Summary of half a century movement to reconstruct political landscape of modern Ethiopia

Summary of half a century movement to reconstruct political landscape of modern Ethiopia

Malkamuu Jaatee, January 2018

Afaan Oromoo: Documentary Afaanif Guddicha Saba Kush

Modern Ethiopia was established by shifting its capital from Gondar to Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) during the era of European colonial powers scramble for the African continent (1881 – 1914). The recent political movement across Oromia, Amahara, and other regions are the continuous out comes of half a century national struggle of peoples of Ethiopia to achieve freedom and democratic rights. The vision to reconstruct the political landscape of modern Ethiopia came into existence out of peasant uprisings in Wello, Tigray, Hararge, Gojjam, and Bale plus the 1960s movements of Afran Qalloo, Macha and Tulama civic organization, and student protests.

Erratic political movements before and during 1960s were gained momentum through time and developed into revolution in early 1970s. This popular uprising gave an opportunity to establish the following political organizations: All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement (AESM 1968), Ethiopian People’s Liberation Organization (EPLO 1972) later called Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP), Marxist–Leninist Revolutionary Organization (MLRO 1974), Ethiopian Oppressed People’s Revolutionary Struggle (EOPRS 1975), Labour League (LL 1975), Revolutionary Flame (RF 1976) called “Derg”, & Union of Ethiopian Marxist–Leninist Organizations {(UEMLO 1977), the union of all the above listed parties except the EPRP}.

Land for peasants and self determination rights were the slogans of the revolution. However the revolution was aborted without achieving its major goal, because all the parties formed during 1970s were dismantled by military junta, the “Derg” regime (the military committee). The military power played vital role to capture the imperial palace. The Derg regime violently replaced the imperial regime and brutally dictated the political fates of peoples of Ethiopia for 17 years. Its power source was external aids mainly communist camp, the USSR and its Allies, leading global politics in competition with imperialist camp to control strategic positions in the Horn of Africa region.

Leaders and members of the political parties escaped from atrocities of the regime joined Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) and re-emerged as Ethiopian People Democratic Movement (EPDM), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Tigray People`s Liberation Front (TPLF). The EPDM was formed by the EPLF and the TPLF from EPRP dissidents escaped from Gondar to Tigray in 1980. The Oromo People`s Democratic Organization (OPDO) was formed in 1989 by the TPLF from prisoners of war captured by EPLF and TPLF to serve the interest of the TPLF regime using the OPDO as a tool in order to suppress the activities of the OLF.

After the EPLF and TPLF formed military alliance in 1988, they marched to Addis Ababa in 1991 via Gondar and Wello. They have overthrown the Derg regime by military power and successfully formed provisional government of Eritrea and transitional government of Ethiopia depending on diplomatic and technical supports of imperialist camp mainly the USA and its Allies, the leader of global politics, with strategic plan to remove the cold war challenge in order to protect governance of the new global order.

The 17 years (1974 – 1991) armed rebellion against the military junta was developed into ethnic revolution supposed to achieve Freedom and Democracy. However, the 1991 revolution was aborted by military power in similar way as the 1974 socialist revolution without achieving its major goal. The antidemocratic characteristics of the TPLF, the regime known by its fake name {the Ethiopian People`s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)}, was demonstrated from the very beginning when it excluded independent political organizations like the OLF and others from participating in election process of 1992.

The regime has dictated the political fates of peoples of Ethiopia for more than quarter of a century depending on external aids and weakness of political organizations leading the national struggle of peoples of Ethiopia. Absolute dictatorship of the regime is directly reflected by misuse of economic, military, and political powers. These powers illegally acquired by the regime are generally characterized by human rights violation, inciting ethnic conflicts, corruption, stagnation of poverty, and destabilization of the horn of Africa region. This savage regime is well known with its brutal characteristics demonstrated via extra-judicial killings and disappearances of tens of thousands of politically suspected individuals, massacring several thousands of innocent civilians, detention without trial, land grabbing, internal displacements, increasing refugees, suppression of free media, and systematically sponsoring anti peace elements in the Horn of Africa region mainly Al-shabaab of Somalia and inter ethnic conflicts in the southern Sudan via weapon trade and technical support.

There are about 50 political organizations against the regime. Since 2000 they tried to establish political coordination or alliance several times: for example United Liberation Fronts for Oromia (ULFO 2000), Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD 2004), United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF 2005),  Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD 2006), Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ 2008 ), People’s Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (PAFD 2016), and Ethiopian National Movement (ENM 2016) without significant challenges to military, economic, and political dominance of the regime in Ethiopia.

Erratic protest of Oromo students across schools, colleges, and universities since mid of 1990 developed into Oromo youth (Qeerroo) movement in 2005. Multidimensional human rights violation and unfair land tenure policy imposed on rural communities of Oromia and Southern Ethiopia by the TPLF regime resulted in development of Qeerroo movement into mass movement in Oromia in 2012. The movement emerged as popular uprising in Oromia since 2014. Since 2015, it has clearly shown a tendency towards national movement of all peoples of Ethiopia.  The popular uprisings of Oromo, Sidama, Amahara, Konso, and other peoples of Ethiopia became significant challenge to the regime without meaningful coordination of political organizations opposing the regime.

The latest revolution is knocking at the door of imperial palace of the TPLF regime. However it needs effective leadership to achieve its major goal. Due to mishandling of the 1974 and the 1991 revolutions, millions of innocent lives were perished in process of rush up to control the imperial palace without clear vision to establish government of the people, by the people, for the people. Therefore, the current political organizations should learn lessons from failure of their predecessors in order to establish new Ethiopia where peace, justice, freedom, democracy, and sustainable development reign under the rules of law.

The TPLF regime is effectively institutionalized crimes against humanity by executing military power, economic dominance, and its systematic political tools like Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSP), Anti-terrorism Proclamation (ATP), and Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation (FMMAIP), based on manipulation of sovereign authority and terrorism to justify injustice. However, the victory will be for peoples of Ethiopia at the final stage with any expenses. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”


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