
and political association. That can’t be de-legislated by way of structure or
no matter. Nevertheless, how we arbitrate the totally different emotions or totally different teams
in a simply manner ought to be the challenge and the duty of the federal government.

I do know that the term “de-ethnicizing the politics” is a loaded term that requires its personal dissection. But taking it at face worth, do you assume it’s the emphasis on ethnicizing the politics or is it failure to separate the state from the celebration that contributed to current political upheaval in Ethiopia? It is a clear proven fact that the state and the celebration are constituted as one and the same, typically aborting any effort to democratize the state. In case you have been to decide on abolishing one, which one do you assume ought to come first? “De-ethnicizing the politics” or separating the state from the social gathering? Or are they one and the identical?

I feel the start line, the rationale why the state and the get together was not separated is as a result of there was no democracy; there have been no democratic elections in the nation. When you have proper, free and truthful democratic elections you will not have one celebration dominated parliament and one get together dominated government; you’ll have horse-trading and negotiations that may routinely take the social gathering calculations out; you understand every celebration has its personal calculation, but with regards to the state as a consultant of its social gathering it won’t behave as a party, it has to barter, which suggests no matter is agreed between the totally different events who are leading the state – offered that it isn’t a landslide for one celebration – will turn into the nationwide coverage. In establishments the place a dominant social gathering wins the election that get together will talk about with other opposition parties in relation to national points and take a look at things not solely from having gained the election but in addition from the interests of the others who don’t agree with the ruling get together.

But I feel the very first thing that
has to return is we should always have a free and truthful elections and we should always separate the
direct influence of the get together on the state in order that the state is a special
factor than the parties. Nevertheless, you can even understand how troublesome it should
be when the social gathering and state individuals are nonetheless the same. So you’ll be able to theorize
about it but in precise reality it does happen even to democratic parties until
one is just not led by the people who owned it and who are also main the
government. In such instances such parties have a separate one that is busy on
the analysis and improvement and taking a look at concepts that may assist the get together win
elections. Whereas the one that was elected to the government will lead the
authorities in the course the celebration has given. I feel we aren’t but there
in Ethiopia; our political tradition just isn’t mature to that degree. So I foresee a
state of affairs where for a continued time period the state and the social gathering will
interface. I foresee that state of affairs but the path needs to be to scale back that.

Talking of elections, as you mentioned, a method of lessening this collusion between a state and a celebration is holding a free and truthful elections. Do you assume we could have that election in 2020? I am of the view that suspending the election will probably open the doors for destabilizing elements notably within the type of de-legitimizing the governing get together by a number of curiosity groups which are already eager to do so. What’s your view on that? Ought to the elections be occurring? Ought to the government give making certain peace and security a precedence so that we will go to the polls? Or do you assume it must be postponed given present circumstances?

For my part, issues of the issues of peace and security and stability as well as smoothening the transition should take priority over ticking the field simply to satisfy the requirement of having an election. I consider that and I feel the federal government is correctly assessing the safety state of affairs in the nation, the political developments, institutional reforms that have to happen before elections, and so forth. And I feel the federal government, from what I understand, is open minded on whether or not to have the election in time or delaying it. Nevertheless it doesn’t need to be seen to be dashing the election because it’s the most organized and ready solely to see afterward that the opposition social gathering will cry that they haven’t been given sufficient time to organize for it. On the similar time the federal government doesn’t need to be seen as being too keen to delay the elections only for self-preservation causes of staying in power. So I feel the government is balancing that. However my private opinion here is that the current transition requires a while and subsequently, I might have appreciated to see ongoing efforts of broadening the political area, strengthening the establishments together with the electoral board, the justice system and the security sector reforms finalized earlier than dashing to the election. That’s my personal opinion.

However what do you assume is extra destabilizing? Is it a government
whose already questionable mandate is over or is it the chances of a
post-election violence as a result of opposition parties could have critical misgivings
on the election process? I’m asking this question within the backdrop of our
experience with the nationwide protests towards the present government principally
resulting from lack of mandate after having claimed 99 % parliamentary win. I can
additionally point out movements right here in Addis Abeba inspired by absence of fashionable
mandate the current metropolis government lacks; actions that may already serve as
a window to see what it means to be dealing with a authorities whose
constitutional term in workplace is completed.

Nicely, the presumption that the government had lost the popular mandate is fallacious in the first place and subsequently, the difficulty of a well-liked mandate should not be raised at all. If that was the difficulty, the federal government that was elected 5 years in the past and claimed complete victory had already lost its common mandate soon after. Nevertheless it received a lease of life simply due to the reforms undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy and his group. In that regard the Prime Minister and the reforms he has executed have got a well-liked mandate now. I don’t assume anybody will complain if the Prime Minister stated he wanted more time to repair the current problems. I feel he’s largely fashionable within the nation proper now and trusted by nearly all of Ethiopians; in that regard I don’t see the suspending of the elections as destabilizing factor.

But I additionally know that sure groups won’t be pleased; however in the event you take a look at it from the nationwide perspective I feel many individuals won’t mind suspending the election. What will probably be destabilizing is if we rush to the election earlier than we have now fastened the security issues we now have earlier mentioned, which I stated have been part of the transition. Additionally where we’ve got not ready the ground when it comes to reforming all of the institutions which might be required. I know that a good work is being carried out already however that needs to be finalized and opposition events also needs to do their half. Reform just isn’t solely on the part of the government. I feel the federal government has completed a whole lot of progress in its part when it comes to respecting the rule of regulation, when it comes to rules of mutual toleration and institutional self-restraint. I’m yet to see that from the opposition parties. And I feel, that’s additionally a progress that we anticipate will occur in a yr or two or so. So generally to summarize, dashing to the election when we aren’t prepared is more destabilizing than delaying it and the difficulty of well-liked mandate, I feel, cannot be raised as a result of that has been lost soon after the last election and that’s why we had the change after the rebellion in many elements of the nation. And if now the one mandate we take a look at is the mandate of the reform group, which is led by Prime Minister Abiy, I feel he has a well-liked mandate to control. That’s why the opposition events are comfortable; that’s why the armed teams have laid down their arms; and that’s why in lots of elements of the country, individuals are supporting his reform and his vision for the nation.

Of that reform although, let’s speak about parallels typically drawn between
“Perestroika”, in Gorbachev’s former Soviet Union and “democratic transition”,
if you’ll, in Abiy’s Ethiopia of at this time notably in financial and political
fronts. Let me depart the small print for political scientists and ask you
straightaway if what you see is what others see. Do you assume it’s a healthy parallel
to make? Is it aptly contextualized?

In the event you take a look at how the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia have been organized as nations, you’ll notice that they have been ethno-federalist states by and enormous. And in the event you also take a look at the range of ethnic teams in these areas and the totally different actors, both at the regional and federal ranges, the similarities will not be misplaced. And in that sense, I feel the comparability is just not solely mistaken. Nevertheless, there are also another dynamics, external dynamics, if you will, which are missing in our case and have been current in the Soviet Union’s case. Within the latter’s case the West with all its political and economic may, have been decided to destroy the Soviet Union due to the ideological rivalry. We don’t have that exterior push factor now in Ethiopia. If at all, we’ve got the reverse. We have now loads of good international will to keep Ethiopia collectively as a country. So that is one space the place this can be a distinction . Also, at the nationwide degree, I feel we’ve lots of people who agree that the breakup of this country is dangerous for everyone, not only for a specific group, and subsequently, nevertheless troublesome it is, I feel there is a broad consensus that pushing for a state collapse or the breakup of the country just isn’t an choice. I’ve not seen elites who are entertaining that as an choice, which is encouraging. Nevertheless, if the transition shouldn’t be correctly managed and if the dogmatic and extremist forces that at the moment are popping up in several elements of the nation proceed with their “my method or freeway” sort of mentality sure, we will get into hassle. The only saving grace I see in that is that the federal government of Ethiopia can nonetheless implement the rule of regulation within the areas. I feel finally we’ll escape the Soviet Union state of affairs. I’m very optimistic.

However the dynamics within regional states such because the centralization of monopoly of violence coupled with the privatization of monopoly of violence, which is paving methods for private residents to mushroom within the type of armed groups – which I should point out in lots of situations are aided and abetted by regional Particular Forces – does present chilling similarities of what occurred in Yugoslavia. What do you assume must be executed on this regard? You’ve seen the sort of havoc it wrecked in your personal Somali regional state for instance. Do you assume this must be regulated?

I feel one of many largest errors made along the best way is that this difficulty of making autonomous safety buildings within the areas. No nation can survive that. That is likely one of the explanation why we are having this drawback. In that regard a critical safety reform and re-look is imminent; it needs to be achieved and that it also needs to handle the issues of the relationship between the totally different regional armed forces and how they work together with one another; I consider that needs to be rationalized and streamlined. Areas can have a police drive, for example, however their mandate needs to be clear on what they do. But so far as protecting the peace of the country is worried, I feel we should always have one national army; if there’s the difficulty of representation within the nationwide army, then that ought to be addressed by enhancing the recruitment process, not by having separate armed groups in all places. If critical discussion happen to insure how the nationwide army interface and work together with individuals whose languages members of the national military don’t happen to talk, as an example, then it’s an area that can be discussed and further improved by taking a look at how the method may be improved. Based mostly on such discussions deployment course of and deployment mechanisms may be changed; but we can’t have totally different armed teams and autonomous security forces in one nation within the identify of federalism. So I feel that ought to be addressed and I feel that is among the lessons we should always study from Yugoslavia. The earlier it is, the better.

Are you recommending the gradual phasing out of the so-called
regional Particular Forces?

Yes, undoubtedly.  I recommend the gradual phasing out of those regional Special Forces.

One latest incident involving a regional particular pressure is the
accusation towards Afar regional state special forces for the current dying of
eleven civilians of Somali origin, which triggered tensions between Afar and
Somali regional states. I perceive that you are having a dialogue with the president
of Afar Regional State to find a middle ground to unravel the problem. Are there
any amicable options the talks have caused?

Most individuals heard about it final
week but the concern did not begin final week. I feel by our estimate, near
75 individuals have died on the Somali aspect and perhaps the same quantity or more have
died from Afar aspect in the last six months. So it’s not a problem that was not
there. We had a bit of instability in that space. Now we now have agreed to debate
and resolve this peacefully and amicably; the ministry of peace has put a
path on that and we consider we’ll quickly make public the contents of what
have been agreed, but I can already inform you that it’s good for the Somali and
Afar individuals. There’s no hostility between us that can’t be solved peacefully
and there won’t be conflict.

Ought to we anticipate the small print of the discussion anytime quickly? I
should mention that Addis Normal was additionally advised by Afar regional state officers
that they will be releasing more details on the matter.  

Yes. There’s an agreement that there ought to be no questions off the table, and that violence just isn’t a way to advance political aims on each side. In that regard, if there are any questions that the Afar individuals have and if there are any questions that the Somalis have it must be processed in a democratic and peaceful method. In that sense relating to the difficulty of those three areas, we’re discussing, and we’ve got agreed that the terms of that agreement to be critically checked out as a result of I feel the shortage of implementation of the settlement is what triggered the present drawback. It’s beneath discussion, so I don’t need to preempt a course of that’s underneath dialogue.

Lastly, what can’t be ignored is the position of the media in such situations vis a vis freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It is an open secret that because of the opening of media area in Ethiopia we are witnessing the rise of media contents that can fairly be described as contributing elements to potential violence, in addition to the proliferation of hate speech and faux news on social media. What do you assume must be the stability between freedom of expression and of the press and the rise of such contents notably at occasions of this?   

My stand is we’d like free media; however not solely free media, we’d like free and responsible media. When the media incites individuals and fails to play its position, I feel there are legal guidelines that present learn how to deal with such transgression by the media. Aside from that, I feel the concern over irresponsibility of some media shouldn’t lead us to go back to regressive laws that stifled freedom of speech for a few years. I feel the stability needs to be stored. If the calls on the control of media comes from a real concern that they don’t seem to be being responsible, then we’ve got to work to make them responsible and within the case where they don’t seem to be responsible we now have to take the authorized steps which are needed to make them discharge their duties responsibly. But when the concern over the media freedom is about going again to the place we have been, which is stopping no matter we don’t need to hear, I feel we are past that now, we can’t enforce that. We don’t want that. AS