The Sidama’s Amhara Elites Hijacked State and The Current Opportunity For Reasserting Genuine Rights to Self-Determination.
August 17, 2021 (By Denboba Natie)
I. A Pre-EPRDF Sidama
One of ancients and during pre-occupation eras vibrant and independent East African egalitarian and democratic nations; the Sidama as the rest of nations of the Ethiopian empire was conquered and colonised by Amhara’s expansionist forces since 1880s. The Amhara King Menelik II was able to assert his colonial occupation of Sidama as well as the rest parts of various nations employing European modern weapons.
Ironically, this era was the exact period when the European colonial powers were agreeing on partitioning of African countries following the infamous Berlin conference of ‘Scramble for Africa’ (1884-1885). The indicated Amhara king whose slave trade earned him a huge asset that by the time placed him in the position of one of global tycoons was able to acquire modern Western countries produced weapons with which his colonial army managed to conquer and colonise the subjects after defeating all traditional East African then independent nations including the Sidama, Oromo, Wolayta, Kambata and Hadya and various colonised nations to eventually consolidate the positions of conquering army.
During Menelik II’s and that of his successor’s era; the colonised subjects were turned to virtual slaves in their own land. Male subjects and their sons were made to work in the fields of Amhara colonial masters in the confiscated lands from the subjects – from ‘dawn to dusk’ while their wives and daughters were required to work in their households serving their wives and children in an exact manner as the slave owners have done to their subjects in Latin and central and north America since late 1550s. slave trade was rampant during these periods.
Today those who trade by the name of Ethiopia are the descendants of these colonial occupiers in various occupied lands of the colonised nations including the Sidama, Oromo, Agew, Afara, Ogadenia and the rest of colonised nations’ land.
Besides, there was no time where the Sidama nation peacefully accepted slavery to remain silent subservient. Instead, the Sidama nation has resisted colonising invaders using guerrilla style warfare until the demise of Amhara’s imperial figure ‘Emperor Ras-Tafari Hailesilassie’ in mid-1970s. The Derg’s unionist regime replaced the system without any change with substances and mentality of the rulers simply because those rulers who have replaced the former were those whose ancestors have brutalised all the oppressed nations of the country and baptised with their mentality. The oppression under the slogan of Ethiopian unity has rather intensified.
The Sidama nation has equally continued with its resistance in a new form under well organised military operation. It has reformed its traditional military strategy by recreating a political organisation known as the ‘Sidama Liberation Movement’ (SLM). Under SLM’s banner, the Sidama was able to arm its forces by taking the necessary military trainings in Somalia with its cousin nation, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and eventually waged war against the Derg’s Ethiopianist – unionist regime between late 1970s and early 1980s.
During its extensive military operations, the SLM was able to liberate over 50% of its landmass although it has failed to consolidate its key holds due to the failure of top leadership in asserting the cause of the struggle. Besides, between 30,000 and 35,000 Sidama people have sacrificed their lives during the indicated war for self-rule. During the indicated period, the Sidama struggle for self-rule has shaken the foundations of the rulers until Derg regime’s final demise to be replaced by EPRDF in mid-1991.
II. Sidama During the EPRDF
The SLM’s leadership has played pivotal roles during the transitional government following the demise of the Derg’s brutal regime in mid-1991. Subsequently, the Sidama became a regional state a year after the transitional arrangement. Sadly, the EPRDF’s leadership made a fatal political miscalculation and reversed the Sidama’s statehood to create an amalgamated nations of south of Ethiopia under single regional state (SNNPR) by flagrantly violating the constitution and constitutional provision. This was where EPRDF has fundamentally failed to deliver.
The Sidama nation did not remain silent. It has repeatedly recorded its grievances for the denial of its quests for a self-rule – the EPRDF’s regime claims to be standing for its defence. The EPRDF and its constitution advocates for the rights of nations and nationalities in Ethiopia to self-rule. In action that was denied to over 6 million populated Sidama. Instead, the response of EPRDF’s brutal regime to Sidama’s peaceful and constitutional quest was so brutal always associated with live bullets. The May 24, 2002, massacre of over 69 Sidama civilians who were peacefully marching toward their capital city Hawassa was related with the above and remains one of the darkest days in Sidama history. EPRDF has fatally failed by denying such rights not only to Sidama nation but also to all nations and people in Ethiopia.
I think the EPRDF’s architects now concede that, they should have allowed various nations of the country to be self-reliant by letting the rule of law to take its course by fully allowing the constitutional provision to be fully exercised by all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. Doing so could have created more empowered regional states whereby regional alliances and federated states could have consolidated their position to ensure the sustainability of federated states in Ethiopia. EPRDF’s failure to do so in the contrary has given opportunity for Amhara elitists to exploit and dig hole for EPRDF’s demise using weak states and those who have grievances against EPRDF’s regime in the aspect of economic justice, political equality, and opportunity to develop own culture and region.
Eventually, the EPRDF’s failure inadvertently contributed to its final demise due to Oromo led revolution to pave an avenue for the resurrection of Amhara elitists ambition for territorial expansion. Therefore, we are witnessing unprecedented level of Amhara elites engineered civil war engulfing the empire under various excuses.
III. Post EPRDF Sidama and Revitalisation Of Sidama’s National Quest For Statehood!
The Oromo youth led revolution of between late 2014 and 2017 has culminated in the political change in Ethiopia. The EPRDF has terribly crumbled. Therefore, the EPRDF’s cadres who were blamed for flagrantly violating the human rights of the citizens confessed and agreed to correct their ills by officially apologising for all crimes the EPRDF has committed on citizens. They have promised to navigate the transition from authoritarianism to democracy and all-inclusive political system under the current constitutional framework.
Immediately following the change, the Amhara elites stepped in to hijack the change. Meanwhile, during the early hours of the change, the current illegally staying in power PM has grabbed premiership and vowed to rectify all ills on behalf of his party (EPRDF). However, his vows and promises remained a word of mouth.
Instead, the current PM’s regime assisted with Amahra elites embarked on waging full scale war on various nations and nationalities by forging alliance with Amhara regional state and foreign countries such as Eritrea and Somalia to commit crimes against humanity in Tigray, Oromia, Benshangul Gumuz, Kemant and Agaw. These are ongoing as we speak.
Meanwhile, the smouldering fire in Sidama land that was unextinguished has flared up following the change in political landscape in the empire. The Sidama nation has revitalised its demands for a statehood following these changes. After meticulously satisfying prerequisites required by the constitutional provision, the Sidama nation re-lodged its demand for statehood in July 2018 to the regional state.
IV. The Sidama’s Unified Push For A Statehood; Its Actualisation and The Response Of Colonel Abiy Ahmed’s Unionist Regime.
The request of the Sidama for statehood has received an outright rejection by the Amhara elites and Abiy’s office that has publicly in the parliament announced the Sidama’s request will never materialise. Abiy’s regime has instead requested the Sidama elders to go and talk to him and reverse the Sidama’s quest until he finalises his transition. The Sidama nation has unanimously rejected his false offer by extensively mobilising one public demonstration attended by millions one after another between February 2019 and April 2019.
In response Amhara elites and PM Abiy’s regime in collaboration have wreaked havoc in Sidama land. They sent their terrorising hired assassins to kill peaceful civilians of other peoples who peacefully lived in Sidama land for decades and put the blame on Sidama Ejjeetto. They burn churches, loot properties to put the blame on Sidama people. Once they execute their heinous missions, the Amhara elites and PM’s office extensively use national and international medias to vilify the Sidama nation to taint bad image on nation’s identity. They have in unison extensively worked on Sidama blackmailing campaign including using government led national and Amhara affiliated medias such as ESAT and hundreds of others.
As their final attempt to stop the Sidama nation from its unstoppable stride for self-rule- Amhara elites and PM’s office in unison have mastermind the mass killing of over 247 Sidama civilians and the imprisonment of over 5,000 between mid-2018 and late 2019. To date, over 200 Sidama civilians remain unlawfully imprisoned for the crimes masterminded by the regime.
They kill Sidama civilians and make the nation scapegoat to officially vilify them by Amhara elites ruled establishments. As indicated these groups owned medias and other opportunists who have peacefully lived and prospered in Sidama land until they negatively turn their face against the Sidama nation become venomous to the nation. The Sidama nation was made sacrificial lamb in its own land.
Besides, as defiant as always; the nation become more unified and pushed with its resolve for a national self-rule defying odd. Moreover, the Sidama’s peaceful movement has also grabbed the attention of the international community thereby forcing Abiy’s dictatorial regime to allow the Sidama to hold a referendum for a statehood. After breath-taking struggle of the Sidama nation for over 16 months and sacrifices of over 247 civilians and unlawful incarcerations of over 5,000; the Sidama has finally held its referendum on 20, November 2019. The result was overwhelming 98% ‘YES’ for statehood. To be here the Sidama nation become a unified entity to push in unison defying vilifications and state sponsored criminalities to its civilians.
V. The Ethiopian Establishment’s Sabotage Of The Sidama State Once The Sidama Has Asserted It.
Cognizant of the Sidama’s no-returning without having its regional state; the PM, his Amhara elite advisers and supporters have methodically planned on hijacking of the Sidama state. For their plot the best tools were searched and identified. Those who were brought up in Sidama land, pretend to be Sidama but think in anti-Sidama manner- and promote anti-Sidama projects in Sidama land were identified and groomed for the position. They have put meticulous plan in place to push those Sidama politicians who have worked through the struggle of the nation for statehood aside to bring in those who work for Amhara elites once the Sidama becomes a state. Demeke Mekonen with Berhanu Nega of EZEMA has mainly led this group.
Mr Desta Ledamo (Amhara elites installed Sidama president) and Alemayehu Timotewos (Amhara elites installed Sidama region’s Security head) were picked as Amhara elites’ and all Ethiopianists’ favourites. The credential of the selected criminals is anti-Sidama ambition. The selected have demonstrated their deep seated anti-Sidama sentiment during EPRDF’s era. In the contrary, those Sidama cadres who have favoured nation’s demand for self-rule and worked hand in hand with the nation were systematically pushed aside- some of them were fired and the rest demoted.
Secondly, the PM office, Amhara expansionists elites and southern Ethiopian state SNNPR’s politicians have in unison worked to neutralise the Sidama youth organised under the Sidama famous name culturally ascribed to only those Sidama heroes who have worked for a national cause (Ejjeetto). They have picked almost all key Ejjeetto leadership, bribed and made them anti-Sidama agents who work for the very enemies of the nation. Today, those Sidama Ejjeetto leaders who were at the forefront during the Sidama’s struggle for statehood become immoral traitors who live for their belly and timely gain instead of the Sidama’s national cause. They are bribed enough hence zipped their mouth whilst working for the enemies of the nation. Today those Sidama Ejjeetto leadership who once were vibrant have become worst enemies than the nation’s historical enemies. The Sidama nation and genuine Ejjeetto are aware of this drawback and working to rectify it.
Currently, the Sidama’s hard earned national regional state become one of the remote controlled and weak states in the empire whose cadres have totally and utterly disabled its apparatuses to ensure its capital being the second capital city for Amhara elites. It is already made so. The nation that bravely fought against all enemies and shown unprecedented level of bravely has been put under siege. The sons and daughters of the nations are forcefully picked and sent to an illegal war to fight against the federated states in Tigray and Benshangul Gumuz under pretext of protecting Ethiopia.
VII. The Current Opportunity For The Sidama Nation To Reassert Its Sabotaged Rights To Genuine Self-Rule
As saying goes ‘Blessing in Disguise’; the current condition is ripe for the Sidama nation. The Sidama’s freedom fighters are joining the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) wherever possible to ensure the fraternity of both cousin nations. This coupled with geographical proximity and connection of the Sidama nation with its Oromo cousin that is over 80% is presenting an excellent opportunity. The Sidama youth is joining the OLA and SNLF’s struggle and this must continue for us to end the colonial occupation of the Sidama land by Amhara expansionist elites. The OLA and TDF, BLF and the rest of the liberation fronts are fighting for just cause- the rights of their respective nations to self-determination.
It must be unambiguously clear to the Sidama that- the nation has got huge unfinished tasks. The asset the nation has possessed with the blood of its sons and daughters were hijacked by Amhara elites trading using various masks. Until the hijacked assets are returned to its rightful owner, the struggle for self-determination must continue.
Moreover, the Sidama nation is denouncing the current reckless actions of Ethiopianist forces and rejecting to send its sons and daughters. However, Amhara installed Sidama cadres are still forcing our sons and daughters to go and fight an illegal war. The Sidama has to continue unconditionally denouncing such actions and rise against the Sidama cadres installed to do Amhara elite’s jobs in Sidama land.
The nation’s smouldering fire for genuine rights to self-rule is once again started to flame albeit slowly. There are series of behind-the-scenes movements that are becoming stronger than ever with the aim of revamping the Sidama’s struggle for liberation. As we speak, the Sidama’s underground preparations for joining the struggle of federalist forces of the empire is gaining momentum.
VII. Conclusion and Recommendations
The understanding of the nature and plots of the current and past Amhara elites led unionist establishments in Ethiopia is crucial in deciphering their hidden agendas. We have reiterated that their implicit agendas are defending their hegemony (territorial expansion) under the pretext of defending Ethiopia. For them, Ethiopia is our land and expanding their territories toward their historical colonies. For them defending Ethiopia is keeping historically subjugated nations silenced and enslaved. For them ‘Ethiopian interest’ is allowing their language, culture, religion, and ways of lives to be superior and remain so over the cultures and languages of the subjugated mass. For them Ethiopia is discreetly hidden Amhara superiority. For them Ethiopia is keeping over 80 nations with distinct cultures and ways of lives at bay whilst Amhara elites deciding on their own affairs.
For the Neftegna elites, Sidama, Oromo, Ogadenia, Wolyta, Tegaru and the rest of nations and nationalities are none of their business although erroneously claim they are their brothers until they raise any question related with their rights. They have shown this time and time again. Once the subjects start claiming their rights, they become the subjects of staunch criticism and are increasingly vilified by their Medias and well-established apparatuses. They have time and again proved that they are after own lands, but nothing else. Period!!
See Tigray and the rest of nations where they are expanding their territories as we speak. We have strongly emphasized that the Amhara elites do not care whether all nations and peoples in Ethiopia perish if their expansionist ambitions are promoted and protected.
Finally, therefore, the Sidama nation has got only one choice. The nation must work hard to become an active part of the change that is required for genuine assertion of own rights. Amhara elites led regime has snatched the nation’s state from its hands. The Sidama nation in the empire became a winner looser. The nation become an example of glory that was earned with huge sacrifices- and disgrace and ignominy that is brought by own sons and daughters.
Therefore, the nation must stand its ground as it has done in the past. The nation must unite and fight to assert its rights for genuine self-determination. The Amhara elites whom the nation has harboured for generations are working day by digging grave for nation’s burial in its own land. The Sidama nation must stop this!
The Sidama nation Must work hand in hand with all federalist forces fighting for genuine self-rule. The nation Must forge alliance with all and mainly with its cousin nation the Oromo Liberation Army -OLA. The nation must rise against the current repressive regime; it all traitors and their collaborators. Main importantly, the Sidama nation must denounce the reckless and immoral actions of and never forgive for Ejjeetto traitors who are currently working for our national enemies.
The Sidama Diaspora groups need to clear their vision in the aspect of their position. Apparently, there are immoral Sidama Diaspora traitors (given plots of land in Sidama) who appear Sidama but work for Sidama dehumanising Amhara elites manipulated regime and its Sidama cadres. We send clear message to those opportunists. If they want to maintain moral high ground by becoming truthful to their conscious; they must dissociate themselves from Sidama’s current cadres and from the ideology of Amhara elites and the abomination and national disgrace that brings instead joining genuine Sidama struggle for self-determination.
By Denboba Natie (email@example.com)