Democracy is always in the direction of devolution. Tsegaye Ararssa

Democracy is always in the direction of devolution. No country in the world has switched from federalism to some form of centeralism or unitary system.

It is time for Oromoo Revolution!

Very nice quote!!

From Empire through Federalism (Back) to Empire: No, Thank you!
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You know a system is in total decay when it yearns for the very system it demolished. You know the TPLF/EPRDF era, for whatever worth it was, is fast on the ebb when you see its architects desperately long for and seek to imitate the totalitarianism of the Derg. What a poor caricature of the Derg they have become. The very sight of some of the old figures at the core of the system signals total decay, if not the complete senility, of the system.

When you see the people who wrote the constitution wail and groan to renege on the promises of the constitution and to prevent the actualization of the federal system they once imposed– when they regret the recognition of collective rights only because of the shake up by the #Oromoprotests, later named as #OromoRevolution–you know that the system has come to its own; it has come back to embrace the empire that was built on the back of, and AGAINST, the Oromo.

When you see elite TPLF/EPRDF cadres and their chosen scholars of power (who were themselves once junior TPLF cadres who couldn’t find their way up in the ladder for personal reasons) have lost courage to even mention the self-determination clause of their much revered constitution and strain themselves to hide behind the notion of self-rule as a code word used to gloss over, or mute, the right to self-determination (almost as if proclaiming that it is is not even there); when they hardly recognize the central importance of democracy to any genuine federalism; then you know federalism is only a mask, and a code word, for empire.

In a recent posh conference organized by Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC) and the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) on federalism and development, they go to great lengths to avoid even the word ‘self-determination.’ They repeat “self-rule”, almost like incantation, as if mere repetition would make it mean self-determination without saying it. The term “self-determination” has already become a taboo, one that they are trying to wish away by displacing it with the ‘less radical’ notion of self-rule (which otherwise is a synonym for autonomy).

They emphasize Ethiopian unity and the identity thereof. They talk a lot about shared values among “Ethiopians” but not a single one of them dares to mention what those shared values are. Instead, they blame the quest for freedom and justice on elite-led “local nationalism, chauvinism, lack of democratic nationalism, and corruption”.

Above all, they seem to be exercised by the very presence (even the shadowy presence) of the Oromo. In a meeting forced upon them by the fear unleashed by the #OromoRevolution, they avoid to mention the Oromo even when all they are talking about is the Oromo. Never mind the complete absence of Oromos on the panel. (True to history, here too, the Oromo is a present absence!)

In a system that is terrified by democracy as its very undoing, they keep talking about ‘democratic nationalism’, ‘democratic federalism’, ‘free market economy and property rights’, the need for more mobility of ‘labour and capital’, etc. But…

‘Who killed democracy’ in Ethiopia in the first place?

What federalism is there in the absence of democracy? What federalism are we talking about in a virtual apartheid state (that bettered that of South Africa only by its atrocities)?

What freedom of market, what free private sphere, are we talking about, when even the public sphere is not free because of suppression of democracy?

Mobility of whose capital, from where, to where? Mobility of whose labour, to where?

Why is this mobility always so asymmetrical? Why is it that labour moves always southward and capital northward?

What are these road infrastructures in the south other than what they are as “arteries of exploitation”?

Is there the requisite community, common unity, in the first place to allow a symmetrical and free flow of goods, capital, services, and labour?

When has the southern citizen ever imagined the north as his own country? Has it not been only the north that has the unquenchable desire to go south and satisfy their fantasy of conquering the “virgin land” that the south represents?

So whose freedom of movement, whose free enterprise, whose property rights, are the concern here? The answer to all of these questions is obvious.

They talk about the problem of strong regions defying the federal government “in the last two years”. Did they forget that the two largest regions in the country (leave alone the four peripheral regions who have always been under the unmitigated TPLF military misrule) are under the Federal Military Rule sanctioned by a state of emergency and a Command Post routinely terrorizing the people into silence? Has there been any party other than EPRDF in any of the regions lately–except, of course, the ghost of Qeerroo in Oromia?

Again, what they are saying is their puppets in Oromia and Amhara regions (OPDO and ANDM, respectively) could not anymore silence the angry masses as they have failed to control the increasingly impatient and ungovernable population. And yet, all these corrupt and decadent cadres come together at this meeting to talk about lack of democratic nationalism, free market economy, regionalism, etc.

Shame on those who, having had the chance to transform an empire to a democracy via federalism, have completely squandered the opportunity and lost the way out of the quagmire as a consequence!

They talk about the imperative of building one “economic and political community” as they seek to suppress the linguistic nationalism of the Oromo and the wider South. What is the community of unspeaking bodies like? Unspeaking because of total suppression of freedom of expression. And unspeaking because of the monolingual state structure that regrets the very existence of languages other than Amharic? What is more self-evident than habesha supremacist conjectures in this? Who said that unity can be built only if we all speak one language? Who said that, that one language should be the language of a relatively smaller population?

More alarming is that my former colleague Dr Assefa Fisseha calls for a NATO-like regional security alliance to suppress (Oromo) nationalism. As if supremacist doctrine at home hasn’t caused enough disaster, the Tigrean elite (that the likes of Dr Assefa, General Tsadqan, and General Abebe speak for), now presiding over the empire, want to reproduce themselves at the international level in the form of a regional/sub-regional security alliance, in order to crush the Oromo resistance to TPLF hegemony and to permanently subordinate the latter in the entire Horn of Africa region.

They are aiming at a perfect collusion between the national and international regime of terror (never mind they call it security) that conspires to destroy the Oromo. In this, they have only come to their own, back to square one of the colonial empire of the late 19thc that used the conspiracy of the national and the international to produce a submerged sub-national subject.

The tragedy of all this is that even the intellectual class yearns for a supranational network of terror rather than imagining and working towards a network of alliance for democracy, social justice, and solidarity of the poor mass. Imagining a supranational network of democracy would have been a happy exit for TPLF, too. But now that they are at the helm of the imperial hierarchy, it is in their interest to retract the federal idea, downsize its ambitions for transformation of the polity, scale down on its emancipatory promises, and replace it with a transnational military/security architecture.

As the empire harks back to empire via federalism, the future is bleak for Ethiopianists as the Ethiopia-yet-to-come is fast receding from the horizon. The future would be bleaker for the Oromo had it not been for the relentless Oromo youth looking at this squarely in the face and acting fearlessly to enact another future in its place, a better future, a socially just and a fairer future, a future in which we democratize for and on behalf of the mass, or perish!

As the TPLF elite political class seeks the rebirth of empire in the guise of (a fake federalism), we say to them: “No, Thanks. You can go to your own hell by yourself. But enjoy the ride!”


Lema Megersa  says he has pardoned 6430 prisoners. Who are the prisoners? Rapists? Robbers? Or innocent political prisoners? To start with, he can only pardon those convicted; most political prisoners have not even been charged. And those people the regime believe are part of political dissent are jailed in federal prisons

Who is he? this is a jock. He  just talks no power, power is in the hands of the TPLF.  Oromo please wake up!!

1 Comment

  1. The article of dr. Araarsa is excellent. The tigre are in dilemma. They are a tiny minority ruling a huge empire built up by the amhara. They know very well that the empire cannot be sustained but the position they occupy now at the top of throne is so sweet that they often forget their fragile position and call for more totalitarian rule.

    I agree 99 percent with his analysis. The one percent that makes me disagree is his erroneous presentation of the tigre as representing all habasha. That is not true as fact, and even more erroneous as an analytical concept. The focus now is on the tigre. They are the rulers of the empire. All others are against that. We the oromo will take the lead in the fight to liberate the whole people of the region from the empirical yokes. We need all others except for those tigre elite that are in power today. We need all and call all to join us in this struggle towards more democracy, stability and prosperity. In this we need the habasha as well. We make a fatal mistake if we continue to represent the tiny tigre as an invincible power representing the whole habasha which is much larger population. The only invincible power is the unbreakable spirit of all the people of the region to get rid of the evil empire and with it the repressive rule of the tigre minority.

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