Sidama Liberation Front

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The Ideological Confrontations between the Federalist and Unitarian Groups in Ethiopia Can only be Resolved through Dialogue, Not War!

Press Release by the Sidama National Liberation Front (SNLF)

11 November 2020

Ethiopia's failed transition to democracy suffered a further blow on November 3, 2020 when the federal government whose constitutional term limit expired on 5 October 2020 declared war on the Tigray National Regional State for conducting a regional state election within a constitutional time limit. It is to be recalled that the new ruling prosperity party hasitly formed in December 2019 upon the dissolution of the EPRDF party that ruled the country for 27 years, indefinitely postponed the election planned for 2020 citing the Covid 19 pandemic. 

The Tigray People's Liberation Front that was a dominant political player during the 27 years of the EPRDF rule not only declined to merge with the prosperity party due to ideological differences but rejected the unconstitutional extension of the term limit of the federal government without an election and called for all inclusive national dialogue to constitute a new transitional mechanism. 

As Ethiopia plunged into a constitutional crisis due to an indefinite postponment of the election by the ruling prosperity party, all opposition political parties proposed an all inclusive national dialogue involving the ruling party and all opposition parties including the TPLF.  Nevertheless, Abiy Ahmed, a Nobel Leaureat dictator flately rejected the calls for dialogue by the multinational federalist opposition groups and jailed prominent  opposition leaders including Jawar Mohamed, credited for leading the Oromo youth movement, Qeerroo, that brought Abiy himself to power, Bekele Gerba, a long time leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress, Lidetu Ayalew, a long time opposition leader and prominent leaders of the Oromo Liberation Front following the carefully crafted assassination of the iconic Oromo artist, Haacaaluu Hundeessa, on 29 June 2020. 

Having successfully eliminated a credible multinational federalist political opposition, Abiy Ahmed faced only one hurdle to dismantle the 1995 constitution that established Ethiopia's multinational federation and reimpose a unitary state that was impossed on Ethiopia by King Minelik in late 19th and early 20th centuries. This hurdle was the TPLF and the Tigray State that defied the federal state and conducted a regional election in September 2020. 

The three main objectives of Abiy's war on Tigray State are: (1) Dissolve the current constitution and the multinational federation and replace it with a unitary state with Amharic language and culture as instruments of assimilation of 83 nations, nationalities and peoples that account for 90% of Ethiopia's 112 million people; (2) Destroy the capacity of the Tigray State to challenge the reimposition of a unitary state as Tigray State is perceived as the bulwark against the reimposition of a unitarian state; (3) Reclaim territories in Tigray State disputed by the Amhara State to mobilize the urban based Amhara elites across the country and in diaspora as the guardians of unitsrian Ethiopia state and his support base.  

It is no coincidence that the Amhara militia and regional special police have directly participated with the Ethiopian defence forces in the war on the Tigray State. The President of the Tigray State has also claimed that since 10 November 2020, the Eritrean military has invaded the Tigray Region, a sovereign Ethiopian territory at the request of Abiy Ahmed with treasonous implications. 

Abiy Ahmed has waged war on various nations in the country to undermine their quest for self determination. He massacred over a hundred  Sidama civilians in July 2018 for demanding a referendum to establish a regional state although he was forced to agree to it later. He has massacred hundreds of Oromo people for demanding a full degree of self rule. He massacred dozens of Wolayita for demanding a regional self rule. 

Abiy Ahmed is a dictator massacring his own citizens to dismantle the multinational federalism, a political ideology, with a barrel of gun. However, history bears witness that differences in political ideology can only be addressed through dialogue and  never through war. Therefore, the Sidama  National Liberation Front (SNLF) calls on the Ethiopian federal government: 

1) To immediately halt the war in Tigray and engage in all inclusive dialogue with TPLF and all opposition parties in the country; 
2) Release all political prisoners;
3) Stop intimidation of civilians in various nations labelling them as supporters of the TPLF. 
4) Desist from harrasing the Sidama intellectuals with imprisonment while 300-400 Sidama civilians who demanded a referendum languish in prison one year after the referendum. 

The international community

1) To exert pressure on the government of Abiy Ahmed to respect the fundametal human rights and rights of nations to self rule.
2) To press Abiy Ahmed to end the civil war in Tigray immediately; 
3) To press Abiy Ahmed to end military operations and state of emergency in Oromia, Sidama and SNNPR States;
4) To facilitate and assist in all inclusive political dialogue in Ethiopia to save the 2nd largest country in Africa from disintegrating and degenerating into a failed state. 

Victory to the multinational federalists and all oppressed nations!!

11 November 2020