The long march to free Oromia stops at Finfinnee
By Albasa Dagaga
Oromia under military occupation
Ethiopia currently under TPLF controlled EPRDF is practically a failed state. In Oromia, the largest and most populous regional state, TPLF and its crony OPDO lost authority to govern since the Qeerroo lead resistance successfully mobilized Oromo to reject EPRDF rule. Since March 2016, Oromia has been under military occupation and OPDO is only relegated to security as informants to identify resistance leaders for the military to eliminate. The killing of close to a 1000 since the movement started 10 months back, and mass arrest of Oromo nationalists has not broken the Oromo will, instead, has strengthened the resistance. For the Ethiopian New Year, Qeerroo successfully mobilized for a complete shutdown of business lasting about a week in Oromia.
TPLF can’t be reformed and must be destroyed. In Oromia, TPLF grand plan was to systematically cleanse Oromo out of Oromia and control her resources for generations to come. Over the past 25 years, they have tried to do just that as we will see later in this article. Just as the land proclamation of 1975 was the best solution to “land to the tiller” student’s demand that brought down the Haile Selassie regime, only destruction of TPLF from Oromia can bring about complete freedom in Oromia.
In September, the Amhara region, the second largest region in the country, joined similar resistance against TPLF rule. The resistance that sparked in Gonder moved on to Gojjam and within two weeks-time, EPDRF political and economic infrastructure were destroyed. Currently, this region is also at war with EPRDF army. The Oromia and Amhara regions are home to over 70% of Ethiopia, and the day of reckoning and the impending demise of fascist league of Tigray/TPLF is approaching fast. Try as she might, the sure demise of TPLF, one of the most fascistic, cruel, selfish, and hateful clique to come to power from poverty stricken Tigray to the helm of political power in Ethiopia is fast approaching. Her gun tooting Agazi killers will be overwhelmed by popular mass resistance.
Oromo youth uprising, known as Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo by Afaan Oromo was born out of Oromo frustration from TPLF abuse of power and unrestricted land grab of Oromo land with little or no compensation. Oromo Student protests began around April 2014 in response to TPLF plan to expand the Addis Ababa City Administration by grabbing land from the surrounding Oromia regional state. The TPLF Oromia land grab plan was secretly prepared under the Addis Ababa Integrated Regional Development Plan (AAIRDP). The plan extends the city’s authority to the surrounding Oromia region, totaling 1.1 million hectares. The secret plan aims at achieving two major goals: displaces Oromo farmers from their ancestral lands and settles Tigre and their cronies in the newly acquired lands; divides Oromia from contiguous territory into two, east and west, disconnected and detached territory, thereby redesigning the one Oromia nationhood. Tens of thousands of Oromo students from all universities in Oromia rallied opposing the malicious plan. The youth warriors called themselves qeerroo, and their resistance Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa (meaning Revolt against Subjugation). The TPLF response was predictable, and within a span of few weeks, about 100 youth were summarily executed for peacefully demonstrating.
By November 2015, the resistance has reorganized and re-ignited at a small West Central Oromia town named Gincii, in response to the decision by TPLF to transfer a school compound to a regional cabinet; to sale Gincii stadium to investors; and the adjacent Chilamo forest for international investors. TPLF’s decision to transfer property without notifying the community or asking the community’s consent was the last draw for Gincii youth. Within a span of few days, peaceful demonstration against Oromo land grab spread throughout Oromia. The resistance transforms from opposition to land grab and metamorphoses to resistance rooted in Oromoness and Oromo nationalism, and freedom of Oromia. With that, the Qeerroo resistance movement, Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa, transforms to Fincila Xumura Garbummaa (meaning Revolt to End Subjugation).The entire Oromo from every corner of Oromia rally behind Qeerro led resistance uniting fractured activists at home and Oromo diaspora. In December 2015, Haile Mariam Desalegn, the phony prime minister, said “merciless legitimate action” would be taken against those causing disorder.
By March of 2016, the death toll reaches 500. Notwithstanding, the resistance intensifies and TPLF was not in any position to stop the tide wave coming at it. TPLF could not control Oromia through its surrogate OPDO, and all the arrests, pounding and clobbering, shooting at point- blank range, and torturing and killings of those arrested can’t silence the Qeerroo generation. In desperate move, TPLF divides Oromia into 8 sections, and officially put Oromia under its military rule; all except 2, the Defense Council that governs Oromia were Generals of Tigrai origin. Not a single Oromo General was trust-worthy of TPLF to be included. Such desperate move still could not lower the resistance, on the contrary, the struggle intensified. Oromos of all ages had enough of TPLF abuse and inhuman reaction to peaceful resistance and joined Qeerro. Political volcano reaches full eruption in every corner of Oromia, and the call to the TPLF to vacate from Oromia and the voice pronouncing Oromia belongs to Oromo got louder by the day.
The TPLF also continued to believe in the might of its gun, and true to its usual barbaric manner, ordered its killer Agazi force to kill without mercy irrespective of age, gender or skill. As I write this, the entire Oromia is erupting and Agazi forces assisted by other security apparatus are in every part of Oromia, shooting and murdering students and their parents at point-blank range. The death toll is now estimated at about 900-1000. Every indications are that, as many innocents TPLF might murder, Qeerroo will not stop until Oromia is liberated from the yoke TPLF tyranny. When all is said and done, Oromo will be victorious and free their homeland, and TPLF will face justice for genocide. Until that day of reckoning arrives for TPLF, the country is run by a failed state. (For a more detailed background information about the TPLF political rise to the help of Ethiopian government, see my article titled “Oromia at the Crossroads. Qeerroo Led Revolution: Bloody, but Unbowed” March 2016 on http://www.bilisummaa.com, Ayyaantuu.com, Ethiomedia.com, and Zehabesha.com).
As the geopolitical situations turned unfavorable for the Military junta of Ethiopia in the late 1980’s with Socialist bloc countries drastically cutting military aid to Mengistu regime and the Soviet Union retreating under glasnost and perestroika, the strong man of the junta, Mengistu Hailemariam decided to run away on May 21, 1990. Mengistu slipped out of the country to Kenya and then flew with his immediate family to Zimbabwe, where he was granted asylum and still resides. That opened the door for TPLF led rebel forces of EPRDF to drive to Menelik palace with help from EPLF and OLF. EPLF took on Eritrea and the country was liberated, while OLF as we know was chased out of the country by TPLF with the help of Western countries and EPLF. Western countries, relieved at seeing demise of communist dictatorship in Mengistu, started pouring money to establish TPLF through direct aid and using international monetary and development organizations. In particular, billions of dollars were channeled o TPLF government through World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), against the advice of many opposition groups, particularly the OLF. The World Bank and IMF ignored all council and created one of the worst dictators and human rights abusers in the country’s history–TPLF. Shamelessly, these two institutions are still working with this murderous clique, stubbornly preaching the phony economic miracle and double digit growth.
If You Want Good Leaders, Make Sure They’re Good Thinkers
Recent Oromia history is filled with melancholy and deep introspection. The question that torments any Oromo goes as follows: How come a nation rich in natural resources and that produces some of the best and the brightest individuals allow tyrants from a small minority to control, exploit and abuse your sons and daughters? It is a fair question, and the answer is contained in the following three factors: leadership, Oromoness, and Unity. Oromia has been waiting for good leaders who are also good thinkers, and is on the verge of getting one now.
In an ironic twist of fate, some of the best Oromo political minds worthy of running some of the great nations of any country would be wiped-out, some while trying to transform a country lagging behind the progress and development of others of comparable status. In the 1970’s, the best political minds and internationally recognized Oromo intelligentsia like Haile Fida, Dr. Sanai Likke, Dr. Kadir Ebba, Abdoulahi Yousuf, Birhanu Gamada, Dr. Meknonnen Jote, Mitiku Tarfasa, Hailu Garbaba, and hundreds others (most of them Meison or affiliates except Dr. Senai Likke) were brutally killed by Mengistu Hailemariam, a middle ranked military thug. Meison leaders tried to transform Ethiopia through National Democratic Revolution and eventually to establish People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. During the same period, another group of bright and enlightened Oromo nationalists were engaged in struggle with the goal of liberating Oromia and forming democratic republic of Oromia. The group too were martyred by either Mengistu or Ziad Barre and Oromia lost nationalist intellectuals. Some of these intelligentsia include General Tadese Birru, Col. Hailu Ragassa, Elemo Qiltu, Baro Tumsa, Magarsa Bari, Muhe Abdo, Aboma Mitiku, Rev. Gudina Tumsa, and many others, the list too long to name all. Add to these, the thousands of OLF leaders and other political group members killed or currently languishing in concentration camps, or those chased out of the country by TPLF.
Compare the above Oromo leaders with the people responsible for governing Oromia the past two-and- a-half-decades. OPDO riffraff masquerading as luminaries included Muktar Kedir, Abba Dulla Gamada, Hassen Ali, Alemayehu Atomsa, Junadin Sado, Nagaso Gidada, Aster Mamo, Girma W/Giorgis and the rest. This is real life in Oromia, not a Twilight Zone story. The nightmare Oromia faces is similar to a scenario where one drives to Mekele slum and collects unemployed and underemployed youth appointing them to govern Tigray (after dressing them up with Cashmere suits and shiny shoes). The TPLF con-artists did just that in Oromia. OLF, the genuine representative of the Oromo, after negotiating with TPLF and agreeing to join the Transitional Government in 1992, was lied to and cheated and eventually chased out of the country after most of its fighting force were killed. Some still wonder how OLF leaders, who were much more enlightened than TPLF, would fall for a group that everyone knew even then as habitual liars and con artists.
After OLF left the scene, TPLF then followed with Killing, imprisoning, or chasing out of the country educated, skilled and competent Oromo and appointing war time captured idiotic, illiterate, self-seeking worthless elements to govern Oromia for TPLF. For the past 26 years, TPLF having sucked Oromia dry out of her resources, controlled the most expensive Oromia real estate market sites, after forcefully displaced Oromo owners of these areas and exposing them to poverty, beggary, or death using OPDO loafers and human carcasses. The TPLF then turns and asks Oromos to celebrate with them the make believe 2 digit economic growth of the two decades, taking all Oromo for fools, similar to the dummies they collected to govern Oromia.
OPDO Leadership is Culpable to Crimes Committed in Oromia
OPDO was created from captured Derg army by EPLF and TPLF for the sole purpose of implementing TPLF political, economic, military and social programs in Oromia. In general OPDO was a tool for TPLF to exploit the large resources of Oromia and build Tigray. OPDO leadership is a tool through which Oromia was to be controlled using myriads of security structures spied on through cell that stretched to family level in every corner of Oromia. OPDO leadership were instrumental in helping the TPLF to displace Oromo from Finfinnee and other ancestral lands in every corner of Oromia and populate those areas by Tigreans; rent or lease those lands for international investors. OPDO is a tool for TPLF to secure precious metals such as gold and natural resources used for building materials; OPDO is a tool for TPLF to have free access to cash crops such as coffee, xaafii; caatii; domestic animal products etc. OPDO’s major role also included identifying Oromo nationalist suspects for murder or using torture technique similar to documented Nazi torture chamber. The level of suffering, and torture an Oromo captured goes through in the hand of TPLF security agents is too gruesome and demented. Being Oromo could actually be reason enough to put one in prison and torture chamber.
In terms of employment, after several years of TPLF rule, the only way one can get a paying job is by becoming a member of OPDO in Oromia. The more TPLF became economically strong and controlled the economic, social, and political sphere, the more difficult for non-OPDO to find paid job, since TPLF parastatals have control over all economic activities of the country. Even Academic tenure at universities in Ethiopia depends not on scholarly work but party affiliation. As the result, millions of Oromos have joined OPDO as a way to find employment. Thus, it is clear that some of such individuals are there to put food on the table for their families. They did not join to work against the well-being of their own people. Such individuals have genuinely contributed to Oromo economic and cultural development in a meaningful way, albeit under very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, such persons once identified by TPLF as making a real difference in the lives of Oromo, will be branded as narrow nationalists. Through their “gimgema”, and they will be dismissed or thrown into jail accusing them of corruption, or some other invented crime. TPLF has perfected the art of accusing productive and entrepreneur Oromo in a similar manner the mobsters liquidate informers.
TPLF Oromia Grand Plan– Delusions of Grand Strategy
TPLF ethnic cleansing of Oromo from crucial Oromia areas began as soon as the group took the helm of power over the country. In the early 1990s, TPLF secret grand plan to depopulate Oromia though systematic carefully designed policies and military force was leaked out. The grand plan was written in Amharic and titled “Hizbawi Adera” roughly translated “national promise”. In this document, TPLF is promising its Tigre nationals how to control Oromia and allow Tigreans to exploit her resources including her land. The first stage was to eliminate educated, intellectuals, the business class, and the politically conscious Oromos through forced exile, criminalizing and imprisoning, and denying access to resources using bureaucratic means. The second was to take away important Oromia cities that are centers of commerce from Oromia regional state and put those cities under federal Charter. The third stage was to design policy and introduce laws designed to remove Oromos and other nationalities from their lands passing by-laws and using such laws designed for such purposes as enforcement tool.
For the past 25 years, such policies were carried out by means of murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, extra-judicial executions, rape and sexual assaults, confinement of Oromo population into rural areas, forcible removal, displacement of civilian population, deliberate military attacks or threats of attacks on civilians and civilian areas, and wanton destruction of property. Finfinnee and Dire Dawa cities were put under federal charter cities. Until the recent Oromo national uprising, that has turned TPLF grand plan into delusions of grand strategy, nearly all major Oromia cities were under such consideration particularly under Abay Tsehaye as Minister of Federal affairs. Oromos were cleansed from Finfinnee/Addis Abeba, and Addis Master Plan was designed to take millions of hectares of Oromo land surrounding Finfinnee. Thousands of Oromo activists and non-activists were killed, tens of thousands of Oromos are in concentration camps; hundreds of thousands of Oromos are forced to flee their country into refugee life. Legal experts call such activities ethnic cleansing and warn that, such acts could also fall within the meaning of the Genocide Convention. Those practices constitute crimes against humanity and can be assimilated to specific war crimes. Ethnic cleansing is “a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group”.
TPLF deep rooted hatred of Oromo
TPLF security of handling Oromo is so gruesome, gore, and inhuman for a normal human mind to grasp, and imagine let alone understand. It is incomprehensible how a group of university students of the 1970s, now turned TPLF leaders turned so cruel, inhuman, and sadistic when dealing with Oromo.
It has been narrated that Meles Zenawi was an avid book reader. Looking at the activities of his Agazi forces, Meles Zenawi and co. must have also been watching several genres of horror movies. Film scholars narrate that there are several film genres and the origins of Gore and Disturbing film comes from the darkest primal fears of people–Extreme Pain. These genres include torture, splatter, cannibal, and extreme films. Torture films are known for the extreme use of violence. The plot revolves around the physical pain and the emotional terror of prolonged torture. Splatter films also known as Exploitation films are known for making realistic gore into an art form. It was all about the imagery and shocking audiences with graphic mutilations. The violence in most cases is meant to kill immediately but as bloody as possible. The film is given to accentuate excesses of violence. Acts of torture, cannibalism of sexual depravity are placed in the respectively other genres. Extreme films are those films that confront almost every taboo, with the sheer goal to shock audiences. An extreme movie can easily be recognized due to being overly sexualized, but the most acts of sex in these movies are what are deemed depraved: necrophilia, pedophilia, incest, and excessive and brutal rape. In Extreme films, the humiliation of the victim is central. You really can see how you can break a human in the most brutal way.
Today, TPLF has turned real life in Oromia to “real life” ghost specials, the details of sadistic murders American kids watch on Cable television for entertainment. Such supernatural horror films about paranormal activity of a blood-guts-and-gore zombie TV series are real life in Oromia under TPLF choreographed by OPDO today. The level of sadistic torture, murder, and grotesque killings of Oromo peaceful demonstrators by TPLF security forces, the Agazi in particular, is so twisted and too difficult for the normal human mind to comprehend, yet too distant for those of us in the Diaspora to fully grasp. For Tigre peasant warriors and mentally and spiritually numbed TPLF leadership, the distinction between real life and graphic movies is too clouded to discern and too complicated to distinguish.
The killings are also selective according to students who were released from jail. TPLF selects for torture and eventual killing university students who the group identify as the cream of the crop, selecting particularly from engineering, science, mathematics, and computer science. Such selective killing of brilliant Oromo youth show the level of Oromo hatred and the twisted TPLF thought process.
Self-interest overriding sound leadership principles
What is perplexing or mystifying for most Oromo is the fact that the entire world, including the White House, has been watching this real time, on real people TPLF crime against humanity in silence. It won’t come as a surprise if in fact some inside and close to the White House, particularly Susan Rice (National Security Advisor) and Gayle Smith (US AID Chief), the duo prime sponsors of TPLF dictatorship over Ethiopia, watch these dark TPLF drama with amusement. However, I should admit that I never thought President Obama will allow genocide unfolding under his Presidency’s watch. Ever-worse, I never expected Ambassador Samantha Power, currently the United States Permanent Representative at the UN, did not outright condemn. Ambassador Power is a distinguished human rights activist, and now represents the United States on the U.N. Security Council and plenary meetings of the General Assembly. She has the power and the influence to make a real difference at the UN. Unfortunately, she chose to limit her protests of Ethiopian government’s human rights violations to sporadic one-liner-tweets, with the exception of her recent press statement, which was strong while visiting South Sudan.
Bewildered and disappointed, about what goes on in the State Department, I join millions of Oromo and repeat here what the British historian Lord Acton coined, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I still have hope and appeal to the Obama administration to save the peoples in that forsaken country from the savagery of small clique of inhuman killers of innocent children, pregnant women, and the elderly using the resources US provided, before a country of 100 million people turns into cataclysmic event of potentially biblical proportions. The killing and massacre of Oromo in Oromia and the entire country by a group coming from a minority representing only 6% of the population, must be brought to a stop now. TPLF sponsors should tell the group that quarter of a century of robbery and dictatorship went on for too long, their vanishing way overdue, and should disappear from Menelik palace before things gets real ugly.
The case for economic embargo/boycott
The “theory” behind economic sanctions is that economic pressure on civilians will translate into pressure on the Government for change. Nevertheless, there are some who believe that economic boycott is ineffective and can backfire. They reason that civilian hardship can easily be translated into political advantage by a ruling regime. They also mention that in regimes where political decision-making is not democratic, there is simply no easy pathway through which civilian pressure can bring about change in the Government. Some researches show that the traditional calculation of balancing civilian suffering against the desired political effects is giving way to the realization that the efficacy of a sanctions regime is in inverse proportion to its impact on civilians.
This is misleading and there is a twist to this theory. Economic embargo can backfire, in some instances when the embargo is imposed on one country by another government or through the UN Security resolution to put pressure and bring about change in the Government. In some specific cases, this action could make the government even more popular due in large part to nationalistic feeling of citizens of the country targeted for embargo. The citizens will be angry at the embargo and rallying behind their government, not because they necessarily like their government, but take the embargo as an attack against their country. In this scenario, the government will be popular but the citizens will suffer the full impact of the embargo and suffer. Depending on the level and the reason for such embargo, the populous could also decide to hold their own government responsible, and bring about change. That is why some embargos succeed and others fail.
The boycott and embargo we are recommending on TPLF is very differs from the above scenario. It is internal. TPLF is the most hated and despised political force in every part of the country with some exception of its home base. In our case, it is our citizens against this fascist government. The embargo and boycott is aimed at cutting the resources this fascist league of Tigrai use to suppress and oppress our people. It is to starve its security forces of resources the group use to harass, murder, and torture our people.
The boycott should be targeted at TPLF economic empire. Our struggle to liberate Oromia uses multifaceted approaches to liberate Oromia and one is economic boycott of TPLF owned and controlled consumer products. We already know TPLF controlled corporations and their associated consumer products. All we need is educate our people to boycott these products. We should also identify the natural resources exploited and areas of operation and destroy the infrastructure these companies use to exploit these resources.
TPLF controls total economic and political domination of Oromia today by engaging in massive corruption and unethical business practices by national or international business rules. It controls strategic sectors of the economy and engages in commercial and trading activities. It uses its economic dominance as a political weapon to harass, incarcerate, dominate, to weaken free competition.
Today, the Ethiopian economy is controlled by two large major conglomerates and one major relief association. The two conglomerates are EFFORT (The Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigrai) and MIDROC (Mohamed International Development Research Organization Companies), the Saudi billionaire, Sheikh Mohamed Al-Amoudi’s vast business enterprise. The relief association is REST (Relief Society of Tigrai).
EFFORT is TPLF economic empire and has monopolized the private sector of the Ethiopian economy to the extent never seen anywhere in the continent. The TPLF-owned companies, referred to as parastatals controls strategic income generating sectors such as agriculture, industry, banking, mining, import-export, transport, construction, insurance, and communications. TPLF hierarchy has effectively used EFFORT as a “cash cow” to accumulate immense amounts of wealth and political and economic domination of the country. As the result, competitive policy and trade practice are absent, the country is plagued with nepotism, insider information, and other political considerations. Endemic culture of obscene corruption leveraging state resources through granting privileged access to the most important commodity–land– and procurement information has created instant Tigrai overnight millionaires and billionaires in one of the poorest countries in the world with GDP per capita of 486.27 (bottom 10 in the world) in 2015. (See article titled “Urgent Call to Boycott TPLF Owned and Controlled Businesses!” Published on Ayyaantu.net, by Albasa Dagaga, February 16, 2016.)
REST was a relief organization, formally registered with the Ethiopian government’s Relief & Rehabilitation Commission as an “NGO” and is headed by a TPLF Central Committee member to collect donations from the international community and channeled to the TPLF. A large part of the billions of dollars donated by the international community goes to REST coffins for development of Tigrai.
After TPLF controlled Ethiopia, Al-Amoudi moved to Ethiopia and started buying several companies from TPLF using government privatization program. Al- Amoudi’s MIDROC Ethiopia owns substantial business interests and owns a broad portfolio of businesses in construction, energy, agriculture, mining, hotels, healthcare and manufacturing, security firm amongst others. MIDROC Gold Mine Pvt. Ltd. Co. (MGOLD) is one of about 30 major corporations with about 70 group and affiliate companies owned and operated by the Saudi billionaire Al-Amoudi mostly in Oromia region. For example, Al-Amoudi made 1.3 billion dollars over the past 16 years from the Legadembi Gold Mine in Southern Oromia alone.
The Saudi billionaire area of operation and resource for exploitation is mostly limited to Oromia. Research also show that Al-Amoudi loathed Oromo and so shares none of wealth taken away from Oromo land. Oromia suffered all the negative attributes associated with his business activities but none of its benefits. MIDROC provided no employment, no infrastructure development, no schools and no hospitals for Oromo communities residing in the areas of his business operation. Not a single Oromo is employed as head of the 30 or so corporation at a CEO level; out of 40 million Oromo. The communities experience deforestation, lethally polluted lakes, toxic, acidic water, too many very sick people and animals with symptoms related to toxicity and pollution. The benefits go to his sponsors TPLF. Thus, Qeerroo should force the shutdown of MIDROC Empire inside Oromia and should also boycott all MIDROC consumer products at all levels. (For more detailed information, see article titled: “Oromos Should Boycott MIDROC Ethiopia Products; Force Shut Down Gold Mining in Oromia!” on Ayyaantuu.net and Zehabesha and others, February 20, 2016 by Albasa Dagaga.)
In general, boycott should target the ruling party directly, party supporters, facilitators, and policy implementers. Boycott should minimize hardship on the civilian population, particularly, the poor; sanctions that directly or indirectly cause deaths of innocent civilians should be avoided. Boycotting TPLF and its cronies owned resources will have devastating effect on TPLF. The economic power that it utilizes to exert its political and military power will be eliminated. At the present stage, Oromo resistance should shift from peaceful demonstration to carefully designed and targeted economic boycott, and carefully planned and direct guerrilla attack at TPLF leadership, property, murderer Agazi and its other forces. Peaceful demonstrations have been effective so far, but, the cost to human life has out-weighed the damage to TPLF. It makes no sense to continue to cross one hand above head and peacefully demonstrate when TPLF security forces fire live bullets at point blank range killing nearly a 1000 so far. In general, there should be few peaceful demonstrations if any at all, and concentration more on economic boycotts/embargos/sabotages, and intensified hit-and-run tactics at TPLF security and political structure of TPLF to remove this fascist group from power.
Unity of purpose among all Oromo political groups is crucial and overdue.
Today, there is no one dominant Oromo political organization or a liberation front that all Oromos can rally behind to defeat TPLF and free Oromia. There are, instead, several political groups masquerading in the name of Oromo in the Diaspora some calling themselves liberation front while others aim at democratizing Ethiopian state. As Oromo luck would have it, most of these splintered groups were all part of the OLF at some point, some even founders. Just when Oromo needed unity, to defend Oromia from TPLF savagery over the past 25 years, Oromo politicos chose dividing OLF in the name of perfecting the political program while others opted for power struggle, splintering by appealing to all sorts of ugly political taboos.
Oromo Waaqaa finally spoke and children born when TPLF took political power in Ethiopia could wait no more for OLF they hoped will come and liberate Oromia, and took the responsibility of liberating Oromia onto their own hands. As the entire world witnessed, Qeerroo shook the entire TPLF built colonial infrastructure in Oromia in less than a year. The effect on old politicos was scramble for control of Qeerroo, but was not to be, for Qeerroo is not in the business of unproductive non-ending talk but action. Now that the emperors have no clothes, there is only one option left for old politicos to at least be useful for themselves and not be an obstacle to Oromo unity. They have to come together and unite to be counted. Hence, unity of purpose to develop a decision that all can support. All Oromo political groups can agree to work united until a space and condition is created for political power over Oromia to be controlled by Oromo. True consensus is something we value for its ability to unite a group around a particular decision. To achieve this, the logical first step will be designing strategy and tactic united, to remove TPLF control of Oromia. For all Oromo political groups to agree on such a minimum program, (short-term goal), all political groups will keep their original political goal and aspirations. In other words, unity of purpose is based on agreeing to defeat TPLF and free and liberate Oromia, first and foremost. All groups still hold on to their original Kaayyoo. All Oromo political organizations can agree on this one goal. They still may differ on how to get to that goal. Whether it is through Bole or through Bale, both paths are wide open, as long as the target is defeating the common enemy– TPLF. The tactic is also wide open for both who wish for a peaceful protest or armed resistance. If there is an Oromo group that does not believe in creating space and condition for Oromia to be controlled and represented by Oromo, such group can’t seriously call itself an Oromo political organization, thus, should take out the name Oromo out of the title name.
Once Oromia is liberated from TPLF fascist rule, the different Oromo political groups with different objectives can bring their cases peacefully without spilling blood, and democratically to Oromo people or otherwise. The Oromo people can listen to the different choices presented, and pick what it wishes, and the majority voice will win. Those who wish for Oromo to live in a free and democratic country, should abide by the verdict of the Oromo people’s free choice. In one voice, the right of self-determination of Oromia shall be realized.
It is very clear for veterans of Oromo resistance struggle that there are at least two major fundamental philosophical differences among Oromo political groups: independent Oromia versus democratic multinational federated Ethiopia. If there is an Oromo political group that advocates for a “unitary” Ethiopia or homogenized and assimilated Ethiopia, such old ideas is gone for good, and will not have a listening, let alone a hearing day.
Oromo future course of action must be based on lessons acquired from our past experience (the good and the bad). By now, the most important lesson we all can agree on is not coming to a consensus on minimum program by past Oromo political organizations and currently, has been the main weakness that allowed the political control of Oromia for the first century by Amharas and recent quarter of a century by Tigres. There are just two choices now: agree on a minimum program and free Oromia now or condemn Oromia to the status quo. If there was one dominant Oromo political organization that can galvanize the Oromo nation that can free Oromia from TPLF now, the Oromo wouldn’t be pleading for Oromo political organizations to unite. Unfortunately there is none now, and the OLF that had the potential to do so, has splintered into several factions during the past 25 years, reversing all the gains made the first 15 years. That also explains why Qeerroo became the vanguard of the struggle for freedom rather than the organizations that had 40 years of experience. As the tyranny of TPLF intensified, and the survival of Oromia was threatened, while the OLF continued to splinter, Oromo youth took on the burden of facing the enemy armed to the teeth with bare hands registering legacy of uncommon bravery and valor unrestrained sacrifice, and unbounded courage. Qeerro shook the TPLF political foundation without shooting a gun and brought to the world attention the fascistic nature of TPLF rule.
Just this month, Fayisa Lelisa, a 26 years old Qeerroo who won a silver medal in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics completed his victory with an exclamation, crossed his wrists with his arms in the air, in solidarity associated with the his Qeerroo comrades. With a symbol of defiance to TPLF led government, Fayisa used the few minutes to highlight Oromo resistance against TPLF fascist regime to the millions watching the closing of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The story spread like a wild fire to the world media and to the hall of the US Congress. When Edward Everett Hale once wrote: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”, he must be thinking about persons like Fayisa Lelisa. Fayisa’s determination, timing, and efficiency also exemplify the potency of the Qeerroo generation that defy a status quo that tried its damnedest to stop Oromia from creating a future with courage and sheer impertinence to the brighter future.
The political volcano that erupted in Oromia is now in full swing in the Amhara region, starting in Gonder and moving fast on to Gojjam. Within a spat of two weeks, Amharas who know TPLF better than anyone gave a devastating blow to TPLF infrastructure using everything at their disposal with precision. TPLF who counted on the two major national groups, constituting over 70 percent of the country’s population, was damn-struck for the one instrument it effectively used to divide and conquer the two is no more. The group that boasted about TPLF bravery and glory and wrote self-aggrandizing book calling itself “generation that moved mountains” felt struck by lightning that those make believe mountains are erupting just under its belly, and there will be no room left to hide and no instrument to use to divide and conquer. The murderous TPLF fate will be decided soon by Oromos, Amharas, and the other Ethiopian peoples. For Oromo, it is forcing the TPLF to vacating from Oromia and opening a new chapter where the future generation Oromos can live in freedom in a prosperous Oromia. For the TPLF, the logical destination will be their old military base at Dedebit, which should also serve them as a last and final resting place for the TPLF gerontocracy. Qeerro will accomplish this mission; this generation is a type that internalized what Winston S. Churchill once said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Winston S. Churchill, Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches.
A winning formula
The Qeerroo resistance has dramatically changed Oromo struggle from incrementalism with the banal, trivial, humdrum, and tedious debates to results oriented extraordinary action. Qeerroo should make its leadership known and all Oromo political organizations should selflessly work with that leadership or directly join. United forces of Qeerroo leadership and veterans of Oromo struggle spanning over 40 years will for sure free Oromia once and for all. I can confidently say that in more than 150 years, Oromia is in good hands and no amount of deception, support from alien forces, or mountain of lies can forestall the inevitable: free and independent Oromia that will confidently chart its future.
About the Author: Albasa Dagaga is a researcher and resides in Washington DC Metro area. He can be reached through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org