It is said “History repeats itself”. The demise of Minilik was announced seven years after it happened (1906) as told. All those years Shawaan elites were grilling each other behind the carton as to who to promote and who to demote. In that way they brought forward Iyyaasuu, Zawudiitu and Tafarii for further scrutiny. Now too they are facing difficulties to make the illness of their leader public. They tried to hush every thing. But his failing to appear on important conferences exposed what they did not want. They lightly told of his illness and they added that his absence does not even affect the running of state for they have laid down strong system. That sends doubt about their sincerity. They only want to cover the panic they are feeling underneath. No one can deny the Mallas will be missed by his totalitarian system and those who use him let alone by his death, even by longer absence than the present.
They came out only after his adversaries already announced of his being in comma and or of his death. No one uttered sympathy but many welcomed his mishaps. Unable to overthrow him by them selves they prayed for disease to do that for them. This could be against the religion they confess. From now on it makes not much difference whether Mallas dies or survives. The belief in his strength had been shaken from the roots. Kin and aliens will all go to their corner to caucus just like the Shawaan did when Minilik was dying. This time they are the Tigrians that are more concerned and also at risk.
The way liberation activists look at the event must be different. There struggle is anti colonial and does not separate and focus on Mallas’s person. Oromo have met with Mallas’s government in the battle field as well as on negotiation tables. They have killed from each other and they have also failed in their negotiations. It would have been proper to brag if one kills him in the battle field. But to wish death for the sick is unethical. Many kings had previously gotten rid off not with the hands of Oromo patriots but in some other ways. That did not earn Oromo its independence but rather aggravated their agony. If Mallas descends another person will replace him. Until the Oromo gain the strength to stamp him out with his system death that comes in some other way has no benefit. It is better he lives and sees when Oromiyaa finally declares her independence. Six rulers had changed hands since Oromiyaa was occupied. It will be shame to lie down and wait coming of the seventh. This is the time when they are staggering, that the oppressed and particularly Oromoo offspring are expected to hold hands and strive to disrupt any further alien domination.
Not only the people but also different world human rights organizations had been crying of Mallas’s human rights violation and his harsh rule. It was clear that their government also knew about it. Over and above that it is a hard fact that he is selling expansive Oromo land to oversea investors and evicting peasants that lived on farming it. That he is plundering and making others plunder over ground and underground resources of Oromiyaa freely. When Tigray glitters with electric light powered by Oromiyaa, Oromo are struggling with darkness for not affording kerosene lamp. When Mallas expands road, school, hospitals etc for his country those who paid for them cannot afford basic necessities for living. He is doing what all colonizers of the world were doing and should not be surprising. What is surprising is when all the others had thrown away such horrible system off their backs, why do Oromo continue to carry it? It is not without reason that such a great people with long history of bravery, wisdom, peace, democracy and love for independence could not find a way out from such unfortunate situation.
It is going to be half a century since Oromo built a liberation front that can struggle for its independence like all other colonized people of the world. That today many individuals and organizations are able to openly claim being Oromo is the result of that struggle. When individuals say “I am a proud Oromo”, when Muslims talk about “Oromo Muslims”, when Christians say “ Oromoo church”, when all talk about Oromo community, Oromoo youth association, etc we have to remember that they were those martyrs that empowered them by their blood to express about all these in that manner.
It has never to be forgotten that this writer or any other ones are able to express the problem of that people so openly today is because of the sacrifices paid by the activists in that struggle. Less than 50 years ago to speak Afaan Oromo, let alone in the world, even in the streets of Finfinnee was embarrassing and also frightening. Those now living can stand witnesses to that. Despite registering such grand achievements the struggle did not move fast enough to attain the level some expected. They were more that criticize than those who work, more demolishers than constructors, more spies than vigilantes, more petty minds that cannot distinguish between anthill and mountain, flea and elephant than seasoned politicians, there are more quislings than patriots that temporarily got access to the stage. From assessing the situation the struggle cannot be stopped from reaching its goal though there is temporary minor glitch.
People at least 50 years old today had seen three administrations. All of them were over burdened with the injustice they committed but found themselves crumbling under its weight. Wayyaanee is wobbling being on similar course. Learning from the past one has to work hard not to be jumped over once again by a possible opportunity. Now the political outlook of Oromoo activists is clear. What those with similar outlook are waiting for is not known rather than hurrying up to get together and coordinate their struggle. This concerns organizations, individuals and all patriots. It only requires honesty and transparency to each other. The empire has made herself ready for change. Those who had observed this have started moving from different directions to transit her to where they wanted. This is one of the times that Oromiyaa has to assert herself. They should all say together “no more as before”.
Even if it were for fortnight the entangled threads that Mallas used to gallop his subject with has dropped from his hands. To comeback and hold it again as it used to be, will be impossible. It will gradually start to slip from his hands like Tafarii Makonnin and Mangistuu Darg who could not come back to their previous luster after coup attempts on them. All those that oppose him; those that follow him and his allies had become nervous because of this sudden happening. Even those that knew of his chronic illness long ago are scared by their inability to keep it confidential. That also reveals weakness of the system. More than the ill health the secret surrounding it is despairing. He committed all his crime not by himself alone but with conspirators. Therefore it means all the conspirators have to seriously worry about it.
Famine and other problems are tormenting the masses. Mallas’s meddling in religion has already caused mounting protests. His unending wars have antagonized many families who are never told about the fate of their children sent to Somalia. The genocide and imprisonment of breadwinners had left many homes broken. All those in addition to the despair caused by his illness weaken rather than strengthening him. For this reason before another smart imposter overtakes, to getup and together disrupt it fast is imperative. Forming relation with world powers is not the monopoly of any one. One who has just cause on ones side and shows determination to advance it and commitment to ones kaayyoo without wavering should not worry about winning friends. Let not forget the saying, “There is no permanent friend but permanent interest”.
There is no jubilation for Mallas’ illness or painful suffering. First it is essential to see what advantage or disadvantage his death and recovery could have. Based on the result of analysis one has to be prepared to handle the outcome. Brave people do not dislike pulling him down with their own hands in order to snatch their legitimate rights away from his hands. Vultures like him are warming up to replace him. But they have to be stopped. It is said, “Strike while the iron is hot”. For those committed to the same kaayyoo, this is the right time to start marching together with the common banner of struggle flying high up in Oromiyaan air!!!
Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!
Ibsaa Guutama is a member of the generation that drew the first Political program of the OLF.