Ethiopia’s 8th anniversary Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Day (NNPD) was celebrated on Sunday at the Capital of Jigjiga Somali Regional State, Jigjiga. This year, NNPD celebrated with the motto “Our constitution for our renaissance”.
The celebration was attended by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh and observers of Rwanda and Kenya. Among key speakers were Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Speaker of the House of Federation, Kassa Tekleberhan, Head of Somali Regional Sate, Abdi Mohammed Umer and Mayor of Jijiga who made an opening remark.
Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, declared, the constitution is a word of oath which can save the Ethiopia from disintegration and kept in unity. Thus, we should therefore defend the constitution in effect for consent unity. He added, owing to the constitution, the Ethiopian Somali people whom once marginalized in the past have become active players ongoing national development endeavors.
Speaker of the House of Federation, Kassa Tekleberhan had to say something at the event. He described Hidar 29 was a day, which the Constitution of Ethiopia that brought “all Ethiopians to power” was endorsed. He added Ethiopian Somalis actively struggled to make Ethiopian nations and democratic unity. He also recalled late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s contributions for the present development in Ethiopian Somali Region.
Head of Somali Regional State, Abdi Mohammed Umer declared the day as the re-birthday for the people of the Somali Regional State. He stated in the past the Ethiopian Somali people had suffered from chronic internal oppression and foreign aggression. He described they are now exercising the fruits of peace, development and good governance. He gave some data on progress of schools, health services and thanked Mr. Zenawi’s role and asked the federal government to do more in support of development.
The participants of the event appreciated the hospitality and compassion of the Ethiopian Somali people. The 9th NNPD celebration will take place in Benshangul Gumuz Regional State.
EPRDF leadership has been claiming for weeks Ethiopian Somalis cultural, economic and political rights have been guaranteed under a constitutional framework. However, an observer from Jijiga University (wanted anonymity) dismissed the ruling party, EPRDF leadership’s pronouncement as hypocritical. He said, if the Ethiopian Somalis emergence was for the sake of constitutional respect, for instance, why not equal rights haven’t guaranteed to Sidamas and Agaws demanding a similar degree of self-determination per constitute? The Ethiopian Somalis know very well more or less the degree of liberty they have gained today is the price of their dearly life not the constitutional gift. The Ethiopian Somalis are among the regions who raised concerns at their Regional Council regard to the Agaw-Kemants constitutional rights. The observer added, if the EPRDF leadership is faithful to the Constitution they could treat all citizens equally as stated in the constitution and prove they their loyalty to the constitution. “as EPRDF leadership abuse the constitution phrases for their propaganda purposes in inappropriate situations, more they expose their hypocritical behavior and anger citizens.”