The once banned, deemed terrorist and persecuted OLF for the last 28 years has emerged victorious when the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) certified it as a legal National Party in Ethiopia today.
It is historic in a way because the Ethiopian political landscape that has incessantly been portraying the Oromo People’s struggle spearheaded by the OLF as a monster finally succumbed to the Country’s realty for the first time in its history. It is indeed a landmark for OLF and all Oromo nationalists to reach this milestone with all the odds against the Oromo and Oromo national institutions.
Despite the year-long humiliating experiences that OLF leaderships, in particular, Obboo Dawid Ibsa and colleagues have been subjected to some still languishing in Ethiopian prison as we speak deserve not only our recognition for their achievement but our unwavering support to the very end of securing our inalienable right as a nation.
Why is this a milestone?
It is a milestone, not because Oromos are at the mercy of somebody else’s permission to fight for their freedom. It is a milestone, because the systemic Ethiopia that has been dwelling on the alienation of the Oromo people broke a taboo for the first time in its history by certifying OLF as a legal political entity, not only regionally but also nationally.
It is a milestone because monolithic Ethiopia that was built on the hegemony of one language, one religion and one people broke the silence of its self denial, with an ultimate submission to a realty that Ethiopia should be treated as a multinational polity of equals to ascertain continuity and a peaceful co-existence.
Internally, it is a milestone because the bickering among factions in the name of the multiple OLFs with all sorts of suffixes and pre-fixes is put to rest.
There could only be one indivisible OLF as an organization and one indivisible Oromo as a people. Similarly, there could only be one political entity that operates as OLF in the country simply because duplicates are not allowed to roam around in the same country. Oromos who would like to be part of the OLF reserve every right to be a member and even a leader in the one OLF that is legally operating in the country.
It has to be noted that groupings that are crafted by individuals in to to a “political Party” for temporary gains are by no means equivalents of the iconic OLF. It is true that there are over 107 of parties in the country but none of them are dichotomous to the stature of the OLF in scope & essence.
It is a big deal for the OLF in a way as well because such proceedings of rendering legality for its activities coalesces with the peaceful path that the organization decided to embark on, for its continued struggle to attain the right to self determination.
No one can downplay OLF’s uniqueness in the context of Ethiopia’s political history. Only the self-denying delusional may do the downplaying, to no avail.
Way to Go!!
By Raggasaa Oljirra & Dr Gosaye Fida
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