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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

Born in 1973 in Degehabur zone of Somali regional state, Mustefa Muhumed Omer turned the deputy president of the Somali region 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 within the region & the rampant human rights abuse by the area’s Liyu police (Special Drive), Mustefa is an economist by training and has a Grasp’s of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. He has labored, among others, for the UNOCHA in Somalia, Kenya and Zimbabwe before 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 area which has seen the displacement of greater than 1.three million civilians in the course of the 2016 – 2017 violence involving the security equipment of Somali and Oromia regional states.

On Might 06, 2019, Mustefa Omer participated in a BBC debate recorded in Addis Abeba together with three other panelists during which he said that Ethiopia was more secure at this time than it was a yr in the past before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed got here to energy. Addis Normal’s Tsedale Lemma and Nasredin Mohammed sat down with Mustefa to debate 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 right now 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 extra secure immediately when many others, including worldwide analysts and journalists, consider otherwise, particularly as a consequence of elevated violence and inner displacements

Mustefa Muhumed Omer: I feel there’s a misunderstanding in phrases of how this stability is defined. If individuals are debating concerning the quantity of individuals displaced on this country, it’s a totally different matter. But, if we’re talking about stability in its a number of dynamics then the difficulty that we’ve got to take a look at are past inner displacements. Take for instance the important thing drivers of conflicts – we have now to see where 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 tens of millions of individuals. We also had a state of affairs where several armed teams have been strengthening their army may: some from overseas, some from contained in the country, threatening the long term stability of the country.

So let’s take a look at a couple of points and see the place we are right now. Political violence, threats from armed groups, well-liked help for violent groups or for armed teams, unmitigated use of state safety forces for political repression, and the criminalization of lots of of hundreds of civilians by state safety forces. In the event you contemplate all these elements, I consider we’re far better immediately than we have been a yr in the past. It is true that we have now a small challenge with OLF, for instance, in some pocket areas of the nation. Past that we don’t have an armed group brazenly at warfare with the country for political purposes. TPDM, ONLF, Patriotic Ginbot 7, Gambela Liberation Front and Liberation Motion and all the liberation fronts have now agreed that the political area is enough to accommodate their views and have come again to proceed their wrestle peacefully. So this is one indicator that the country is on a higher footing at present than it was a yr in the past.

We will also take a look at the problems of injustice and impunity; a lot has been finished within the last couple of months to crack down on impunity by authorities and that’s the key for the nation. Impunity on the particular person degree or at group levels can all the time be dealt with by state safety forces. There’s a willingness by the federal government and there’s a government capability 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 got finished main progress and that’s why I say we’re in a higher place stability sensible than a yr ago.

But I need to make it clear that this is not to reduce the horrors we have now seen in current months, including the killings and inner displacements of civilians. But they are not a precursor for a very bad future, they are the residues of a very bad past. That’s how I see it. That is the theoretical part of it. Practically should you take a look at the difficulty of inner displacement and communal violence, we should always needless to say more than 1. 3 million individuals we now rely as displaced in the last one yr have been displaced greater than a yr and two years in the past by state security forces. That is why I’m asking “stability for who?”

It’s unfortunate that we are talking about individuals’s struggling in
numbers. But we can’t deny the truth that Ethiopia is now main different
nations on the planet in terms of the sheer number of IDPs as a end result of
violence. Do you consider that at any given time prior to now we have now had a quantity
closer to this as a result of of the state led violence towards civilians?

Nicely one thing is obvious. The dynamics have modified. Immediately individuals are displaced inside the country. Prior to now hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have fled the nation as a result of of political oppression and state led violence. For example more than 200,000 Somalis are believed to have fled to Somalia, Kenya and other neighboring nations. By my reckoning I do know there are some estimates that say more than 300, 000 Oromos have left their nation 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 other locations. Yes, it’s now more visible because they’re concentrated in given areas inside the country. But you’ll be able to’t say that right now more individuals are displaced than earlier than. Perhaps you possibly can say the nature of displacement have modified: we had extra Ethiopians fleeing the nation, now we’ve extra Ethiopians who’re internally displaced.

So if we put it in that means it balances the analysis but whether it is introduced as if no one was displaced in Ethiopia, and only now all of a sudden three million individuals are displaced then I feel that’s solely telling half of the story and in that regard I don’t agree. I also know that communal violence is not new. It used to occur between Borena and Guji. It used to occur between a number of different ethnicities in Ethiopia; take for instance the Benishabgul Gumuz regional state, it happened prior to now and was even debated within the Parliament. Perhaps now as a result of of the transition and the fact that the federal government is now very cautious or not cracking down on vigilantes, we will say that the numbers have increased in some areas. But again, I feel that is half of the nature of the transition. The comparison has to go beyond numbers. It has to also examine the context. We will’t examine Prime Minister Abiy’s government in terms of stability with the administration in place for the last 27 years. If this example of inner displacement as a result of violence continues for the subsequent three or five years, then I feel we ought to be legitimately involved.

But as we speak I know that 50 % of the Somali IDPs who have been displaced before PM Abiy got here to power have returned. This is not half of the story when it ought to be; we’re only telling the story of displacement, we are not telling the story of reintegration and the work that’s being accomplished which is a continued work in progress.

In fact I’m not disputing the fact that as soon as individuals are displaced they might continue to be counted as displaced. I’m arguing that that does not necessarily mean the state of affairs is worse. For example in Somali and Oromia regional states, we had more than a million internally displaced individuals.

Are you referring to the 2016 – 2017 displacement of some 1.3
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 becomes clear that the majority of the massive scale displacements are in Oromia and Somali areas and it concerned state security forces, whereas most of the displacements in the final one yr occurred as half of the turbulence of the nation when the transition was about to be made or was underway. So we now have to take a look at how many individuals have been displaced after PM Abiy came to power and the way many people have been already displaced and why.

In phrases of the figures, the three million IDPs are the full IDPs both before and after PM Abiy came to energy. 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 at the least sheltered in secure places, receiving help and different providers and present process a gradual relocation and reintegration to their places of origin. We will all the time argue concerning the effectiveness and velocity of relocation, but they’ve the government’s and that of improvement companions’ full help. Once more, what I’m saying is I’m not making an attempt to reduce the influence of the communal violence within the nation in the last 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 within the making just because of the quantity of IDPs. That’s utterly flawed. In Syria, Yemen and Iraq the governments have utterly did not enforce the rule of regulation. That’s why worldwide forces have gone into these nations. In Ethiopia for all the issues we’re speaking about and regardless of its shortcomings, we’ve got a state that’s still implementing the rule of regulation and defending the internally displaced individuals. It’s not AMISOM, neither is it the United Nation. The state’s safety apparatus and its capability to deal with these issues continues to be intact.

Nevertheless it’s plain that there is a obtrusive 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 citizens about eminent assaults.  There are situations when authorities forces
have failed to stop them and in some instances regional safety forces have
develop into bystanders within the midst of conflicts. Part of the blame is the
perception that the federal government is weakened and its security construction
is overwhelmed by an ever robust and partisan regional safety forces. Is that
the way you see it?

By no means. The state security equipment is unbroken. It is robust. It will possibly enforce the rule of regulation. The means is not a problem. Nevertheless, it’s exercising maximum restraint in dealing with this stuff. There might be a room for improvement in phrases of early warning and stopping displacement earlier than they happen. Nevertheless, the state is coping with the residual problems one of which is that so many points 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 by way of simply implementing the rule of regulation. In lots of elements the communities which might be preventing are the same, and this has occurred because of injustices and malpractices by earlier administration which have been there within the last 27 years. All of that can’t be addressed overnight. But if individuals are disenchanted with the federal government for not implementing the rule of regulation the federal government has already accepted that and has vowed to try this. But if individuals need to venture the nation as more unstable and to color the future as extra worrying, then I see the state of affairs of the last 27 years was more worrying for the country than the state of affairs at the moment because in the present day there’s an agreement that the human rights state of affairs has improved. There’s an agreement that a democratic area has broadened and there’s also an agreement 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 really feel they obtained again their rights. In the event you would simply go by the regions, in most elements of Oromia individuals are proud of the change; in most 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 within the eyes of the public has increased. A key issue of stability is when political legitimacy will increase; the federal government has possibilities to outlive. Nevertheless, there are issues to do with the state and nation building nature in Ethiopia. The incontrovertible fact that the process is not defined and subsequently there are lingering questions round accompanied by turbulence and ups and downs should be rigorously managed. On the brilliant aspect, I feel there’s a whole lot of national and international goodwill to make the country work. And that’s why I’ve been very optimistic that what we are experiencing now with sporadic outbreaks of violence and the breakdown of rule of regulation here and there’s a passing cloud.

Let’s transfer to a different matter that you simply’ve talked about that left many
individuals guessing. You mentioned about a new political social gathering formation in the
making. As we get nearer to the election next yr, offered that the election
is going to happen, what is the significance of your indication about a
potential new political get together formation in the making? The place do you see your personal
celebration, Somali Democratic Social gathering, in this alignment?

Thanks Tsedale. The proven fact that there will probably be new political formation is not 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 social gathering to rework EPRDF from a Front into one a social gathering where everyone who shares widespread concepts can come collectively as a nationwide celebration slightly than as a Front or as a coalition of totally different events. 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 am assured there will probably be a new political preparations. As Somali Democratic Social gathering and the Somali region, we are properly conscious of the dynamics, we are ready and of course we have now picked the place we would slot in any potential political formation of the country.

One of the chances insiders are entertaining is a
strengthening of what might be termed as a South-South political parties’
coalition within EPRDF itself. Do you anticipate SDP to have clear alternatives to
grow to be one of EPRDF’s mainstream ally? The different assumption is the Sidama
regional state potential to grow to be a regional state in its personal. Does that give
you the picture of a South-South alignment, notably within the backdrop of
TPLF’s current outright rejection of the thought of uniting EPRDF as a single celebration
despite it being within the making for years? Do you see the remaking of EPRDF or
its disappearance all together? And where would SDP see itself in this?

I might not need to base my
projection on my whims or what I feel would occur. I feel positively what I
see is that there is a floor for a 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 determine who might be with who; but in
basic it’s well known that some of the parties who have now a very good position
within the nationwide politics might not agree with the course that has been given
by the Prime Minister. In that state of affairs I feel no one has a veto energy to
halt the progress that the political dynamics of the nation now requires. I
can see some dropping out, and I can see someone added to EPRDF. But I feel
the core foundations of the dominant political social gathering within the nation will remain
the present celebration, EPRDF, and notably the Prime Minister. I feel the
coalition would remain the dominant get together in the country.

The other point you might have talked about as necessary to reconfigure
EPRDF was the point of “de-ethnicizing the politics”. Do you assume the new
EPRDF in the making, assuming that there is 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 additionally mirror the positions of the celebration – point out that the intention is to de-ethicize the national politics. This is not to say abolish ethnicity on this country. These are two different things. Ethnicity is an id. Nevertheless, whether or not our politics ought to solely be based mostly on delineations along ethnic strains is an issue that I feel many individuals agree can result in countless violence and inter-communal clashes as we now have seen.

In Ethiopian historical past the Ethiopian
state has never been seen as ethnic neutral.
This historic proven fact that the Ethiopian state has by no means been ethnic
impartial was one of the core explanation why individuals are organizing themselves along
ethnic strains. If the state can now perform as a national state that respects
all residents, regardless of one’s background, and that also insures the totally different
divergent interests of teams in Ethiopia, together with minority ethnic teams, and
addresses the issues of political illustration in a very democratic and simply
method, I feel we will ultimately transcend the distractive facet of id
politics.

That stated, I am not somebody who
believes id politics will disappear from Ethiopian political panorama
any time soon. For that matter even superior democracies are discovering it
troublesome to transcend. The typical wisdom has been that id politics
is a primitive thing and subsequently when democracies mature it’s going to disappear
and other people will move 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’s now agreed
that id is an intrinsic factor and other people will continue to determine
themselves as something and that may also affect their political outlook
and political affiliation. That can’t be de-legislated by means of structure or
whatever. Nevertheless, how we arbitrate the totally different feelings or totally different teams
in a simply manner must be the challenge and the task of the federal government.

I know that the time period “de-ethnicizing the politics” is a loaded time period that requires its personal dissection. But taking it at face value, 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 undeniable fact that the state and the social gathering are constituted as one and the same, typically aborting any effort to democratize the state. In the event you have been to choose 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 same?

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 were no democratic elections within the country. When you have correct, free and truthful democratic elections you’ll not have one get together dominated parliament and one get together dominated authorities; you’ll have horse-trading and negotiations that may mechanically take the social gathering calculations out; you understand every social gathering has its own calculation, but relating to the state as a representative of its get together it should not behave as a social gathering, it has to negotiate, which suggests no matter is agreed between the totally different parties who are main the state – offered that it is not a landslide for one get together – will grow to be the nationwide coverage. In institutions the place a dominant celebration wins the election that celebration will talk about with other opposition parties in terms of national issues and take a look at things not only from having gained the election but additionally from the interests of the others who do not agree with the ruling get together.

But I feel the 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 celebration on the state in order that the state is a totally different
factor than the parties. Nevertheless, you may also perceive how troublesome it’s going to
be when the get together and state individuals are still the same. So you possibly can theorize
about it but in precise reality it does happen even to democratic parties until
one is not led by the individuals who owned it and who are also leading the
government. In such instances such events have a separate one that is busy on
the research and improvement and taking a look at ideas that may assist the celebration win
elections. Whereas the one that was elected to the federal government will lead the
authorities within the course the celebration has given. I feel we’re not but there
in Ethiopia; our political tradition is not mature to that degree. So I foresee a
state of affairs where for a continued period of time the state and the celebration will
interface. I foresee that state of affairs but the path needs to be to scale back that.

Talking of elections, as you talked about, a method of lessening this collusion between a state and a celebration is holding a free and truthful elections. Do you assume we may have that election in 2020? I’m of the view that postponing the election will probably open the doors for destabilizing elements notably in the type of de-legitimizing the governing celebration by a number of curiosity teams which are already eager to take action. What’s your view on that? Should the elections be occurring? Should the government give making certain peace and security a priority in order that we will go to the polls? Or do you assume it ought to be postponed given present circumstances?

For my part, issues of the problems of peace and security and stability as well as smoothening the transition should take priority over ticking the box simply to satisfy the requirement of having an election. I consider that and I feel the government is correctly assessing the security state of affairs within the nation, the political developments, institutional reforms that have to take place before elections, and so forth. And I feel the government, from what I understand, is open minded on whether 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 prepared only to see afterward that the opposition get together will cry that they haven’t been given sufficient time to organize for it. At the similar time the government doesn’t need to be seen as being too keen to delay the elections just for self-preservation reasons of staying in power. So I feel the federal government is balancing that. But my personal opinion right here is that the present transition requires some time and subsequently, I might have favored to see ongoing efforts of broadening the political area, strengthening the institutions 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.

But 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 events may have critical misgivings
on the election course of? I am asking this question within the backdrop of our
experience with the nationwide protests towards the current authorities principally
as a result of lack of mandate after having claimed 99 % parliamentary win. I can
additionally mention movements right here in Addis Abeba impressed by absence of in style
mandate the current metropolis authorities lacks; actions that can already function
a window to see what it means to be coping with a authorities whose
constitutional time period in office is finished.

Properly, the presumption that the government had misplaced the popular mandate is improper in the first place and subsequently, the difficulty of a fashionable mandate ought to not be raised in any respect. If that was the difficulty, the federal government that was elected 5 years in the past and claimed complete victory had already misplaced its in style mandate soon after. Nevertheless it acquired a lease of life simply because of the reforms undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy and his staff. In that regard the Prime Minister and the reforms he has carried out have got a common mandate now. I don’t assume anyone will complain if the Prime Minister stated he needed extra time to fix the present problems. I feel he is largely in style within the country right now and trusted by the majority of Ethiopians; in that regard I don’t see the postponing of the elections as destabilizing issue.

But I additionally know that certain teams will not be completely satisfied; but in the event you take a look at it from the nationwide perspective I feel many people will not mind suspending the election. What might be destabilizing is if we rush to the election earlier than we’ve got fastened the security points we’ve got earlier discussed, which I stated have been half of the transition. Also the place we’ve got not ready the ground in terms of reforming all of the establishments which might be required. I know that a good work is being accomplished already but that needs to be finalized and opposition events also needs to do their half. Reform is not solely on the half of the government. I feel the government has carried out a lot of progress in its part in terms of respecting the rule of regulation, in terms of rules of mutual toleration and institutional self-restraint. I’m but to see that from the opposition events. And I feel, that’s additionally a progress that we anticipate will occur in a yr or two or so. So basically to summarize, dashing to the election once we are not ready is extra destabilizing than delaying it and the difficulty of common mandate, I feel, cannot be raised as a result of that has been misplaced quickly after the final election and that’s why we had the change after the uprising in many elements of the nation. And if now the only mandate we take a look at is the mandate of the reform staff, which is led by Prime Minister Abiy, I feel he has a widespread mandate to control. That’s why the opposition events are glad; that’s why the armed teams have laid down their arms; and that’s why in lots of elements of the nation, individuals are supporting his reform and his imaginative and prescient for the country.

Of that reform though, let’s speak about parallels typically drawn between
“Perestroika”, in Gorbachev’s former Soviet Union and “democratic transition”,
if you will, in Abiy’s Ethiopia of immediately notably in economic 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 wholesome parallel
to make? Is it aptly contextualized?

Should you take a look at how the previous Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia have been organized as nations, you’ll notice that they have been ethno-federalist states by and enormous. And when you also take a look at the range of ethnic groups in those areas and the totally different actors, both on the regional and federal ranges, the similarities are not misplaced. And in that sense, I feel the comparison is not completely flawed. Nevertheless, there are additionally another dynamics, exterior dynamics, if you will, which are lacking in our case and have been present in the Soviet Union’s case. In the latter’s case the West with all its political and financial may, have been determined to destroy the Soviet Union because of the ideological rivalry. We don’t have that exterior push issue now in Ethiopia. If in any respect, we now have the reverse. We have now a lot of good worldwide will to maintain Ethiopia together as a country. So that is one area the place that is a difference . Additionally, on the nationwide degree, I feel we’ve a lot of people who agree that the breakup of this country is bad for everyone, not only for a specific group, and subsequently, nevertheless troublesome it’s, I feel there’s a broad consensus that pushing for a state collapse or the breakup of the nation is not an choice. I’ve not seen elites who’re entertaining that as an choice, which is encouraging. Nevertheless, if the transition is not properly 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 way or highway” variety of mentality yes, we will get into hassle. The solely saving grace I see in this is that the federal authorities of Ethiopia can nonetheless implement the rule of regulation in the regions. I feel finally we’ll escape the Soviet Union state of affairs. I’m very optimistic.

But the dynamics inside regional states such because the centralization of monopoly of violence coupled with the privatization of monopoly of violence, which is paving ways for personal residents to mushroom within the type of armed teams – which I ought to 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 ought to be completed in this regard? You’ve seen the type of havoc it wrecked in your personal Somali regional state for example. Do you assume this must be regulated?

I feel one of the most important errors made along the best way is that this problem of creating autonomous security buildings in the areas. No country can survive that. That is one of the explanation why we’re having this drawback. In that regard a critical safety reform and re-look is imminent; it needs to be carried out and that it also needs to tackle the issues of the relationship between the totally different regional armed forces and the way they interact with each other; I consider that needs to be rationalized and streamlined. Regions can have a police drive, for instance, but their mandate needs to be clear on what they do. But so far as retaining the peace of the nation is worried, I feel we should always have one nationwide military; if there’s the difficulty of illustration in the nationwide army, then that must be addressed by enhancing the recruitment course of, not by having separate armed groups in all places. If critical dialogue happen to insure how the nationwide military interface and work together with individuals whose languages members of the national army do not happen to talk, for instance, then it’s an area that may be mentioned 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 modified; but we can’t have totally different armed teams and autonomous safety forces in a single nation within the identify of federalism. So I feel that ought to be addressed and I feel that’s one of the teachings we should always study from Yugoslavia. The sooner it is, the better.

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

Sure, undoubtedly.  I like to recommend the gradual phasing out of these regional Special Forces.

One newest incident involving a regional particular pressure is the
accusation towards Afar regional state special forces for the current demise of
eleven civilians of Somali origin, which triggered tensions between Afar and
Somali regional states. I perceive that you’re having a dialogue with the president
of Afar Regional State to seek out a center ground to unravel the issue. Are there
any amicable solutions the talks have caused?

Most people heard about it last
week but the difficulty did not begin final week. I feel by our estimate, near
75 individuals have died on the Somali aspect and perhaps the identical quantity or extra 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’ve got agreed to discuss
and resolve this peacefully and amicably; the ministry of peace has put a
course on that and we consider we’ll soon 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’ll not be struggle.

Ought to we anticipate the small print of the dialogue anytime quickly? I
must point out that Addis Normal was also informed by Afar regional state officials
that they are going to be releasing extra details on the matter.

Sure. There’s an agreement that there must be no questions off the table, and that violence is not a means 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 means. In that sense relating to the difficulty of these three areas, we are discussing, and we now have 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 dialogue, so I don’t need to preempt a course of that is 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 as a outcome of the opening of media area in Ethiopia we are witnessing the rise of media contents that may 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 ought to 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; but 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 laws that present the right way to deal with such transgression by the media. Aside from that, I feel the concern over irresponsibility of some media ought to not lead us to go back to regressive laws that stifled freedom of speech for many years. I feel the stability needs to be stored. If the calls on the control of media comes from a real concern that they’re not being responsible, then we’ve got to work to make them responsible and in the case the place they’re not responsible we have now to take the legal steps which might be wanted to make them discharge their duties responsibly. But when the priority over the media freedom is about going again to the place we have been, which is stopping whatever we don’t need to hear, I feel we’re past that now, we can’t implement that. We don’t want that. AS