OPEN LETTER ON ETHIOPIAN INVOLVEMENT IN SOMALIA’S DOMESTIC POLITICS

To: Dr Abiy Ahmed (Noble Laureate)
Prime Minister of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Your Excellency,

The Forum for National Parties (FNP) presents its compliments to your esteemed office and
commends democratic reforms in your homeland as well as your role in regional peace efforts as reflected in your recent reception of the prestigious Noble Peace Prize.

It is, however, with great regret that FNP seeks to register its grave concerns about the
unfortunate renewal of Ethiopia’s violent involvement in Somalia’s domestic politics.

The Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) have been repeatedly involved in illegal activities whose outcome could at best undermine the fragile state-building and nascent democratic processes in Somalia.

The latest of these incidents took place in Gedo region where ENDF commanders detained dully appointed district commissioners of Belet-Hawo, Dolow and
Luuq on the 6th of November 2019 only to return and release them after they have been
coerced into rebelling against the very authority that appointed them.

In a similar fashion, ENDF has, on the 19th of November 2019, prevented the Vice President
of Jubaland Regional State from visiting his constituents in order to assess the effectiveness of the local administration and capacity of security forces to respond to possible terrorist activities.

The VP avoided confrontation with ENDF, giving chance to diplomacy and friendly
resolution of the matter. Prior to this, ENDF has plainly interfered with the election in
Jubaland where a plane full of Ethiopian commandos attempted to land in Kismayo on the 19th of August to alter the constitutional electoral process and facilitate predetermined
outcome forcing unelected leaders upon the people of the region.

Furthermore, ENDF had hijacked the elections in South West Regional State in December
2018 where, in the process, several civilians lost their lives, scores were injured, and property was destroyed in Baidoa.

This had almost translated into a violent uprising against both ENDF
contingents and the local regime, endangering the fragile peace and political settlement in
the region.

More recently, opposition leaders in Galmudug Regional State have raised alarm
about the increasingly evident level of ENDF’s planned interference with the upcoming
regional elections and their push to ensure a “victory” for a predetermined candidate.

Combined, these incidents are in a clear violation of international laws and agreements
governing peacekeeping in the country.

For instance, ENDF is in breach of the United Nations Security Council Resolution of 1725 adopted on 6th of December 2006 that mandates international peacebuilding actors in Somalia to perform their duties in a manner that contributes to peace and state-building.

Equally, ENDF is in violation of the Status of Mission Agreement (SOMA) signed with AMISOM of which it is a key contributor.

Article 8 of this agreement clearly states that ‘AMISOM and its members shall refrain from any action or activity incompatible with the impartial and international nature of their duties or inconsistent with the spirit of the present arrangement’. The agreement further mandates AMISOM and its members to respect all local laws and regulations.

Unfortunately, ENDF rarely observes these responsibilities as its contingents operate outside of the local and international legal frameworks governing their stay in the country.

As ENDF continues to compromise its impartiality, we believe that this will negatively affect the fragile state-building/peacebuilding in Somalia. This is so because peace and state-building are a very complex processes that require trust and collaboration between key external actors and the local communities.

When key external actors have vested interest to side with one of the parties, as demonstrated by ENDF, their engagement intensifies conflict rather than
moderating it.

It is therefore our humble request that this matter receives your urgent and kindest attention, trusting that you will address the issue in a manner reflecting the image of a new Ethiopia with a great potential of playing a crucial, neutral and constructive role in the geopolitical dynamics.

We look forward to a speedy resolution of our concerns.

Yours Sincerely

Forum for National Parties (FNP)
CC : Inter Governmental Authority for Development.

: African Union
: Arab League
: United Nations Security Council
: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
: United States Mission in Somalia
: European Union Member States’ Missions in Somalia
: Republic of Turkey’s Mission in Somalia