By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – It has been a month since the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced that his government would work to safeguard peace in the country. At a speech he made while opening a program organized under the theme ‘end war let us sustain peace’, the Premier said that the government of Ethiopia would do all in its capacity to work for peace. To show his readiness, he took no time before announcing that his government is ready to sit for peace talk with Oromo Liberation Army (OLA). A day after this, the negotiation was kicked off in Zanzibar, Tanzania. That is fantastic!
The House of people’s Representatives designated OLA as a terrorist group. The designation was not lifted by the parliament. People are asking whether it is the right procedure to sit for peace negotiation with a group that was designated as ‘terrorist’. This same thing happened with Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF). The Federal Government and TPLF reached agreement to resolve their differences in peace. The peace talk held with TPLF was finalized before the House lifts the designation. The Pretoria peace accord was signed in November 2022; but the designation was lifted in March 2023. A sort of ‘the cart before the horse’ procedure! History recorded the fact that the House of People’s Representatives designated OLA and TPLF as terrorist groups at the regular meeting held in May 2021. We all see history in the making.
Peace is what all sober-minded people need. It is very important particularly for a nation, which has long been immersed to the neck in the unjust civil war. This is to say that we all appreciate the steps taken by the incumbent to bring about peace in the region. However, at the wake of his speech on peace, the Premier has come up with his threat against what he called ‘extremist groups’ in Amhara Region. You violate the parliament rules, act as a peace-loving personality and sit for dialogue with the terrorist groups. When you feel bad, you label others as extremist, and enforce them to bow down for your demand. That sounds like a puzzle to all. This is history in the making!
The surprising thing is that while the two sides, the Federal Government and OLA-OLF, were sitting round the table for peace dialogue, civilians are being mowed down as usual. Civil servants, farmers and other citizens are being evicted from their areas. The negotiating partner, OLA-OLF, reportedly involved in this act, but the incumbent has no gut to frown upon.
What does the peace call mean? For whom is the peace negotiation tolling? What people are talking currently is that the government will never listen to you unless you have become a warrior. If you want the government to sit with you for peace negotiation, you will have to destroy towns, demolish school and health facilities, commit bank robbery, kill innocent people, and kidnap civilians… It is after these devilish acts, the government seems to give in and invites you to sit for negotiation. This is what this government is doing here. It lays red carpet for TPLF and OLA-OLF, which have caused huge mess in the whole country. However, if it is for Fano or Amhara Special Force or whomever is coming from that side, it is another story. They are the ones that ‘dismantle the constitutional system by force’… What about TPLF and OLA? Are they beautifying the nation with butter?
The PM has given a warning that he would never tolerate the ‘extremist groups’. That is why he drew the sabre against Fanos and Amhara Special Forces. The statement the premier released a few days back said that as ‘the group assassinated the party chief’ in the region, the Federal Defense Force was determined to unleash war against these ‘extremist group’. This is what we are told.
However, what people are asking here is if the killing of Girma Yeshitila was the real cause for the government to pull the trigger, we have lost many opportunities that could have enabled the incumbent to declare war against the mass killers, bank robbers, factory dismantlers in other regions in general and Oromia in particular.
The recent assassination of another party chief from Afar Region and the bank robbery by OLA in Oromia is a good case in point!
I see that the Premier does not want to give ears to what the people of Amhara are saying. The people of Amhara are voicing their concern about the negligence of the government to disarm TPLF as per the Pretoria agreement. The present situation in Sudan is also precarious. Taking these and others in to consideration, the dismantling of Amhara Special Force is untimely and unfair.
The people of Amhara like the other people in this country need peace. Let us give peace a chance. Dear Prime Minister, please do not forget what you said when you were awarded the Noble Peace Prize. You said regarding the significance of peace that, “the art of building peace is a synergistic process to change hearts, minds, beliefs and attitudes that never ceases… Before we can harvest peace dividends, we must plant seeds of love, forgiveness and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens.” Here we are with history in the making.
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