Dear Mr Betana,
Thank you! Like any group, we have internal issues. People fight each other for “power” when real power is not in our hand. It is not easy to deal with human behaviors and conflict of interests too. We are working on it to resolve our differences. We know that when the army is making progress, internal issues will certainly subside. We can confidently say that we are in a better position than where we were a couple of years ago. This happens because of making progress at the grass root level. When people see something tangible on the ground, the majority focuses on major issues or major enemy. We can’t expect all groups solve problems at a time. It takes time. When Dawud Ibsa and General Kemal Gelchu fight for power, leaked information helped TPLF to kill army commander. Unless we cautiously move forward or if we open our door for all, any leaked information could cost the life of people including those left their home and live in a bush.
I will include you in our network. Other leaders of Sidama people will also be part of the broader network. For now, please forward contact information of Sidama leaders in diaspora (email, telephone and where they live). When it is convenient, we will talk by phone/skype on weekends. I have your phone number (++44 (0) 207 58 28577). If not correct, let me know. You must have contact information of country representatives at hand if not all cities. Our short term goal is to create network for community leaders. Community leaders must come with a plan need to be done sometime in 2014. We have things that will be done separately and we have also things must be done together. Strengthening community network paves way for future work at grassroots level. Forward the idea for public consumption.
I want to give you assignment that should be done soon. We are looking for contact information of Southern Ethiopia People’s Front for Justice and Equality (SEPFJE), or “Yedebub Itophiyaa Hizboch Yefitih Inna Ikulinat Ginbar” leaders. Please ask members of the party and those worked with them including Gelgelo from Sidama (I am not sure his name; but he was one of the members of Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) representing Sidama Liberation Front). He might have information. Let me know address of SEPFJE leaders when things get done. I am waiting for responses from other ethnic groups from Afar/Ogaden to Gambella. People are not like machine. It takes time for us to digest things. The idea of working together to getting out of fragmented struggle will have momentum eventually.
Dereje Bacha (Ph.D)
Lincoln Nebraska (USA)