Real Reform vs Paving a Way for another Authoritarian Regime: Old Politics Old Tactics Old Memories to Damage Reputation of Oromo Opposition Parties and Oromo Politicians in Ethiopia
By Tola Jilo, October 10, 2018
Please allow me to be more expressive and vent my frustrations about the current security situation in Oromia; the underlying political motives and the agenda behind the restlessness in Oromia.
The current warfare on Oromo people (mass displacement from Kamashi, Burayu conflict, and literally an attempt to link the assassination attempted on the Prime Minster to OLF) is critical allegation and should be moment of whistleblower for Oromo people. In particular, the present political affairs of non-Oromo groups (North Ethiopians) on Oromo interests in Oromia is getting deeper and critical.
Why is it a concern to the North Ethiopians about the next leader of Oromia; why do they try to influence the Oromo politics and what do they gain or lose from the ideological views or political platform of Oromo politics? These are the questions each of us should ask and critically analyse to understand why they interfere in our social and political-affairs.
For decades Oromo were silenced under gunpoint and never had an opportunity to claim ownership of its land or its natural resources; never had a government that represent Oromo people to promote its interests; never treated as equal to receive equitable social services, and always lived as a second citizen on their own land. Its fertile land and rich natural resources augmented its exploitation by the Northern elites without reciprocity. This reality averted with exhaustive Oromo struggle and with the sacrifices of thousands of innocent Oromo youth, Qeerroo (Qeerroo + Qarree). As all knows, the current political momentum and the anticipated reform is the outcome of Qeerroo revolution. After liberating Ethiopia from EPRDF, Oromo didn’t claim to gain special advantage beyond asking for ownership of its own land and self-administration without federal government interference in the social and political-affairs of its people. However, for the Abyssinians those who consider themselves as “better class or breed of Semitics decedents and true Ethiopians” this pursuit is an insult. On the other hand, the magnitude of awareness of self-identity and pride with ownership of the land in Oromia is shocking to our friends in the North. Then the only means they think of to obstruct the momentum is to do anything to cause chaos and avert the governance to the old system. For instance, the group behind all these conflicts is trying to use this coward action to substantiate that ethnic federalism is not working.
To get what they want they don’t care what it costs, or how many children or mothers die. Regardless, when a single person dies or gets jailed from their group, e.g. the alleged suicidal of Engineer Simeng, whose ethnic origin is Amhara, has been on headline news media for months and they still believe that he was murdered. However, when a six years Oromo child was killed and dismembered just because the child was Oromo, and thousands of Oromo people from East, Burayu and now hundreds in Kamashi killed, it is nothing to them. The killings of a single person from the North cannot be tolerated but when Oromo killed in tens and hundreds it is just statistics, which clearly shows that they want the Oromo land not the Oromo people.
Their other tactic is, labeling the OLF as instigator of insecurity in Oromia. They are in fear of OLF due to the fact that OLF shares the values of Oromo people and bravely and audaciously promotes the interest of its people. The trust between Oromo people and its organization OLF is unstoppable and strong. This has been evidently seen in the historical turnout of Oromo people at Masqal square to receive OLF leadership upon their return to Ethiopia from Asmara. The reception for the OLF has shocked the loyalist Abyssinians those who attempt to drive the notion of one language, one culture, one boundary, and one Ethiopia regardless of the colorful cultural mosaic nature of this nation. Therefore, they started using the old tactics including false allegation, orchestration, using media to broadcast bad reputations about OLF and so forth. The current blaming tactic they used is similar with the previous TPLF tactics, and therefore nothing is new to Oromo people and to the OLF. They tried to link the assassination attempt on the Prime Minister to OLF; the Burayu conflict to the OLF, the Kamashi conflict to OLF. If they continue pushing the button, it may backfire, trigger intolerance to live with them, and the question of autonomy and self determination. This type of conflict belligerence and blaming on Oromo politicians and Oromo leaders will not get them anywhere, but it instead widens the differences between people and cause intolerance. Oromo’s fairness is not because of fear but due to its harmonious culture to live in peace with its neighbors “Gadheen tola gabbarsuu seeti”. There is a limit for tolerance!
I warn that, whoever, detesting the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) should know that s/he has a problem with the Oromo people. Despising Oromo politicians and the future leaders of Oromia is a signal that they are still in denial to accept Oromo leadership, and still venture to be the one that approves or disapproves the leaders of Oromia. This is an attack on the dignity of Oromo people. An emergence of Dr. Abiy and Team-Lamma was not happened by accident. They were the result of the bloodshed of thousands of Oromo youth who gave their precious lives for the glimpse and hope every citizen in this nation enjoying today. Concurrently Oromo youth gave their life for a century Oromo questions regarding the land and autonomy.
The surprising threat is the threat that comes from within, from the old OPDO, may be unbranded to the current rebranded Oromo Democratic Party (ODP). Today Oromo people expect from their leaders, regardless of their political views, to respect each other, to protect each other or at least not to disgrace each other publicly. Whether they believe or not all Oromo political leaders have common enemies (if they are Oromo themselves). The statement of the five Oromo political parties was excellent example for solidarity and their unity around the common denominator or when Oromo identity is threatened. Unfortunately, this was not what we have seen in recent week with the OPDO/ODP leadership. I regretfully mention the name of Obbo Addisuu Araggaa, Communication Minister, for the mistakes he made for the second time in couple of months.
- The conflict in Kamashi has nothing to do with OLF until proved otherwise. However, Obbo Addisuu Araggaa in his statement has given wrong impression about the OLF connection with the conflict, and it was a reminder of the old TPPLF/OPDO approach. The OLF leader has given a clear statement that it has nothing to do with the organization, but it will collaborate with investigation process. However, Obbo Addisuu once again brought-up about disarming the OLF fighters as a solution. Obbo Addisuu has caused confusion because there is no connection between displacement of the residents and disarming the OLF fighters. He shouldn’t use this moment to bring-up about disarmament. Even if it is a requirement, phone call and private discussion would have been better than sending a message on media.
- Since Obbo Addisuu’s disgraceful statement which is not expected from such a clabber Oromo leader, the circulating question is whether he is going to disarm the G-7 fighters and Amhara farmers as well? Why it is only OLF and the Oromo people? In the past the reasons for distrusting or being doubtful about OPDO was due to the fact that OPDO never related or associated with the interest of Oromo people, instead OPDO always strived to please others at the cost of risking the right of Oromo people. Then, people used to question whether OPDO was an Oromo party. We thought that has been changed over the past couple of years.
- Obbo Addisuu – I appeal to you that your people, Oromo people, like any other communities in Ethiopia (Somali, Afar, Tigry, Amhara, Kamashi….) needs self-protection. Please don’t mention again about disarming any armed Oromo groups, and I beg you for that! If you insist to do this, you may regret one day and you will be responsible for the aftermath of it. Whether this decision is coming from the top or your office, the people of Oromia need leaders who listen to them. Oromo is being killed and you are suggesting to disarm them! The time was supposed to be mourning moment for the lost lives and for the displaced people in West Oromia and shouldn’t be used to capitalize on political agenda. As an Oromo person, I am sad when Oromo politician executes this type of wrong decisions which influence the fate of his people. We should start thinking outside of the box. It is not about OLF, but about your people if your people matter to you.
If it is not for your people, what differentiates the branded and reformed ODP from the old OPDO?
“Finfine is Oromo land and the heart of Oromia”