Concerns on sensationalizing Oromo-Somali border issues
By Tesfaye Lemma
Tigrai Online, March 17, 2017
Sometimes we encounter with equivocal portrayals in the media irrespective of the very moral and legal objectives of the media. In the same token, Journalistic professionalism has been fading away from time to time. This is true in most media, including the well known international ones.
Some media houses wrote “conflict resolution” as one of their editorial values, but failed to give it a priority rather they frequently cover conflict aggravating stories.
Another key point in the editorial policy of most media is social responsibility. Their performances that we either read, listen or watch witnesses the fact that these media pay little attention to their news and other genres public impacts.
It is also customary for media practitioners, journalists and columnists doing hasty conclusions and remarks ignoring the impacts of their information on any segment of the society. These kinds of media coverage encourage the number of socially irresponsible and conflict monger writers around the world.
Although, such incidents are rife, my point of discussion has been about the recently published uncaring piece by Ismail Mohammed Abdi. As soon as I read it, an initiation crossed my mind and persuaded me to share my feeling and opinion to those who read that hardhearted article.
In other words, the very fuzzy and distorted idea he attempted to install in the minds of the readers persuaded me to utter a few words. The Article entitled “Shedding light on the recent violence in the border areas between Somali and Oromia regions of Ethiopia” was published on aigaforum.com and tigrayonline.com recently.
I don’t want to rush on to the point that I personally disagree with rather prefer to view the piece in two simple categories: the honest description and the fact distortion of the situation in Ethiopian Oromo-Somali borderland conflicts.
In the first place, I would like to pose the undeniable grains of truth in that piece. The way it described one of the terrorist groups that have been creating chaos at home and exerting unreserved venture to poison the country’s peace in general and that of the Oromiya Regional State in particular.
In connection to this he stated, “The conflict has become a rallying point for such rogue groups as the Oromo Liberation front (OLF) whose intent is only to add flames to any domestic fire solely to advance their obviously crooked agenda which none of us here in Ethiopia has any doubts about”
Undeniably there are a number of groups residing either at home or abroad who have been adding fuel to fire whenever there is any sensitive issue in the country. This could take us nowhere. We all will be losers if we either monger conflicts or contribute in aggravating such incidents. It is undeniable that we Ethiopians could be benefited from peace, development, unity and cooperation. If we able to resolve wisely the inevitable conflicts that might break out here and there no matter what their real causes might be.
The writer also hoisted the affirmative impacts of Ethiopian Federalism emphasizing the creation of a Federal Constitution that cherishes diversity as a source of strength and unity, which devolved economic and political decision-making from the center to grass-roots firmly, established agreed principles for sharing resources, accommodation of various ethnicities and pluralism becoming the hallmark of the new Ethiopia.
The author put forward that Ethiopians should think constructively and protects the most important national assets to which we all owe our current progress, peaceful co-existence and uninterrupted pursuit of prosperity.
Irrespective of these good faiths the author also raised suggested an issue that could poison the peace and creating hatter among the two people.
He skewed a number of ideas and erroneously described the situations on the ground. Firstly, he missed the very fact for a country with more than 80 nations, nationalities and peoples to face some boarder disputes. He failed to consider this very fact on the ground. I believe the writer should have viewed the Ethiopian Oromo-Somali borderland issues within this context.
It is not only closing the eyes but also a sort of betrayal to describe and naming the Oromo People’s Democratic organization (OPDO) as a party that stood against public will without any justifications that could substantiate his argument.
In this regard, I strongly disagree with the author’s statement read as, “the Oromo People’s Democratic organization (OPDO) itself has ironically not chosen a different path and merely replicated a terrorist agenda of turning Ethiopian people against itself”.
This statement is not only described without any tangible evidence that could connivance the readers but it is really far from the truth as it contradicted to the very objectives and the daily practices of the party.
The OPDO/EPRDF has rather been working for the welfare of the people in accordance with the constitution, which guaranteed all nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia to enjoy equal opportunities, mutual respects and peaceful co-existence.
The bone of contention of my intention to say something is the fallacy of the idea conveyed in Ismail’s piece which I think could add fuels to the flaring fire, contribute to escalating conflict and develop hatter between the two people who are of the same flesh and blood.
It could play a negative role in aggravating the problem among the people who have lived together for years peacefully without inflicting any harm to one another.
In fact, the issue is on the board that regional governments considered it seriously and look forward for the appropriate solution in accordance with the constitution.
In this regard, Article 48 and Sub-Article 1 of the Ethiopian Constitution stated that all State border disputes shall be settled by agreement of the concerned States. Where the concerned States fail to reach agreement, the House of the Federation shall decide such disputes on the basis of settlement patterns and the wishes of the peoples concerned.
The narration continued saying, “the OPDO domestically becomes the operational arm running the fighting machinery intended to destabilize Ethiopian Somali communities….”
This is also a sensational approach without tangible evidences just a white-lie that could catalyze the conflict and sprinkling benzene on it. In contrary to Ismail’s sensational piece that could wreak havoc in the area, the federal government, along with the two Regional States has been working on its solution in line with the country’s constitution.
I think this writing lacks social irresponsibility. It seems composed from unhealthy motives, targeted to speed up the Oromo-Somali border conflict. I think there are a lot of fabricated disgraceful claims that contribute to the peaceful resolution of the problem.
In fact, this kind of irresponsible writing is not the first in its kind. There were lots of baseless purports that attempted to flare up fire in the country. However, this piece is uses irresponsible approach.
Ethiopia is a country where more than 80 nations, nationalities and peoples who have strong social bonds have been residing in. In fact, it is impossible to break this strong bond that cemented the two people no matter what distorted information is disseminated.
Those people who are intertwined in flesh and blood shared same values and assets since time immemorial and will remain there for the future. I dare say these kinds of sensationalizing approaches should be avoided rather it is of paramount importance to give a priority to the well-being of the people.