ONLF faction acknowledges Constitution, enters Addis Ababa for dialogue

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Addis Ababa, December 24, 2012 (WIC) - A faction of the self styled Ogaden Liberation Front (ONLF) has entered Addis Ababa acknowledging the National Constitution.

The faction is here to hold dialogue with the government and together seek ways of collaborating on national and regional development.

Faction leader, Abdinur Abdulahi Farah said the faction has opted for peace as it has become aware that people of the Somali region have benefited a lot out of the federal system just like all other peoples of Ethiopia.

It is to be recalled that various groups have responded positively to the call of the FDRE government at different times and are currently contributing their share to national development.

A case in point is the Alitihad group led by Engineer Mao and Hussein Abdi Kahin which is currently engaged in national development endeavour in Somali regional state.

The government had previously instigated dialogue with the self styled ONLF terrorist group in Nairobi with the mediation of the Kenyan government, thanks to an initiative taken by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The dialogue was later suspended due to rejection from negotiators of the ONLF to recognize the National Constitution.

According to Abdinur, the question of acknowledging the Constitution or rejecting it caused disintegration within the front and currently only few members continue to be on the wrong side.

“Those members of the front who have rejected the National Constitution have no popular support and they are only few led by Admiral Mohammed Ousman who is now hiding in Asmara. He has no more contact with our folk in Europe including in London. Coming to my group, we conferred the issue of the National Constitution with our supporters and reached consensus that we should acknowledge it. That’s why we are here,” Abdinur said.

Abdinur Abdulahi Farah is Eastern Africa representative of the self styled ONLF, executive member of its central committee and its spokesperson. He now regrets over taking such a long time before acknowledging the National Constitution saying his former viewpoint was totally wrong.

He says members of his faction decided to acknowledge the Constitution upon discovering that people of the Somali region have benefitted a lot from the constitutional system and are administering themselves just like all the other peoples of Ethiopia.

“We can’t refuse to accept the National Constitution. It is what made us equal with all the nations and nationalities of Ethiopia: the Amhara, the Oromo, the Tigrai, the Gambella, …. We are all equally Ethiopians. Our previous stance was incorrect. We were wrong to deny the National Constitution,” Abdinur said.

Abdinur also admitted that the power transition following the passing of the late PM Meles came to pass peacefully contrary to the scenario formulated by the ONLF self styled group. This, he says, has helped further cement his faction’s inclination to peaceful means.

“We thought there would be power vacuum and chaos following the passing of the late PM Meles. However, things unfolded the other way. After witnessing the way the transition was handled, we, along with our supporters, realized that we had no better option than accept the Constitution and resort to peaceful means. That’s the stance I represent upon coming here for dialogue with the government,” said Abdinur.