The Rise of Political Opportunism in Oromo Liberation Movement
By Rundassa Asheetee
Since the Oromo liberation struggle for freedom was intensified beginning in 2014, we are witnessing the emergence of all kinds of politicians who now try to use the blood of the Oromo people and climb the political ladder. Such individuals had been occupying the back row seat in the Oromo liberation struggle movement when they were high school and university students, while thousands of fellow students protested against the Tigre tribe colonial rule, among which many were killed, jailed tortured or exiled. From their back row seat, they advised the Oromo students to rather focus on their education and stop protesting against the Tigre colonists.
I and couple of my friends had a chance to meet two such individuals who argued with us about the Ethiopian unity, leaving us to wonder why these men, who in reality knew about Ethiopia very little came to love Ethiopia more than the rest of us. That led us to the discovery that these men were best known as back row seat occupiers when they were students at Finfinnee university. Eventually, with little investigation, we were able to find out that these very men were Afaan Oromo speaking Oromians.
As the anti-slavery movement in Oromia got intensified in 2015-2016, the back seat row occupiers and strangers to the Oromo liberation movement started popping up on Habasha and Oromo media or traveled in pursuit of the Ethiopian unity, the same way those who are seeking a back row seat in the Amhara political setting made drastic change in their personal views and started preaching about the Ethiopian unity. Interestingly, the elder ones who had been divorced from the Oromo liberation movement and the younger back seat occupiers varied greatly even when both seek fellowship with the Habasha sons.
From the Habashas side, they strove to include these political opportunists in the Habasha political household by trying to recognize them as best friends while remaining defiant about language based federalism. As one can hear from the audio conversation attached herewith, https://www.facebook.com/waqa.rabi/posts/1700486553301442 the Habasha speakers clearly state that the demands of the Oromo people are obstacles to the Oromo and the Amharas befriending.
In short, by asking why those who were totally strangers to the Oromo liberation struggle became the most instructive leaders only after 2014, we will arrive at the following conclusion.
- After they graduated from the university, they got the best job that the Empire of Ethiopia can offer, and after they managed to move thousands of miles away from the Tigre power, they figured that they can speak their minds.
- They are now free to take up on challenges
- They miss their Amharic speaking friends, familiar traditions, life style, even the food they had always eaten.
- They want to build a reputation of being new and bright leaders who can look beyond past, shake hands with the killers of the Oromo people and move on. Basically, their minds are busy with their own affairs.
- They feel like an outsider to the Oromo liberation struggle as they were back seat occupiers. In other words, the accepting Habashas can easily bolster them compared to the suffered Oromos who would ask to many questions as to why they had been taking the back row seat.
- They feel like a second-class among the angry Oromos because they have no testimonies or have no official call story to tell.
- They feel too great and too big to volunteer in any given Oromo community so sharing a stage with Habasha brings them closer to the upper Habasha class.
- They don’t want to prove themselves every where they go or they don’t want to go out of their way to explain that they are worthy to be considered as pro Oromo liberation struggle after occupying the back seat row of the Oromo struggle since their youthhood.
- They want to make a fresh start because now they have finished college and feel like are very smart.
- They are humanist so they really want to make everyone welcome to equality under the borrowed blanket known as “Ethiopia.”
- “Ethiopia” is an easy entity to bring together everyone who are willing to forget how uncomfortable past and current political situations are.
- Being a stranger around the Oromians is uncomfortable because it causes them loss of identity.
- They feel that they have peculiar talents and abilities to construct an appropriate social role within a group of friends. When they are cut off from friends, familiar and routine things, they feel worthless and useless. That means, they feel that they are more immune to identity crisis if they join what they already know. That means, they feel that they are more accepted as an equals, recognized and loved by the Habashas/Amharic speaking people compared to the Oromos who they feel are judging them for taking the back seat in the Oromo liberation movement.
Certainly these and many other situations can be overwhelming to those who feel that they are not included in the Oromo liberation political circle. In addition, these people want to receive whatever physical necessities they may lack as well as the love and attention to feed their emotional needs. As such, these men tend to esteem the accepting Habashas above their own people, the Oromo. In other words, they value the Habashas who are so quick to offer them great reputation compared to the Oromo who would question them as to where they have been all this time. Unfortunately, it is more convenient to ignore the truth and accept what feels reasonable to their individual needs. Now, the question is, whether such gold diggers would remain lost in the jungle of self love or the would recover from identity crisis.
As to the dream of coming to power with the help of the Amharic speaking people, the truth will remain that political transition can only be made in empire Ethiopia via military confrontation rather than by building successful fellowship with those who openly proclaim that Ethiopia must have one language, Amharic. In fact, even if the Amharic speaking groups accept Afaan Oromo as their own, or start singing to the Waaqeffannaa choir, to become acquainted with an ever-widening gap between the Habasha household and the Oromo demands at this critical moment may mean only a salvation for those who used to occupy the back seat of the Oromo liberation struggle and a great satisfaction for the fellow-shipper, the Amharic speaking group.