By: Abdiaziz Ali Hussein
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali visited today into Somali Region to see the people displaced by the severe drought that is unfolding in the Region that some of them are currently at Kabribayah, a 50 KM away from Jigjiga, the capital city of the Somali region.
Listening to the news on Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporations, the state-owned media, I learned the accent of the Prime Minster speech was strengthening the current ongoing drought response to protect against losing human lives due to the dearth that hundred thousands of livestock lost due it and opportunities diseases pledged to scale up the provision of water trucks, food, animal feed, and essential medicines.
To focus on the current response and saving human lives is the priority now and appreciate that his government gives focus the current need to support the people and their animals and his arrival to show solidarity that these people are not alone in the first place. In his speech when PM Abiy talking about the problem that is affecting the lives of the community, he called ‘’ low land communities’’ is linked with water and told that his government is managing the water and mentioned the establishment of an institution opted to lowland areas, presumably, it is the Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands (MILLS) established in 2021.
So I am taking this opportunity to say one thing and two about my thoughts on his speech. From the very beginning, the PM pronounced neither the word pastoral nor pastoralists, and although I doubt his awareness of whether the people the PM talked to were farmers or pastoral community instead he generalized and identified them as the lowland community.
I don’t surprise to hear from the PM not pronouncing who people he spoke are, but need to tell simply they are called pastoral community in case he may get ashamed to say their name and others scattered in the region, and they and their livestock that the effect of the frequent shocks they face is linked with neither lack of water management and nor even lack of the establishment of MILLS only but is very linked with the absence of pastoral policy and development strategy that translates their constitutional rights and that takes the ecology, livelihood, and lifestyle of pastoral areas into account.
Your excellence, Mr. Prime Minister, it was your government that recognized that while pastoralists are out of the vehicle and lots remaining to bring these citizens that are far left behind on board – there is no room for complacency for your Ethiopia’s shared prosperity plans and drafted the Pastoral Development Policy and Strategy.
Although the policy has shortfalls it is better nothing so far and getting this programme would have been a lot for the pastoral community and solved the recurrent shocks that yet other communities who are displaced due to it before you came to the office still sits in IDPs camps without durable solutions up to know in the future and make them more resilient at least.
To the dismay of many people like me who are aware of the faces that this draft went through, puts a big question mark on your inclusion policies, you said loudly when you jumped the top job of the region back in 2018 why what you drafted and endorsed at the council of Ministers’ level still demands the approval of the parliament. And according to a piece of local news in 2019 quoted Shanko Delelgn, Research and Resource Mobilisation Director-General at the Ministry of peace as the final draft sent to the council of minster will be approved by the parliament by the year 2019 and become operational by the Ethiopian budget year of 2013’’.
And I believe would have been a good time to bring these marginalised people into the development truck and distinguish them to exist by policy and join before this country engage in the 10-year development plans.
Mr. Prime Minister, it will not be fair to put on hold the policy and want to eat ‘’Tibs and Xaniid’’, while both people and the animal that Tibs and Beefsteak (Xaniid in Af-Soomaali)’’ is with, neither exist in policy nor development strategy in a country that you are leading with shared prosperity leaning plans.
In short Mr. Prime Minister, from camel to cow, from Goat to Sheep, and its herders in the Somali Region and other regions in the same context demanding a meaningful policy and development inclusion.
Therefore, I’m again requesting from you to complete what your government started and prove you’re wholehearted with these people if at all it wasn’t tricky to bring simply the Parties of these regions into the belly of your Prosperity Party during the merger plan and give the microphone to the Leaders of the pastoral regions — from Somali to Afar, from Benishangul-Gumuz to Gambella who are taking darks while the people they claim to represent needs to know the whereabouts of the first-ever pastoral development policy and strategy that these marginalized people would have benefited it by now.
Abdiaziz Ali Hussein, is a writer, educationist. Mr Ali lives in Jigjiga, Ethiopia and can be reached through email@example.com