Ethiopian Somali People’s Democratic Party (ESPDP) changing its names to Somali Democracy Party- dropping the prefix-Ethiopian.
In an explanation as to why the change in name is needed, the party says that it is necessary from the point of view stage of development it has reached and from the point of view of fostering democratic system, as reported by state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC)
As well, the party made changes to its regulations and principles. Among other things, the party has opened membership doors to those who are born in the region and able to speak the Somali language.
The party is undertaking its tenth congress, since Monday this week, in Somali regional state.
The Congress is attended by parties from neighboring Somalia and also members of the ruling coalition party, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Ahmed Shide, Chairman of the party and Finance Minister of the Federal government of Ethiopia, said the Congress will pass decisions that are capable of ensuring justice, democracy, and good governance in the region.
He also said that the regional state has managed to do away with corruption and repressive governance in the region following the countrywide reform process over the past 12 months.
In July and August 2018, tens of thousands of residents in the region were displaced following ethnic-based violence that targeted non-Somali communities in the regional states. Dozens of people including women and children were killed and churches were burnt.
It took a military intervention from the federal to put what appeared then was Somali-regional state-sponsored violence and the president of the region, Abdi Illey, was jailed after his alleged plan to secede from Ethiopia was foiled.
Mustafa Muhummed Omer, a professional with experience in working with multilateral institutions, was appointed as an interim regional state of Somali regional state.
A considerable number of politicized Ethiopians seem to see him as a progressive politician with a commitment for the unity of Ethiopians. Recently, his government allocated 100 million Ethiopian birr to support those Ethiopians who were affected by the violence under Abdi Illey’s government watch in August 2018. Yet, there seem to be also Ethiopians who rather tend to be a bit skeptical of the new administration in Ethiopian Somali region in part on grounds of the history secessionist movement in the region.
Ogaden National Liberation Movement (ONLF) not only expressed that it has ended its armed struggle for secession but also expressed commitment to support Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and Mustafa Muhummed Omer’s regional administration.