The Fickleness of Obbo Lemma Megersa

The Fickleness of Obbo Lemma Megersa

Assefa A. Lemu, December 24, 2019

Obbo Lemma Megersa is one of the successful OPDO/EPRDF cadres. He started his service as an ordinary cadre and reached the point of being the President of the most populous and largest State of Ethiopia and then the Minister of Defense. His contribution to the current political change which took place in early 2018 in Ethiopia is also exaggerated by his supporters. Even he got credit for surrendering his Chairmanship of OPDO to Dr. Abiy which he did either because of lack of confidence or duress.

On November 15, 2019, on the EPRDF’s Executive Committee meeting to approve the merger of EPRDF and its rebranding as Prosperity Party (PP), we saw the picture of Lemma Megersa raising his left hand halfway with the gloomy face to approve the merger and establishment of PP. At the end of November 2019, Obbo Lemma announced on VOA Afan Oromo Program that he didn’t agree with the merger of EPRDF and he didn’t support the so called “Medemer” because he didn’t understand Medemer Philosophy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k2DgEAtP94).  We were confused as to which one to believe- his vote for the merger which we saw with our own eyes or his objection to the merger which we heard with our ears.

On December 22, 2019, we heard a press release given from the Oromia Branch Office of PP which announced the difference that Obbo Lemma had on EPRDF’s merger and formation of PP has been solved.  Lemma has been moving from Oromo nationalism to Ethiopian nationalism, from opponent of PP to the supporter of PP and continues enjoying the support and praise of most of Oromos. The media and his supporters portrayed Obbo Lemma Megersa as the Oromo nationalist who took lots of risk in fighting for Oromo rights. He and his colleagues claimed that they brought the current change risking their lives. We believed them because we do not have a means to prove or disprove their claims. By controlling the information entering the minds of the people, they controlled what people perceive as truth. In addition, some of the diaspora who returned to the country after many years and who wanted to get position in the government and have access to the media venerated Lemma and Abiy and tried to convince us that the fate of the country is in the hands of Team Lemma.

Lemma has a right to have his personal opinion on everything and, if he wishes, the right to swing from one side to another and vice versa. As stated in the statement of Oromia Branch Office of PP, the cause of dissenting opinion of Obbo Lemma was the newness of the idea of Medemer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUf6bnh7XJc). As Obbo Lemma Megersa himself told us on VOA, the reasons for his dissenting include, his fear of the risk that may happen as a result of merger of EPRDF, his wish to delay the merger, the decrease in the value of his opinions in ODP, and his not understanding of Medemer philosophy ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibxmeHG9bWQ). It is fine if Obbo Lemma takes more time to understand Medemer because all students are not expected to understand one subject at equal pace. Some students are quick learners and other take more time and even repeat the course to understand the subject. Thus, we don’t blame Lemma for taking more time to understand Medemer, but he must stop swinging and confusing us.

Furthermore, in his interview with VOA, Obbo Lemma lamented about the decrease of his importance and listed his complaints but we didn’t hear him opposing his removal from the position of President of Oromia State and his vote on the EPRDF Executive Committee on the merger of EPRDF doesn’t reflect what he talked about on the VOA. His recent actions and interview show that Lemma Megersa is not a man of principle, but a fickle person who tries to bend based on the strength of the political wave. His actions are paradox—Tutuffatta, dhudhungatta (you despise it, but you kiss it).

It is naivety to expect former OPDO/ODP leaders who transformed themselves to be the leaders of PP to address fundamental questions of Oromo. The hope of Oromo should rely on Oromo youth (Qerro and Qarre), if organized, not on former ODP leaders and cadres. Recently, we learned that some of the top OPDO leaders were leaked critical EPRDF information to OLF and Ginbot 7 as well as worked with Qerro Oromo movement which rose against EPRDF. As Oromo says, “namni gurgura bare haadha gaba baasa” (someone who used to sell something, presents his mother for sale”.   Lemma and his boss have the experiences of sitting on the fence to fall to a side which has high probability of winning and that was what they did in 2018 and this was what Lemma did this month. That is what they mean by breaking EPRDF from inside out.

The supporters of Obbo Lemma try to justify every decision he made and every action he took. Now, they try to convince Oromos that he made a wise decision to work with PP to mitigate the negative impact that PP may bring to the multiethnic federalism and the constitution that gives guarantee to the right of ethnic groups and if that doesn’t work, to do to PP what he did to EPRDF, breaking it from inside out. For how long OPDO cadres and their supporters fool the Oromo people?

It is sickening that the Oromo people who claim to be about 40 million couldn’t create their own strong leaders who can address their long standing questions and the fate of Oromo continue to hinge on few individuals whom TPLF identified and trained. If Oromo people want to benefit from the current change in Ethiopia, they must stop worshipping those who publicly admitted that they were servants of TPLF and look for other potential leaders. Especially, Oromo elites must stop idolizing Lemma, Abiy, Shimelis and the like and stand up to be the leaders. As Ethiopian’s Election 2020 is right around the corner, there is no need to waste time on crying about Lemma and his team members.

If poor Ethiopia would collapse, due to these foreign agents, the bitter roaring Mechavillienism !!!.

1 Comment

  1. “Never has ignorance been so enlightening and entertaining”! I heard about Obbo Lemma Megerssa and Dr Abiy Ahmed, for the first time, when they emerged as “Team Lemma”. The great Oromo people have been aware that Lemma and Abiy have been OPDO/EPRDF cadres, however, evaluated the circumstances on the ground and made conscious political decision to embrace them. They processed Lemma’s and Abiy’s pasts; acknowledged their roles as TPLF servants and took them on board in order to move forward. That is, the Oromo people have chosen to give Lemma and Abiy as well as other leaders second chance rather than hanging them for their past mistakes. There are always probabilities to either get things right or miss take on first attempts, and human mistakes can be corrected if used as “learning curves”.

    Nevertheless, one thing must be clear to friends and foes alike. Whilst the great Oromo people have respect for their leaders and hold those deserving high, I have never heard of “40 million Oromo worshiping” individual leaders as projected in the article. If Lemma commands more respect and acceptance among the Oromo, it can be due to his move to identify himself with Oromo questions and the language and the tone he uses to articulate Oromo issues. If Lemma hesitates to be on board the “medemer philosophy”, there is no need to label him “fickle” or “slow learner” as depicted in the article above. Lemma is one of seasoned Oromo politicians and leaders, who must be guided by the interests of the Oromo people. He is not a student of “medemer philosophy”. Even if one takes longer to understand how “medemer” might impact the Ethiopian political climate, which has been complicated by Abyssinian “zero sum” games culture, and decides to voice his/her concerns or objections, it should not lead to insults and condemnations.

    In the article, we are told that “Lemma raised his left hand to approve the merger of the EPRDF and the creation of EPP”. On the other hand, Lemma came out and told us that he did not believe in moving fast into forming the EPP before answering Oromo fundamental questions. Funny enough, the writer tells us that he/she believes the doctored picture in which Lemma was seen raising his hand half way and disregards Lemma’s own words in which he tried to explain why he had not accepted the merger in the manner it happened. In the Ethiopian writing culture in which most writers and “journalists” dare to put their pens to papers to disseminate false information and discredit genuine people and individuals, articles like this raise important questions. Why are we told that the picture in which Lemma is seen raising his hands is more believable than Lemma’s own words? Why can’t we suspect that the article is motivated by some cynical aim? “Read between the lines”!

    The great Oromo people’s politics has matured beyond the wishes and imagination of certain writers and anti-Oromo camps, and is not at the stage of crowning undeserving leaders. There are millions of leaders by their own accords and merits out there, and the Oromo people have no problem of promoting leaders at all levels. Thanks to all Oromo leaders and martyrs who have given themselves for the Oromo cause, Lemma Megerssa included. Qeerroo and qarree, I trust that you can separate the “wheat from the chaff”. The Oromo are never short of leaders, and they can promote and support their leaders purely on their merits. “In politics, being deceived is no excuse “!

    OA

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