– Abdi Mahdi, chairman of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), told Addis Standard that the party is withdrawing from the upcoming second round of national elections scheduled for September 30, 2021.
He explained to Addis Standard that the decision was made based on several factors. He said: “Our concerns were not taken into account, our supporters were not registered for voting and most of the voting cards are kept with members of the ruling party.”
News circulated that other opposition parties were operating in the region Somali people have withdrawn from the elections, with the ONLF complaining about the whole process and putting it on social media.
The ONLF then published a detailed statement explaining the reasons for the decision and highlighting the party’s future plans.
The statement communicated to Addis Standard read: “The ONLF Executive Committee held its ordinary session in Jigjiga, Somalia the 7th-10th On the 16th and 16th September 2021, reflecting on the dire situation that was developing in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia and the Somali state.
The EC reaffirmed its firm commitment to nonviolence and the pursuit of its political goals through dialogue and peaceful pros Despite the many challenges and unfair treatment the ONLF has faced since the peace agreement between the ONLF and the Ethiopian government. However, in order to maintain the current peace and stability in the Somali state, all sides must earnestly maintain the peace. Since peace cannot be maintained alone in a single state while war is raging in other states in Ethiopia, the ONLF continues to call on all parties to the current wars to decide for a peaceful settlement of the conflicts and to spare the lives of millions, by continuing this destructive war.
The EC assessed the ONLF’s participation in the upcoming elections and consulted extensively with its members and supporters. After this careful deliberation, the EC has decided that the ONLF will withdraw from the 2021 elections, and the ONLF EC deeply regrets this decision. Despite repeated appeals to the NEBE to correct the widespread electoral fraud by the PP party
with concrete proposals from the opposition parties, it has not created the conditions for free and fair elections in the Somali state. The people’s hopes of postponing the election by three months were dashed by NEBE’s decision to maintain the fraudulent process.
The EC did not make this decision lightly. The main reason for the ONLF to end the armed struggle was to enforce the rights of the Somali people through peaceful democratic means. The circumstances imposed by the ruling party on the ONLF and other opposition parties by blocking the registration of candidates, assaulting or harassing candidates and members, and ultimately hindering the proper registration of voters without real justice ultimately forced the ONLF to step down today of the elections.
The EC is deeply concerned about the deterioration in the situation on the Somali Afar border. ONLF believes that the constitution and legal framework could solve this problem if there is the will and genuine desire of the federal government. It is very ironic that paramilitary forces controlled by the same party are fighting against each other. The problem cannot be solved by dubious administrative agreements between the respective administrations. The constitution provides that a referendum will be held in the event of a dispute between two nations over a border area. Why doesn’t this apply to the disputed area? ONLF calls on the federal government to stop shirking its responsibility and to tackle this problem in a fair and transparent manner. The ONLF also urges other nations in Ethiopia to stop interfering in the Somalis-Afar affair. Such interference could spark ethnic tensions that could have devastating consequences among peaceful communities. In addition, the ONLF calls on the international community to provide meaningful assistance to displaced persons from the Somali Afar conflict, especially the habitually marginalized Somalis.
ONLF reiterates its call for a Somali national consultative conference to address this To unite the Somali people to develop a common stance to strengthen their unity and their efforts to maintain the stability and peace achieved so far. Such a unit will facilitate cooperation to foster efforts to develop a real democratic process that establishes representative governance that forms the basis of a stable, peaceful society at peace with itself and its neighbors.
Finally, ONLF reaffirms its strategic decision to enforce the rights of the Somali people through peaceful, proactive struggle and is ready to engage in any real national dialogue. ”