There are many organization founded by Oromiyaan nationals. But they have differences in the way they view objectives of Oromo struggle. Except about the actors being Oromoo, no one brought forward those differences for discussion. For this reason whenever people in different camps clash verbally or in writing, questions that seem criticism “Why do you gang up against each other leaving the enemy aside?” had been arising from different directions. It does not seem that there is anyone who gave attention to the causes. Is it possible for Oromo in different camps to relate to each other as kin or tolerate each other as activists in hostile camps? Instead of bringing such differences to light and search for solution some intentionally distorting the truth so as people may not be able to investigate and be aware of them, while others throw innocent opinion. Fortunately this difference is of no significance between genuine Oromo factions. Overlooking the differences between organizations founded by persons from a nation, as if they do not exist will make it difficult to solve problems within the nation and among nations of the region.
When looking back to the tricks used in weakening Oromo struggle for independence, we cannot help wondering how it survived so far. There is no propaganda tactic not applied internally and externally to make it abhorred. OLF stands for independence; unverified reasons given for its “despicability” could not cross over strong walls of the kaayyoo it advances and dismantle it. They have buzzed to brains of the weak, the opportunists and the wavering. Unless OLF as an organization is viewed separately from the actors danger is awaiting Oromo struggle. It would be better for future of the Oromo nation if in the campaign being waged against Struggle for Independence those that are not enemy running dogs watch out as not to find themselves on the same side with the enemy unintentionally. Because one Gadaa is identified with war, other with rain, other with famine, etc it did not tempt the nation to abandon the system. The condition in which our struggle finds itself today has to be viewed in that light. A group or party may pass but Gadaa system remains permanent.
This article will not raise differences within a nation, like those between clans/tribes and religion. It is also not aimed at differences between nations. The struggle Oromo nation had been waging to regain rights it was denied has been entangled for different reasons and could not achieve the planned result. Oromo people could be taken seriously only when it strengthens itself with formidable organization. If it is taken seriously no more would aliens decide for it than it will decide for itself. In own country aliens should not be the subjugators and itself the subject. When the people initiated the struggle in the 60s it was by saying “I was a self-reliant independent people not dependent on any nation”. Any struggle does not take place in a vacuum but among societies of friends and enemies that have interest. Unable to make its organization airtight all went in through the pores and weakened it.
For this reason it has to investigate which of the organizations operating under its name work for it alone and which ones did not forget its interest wherever they might be; which one is staunch collaborator that defend one that own people takes as arch enemy more than the enemy could defend itself. Here we are discussing about correctness of principle not about politics. If there is national consensus on tactics and strategy political activities could be handled on different patterns. But problem is comes with how they view Oromiyaa. Is Oromiyaa a country that that has a right to independently exist or was it a branch of Ethiopia? How can those that say it has a right and those that say it is a branch get reconciled? When investigated in depth they do not have common definition for identity of the people. The same people are going to appear as different people under different understanding. For this reason, to reconcile the two camps in principle is not as easy as saying it. It must be observed that the idea being rolled to be loyal opposition is a dangerous idea that could make Oromiyaa to remain under occupation unless handled with care. Persons rolling that can change their stand at any time but the idea will stick and remain in place initially intended for it. Participant in this scheme as individuals may be patriotic but as groups they can be nothing but collaborators.
We have indicated that there are organizations that had adopted Habasha Constitution and started operating. An organization formed recently calling itself ODF is also trying to join them. These days the ODF factor is at the top of agenda for its failed maiden attempt but not specifically in here. Oromo struggle has two camps. One is for independence of Oromiyaa. For this camp the enemy is Ethiopian state. The other camp accepts Ethiopian Constitution and says, it will wage peaceful struggle as loyal opposition under the empire and accepts the assertion that Oromiyaa was integral part of Ethiopia. For this camp the enemies are those who are not loyal to the Ethiopian Constitution. The Ethiopian Federal Democratic Republic Constitution no. 1/1995 says: “All citizens, organs of the state political organizations, other associations as well as their officials have the duty to ensure observance of the Constitution and to obey it.” For this reason one that pledged allegiance to the Constitution cannot refuse assignment given it by the government; if one is not assigned to the gun he will be engaged in legislating laws, administering colonial justice, helping in logistics etc. turning against one’s own people, the Oromo. OLF is founded to carry out political and armed struggle to liberate Oromiyaa. If there is any one that severs oneself from it to engage in peaceful struggle one should be welcome. As long as one does not deny independence of one’s nation and did not pledge allegiance to Ethiopian Constitution one is true child of the nation. It is human right even recognized by said Constitution to get freely organized; assemble; form association with whomever one likes. That will certainly not result in throwing stones at each other. The pacifist in this case is self-reliant and independent of any armed force. Therefore there is no reason why compatriots should throw stone to it for it throws no stone to anyone but refuse to obey the enemy in a peaceful manner. Rather both sides can draw a minimum program of understanding for they both work only for the oppressed. It does not mean all that formed an organization should necessarily be a loyal opposition. But in that country all legal activities including being loyal opposition have risks. To choose sides according to own stamina and world outlook is up to oneself. Freedom of thought and expression is the cardinal point in Oromo struggle.
To defend the cause against an enemy that has packages of abuses and violence, Oromo struggle has chosen armed struggle as only one alternative to counter it. Much effort had been made to resolve the conflict peaceably but in vain. The colonizer continued to abusing the Oromo, despising, killing, imprisoning, torturing, causing to disappear, banishing, plundering and evicting. There is no more evidence than the killing of hundreds of youth for demonstrating peacefully in Finfinnee and several other places in Oromiyaa. It has never conducted a fair and free election by any standard to be praised as democratic. For these reasons it is the most notorious violent terrorist system that respects no law. To unconditionally pledge loyalty to such a system is to endorse the injustice done to all those Oromo fighters lagging in prison over the last more than two decades. It is endorsing the genocide against the Sidaamaa, Mazhangir, Anyuwak and other minorities. It is endorsing the eviction of Omotic and Nilotic peoples and the Oromo from their ancestral grounds. It is legitimizing system of surrogate rule by TPLF puppets. It is endorsing the plundering of colony resources and raping of children and women of any group that opposed them etc. etc.
No one can list and exhaust crimes done against humanity by the Habasha government of the day. Joining it unconditionally means voluntarily being part of the criminal venture. Like it is said, “ Covering the head without having one on the butt”, to try imitating tactics used by established governments without having any shelter is to lay bare oneself and one’s people. Oromiyaa needs not organization, like in Amaara saying, “Sayixaruuti abet, sayilikut wadeeti” (“Yes sir, without call, where to, without assignment”) to satisfy the powerful but one that has unflinching confidence in itself.
Giving up the struggle of own people for independence and justice and joining such aggressive group bent to reduce the Oromo people to their size cannot be termed peaceful struggle, unless “peaceful” has different meaning in their dictionary. To be in opposition means to be in constant competition for power. All political parties are waiting for their turn to climb up the ladder of power. Any one that takes power inherits the guns and the system that TPLF terrorizes the peoples with and the relations it created so far. For this reason by joining it they become more violent than they ever experienced and will come out soon bragging “I will straighten you up” like their colleagues to be. Independence struggle is to dismantle colonial system not to mend it. It is not for exchanging oppressive power but to free oneself from domination.
To live in peace enmity must be abolished. Who is the enemy that Oromo has in common? Is it not the one that has deployed an army to suppress it and is still abusing it? Under such situation how are Oromo that joined it to give full service so that it spreads all over Oromiyaa be considered? Taking this into account for who is the advice, “Leave each other and attack the enemy” addressed? Such advice may be good for those that have similar objectives. Those that did not abandon the initial kaayyoo (principal objective) are changing their minds and coming together with like minds. It seems they have realized that it will be suicidal to throw stone at those with similar political goal. Unless the two camps in Oromo struggle are taken into consideration it could lead to reaching a wrong conclusion. Oromo struggle is directed against the colonial system to which loyal opposition play roles. It will not single out and point its fingers because one has Oromo name. All that defend the Constitution are considered to be an adversary for independence camp. However people who are disorganized and powerless to affect anything and are not capable to implement what they say should not start throwing stone or verbally attacking any one. Its negative effect will be greater than its benefit.
A question “Is it possible to create understanding being in different camps?” might be asked. This depends on level of consciousness and patriotic feelings. Our parents used to tell as that in olden times Oromo persons used to live in alien land forming families marrying into them and keep on sending intelligence information to their nation clandestinely. This is something that can be done if there is spirit of nationalism devoid of arrogance and unwarranted bursts. Situation in society are not stagnant but occasionally show development. For this reason it has to be assessed periodically. Wise and skillful politicians know how to make use of difficult conditions.
To reach that standard depends on high level political consciousness, self-sacrifice, commitment, and clear conscience and good faith. Activist may cross certain boundaries and create common understandings on what are considered as elements of Oromummaa and Oromo values and the basics of safuu. In absence of that it would be difficult for independence activist to sort out between contents of the opposite camp. The best condition could have been if no Oromo pledges allegiance to constitution of empire state of Ethiopia whose symbol is the tricolor, green yellow and red. Any sane person will never deny that Oromo lost their independence and ought to get it back as of right.
The vision of all Oromo Ethiopianists is to be called Ethiopian “citizen” and be embraced by Habashaa elites. In that case in Oromo perspective, except in name there is no difference between them and OPDO. As long as the empire existed, Habashaa elites will not give up the rein. All oppositions are there like the saying “Call him that he does not complain, push him that he does not eat.” They are meant to help TPLF fulfil constitutional criteria. If by chance change comes by internal struggle at a certain stage the present actors will not be around to witness it. History of collaborators tells this. It will only be victory of liberation movements that could give them wider alternatives as free peoples. The difference they have is not reconcilable unless the empire is dismantled. Organizations that are adhering to original kaayyoo/goal are inclined towards internal unity giving hope for their nation. Those that were lying in wait for ADO outcome better check their position for it may take them some more time.
In short if there is any similarity between those in independence camp and Ethiopianist camp it is the word Oromo in their names. Otherwise both stand in opposing camps. One can be a right (trophy) for the other when cornered like Makonnin Guddisaa and Bakar Waaree. Are those that say “Do not throw stone to each other” see the difference between Oromo organizations in that way? When it comes to the question of rights and justice what is important is not claiming to be Oromo but respect for human rights and the right of Oromo to national self-determination up to and including independence. Self-determination is the right of a people universally recognized, and so that of Oromo nation. No group or individual has the legal power to present the right of national self-determination for negotiation; it is a boundary line not to be crossed. One who see the question of Oromiyaa independence and freedom of the Oromo separately cannot claim being Oromo at heart. It is only the Oromo people that can decide on such issues. For one that beseeches to be made Ethiopian, even they, if not when in trouble, remain Amaaraa and Tigre, their camp doesn’t hold more than two like the American system; they have no advantage for adding third factor with equal rights. So why churn whey? It has no butter!
Whoever they may be the person of human beings is sacred. To spare the idea and jump to the person who forwarded it is impertinent and so safuu (unethical and unlawful). If a person has committed guilt, if not now, one may be charged when the time comes. But as long as ideas are concerned it is appropriate to tear them down and separate wrongs from rights and expose their fallacy. Voluntary criticism and self-criticism has to develop between activists. Otherwise murmuring and presenting only one-self as a victim will not be a productive habit. It is useful to discard such things that do not go with the time. Leaders may fail to show results according to expectations. That should not be something they should be insulted or condemned for. Until it is possible to bring them to vote of confidence you have to encourage and respect those in office criticizing for their mistakes on open forum if it is there, if not there, create one. Activists have the duty to vigilantly guard Oromo liberation movement against destruction from inertia or weakness of leadership when many are focused on destroying it. Leaders have also to avoid sulking for being criticized but search for ways of building trust and transparency within the organization. At least respect and make respected Constitution of the organization.
All in colonizer’s camp are competing to win power to rule the empire not to raze its structure. If at all there are those that believe in the contrary, relations could be forged with them for Oromo liberation struggle. If it is not in that way it amounts to trying “to put square peg in a round whole” they do not fit. Whatever we do should have transparency and whatever we propagate should not be to cover up lies. It will be nice to remember Oromo saying, “To fool the wise is to look for contempt”. To lie what does not take long to be revealed is to be a windbag. The above is outlook of independence camp. This camp is not showing the tendency of carrying out a revolution. Unless efforts made are stronger and faster than the other camp an uncontrollable situation is possible to arise. It will be advisable if one could see back and ask what would the Abbaa Gadaa of old do had they been in our place? All members of a Gadaa line would have participated in counseling according to Gadaa democratic system to find solution. Let us be guided with Oromummaa and leave enemy camp and gather under the Odaa, our camp, our shelter and our common democratic heritage, the source of our true pride, the symbol of our independence. Let us march together and bring the enemy to its senses then only can peace come to the region in a peaceful way. If that is possible, victory will not be far off. Let accountability and transparency flourish; down with arrogance and self-centeredness!
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!