Your Excellency Obbo Lemma Megersa: Time to Walk the Walk or Cease and Desist
By Abbaa Ormaa
Politics is a game of give and take when done fair and right. All parties involved negotiate to safeguard the interests and safety of their constituents. Unfortunately, Ethiopian politics has always been filled with winner take-all and abuse-the-rest attitude. TPLF created teams of players in the name of OPDO, APDM, and so on to play for Tigray and TPLF under their watchful eyes. A new generation of leaders has arrived and started to question their supremacy and abuse. They seem to be shocked and throwing tantrum at the fact that the tide is turning against them and the very idea of challenge to their throne. As a result TPLF is desperately running back to its old play book of accusing the victim, the Oromo people with the help of Abdi Mohamud Omar (president of Somalia regional state). TPLF is engaged in blackmail and fabrication of lies to accuse the challengers and deceive the Ethiopian people and the international community. A handpicked Tigrayan “reporters” were flown to Jijiga to spread lies against the Oromo people and the challengers. The fact that the displaced and distressed people called Abadula Gemada and Getachew Negery by name says everything for what it is. When you are displaced and mourning, the last things you do is finger point some 800 miles away and call by name. This is a reminiscent of similar drama in Bedeno: desperate to force the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) from the transitional government, TPLF fabricated and gathered dead bodies that it massacred, most likely Oromos, and blamed OLF. If it was not for its horror, it would have won them an Oscar! The Ethiopian people, especially the people of Somalia who are equally victim of Abdi Mohamud Omar and TPLF, must send a clear message that fool me once shame on you and fool me twice shame on me.
Lemma Megersa has touched nerve with the Ethiopian people for standing up against this destructive racist force. He is the clear leader of this challenge to the TPLF corrupts. But so far it has been talk the talk. Still today the more than 600,000 Oromos are without shelter and adequate food and basic medical cares; more than 65,000 children are without schools; the TPLF’s Janjaweed Liyu Police continues to terrorize and kill Oromos; H/Mariam Desalgne continues to disrespect Oromo lives; the Agaz still occupy Oromia doing their killing rituals, terrorizing people and raping women. For Oromos and the Qeerroo the unanswered question is that when Lemma and his OPDO are to walk the walk or it is just talk the talk. As they say talk is cheap.
Lemma’s voice of reason and rationale did not come free or with TPLF’s blessing. It is because of the sacrifices paid by the blood and bones of Qeerroo. The blood and bones of thousands of Qerroos are still fresh on the streets of Oromia and college campuses. Thousands are still being tortured and abused in the darkness of TPLF prisons. Bekele Gerba and Dr. Merera Gudina along with thousands of prisoners of conscious are in jail denied of their basic rights.
Whether we like it or not we all are going to live in the horn of Africa in one form or another. Eventually our interests and well-being are enter-wind. Very few Oromos have problem with the geographical Ethiopia, even though most Oromos will not go as far as saying it is an addiction. Addiction to anything enslaves once soul and not preferable. The problem with Ethiopia is the injustices that took place to make it one and subsequent to that; the system that treated a proud people as inferior and subjected them to exploitation to no end; the old oppressive and racist system that still lingers around and some are fighting to sustain it. We all should support people’s aspiration to be free and live as they choose. Societies have collective rights to speak in their language, develop their culture, and decide collectively how they choose to live.
The irony today is the Amhara-elites are in tune with Lemma’s firm stand against the TPLF supremacy and the good intended collaboration initiated by OPDO with other peoples of Ethiopia especially the Amhara. Yet the Amhara-elites are campaigning to erase all the gains that have been gained by the blood and bones of the oppressed peoples and what Lemma is advocating for true democracy and true federalism.
The dream of Amhara-chauvinist is to dismantle the federal system and what has been achieved so far by nations and nationalities and replace it with that old prison of nations and nationalities. The so called “Vision Ethiopia”’s number one vision is exactly this. For example, the upcoming conference in Washington D.C. under the title “Federalism in Ethiopia” is evidence to their effort to discredit nations and nationalities using their language and developing their culture. The argument is ethnic federalism is bad for Ethiopia and that they attribute all the problems over the last 26 years to ethnic federalism. What they don’t want to admit is the Ethiopian constitution and a true federalism never took off the ground under the TPLF regime. What has been practiced is the establishment of a new supremacy of the Tigrayans than theirs. For them the issue is why not US. They created their OPDO in Lencoo Lata and Dr. Doma Nego and also other ethnic groups. The truth is ethnic federalism has not given a chance in Ethiopia. Evidence suggests that Lemma and his group are advocating for a true federalism in Ethiopia and the implementation of the constitution as intended. The Amhara-elites wants to have it both ways. On one hand they praise Lemma to no end and on the other hand oppose what he stands for. Ethiopia’s problem goes far back before TPLF when Ethiopia was ruled in a centralized way during the Emperor and the Derg regimes. Why blame Ethnic federalism when the root problem is and has been as summed up by Walelign Mekonnen is that “Ethiopia is a prison of Nations and Nationalities”? Haya jibo satamehagne blagne!
The Oromo people must be vigilant of the formation of power in Ethiopia and evaluate and re-evaluate where they stack in this formation. They will not have any excuse to let history repeats itself and once again waste the blood and bones of Qeerroo and the millions who sacrificed their lives for freedom.
The choice for the Oromo people and specially Qeerroo is clear. Risk going back and allow the TPLF to reconstitute, purge and become even much dangerous to all peoples of Ethiopia or finish the job now regardless spineless OPDO “aderbys”. The price of going back will be leaving generations of Oromos to become slaves to the new maters by the name of Tigray and erase Oromia from the map of the Horn of Africa. This is not a choice the generation Qubbee would and should make! You have now earned the right to defend yourself and maintain your peace with any means available. For the Oromos it is now the right to survive. You led the struggle so far and changed the minds of some OPDOs. But your struggle and resistance continue regardless of whether they give-in to their master or not!
In my opinion, having self-determination is a confidence builder for Oromo people and any system to come thereafter will have a strong foundation and will last. Restricting this right will do the opposite. No society should be restricted by external or internal forces from exercising their God given right!