By: Abdiaziz Ali Hussein
The first meeting of the sixth Somali regional council that held October 18, 2021, in Jigjiga, the capital of Somali Regional State elected Mustafa Muhumed Omer (Mustafa Cagjar), as the president of the Somali regional state after his party (Prosperity Party) won in Ethiopia’s delayed 6th national elections happened the region on October 1st of this year.
Mustafa came to lead a restive region that human violations used to make the headlines of the formal and informal narratives of the different media. Thousands of innocent people were put behind the bars without due process and routinely brutalised. The temperature and bitterness of the gross human rights violations committed in the hands of the past die-hard regime led by former president Abdi were felt in almost every home including the home of this writer, Mr Abdiaziz.
It was neither Casar nor Cishaai in 2009, when the uncle of this writer, Mr Hussein was picked up from Aw Barre, a town in eastern Ethiopia region known us Somali Region, near the border with Somaliland on the main trade route between Jigjiga and the sea lanes, and ancient route to Saylac (Zeila) almost always went through where he used to lean his life as a civil service staff in the lowest level Ethiopian structure and herds a few camels that supplied milk to the town that browsed in the outskirts of the town with his Qawsaar (camel herder). The Qawsaar of this writer’s uncle falsely claims that he (the Qawsaar) and the writer’s uncle are the very cells of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and that the uncle is responsible for logistics.
The uncle was taken into the notorious central prison in the region’s capital and lasted three years in the cell premises facing high-level scale interrogation packages and tortures. There were days that the uncle of Abdiaziz couldn’t able to wear his shirt as his body outfit because of his body swell due to repeated beatings that he suffers till today. And of course, the uncle shares this with others who are suffering from the mental and physical wounds that caught them while in the prison. The writer’s uncle considers the torture he went through to be the lowest in the record according to what his cellmates met.
All changed when Abiy Ahmed became Ethiopia’s Prime Minister who toppled Abdi Mahamoud Omer (Abdi Iley), the former region’s president from the seat and positioned him on trial in Addis Ababa. Mustafa a former human rights activist and current president of the Somali Region came to power on August 22, 2018, after Abiy Ahmed, the PM of Ethiopia invited him to replace the ousted oppressive rule of the Somali regional government that was responsible for the deep-scaled social, political conflict and widespread human rights violations to correct the slip-ups committed in the past and to develop a region that is adversely stunted and served as an acting president up to October 17 2021.
The very first move when Mustafa took over the top job of the region as the region’s acting president, was the closure of the notorious central prison.
Mustafa Omer, leading a region that had a history of marginalisation, oppression and violations in the acting capacity for the past full solid three years plus, implemented several reforms like political reform, police reform, civil service reform and switched off the border conflict between the two neighbouring regions, Oromia and Somali regions that took.
Given that human rights violations have been rampant in the past, and the violations of the group rights are being taken into account as the region comes to terms with its past the fifth regional council unanimously approved the atrocities investigation commission proclamation.
Watching the speech that Mustafa made before the regional council that elected him as the region’s president and soon after he took the oath, he touched many things saying ‘’since 1991 the establishment of the regions and the ethnic-based federalism, Somali region never benefited what is written for it on the constitution like the self-rule’’. The biggest problem was not because Somali people aren’t good, fail to get a leadership that unites them but because an external hand (pointing TPLF) intervening them to divide, used to dictate and wanted not to see a united Somali people, he said.
Continuing his speech, ’the region got relief from the external hand interferences, and ‘’ Today, ‘’maadaadama aan ceelka guntiisa ku jirno loosely translates as we are in the deep of the well’’, we have got an opportunity of having more freedom for the advice and decision we take that the previous presidents of the region had not’’, he said. Mustafa gives the credit of having this opportunity to the leadership of Abiy Ahmed and without his good leadership, this wouldn’t have been possible, Mustafa added.
Observing and getting focused on the achievements of his past full solid three years rule he governed the region in acting president capacity, the region is the most relatively peaceful place in entire Ethiopia at present. And since his arrival and the reforms that brought him to the top job resulted in widespread political and social change including greater freedom for citizens, political parties and the media in Ethiopia in general and in the Somali region particularly. Of course, lots of life changes have been felt during the past three years’ reign of Mustafa even though there is the need to transform other major areas that are of major importance due to past neglect.
Concluding this piece, I firmly believe that Mustafa the president of the Somali Region got a full mandate to continue the caravans of change and transformation of the restive region he started to change in the acting capacity and will take his historically marginalised people into where they deserve and fit for purpose in Ethiopia’s transition and reform agendas to democratise governance structures, and meaningfully deal with the country’s violent past in terms of addressing systematic injustice, exclusions and realise shared prosperity.
About the Author
Abdiaziz Ali Hussein is a writer and educationalist. Mr Ali lives in Jigjiga, Ethiopia, and can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Horndiplomat editorial policy.
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