Open Letter to President SRS, Abdi Mohamud Omar.

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Open Letter to President SRS, Abdi Mohamud Omar.

Dr. Hashim Mohamud

April 24, 2011

To: Federal Affairs Minister -Shiferaw Teklemariam.

To: President SRS, Abdi Mohamud Omar.

CC: Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, and Head of ESPDP-Cabdifatah Sheikh Cabdullahi.
CC: Federal Affairs Minister -Shiferaw Teklemariam.
CC: Minister of Justice -Birhan Hailu
CC: Minister of Defence – Siraj Fergesa
CC: Foreign Minister and deputy Prime Minister – Hailemariam Desalegn.

Ref: Once Again,The Constitutional Rights of the Citizens of Raaso Region Are Violated.

On March 15, 2011, the president of the Somali Regional State , Abdi Mohamud Omar, asked the regional parliament to approve the densely populated Raaso region and 14 other towns as new districts. The Fiqi Omar (Sheekhash) clan is outraged and there is much to concern us from this decision. Clearly, the process blots out the substance. We believe the president was more interested in serving the clan architecture than in engaging the actual facts on the ground. We view the decision to make a region with a population of over a quarter million people a district, as nothing more than a calibration of a tribal calculus, cleverly built around a fiction to pretend meeting the constitutional rights of the Raaso region, while propelled by a calculation to block a real just solution.

This declaration was in no doubt driven by the desire to torpedo, the “Liyuu administrative status” sought by the people of the region. We are deeply disappointed with the president. We believe this decision is a mockery of the country’s constitution which clearly defines what constitutes a district. By the definition of the constitution of the country, and given the number of its inhabitants, the Raaso region can’t be anything less than 4 districts and hence, a full province. We believe the president understands this but is unwilling to do the right thing secondary to tribal politics in the Somali Regional State . But, one may ask, how long will the region’s leadership continue putting tribal politics before sound policies that in short term might be difficult, but in the long run, will benefit the Somali Regional State ?

There are only two practical political solutions to the Raaso region: recognizing the region as the 10th province of the Somali regional state or grant the region a special administrative status, “Liyuu administrative status” within the Somali regional State as constitutionally allowed in the country’s constitution and sought by the community. We strongly believe that adding Raaso region and its 250,000 residents to Afdheer Province ; a populous vast province (the largest province), and one that already has 8 districts, is administratively impractical, politically stupid and unacceptable. Adding 2 more districts to Afdheer province is a symbol of policies being made based on tribal politicking rather than on their merit. We argue, this isn’t in the best interest of the region both short and long term.

While we make it unequivocally clear the community’s unwavering intention to seek the “Liyuu Administrative Status “, we remain open to a comprehensive conference with the Somali Regional Administration. We demand the president to stop pretending and stop the toxic tribalism. It’s a shame that the president had to do this humiliating dance to an issue that demands real and practical leadership. We find this decision unjust and in your face. We find it unacceptable injustice and we demand better leadership from the regional administration and from the federal government of Ethiopia. This decision is a clear demonstration of the community’s long list of grievances against the Somali Regional State and why it’s seeking the Liyuu administrative status. We can’t emphasize enough, how the bitterness accruing from this irresponsible decision, for the sake of short-sighted clan politics, plant the poisonous seeds for potential clan conflicts.

The Sheekhash clan’s intellectuals, Diaspora members, political leaders, clan elders and religious leaders, have offered just solutions for the region that will bring permanent peace and prosperity to all the citizens of the Raaso region. The community is ready to assist the administration of Abdi Mohamud Omar, to convene a conference that will comprehensively deal with all issues, grievances and unite all the communities in the Raaso region. We call on the president to provide leadership at this critical juncture and accept the following recommendation:

1-The Raaso region can’t be a district constitutionally, administratively and we find the district status unacceptable. The president should re-convene parliament and the Raaso region should be made the 10th Province of the Somali Regional State . We recommend the Raaso province to be expanded to include Salaxaad, Lagahida and West Imay districts. The province should consist of the following districts: Raaso, Dhaley, Buundada, Ceel Afweyn, West Imay , Salaxaad and Lagahida. We believe, this is practical geographically and is the right thing to do for the Somali regional State. It brings together all the communities in the region and is a win-win solution for all communities.

2-The president should work with the current administration of Raaso region, religious leaders and clan elders, to convene a conference where all issues will be resolved. This conference must also include other Somali clans that inhabit the Raaso region. The federal government should be an observer and present at the conference.

3- We believe strongly, part of the objective of the conference should be to bring genuine reconciliation between the Sheekhash and the Ogaden communities. There should be broad based reconciliation between the two communities. We believe the Chairman of UWSLF, Sheikh Ibrahim can play an important role to bring a genuine reconciliation between the 2 communities and should be utilized by the president to build trust in order to achieve genuine reconciliation between the two communities.

1. Abdirashid Sheikh Ibrahim
Chairman of the Sheekhal Community in the United States

2. Mustafa Mumin
The Vice-Chairman of the Sheekhal Community in the United States

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