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My take on Scottish referendum

By Berhane Kahsay
Tigrai Online, Sept. 27, 2014

The Scots went to the polls last Thursday and convincingly voted to maintain the 300 year old union within the United Kingdom. Economic uncertainty, three centuries long linkage and fear of the unknown in the event of Scotland becoming an independent state were the core factors that determined the outcome of the referendum.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) heavily relied on nationalistic fervour and the dislike of the English but these aspects failed to deliver them a victory that a cross section of observers and politicians expected. It is certain that the result of the referendum would send a clear message to SNP not to entertain the once-in-a- generation plebiscite in the distant future.

The Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, was established in 1925, and since then, it has been advocating for the separation of Wales from the UK. In light of the developments in Scotland, the party has to re-assess its untenable position and the best it can hope for under the current situation is an extensive devolution of power.

Other separatists such as Veneto and Sardinia ( Italy), Bavaria( Germany), Catalan and Basque( Spain), Corsica( France), Wallionian( Belgium) and Quebec( Canada) may also have to re-evaluate their independence stance to avoid being rebuffed by the voters whose way of thinking and global viewpoint are similar to the vast majority of the Scottish people.

Without resorting to violence, the Scots had the chance to decide their fate by utilizing the democratic order that exists in the United Kingdom. This has to be emulated by nationalist organisations such as the OLF and ONLF who are engaged in an armed struggle to split their respective regions from the union of nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. There is no need for hostility and bloodshed when it is possible to resolve the secession issue in a peaceful and democratic manner. Article 39 of the FDRE constitution clearly stipulates that ’’Every nation, nationality or people in Ethiopia shall have the unrestricted right to self determination up to secession; where the demand for secession is supported by a simple majority vote in the referendum.’’ The terror groups, however, selected the destructive path as it downed on them that in an open contest they would be rejected by the people they claim to represent. Inhabitants of these regions have greatly benefited from decades long stellar economic growth and as a result of this support for the outlawed groups has been substantially cut-down over the last twenty years. It is no wonder that the proscribed outfits have been reduced to serving foreign enemies for loose change.

In order to completely kill off the fragmented OLF and ONLF and make separation a distant and irrelevant issue, the economic prosperity and constitutional protection of the citizens must be sustained and vigorously guarded at all costs. Another pivotal deterrent factor that has become a vivid reminder to the Ethiopian people is the experience of a neighbouring Lampedusa nation that waged a 30 year long bloody war for independence but ended up as an ostracised country led by a hard-nosed psychopath.


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