By Bedassa Tadesse (Dr)
Disclaimer: I am an Oromo. I have my opinions just like anyone. What is stated below is my sole opinion and represents no one else’s. The note is my response to those who are attempting to discredit the contributions of Dawud Ibsa to the Oromo cause.
Dawud Ibsa, the Iron man of the OLF, a man of steel determination and unshakable faith in the Oromo cause and what holds for Oromia, has many detractors: internal as well as external.
Internal are those suckers and losers (I call them Maggots-baby flies or the larvae of a fly that feed on a medium/matter, alive or dead) who can’t carry the weight Dawud Ibsa has been carrying for years even for a single day, and yet they pretend to act as though they have the backbone to stand the weight of something as heavy as the Oromo struggle. They live for themselves but want to appear as heroes to the Oromo public. By virtue of who they are and what they are living for, day-in and day-out, they envy the respect Dawud Ibsa garners from his people and his sworn enemies. They despise his achievements, abominate his character and determination even if they know that Dawud never counts his achievements without giving them credits. Ask them privately, they will proudly tell you that they had no idea about how he manages to see things coming his way miles away. They will hiss at you by saying ” I really don’t know how he pulls the strings together”. I can name names; and who said what and when. However, I refrain from doing so for the Oromo public knows them well.
External are those sworn enemies of the Oromo people who wish that the Oromo nation crumbles like bread crumbs and the Oromo cause wilts away like a seedling or a 100-year-old tree whose bark is cut limiting its ability to circulate essential nutrients to its branches. These are power-thirsty, structurally deficient, and willfully ignorant people who have come to power in Ethiopia, and more than we can count declared that the OLF as dead, buried, or broken beyond repairable damage.
In the past, both the internal and external detractors of Dawud Ibsa and the Oromo cause have worked together like hand-in gloves. They have done their best to infiltrate the OLF and cause havoc in the organization resulting in the loss of precious lives of a number of Oromo youth and intellectuals. There were times when these efforts have paid the enemy well bringing the OLF to its knees.
As gigantic as it is, the organization has survived time and again the sinister works of these internal and external sworn enemies. It has thrived to the extent Oromos are now proudly saying “even the yet to be conceived or unborn Oromo child would come to our world as an OLF.” Let credit be due where it deserves; a large chunk of this achievement is due to Dawud Ibsa (the man who not only survived state-sponsored violence of all types (prison, poisoning, and assassination attempts) but also his leadership (confidence, courage, and character) that brought us thus far.
It is obvious that our enemies would not rest and leave no stone unturned if they see it serve their goals. Since 2018 when the OLF leadership returned to Oromia, the Abiy government has worked harder than ever to weaken, discredit and dismantle the OLF and Dawud Ibsa’s leadership. To cite one example, mere three days after the OLF leadership was greeted with millions of Oromos in Finfinnee (on September 18, 2018) a group of five top-ranking OPDO officials including Lama Magarssa, met in a hotel in Jimma and devised a three-point plan to destroy the OLF and Dawud Ibsa: a) luring away members of the OLF leadership by offering them enticing incentives (money, sex, and access) they may find harder to refuse; b) attacking Dawud Ibsa by focusing on his age and long years of leadership; c) wedging a gap among the OLF, WBO (OLA), and the Oromo public.
Many of us were aware of who among the OLF leadership was selected as the target for this project, what offer was extended, and who among them accepted the offer thanks to the very rogue personal traits and some times often publicly displayed whims of these people. Sex-tapes and phone conversations/ text messages some of these Maggots with OPDOs can be presented as vivid exhibits.
The OPDOs have used all governmental apparatus attacking Dawud Ibsa’s age and length of his service as the Chairman of the OLF only to realize that the more they brought the subject up, it backfired on them to the extent of making Abiy Ahmed realize very early on that Dawud Ibsa is loved and heard among the Oromo public, among other things because as an elder, he has the wisdom that makes him charismatic (thinking positively, having optimism, self-confidence, being persuasive, and building the respect and trust of others) – a quality that no one in the OPDO circles, nor those that Abiy tried to buy out (such as Leenco Lata, Diimaa Nago, Galaasaa Dilboo, etc) can offer.
As to their third option, wedging a gap between Dawud Ibsa, and the OLA (WBO), and the Oromo public, it suffices to remind everyone that it was no other than Dawud Ibsa that reorganized, structured, and deployed WBO in such a way that it can survive foreseeable challenges years before he returned home. When the chips fell in place, he systematically outmaneuvered the OPDOs, Abiy Ahmed, including Oromo politicians like Bekele Gerba and Jawar Mohamed (who tried everything they can to disarm/destroy the OLA) by handing over the OLA (WBO) to the Oromo public. Who else, other than Dawud Ibsa could have pulled such a trigger? To the best of my knowledge, Maggots could NOT do that. I wonder what kind of a parent would not teach their children survival strategies when they are faced with adversity!
There may be many things one can blame Dawud Ibsa, including his patience to allow maggots thrive in the organization. However, I cannot see how anyone with a right mind and rational thinking dares to blame Dawud for his 21 years of selfless sacrifice, shouldering the burden of the Oromo struggle, and reviving the OLA from the brink of extinction to its current state, handing them over to the Oromo public, and the love and respect he garners among the Oromo public just for doing that.
Just for a moment, let’s barricade our heads with barbed wire and assume that Maggots are correct – that Dawud Ibsa’s leadership, as they claimed, has failed them and the Oromo struggle. Even then we would be forced to ask ourselves what have the maggots been doing all these years to save the OLF and the Oromo cause from collapsing? Is joining the Abiy Ahmed government that dreams to resurrect Menilik’s Ethiopia the solution? Where do we find individuals that Dawud’s leadership ejected from the OLF? In the Oromo camp or working for the enemy of the Oromo? It is the consistent answer to these questions that makes me say, well maggots are maggots and their blame can’t hold water. Indeed, they stink!
To conclude, I can see that the Oromo cause is infested with maggots who are generally easy to spot, most of them being at least as big as a thumbnail. They crawl both in and out of our organization. It is important that we get rid of them as quickly as we can: finding the infested areas, crushing the eggs they might have laid, and cleaning the surfaces thoroughly.