WHAT WE STAND FOR
A group of like-minded political figures and groups, academics, and activists that are united by the urgent need to articulate and build consensus around one overriding Somali political cause!
Standing for a Cause
Founders and members of the Congress for Somali Cause have been part of the long struggle to advance and organize the Somali people for many years toward a more united, democratic, and prosperous region.
Ethiopia has today reached a new and decisive turning point in its long historical trajectory. The perilous situation to which the erratic politics of successive regimes have led us constitutes a moment of truth for all communities in this country.
We, the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC), reject past and present visions based on the domination of one ethnicity, religion, and language in a country that enjoys one of the most extraordinary cultural diversity in the world. Cognizant of a troubled colonial history, we believe the source of its challenges is a lack of autonomy for nations, nationalities, and peoples. Things fall apart when the very federalism that was supposed to realize the people’s aspiration for autonomy and self-determination and address grievances has been corrupted; resulting in the betrayal of the1995 adopted Ethiopian Federal Constitution. Hence, those who have monopolized the power of the Ethiopian Federal Government have shown their incapacity to lead such a country at this particular moment in its history.
The time has come for the nations, nationalities, and peoples of Ethiopia to free themselves from the discourses and paradigms imposed by the nostalgists of the imperial State. For the majority of the Ethiopian communities who have been marginalized, the fundamental question today is not and has never been whether Ethiopia should be “unified” and recentralized as the Unionists” claim but how we can come up with new forms of federalism after the disastrous experience of centralized and biased federalism that has just failed.
Somalis are among the country’s most oppressed nations who have experienced systemic repression, exclusion, and organized state violence by past and present regimes. Somalis historically rejected being labeled as irreducible “irredentists” as well as “Ethiopian Exceptionalism.” Instead, they waged a long struggle for their liberation and paid a high price to get to where they are today. In the 1970s and 1990, millions of them left their region homes and went as refugees to Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya. Some later made their way overseas to Arab countries, Europe and North America, creating thriving Diaspora communities.
On the whole, the ruling EPRDF chose to disregard its own Constitution, imposed its surrogates on the people, and unleashed unprecedented levels of violence on the Somali civilian population. For example, between 2008 and 2018, Somalis experienced disproportionate discrimination, economic block, systemic rape, and displacement never seen in the past. The promises of an equitable federal system turned into a nightmare that Human Rights groups recorded as one of the worst violations in history.
The Abiy-led transition has failed. It put the country and the entire Horn of Africa region in perilous condition. The struggle between the centralist versus self-determination forces is peaked and has pivoted to an open conflict. The war in Tigray, Afar, Amhara, and Oromo regions, which is about to expand to other regions, is an expression of the struggle between those who want to hang onto the past’s oppressive system versus forces standing for self-determination. To make matters worse, the Abiy administration waged war against Tigray, Oromia, Qimant, and Benshigangul, thus taking the side of centralist forces.
The experience of marginalized communities in terms of exclusion and the lessons learned from historical inequity, and the biased application of corrupted federalism give them the ethical leniency and moral standing to foster and help establish a more inclusive political space. The Congress for Somali Cause (CSC) considers that our narratives have been absent in the debate and have not been given room to contribute to a pluralist perspective of Ethiopian national identity
In response to this national context and having carefully reflected on our fathers and ancestors’ heroic sacrifices and struggles for freedom, justice, and genuine self-rule, we created the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC).
We strongly believe that while the goal and strategies of past struggles may communities’ events for their times, this era requires new ideas and paradigm shifts to end the suffering and marginalization of the Somali people in Ethiopia.
The Congress for Somali Cause (CSC), share with other regional communities and joins hands with them on the call to establish a transitional period where a new vision for self-determination, federalism, or confederation of nations and nationalities can be evaluated
Our mission is to mobilize, educate, and organize a broad-based Somali group to prepare our society for a transitional period where self-determination, federalism, or confederation can be agreed on. We seek that our citizens’ lives, safety, dignity, and political autonomy are realized.
To that end, the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC) is willing to coordinate and collaborate with all other nations and nationalities who wish to implement a new vision for their people where self-determination, federalism, and confederation are all discussed in an inclusive and safe space for all.
We are a group composed of Somali senior politicians, intellectuals, scholars, professionals, and political activists from different backgrounds living inside the country and abroad in the diaspora who are concerned by the alarming situation in the Somali Regional State, in the rest of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa at large. We are committed in our capacity and as a group to join our efforts in search of just, peaceful, and sustainable solutions to the country’s prevailing political and socio-economic situation. We are engaged in bringing our experience, expertise, and energy to accompany our people in this particular historical moment and fully participate in the unavoidable national dialogue that would lead to reconciliation, peaceful coexistence, and mutual benefiting cooperation among the Ethiopian nationalities and people of neighboring countries.
The main objectives of the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC) are:
- To contribute to the reconstruction of a Somali Regional State where citizens’ lives, safety, dignity, and autonomy of decision are fully respected, without illegal interference from the Centra
- To Protect and promote Somali unity without infringing on the rights of other nationalities or undermining the universal values of justice, freedom, and equality for all
- Protection of our territory and seeking peaceful resolution for those districts that have been illegally robbed from our people in the last 27 years of EPRDF administration.
- o make the voice, aspirations, and expectations of Somali people heard in the country and taken into account in all dialogue and negotiations related to the future of Ethiopia;
- To inform local, national, and international communities about the history and memory of Somali people and the Regional States and their significant contributions to the advancement of social justice
- To participate in the discussions on the new forms of federalism, policies, and strategies to shape the present and future of the Somali region and the nation;
- To sensitize and mobilize various stakeholders in the Somali region towards the achievement of their fundamental rights and the pursuance of their development in a democratic and equitable Ethiopia
- To advance and defend the principles of self-rule, justice, the rule of law, respect for cultural and religious diversity, equality, freedom of expression, solidarity, and equitable development of all peoples of Ethiopia;
- To join our efforts with those from other nationalities to advance effective federalism, the rule of law and social justice, and equitable development.
- Strengthen our culture, the Somali language, and the unique socio-psychological make-up that binds us together.
- Writing the history of Somali people from our perspective and promoting our significant contributions to Ethiopia’s cultural, historical, and political diversity.
Our priorities entail five Intertwined areas that we advocate for intending to ensure that our people’s viewpoints and their political aspirations are addressed in the current debates and the foundation of Ethiopia. The Congress for Somali Cause (CSC) seeks self-determination, including and up to full freedom as prescribed in the current Ethiopian Federal Constitution, while our immediate priorities are as follows.
- PRA 1. Promote a Democratic political system ensuring the rule of law, freedom of expression, equity, equitable representation, and social justice at all levels of governance.
- PRA2. Establishment of a system of governance ensuring genuine self-determination/Self-rule and supporting Peoples’ aspirations to elect their local, regional, and national representatives through free and fair elections
- PRA 3. Mobilize Somali society towards a Multi-national Federal or confederation system as the outcome of the restructuring of Ethiopia.
- PRA 4. Advocate for social policies that are relevant to the Somali people’s way of life increases production and productivity, and enhance access to quality education and training for members of our community with a particular emphasis on empowering women and marginalized populations
- PRA 5. Ensure a fair share of national wealth, and economic development.
- Work on creating a platform for Somali political organizations to collaborate, share information, and develop a cooperative work program towards ensuring genuine Self-determination/Self-rule and democratic participation of our own governance.
- Expand the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC) membership and reach out to all sectors of Somali society, and then announce the leadership and founding members of the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC).
- Ensure the full participation of Somali people in any immediate or future political talks, dialogue, and conflict resolution initiatives based on time tested Somali indigenous knowledge and culture in the country.
Organize, collaborate, and closely work with all concerned Somalis in the ongoing restructuring of Ethiopia via existing political groups and the youth in the region.
Publish and distribute the Congress for Somali Cause (CSC)’s work program and comprehensive implementation tools to strengthen the Somali community’s political, cultural, and social power.
Hold a national virtual conference internally followed by opening talks with Multinational federalist forces inside and outside the country.
- Organize a convention with major Somali political parties to prepare for the challenges facing the country.
- Translate or adapt this document into the Somali language so that our message is clear and easily comprehensible to all sectors of our society.