The importance of Oromo-Somali peace conference.

Ethiopia witnessed unprecedented mass protests in the past few years resulting power changing hands within the ruling EPRDF coalition.

As millions of oppressed and disillusioned people, mainly from Oromia region, took to the streets, EPRDF unleashed its killing security machine fueling the protesters’ anger to challenge the status-quo.

Eventually, people power won the match and the mighty EPRDF crumbled –unseating the powerful TPLF and replacing it with a little known new star in power–Dr Abiy Ahmed.

However, the emotional outburst of millions of oppressed Ethiopians had spillover effect. Like an overflowing volcano magma, the wrath of the protesters rapidly turned into a deadly ethnic violence with no purpose or reason.

After dislodging the old EPDRF from power, Ethiopian people turned on each other with devastating cost in terms of human and socio-economic loss. 

Competing historical narratives, claims and counter-claims by different ethnic entities and regions about land etc, led to further chaos and mass displacement.

President Mustafa Omer”s effort to extend a brotherly hand to Oromia region’s leadership to restore peace and friendship between Somali and Oromia people is a bold step in the right direction. 

We admire President Mustafa Omer for his courage and leadership. We equally thank Omoria president for showing the political will for peace to return. 

Violence is not sustainable and everyone eventually loses. Only dialogue, honesty and the desire to achieve lasting peace for all is what all Ethiopians should pursue. 

Consensus and unity of purpose will bear fruit and result for all parties. 

What lessons have Somalis and Oromos learnt from the ethnic violence? 

Oromos and Somalis must sit down together on the table, have open conversation and agree to live and share a common future as in the past.

In any political change there are losers and winners. This is natural. Power imbalance, interest groups and external factors also factor into the equation of the violence. 

Despite all these factors, Oromos and Somalis should know one thing: their future and destiny is one. All Ethiopians have only one country.

Ethnic violence has a life cycle; it seems it has reached the climax and the the emotional volcano is cooling down.

Oromo and Somali peace dialogue in Adama is a process, a foundation on which to build confidence between the brotherly people.

Putting the outcome of the peace conference into action requires political commitment, time and trust.

President Shimelis Abdissa and President Mustafe Omer should be supported and given credit for their excellent peace initiative.

Let peace prevail.

Kassim Haji Noor