26th August 2016
His Excellency, Hailemariam Desalegn
Prime Minister of Ethiopia
We ( Ahmed Ali Harsa Freedom Committee Support Group ) are writing this letter to call your attention to the plight of our fellow Djiboutian Ahmed Ali Harsa languishing in your prison, without a trial for a year and half, and scores of other fellow countryman. Yesterday the 25th August 2016 was his 580 day in detention.
Ali Harsi Ahmed is a father of 10 and a diabetes sufferer. He is a self-employed driver of goods between your country Ethiopia and mine Djibouti. He is the family sole breadwinner. His only crime is to try fend for himself and to his large family decently and honestly to earn their daily bread and butter.
This is not to the taste of the two regimes organised mafia in your country and mine. They want the few to benefit from this prosperity. They cannot stand any honest competition. They will go to any length to get ride of any competition by way of bogus charges, intimidations, even sometimes deaths.
The practice of clientelism is so endemic that it reaches at times the ridicule. The case of the Ethiopian 100 meter freestyle swimmer, Roble Kiros Habte, the son of Ethiopian Swimming Federation competing in Rio 2016 Olympic Games comes to mind.
This kind of practices has tarnished as you are well aware the proud record and legacy of Ethiopian sporting heroes the likes of Abebe Bikila, HaïleGebreselassie, Kenenisa Bekele, Derartu Tulu, Tirunesh Diababaand her siblings, Almaz Ayana, Fiyesa Lelisa etc... Apologies for the name not mentioned here. Ethiopia has produced so many more. The list here is not exhaustive. I am bound to have omitted some illustrious names from this list. Rio 2016 seems to be Ethiopia's worst Olympic medals tally to date.
Mr Ali Harsa Ahmed is an Afar man from Tadjourah region of Djibouti. The port city of Tadjourah is to link that city to the capital city of Tigray Mekele. Let's reflect for a moment. I am asking you and your party TPLF to look outward instead of being stuck inward. Let's take the example of Mekele - Tadjourah route between Tigray region and Djibouti. If you look outward the benefit of setting a cordial and amicable relationship based on win-win outcome for both side is so obvious. The Afar is the first inhabitant of Horn of Africa also inhabitant of Ethiopia. He has a border with Ethiopia's largest ethnic groups, the Oromo, the Amharas, the Tigray, with the Somalis in Ethiopia and Somalia, the Tigre in Eritrea from Massawa, Assab to Djibouti to the Red Sea is Afar land. Historically our land used to stretch to Zeila and beyond into the Indian Ocean.
Mr Ali Harsa Ahmed is an Afar from the Afar heartland you see as your economic corridor to dis enclave Tigray and link Mekeleyour capital to Tadjourah port city in Djibouti to the Red Sea. This section of road and railway is financed for more than 80% by us Djibouti and 20% by your regime. Djibouti territory, however, covers less than 20% of this section. This economical suicide had the IMF alarm bells ringing.
The Djiboutian Dictator Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, who is, by the way an imposter and a naturalised Djiboutian from Dire-Dawa, is bending backwards to please your TPLF regime to hang on to power.
We, the Afar people, native of Djibouti are experiencing a Djiboutian regime sponsored Apartheïd since our country independance on the 27 June 1977. Djiboutian Government failed Ahmed Ali Harsa and many other Djiboutians, just because of this Apartheid policy against Afar people. This discriminatory policy lead me as an Afar and a member from Djiboutian civil society to step in and put pen to paper to write to you to advocate on his behalf.
I understand that your country and your TPLF regime contemplate a possible economic integration with my country Djibouti. If this is the type of economic integration on the card, you have in mind. Let's me be blunt. It's a categorical NO from the people of Djibouti. We will not settle to be your dumping economic ground and a second class entity to the benefit of the greater Tigray.
Your protégé Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, the Djiboutian dictator, as you know, would not have been in power if the Djiboutian people had his say democratically, last April. Like your regime, he governs by terror and repression. He is experiencing a wide discontent in Djibouti similar to the one your TPLF regime face in your country Éthiopia with the Oromos et Amharas people protests. His apartheid policy against Afar people in Djibouti is similar to the one you conducting in Ethiopia against all other ethnic including the Afar people of Ethiopia.
Your two regimes one Party, one People rule and Greater Tigre is doom to failure and will lead to the destruction of the two countries.
Recently Djibouti regime started a repression against peaceful Oromo and Amharas residents and refugees settled in Djibouti in solidarity with your regime. Their only crime was to be born Oromo and Amhara. We, the Djiboutian People condemn this act of barbarism in the strongest term. We stand in solidarity with the Oromo, Amharas, Afar and all Ethiopians fighting for justice in Ethiopia.
I am part of a growing number of Djiboutians solidarity groups set up, as Ahmed Ali Harsa and other Djiboutians held in your prison without due legal process. We started a campaign to demand his immediate release, return of his vehicle and compensate him for his loss of earning and ordeal in your prison. We, the People, we launched a campaign in support of Ahmed Ali Harsa campaign to boycott Ethiopia under #BoycottEthiopia4AhmedAliHarsa #BoycottEthiopiaAirlines and #FreeAhmedAliHarsa
We request from you, your Excellency to give instruction to your ministry of justice to look urgently into Mr Ali Harsa Ahmed case and my other countrymen’s in your jails unjustly. Please end his unnecessary suffering and return him to his wife and ten children who are suffering because the family's breadwinner is languishing in your prison unjustly.
The message of hope is to bring back Ethiopia from chaos and destructive path. You must free all political prisoners in your country. You must restore democracy, rule of law and equality in Ethiopia. You must listen to the legitimate grievance of the Ethiopian people. Reason has to prevail before it gets out of hand. This JFK, the American President quote, is topical of what is happening in your country:
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
If I may finish this letter on a positive note! I do believe in an economical space between our two countries and beyond in Africa. I want this space to be based on a win-win situation between nations. It cannot be forced upon the People. People have to be consulted on their future.
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