TOL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (TLC)
Urgent Press release
A call for peace and achieving the common good To Somaliland, Ethiopia and the Community of Awdal/Salal regions
MINNEAPOLIS, U.S.A, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010–We, The Tol Leadership Council (TLC), founded by a group of concerned scholars, professionals and community leaders of the Gadaboursi (hereafter referred to by the traditional name Tol) at a convention held on April 1-3, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, in an effort to launch the long process of reinvigorating the traditional Somali leadership while envisioning modernized innovations for the Tol in the Horn of Africa and around the world, have followed with great concern the recent chain of unwelcome incidents in the Awdal/Salal regions in Somaliland.
These incidents included the landing of unknown and heavily armed militia on the coastal area between Zeila and Lughaya , the sporadic and spontaneous mass uprisings in Borama, the reported entry of Ethiopian military personnel in Awdal and Salal regions, and the obvious lack of coordinated and efficacious actions by the authorities of Somaliland in dealing with the situation.
As peace and stability have come to be held as a singular achievement and, thus, a source of pride among the people of Somaliland over the recent years, we have been deeply disturbed by the possible repercussions of such events on the public safety of citizens, the security of the country, the prevailing communal harmony between Somaliland communities, and the government’s ability to contain any pernicious fallout from these incidents.
Having faith in the wisdom of the Awdal/Salal communities and the judicious awareness of the Somaliland authorities, and realizing the concern of all parties, including Ethiopia, for the peace and stability in the Horn of African region, we call upon:
1. Awdal/Salal Communities:
1. The communities in Awdal/Salal regions to make concerted and conscientious efforts to avoid anything that could jeopardize their peace and stability, their unity, their communal harmony with neighboring communities and the trust they have with the Government.
2. The communities to exercise their right to express their legitimate grievances through the proper governmental and communal channels while, at all times, reining in their passions and keeping in mind that what harms the peace in one area can ruin the peace of the whole country — resulting in making losers of all.
3. The communities to handle their issues with optimum situational intelligence for which the people of the Awdal/Salal regions are known and to assist the Government in containing the situation by carrying out an adroit investigation that will address any security lapses to the satisfaction of their community.
11. The Somaliland Government:
1. Although we recognize that the Government is still new and has yet to plant its feet firmly on the ground, it is also imperative that shirking its responsibility under the pretext of being in a transitional mode or shifting the blame to previous situations will not absolve it of its own obligation in safeguarding the security of the country and the safety of its citizens.
2. We, therefore, urge the Government to acknowledge its shortcomings, accept the blame where it is due and take immediate action to rectify it in order to earn and sustain the esteem of the people.
3. We also press upon the Government to avoid taking any unwarranted actions or issuing statements that could inflame emotions and erode the citizens’ confidence in the authority of the Government. It should be a primary conviction of the government that earning the trust of the citizens is a perpetual task continuously tested, but particularly after an electoral victory.
4. It is, indeed, the responsibility of the Government to redress the legitimate grievances and security concerns of the Awdal/Salal communities and those in other parts of the country and not to leave issues to fester and grow until they reach the point of eruption. We urge the Government to take immediate steps to look into these issues in close coordination with the community leaders of Awdal/Salal regions and their political representatives.
5. As upholding justice is one of the paramount responsibilities of a viable public authority, we stress with the Government to bring those who murdered the innocent passengers on the road between Kalabaydh and Dilla to face the full weight of the law. The fact that the previous Administration had failed to apprehend these fugitives should NOT warrant that they remain free. Rendering justice to whomever it is due is among the most crucial responsibilities of public authority, and has no timeframe. Arresting those who committed this heinous crime and bringing them before a court of law will go a long way in uncoiling bitterness and making the citizens feel safe, and secure in protection of their rights. Moreover, justice served to the families of the victims is bound to thicken the loyalty of the citizens to public leaders and institutions.
111. The Ethiopian Government:
1. We recognize the legitimate concerns of the Ethiopian Government over the security of its country and the protection of its citizens. Nonetheless, we remind those authorities that maintaining the friendship and good neighborly ties that they have built with Somaliland over the years obligates them to avoid taking any rash and unilateral action that could jeopardize such long term relations and, consequently, usher in a state of insecurity and disorder to the whole region.
2. We, therefore, ask the Ethiopian Government to understand the paramount importance of reinforcing mutual trust through continued consultations and cooperation with Somaliland on all issues related to mutual security.
3. We would like to strongly urge them to avoid taking any unilateral military action or sending any military personnel to any area of Somaliland without the prior consent and pre-arranged measures with the Somaliland Government and local community leaders.
4. It should be known to the Ethiopian Government that any unilateral military incursions to hunt down perceived enemies without the prior knowledge and coordination with Somaliland authorities will only invoke righteous rage on the part of the people of Somaliland against Ethiopia. The fallout of any such incidents will be grave, undermining regional peace and stability and, therefore, playing into the hands of the extremist forces that are determined to wreak havoc upon the shared goals of the two countries: peace and development.
Finally, we want to goad all the parties to resort to sagacity as a mode of thinking and acting and, as a result, exercise extreme caution and patience in dealing with the delicate security situation. To act in ways that would guarantee the common well being of all the peoples of the Horn of Africa is the gold standard for political maturity and effective leadership.
The Tol Leadership Council (TLC), founded on April1-3, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, to be the premier Tol organization that unites all Tol and has the conviction and capabilities to facilitate the establishment of a Tol in the Horn of Africa and around the world that is united; prosperous; at peace with itself and its neighbors; and able to effectively advance and safeguard the common social, economic, and human rights of its people.
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