Dawit Miteku 11-09-16
In his recent statement, the Command post secretariat and Minister of defense Ato Siraj Fegesa have confirmed that as a result of the work the people along with the security forces carried out, the country is returning back to its previous peace and stability state in the days the state of emergency is being implemented.
And the current state of the people’s movement and the market and social activity show this reality. Although peace and stability is back throughout the whole country, still the people and government should work together to maintain this peace and stability. In order to see how much is the peace and stability that has returned, let me go back and recall to what we went through – as it can show us the value of peace and the danger of unrest.
It has been almost a year since we lost the stable condition, while unrest and disturbance casted their shadow. The unrest and disturbance that erupted in Oromia last November started the trend – then, the unrest begun in a frivolous manner. The unrest begun an opposition started as a consequence to when a land in a compound of a school in Western Shoa, Ginchi city was being measured to be sold by the city administration to investors. The unrest didn’t stop with this. Young people that have been frustrated with lack of job and good governance fumed the issue.
South west Oromia areas, Tolo woreda, Asguri and Tulu Bolo cities up to Woliso started to be engulfed with street opposition. And it spilled over to western and eastern Wollega, Bale and Harerghe zones, and by 2008 it reached most of the Oromia region cities. What facilitated the easy spread of the unrest is the issue raised in relation to the master-plan in the end of 2014, which was not addressed.
As the compensation given to the farmers that were dislocated in Finfinne and Finfinne surrounding special zone didn’t take into account their livelihood and exposed them to problems, it became an agenda for the opposition. After this, unemployment, lack of good governance, and high demand for development … heated the grievance. In general, the reason for the opposition that erupted in Oromia is demand for development, progress good governance etc …, and can be taken as legitimate or appropriate grievance. As this provided an opening, various OLF groups that were made hopeless after their effort to topple the constitutional regime with various systems failed started to move to use the unrest for their own agenda.
And those entities; who long for the previous centrist regimes, and who have been pissed off with the fact that Oromos are able to get public service with their own language, teach their children with their mother tongue, strengthen and nurture their culture, foster their history and administer themselves while living alongside the rest of the country’s nation, nationalities and people as a result of the federal system, have appeared concerned for Oromo people. Also, during the days when the unrest started, political groups like ‘MEISON’ came out their grave and tried to seize the opportunity.
And when these groups, who have contradicting interest, started to meddle in the Oromo youth opposition for their own interest, the opposition started to change its course. The burning of house of more than 400 people of other ethnic in south western and western Shoa bordering area (Ameya), and the attack carried out on Churches, Christian aid organization and health institutions are instances.
The attack that went as far as killing members of the security forces, the effort to take away arms from security forces and militia forces was an illustration that the opposition was changing course. In the middle of this, many lives from the side of those involved in the unrest and security forces were lost – many were injured.
This injury on citizens became a blessing for the oppositions that are based abroad. TV stations like OMN, which is led by the self-proclaimed Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed and the Eritrea government led ESAT, and the VoA Amharic program which is runned by US budget and host the program of any group that wants to topple the Ethiopian constitutional regime, including Islamic extremist groups, amplified the unrest.
By citing hugely exaggerated number of deaths, by presenting the peacekeeping measures of security forces in a distorted manner in order to make it appear as if there is gross human right violation taking place, they took the unrest as a tool to realize their objective of disturbing Ethiopia. However, groups that were eager to dismantle Ethiopia and secede Oromia using this opportunity could not easily let go of their commotion.
Especially the VoA Amharic program where any group that is after disturbing Ethiopia, like religious fundamentalist, chauvinist, narrow nationalist, and opposition that dabble both in peaceful and unpeaceful activity etc … all present their violent objective wouldn’t budge from Oromia.
In addition to the pressure it puts on citizen’s economic and social livelihood, an unrest that is led by groups and individuals living aboard weaken the country. If the situation is not put under control, it not only poses a threat on the constitutional order, but it also put the survival of the country on the balance. Thus, it became necessary to declare state of emergency. As a result, on September 28, 2016, a six month long state of emergency was declared. And we are currently in state of emergency.
Since the state of emergency started to be implemented, peace and stability in Oromia, Amhara and various areas is returning back to its previous state. Regarding the state in Oromia, members of Oromia state peoples representatives’ council (Chaffe Oromia) said that tangible changes have been recorded since the state of emergency is declared. Members of the Chaffe Oromia representing Hararghe, Wollega, Guji and Finfinne surrounding zones have said that the unrest and destructive activities have fully stopped.
People from various areas where destructive disturbances erupted have condemned the lackeys of Egypt that are ordered to destroy Ethiopia through social medias for demolishing public and private properties and pushing citizens into unemployment in the process. Also, by condemning the destruction that was sustained by schools, health institutions, and clean water providing facilities, the people have started to build back these intuitions that were destroyed by their children, confused by foreign enemies’ conspiracies. And there are areas where the young people who destroyed the institutions and properties have regretted their decision and asked forgiveness and are involved in the rebuilding works.
The statement also said that the cases of 13 businessmen that violated article 4 of the state of emergency proclamation ‘refusing to give service to the people’ by closing their shops in Amhara region Gondar city, 13 individuals that were working covertly to instigate work strike, and three teaches that tried to hinder the teaching and learning process are being investigated after they were tipped off to the authorities by the public. Likewise, out of the 35 businessmen that refused service by closing their shops, six of them have been freed after their cases were investigated whilst the rest 29 cases are still an ongoing investigation.
Around 70 arms that were stolen from various areas in Oromia region Qelem Wollega zone, Dembi dolo city and around Sodo woreda have been returned back to security forces by the looters themselves and by tips from the public. With this, out of the individuals that were leading and coordinating the unrest and disturbance in Qelem Wollega zone, 110 of them are under arrest with the exposition and tip off from the public. And the investigation is going strongly to capture the rest of the participants.
Out of those that were in the forefront in the huge destruction of public properties and development institutions in Western Arsi unrest, 450 suspects in Shashemene city and 670 suspects in western Arsi woredas are arrested by tip from the public and their cases is being looked at currently. In this same zone, out of the 162 arms that was looted during the unrest also involving Shashemene city, 88 were returned back as a result of the effort of local elderly. Effort is underway to return back the rest of the looted arms from the government, private and development institutions.
Out of the arms that were stolen from western Guji zone public institutions, 32 klanshinkovs have been returned. Effort is going on to return back the rest of the guns. And out of those leading the unrest in this one, 302 suspects have been arrested and their cases being looked at. In the recent statement given by the command post secretariat Ato Siraj Fegesa, more than 400 people have handed themselves in before the 10 days deadline set in the state of emergency ended. He said the number of returned back guns have reached 1500.
In general, there is now peace and stability in the country. The public’s motivation to protect their peace, and anger they felt by the destruction, the regret and rue of the young people for being involved in the unrest and in the destruction of public properties, in addition to the government’s peacekeeping capacity are putting the country’s peace in a concrete basis. The people living in areas where the unrest occurred are saying peace is everything.