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Is Ogaden/ONLF a Somali clan/tribe or a Nation?


Is Ogaden/ONLF a Somali clan/tribe or a Nation?


Mohamud Aden Samatar 06-19-17


For Somalis Ogaden is a Somali clan, Ogaden clan inhabits in South Somalia, parts of  Ethiopia and Kenya border, and Ogaden clan also inhabits  in Eastern Ethiopia/Western  Somali  like many other Somali clans such as Abaskuul, Akishe, Gari   Gadabursi,  Gurgure , Jarso, Hawiye   Issa, Issaq and shekhash. Somalis call Eastern Ethiopian Somalis Western Somalis, like they call others Northern Somalis/Somaliland, Eastern Somalis/Somalia,  and Southern  Somalis/Somalia  regardless of clan. 


      Western Somali region/Kili 5 is made of two regions, the 1948 region which the British ceded to Emperor Menilik after the end of World War II and the Hawd and Reserve Area region which the British ceded again to Menilik 1954 without the knowledge of Somaliland people.    


       To divide and rule the Somali clans in 1959 Emperor Haile Silase divided Western Somalis in to two districts. Ogaden, Qabri Dahar district, under governor Demise Tefera and Jigjiga district, non Ogaden clans region under Governor Germa Neway. Haile Silase also named Dire-Dawa District after Issa and Guregura/Ye Issana Gurgura Awraja. 


        On June 16,1963 Garad Makhtal, Ogaden clan leader, formed OLF/Ogaden Liberation Front , a movement against Ethiopia, Somalia Government supported OLF , which led to the 1964 Ethio/Somalia war ended March 06, 1964 after parties agreed to a ceasefire.  


    Again in 1984 remnants of Siad Barre military officer who took part in 1977 Ethio/Somalia war like the current tribal rebel/ONLF leader, Admiral Mohamed Osman and few so called tribal leaders created the so called tribal rebel group of Ogaden/ONLF, Ogaden National Liberation Front to challenge/tit for tat against  Mangistu Haile Mariam who allowed SNM, SSDF and USC to wage a war against Siyad Barre from Ethiopia. Since then ONLF have been waging war against Ethiopia. Hundreds  of innocent Ogaden clan  civilians have died for no reason, because of the misguided tribal war perpetrated by former Siad Barre military officer, as no such a country called Ogaden will ever come into existence.  All non Ogaden Somali  clans like Issa, Gurgure , Isaaq, Gadabursi, Abaskuul, Jaarso, Akishe and Hawiye have never supported the misguided tribal war perpetrated by the narrow minded tribalists  against the Ethiopian People and will never accept their homeland named after a single Somali clan/Ogaden if the Somali Ethiopians are to be self-determined as the Ethiopian constitutions allows self-determination.


           Recently on May 18, 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany ONLF joined the so called G-7/Ginbot 7, ethnic hatred based movement against the Ethiopian government and people. It's unknown what kind of justice and equality will ONLF bring to  the non Ogaden Somali clans in Ethiopia, except one clan rule and domination, which led and made Somalia a failed state after Siyad Barre government became one clan rule authority. 


        Glancing back the history of Western Somali region/Kilil 5 there was no such a nation called Ogaden except Ogaden clan, and both Western Somali regions of 1948 and 1954 were  both part and  parcel  of the Republic of Somaliland.              


     In 1994 when the current ruling party EPRDF led by the late great Ethiopian leader, Meles Zanawi took over power and overthrew the military dictatorship of Mangistu Hale Mariam. Ethiopia adopted a Federal System which brought, justice, equality and self-rule for all Ethiopian ethnic groups, like Oromo, Somali, Amhara, Afar and Tigre. 

    And since the current ruling party adopted the Federal system and abolished the one ethnic domination of Amhara , most Ethiopian Ethnic groups have been enjoying their self-rule and the fruits of EPRD achievement. A federal system which preserved the integrity of the Ethiopian people and averted an open ethnic war among the Ethiopian nationalities.  

     Make no mistake the history of Amhara people is an African pride, the Amahara people, particularly those who had lived in diverse communities or cities like Dire Dawa , Addis Ababa, Harar , Nazrate etc. had always been good neighbors, co-workers , schoolmate and trustworthy regardless of the Amhara authorities or rulers, and were always at forefront of any movement against the injustice of the  Amhara led  Authorities. The Amhara student, teachers, workers and peasant were the most victimized by  Mangistu Haile Mariam under the Red Terror campaign, just like the Tigre people were the  most victimized by Mangistu Haile Mariam  because TPLF struggle against Manigistu tyranny.           

       It's unfortunate today that few so called  politicians Amharas to advocate for the return of Amhara rule and domination of one ethnic rule/Amhara and to dismantle the Federal System adopted by the current ruling party EPRDF, which is the most suitable system for the Ethiopian ethnic groups to co-exist together and preserve the integrity of Ethiopia. 

      Federalism is working today for the Ethiopians, after it was implemented by the current ruling party, EPRDF, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Party, led by late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Today in Ethiopia each ethnic group has its own locally elected government or state and have the luxury to practice their own religion, speak, write own languages and preserve their culture and tradition.


   Even though EPRDF has its short comings, for not monitoring local states behavior like Somali state, Ahmara state etc. lack of good governance and  transparency,  no government in the world is hundred percent perfect. Correcting, fixing and helping the system/EPRDF is the best option to keep Ethiopia intact by inviting opposition leaders. Destabilizing Ethiopia is not the interest of any opposition or ethnic group, when ethnic rivalry and animosity has been a norm for centuries whether its based on religion, race, ethnicity or other forms of discrimination.  


        Imagine destabilized Ethiopia  let alone ethnic group vs. ethnic group ,  the Ethiopian  Somali clans will have to turn their guns against each other ONLF vs other Somali clans    


    Imagine an  open season war between Christian Oromos and Muslim Ormos, an open season border conflict between Ormos and Somalis, an unending border dispute between Oromo and Amharas, an unending conflict between Amhara and Tigre, open  war between Afar and Issa reaching and  affecting Djibouti stability, Ethiopia becoming a playground for Al-shabaab and religion extremist, the effect of Ethiopian instability to its neighbors Somaliland, Djibouti and Somalia


       Somalia has been a failed state for twenty five years because of clan conflict and mistrust among Somali Clans/Siad Barre legacy, imagine how long would it take to stabilize Ethiopia of eighty different languages at each others throat.    



Mohamud Aden Samatar


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