The Change underway will Transit with Patience, Tolerance and Struggle

The Oromo, by clinging to their Kaayyoo have made unparalleled contribution with great sacrifice to create the present situation in the Ethiopian Empire. The change achieved by blood of patriots seem to give hope, but we see several obstacles awaiting it in transiting to viable democracy. Companions that do not trust each other at difficult turns are plodding together. Persons that have differences in objectives, wishes, heroes they claim and history are lumped up to transit together. The change did not happen because any one planned it, but was forced to occur by popular uprising. It stopped short of system change only forcing power shift within the ruling party. Even that was considered a revolution for no one expected for the totalitarian TPLF regime to leave power to a more liberal group that promised change so easily and exit. In this, the determination and commitment of Oromo youth in advancing their nations Kaayyoo fills the nation with spirit of indomitability. Even after that was demonstrated aliens showed no interest to pay attention to the Oromo question. Because they do not have common premise, it has been impossible to find solution for problems concerning relation between Oromiyaa and Ethiopia. They do not accept the premise that the two countries have differences, though their own archives prove that. They start with the premise that Oromo have no country, all is Ethiopian. The Oromo have proved to them through their struggle that they are different from them and have their own separate country. And they mean what they say. Because some Habashaa elites have made denying Oromo identity their culture, there is no way of creating understanding. The probe that now started in a peaceful way can be the last chance to understanding reality and adjust to it. It would be wise to listen to the Oromo side seriously rather than trying to force down Ethiopian garbage into their throat which can have irreversible consequences. We all know what the reverse of dialogue means.

Much complaint is being heard from camps yonder. One says appointments to different offices are biased for the Oromo. The other is that Identity Cards are being distributed to the Oromo to change demography of Finfinnee. And other complaints of partiality of those in power are being aired. The main propogandist here are remnants and descendants of Emperor and Darg’s henchmen; now calling themselves “Forces of unity”. On the other hand, many Oromo are complaining that they did not get proper attention commensurate with the sacrifices they made to give a break for the region from Wayyaanee torture chambers. Likewise, Oromo in power are accused of abandoning Oromiyaa and taking up Habashaa position in the struggle. Many false or true allegations have to be expected during period of change. It is advisable to give benefit of the doubt for nationals in crucial positions until proven wrong. Pushing for one’s share of attention can make difference rather than total rejection. It is obvious that any change cannot take place without affecting the old order as well as anti-people enemy agent sleeper cells. It is good to expect unintended collateral damage even to friends. There are those who after agitating children of peasants for war of freedom abandoned them in harms ways and retreated to what they used to brand as enemy camp. Not only retreating but with disturbed conscience they started shooting back probably getting more vicious than the enemy itself. A vervet monkey is alleged to say “I am afraid of the wooden spear for real spear comes shinning”. It will not be proper to complain about external enemies before taming the crook inside. To be able to tame one’s own amounts to winning half the battle. For whatever, this change is a test for Oromoo in and out of power and Oromo activists and to non-Oromo. Not only who allied with whom but also how much were they able to coordinate and present their people’s demands together wisely is a difficult test. Truth, lacking presentation has no better reception than lies.

It is possible for good intentions turning bad during the transition. For instance, a rogue regiment deployed to keep peace could use excessive force to a degree of genocide subverting the intended mission. Even though that may not be what higher body intended since responsibility is indivisible, they cannot escape accountability. Therefore, it is incumbent on all those that have optimistic view of the process of change to show vigilance, understanding and at most responsibility at all times. Let no one forget that we are walking in the shadow of those that sabotage our struggle to freedom throughout history. With great sacrifices nations and nationalities have asserted their exclusive right on their domain. Despite that there are those who take as if nothing happened in the last fifty years and try to build the future on the stub of imperial throne. They want to get rid of the name Oromiyaa, OLF and the federal system with stroke of the pen. Those names were achieved by struggle that changed political landscape of the Ethiopian empire. They will not be given up even if it has to roll down generations.

Oromo people’s struggle has shown that no absolute power can survive the will of the people. The slogan “Absoluteness of Ethiopian unity” only contributed to the downfall of the emperor and the Darg. Wayyaanee accepted that nothing was absolute and survived. If not that of Waaqaa, there is no supremacy that is indisputable on this earth. So, it negotiated for federalism of equals and agreed to establish democratic political system; hence the present controversial constitution. Oromo came up with the national question way before Walalliny Makonnin’s paper on the subject and Wayyaanee’s constitution. Therefore, instead of taking it as Wayyaanee machination to dismantle Ethiopia and blaming it, all have to revise their history and try in earnest to answer the still pending Oromo question. Wayyaanee crumbled for trying to ignore it. And EPRDF cannot hide under Oromo leadership to avoid answering the Oromo question. The so called “forces of unity “, brainwashed with Nafxanyaa world outlook are struggling to control Oromiyaa and monopolize her resources. Oromo are struggling to gain sovereignty over Oromiyaa and develop own resources so that their children will not go hungry, thirsty, and lack clothing and shelter and that they get education and lead a happy life with their human rights respected. To be free for the Oromo people is a legitimate right recognized by national and international law.

Dr. Abiy and his teams have promised for a smooth and peaceful transition towards a democratic system accepting supremacy of the law. Their role is assumed to be maintaining peace and keeping balance between different demands that had rocked the empire for the last a century and half in general and the recent fifty years in particular. That gave hope for all pending questions of peoples’ rights to be presented at the end of the transition to the ultimate judge, the peoples for true sovereignty lies with them not the empire state. Oromo organizations have joined it to make the transition successful without affecting their Kaayyoo and organizational independence. If successful the change could usher in an unprecedented democratic world outlook to the Horn of Africa based on the will of peoples. Every group, nation or nationality will have the opportunity to present their question without the need to revert to violence. If it fails, the struggle will undoubtedly continue. The Oromo people have fatigue from colonial wars and war of liberation and need to recuperate. This could be possible if only the chance we got now to move from armed struggle to peaceful one holds. As Oromo saying goes “One who rejects morsel will spend the night without food”; we have to take what is available and trudge for the remaining.

For now, let us trust Dr. Abiy and Team Lammaa that they can put sense to the transition irrespective of our deferent perceptions of what is going on. Theirs is for now the only Oromo political group around with teeth and speaking peoples’ language on federal level. For now, to cooperate with them rather than shunning has advantage for people’s struggle. Oromo struggle over the last fifty years has come dismantling the root of slavery and servitude and burning the bridges behind it never to turn back. There are several organizations in Oromo name. Though their road maps seem somewhat different they have common interest to protect. They all want to raise political consciousness of their people, provide efficient and effective administration, eradicate hunger and decease, promote renaissance of Oromo Gadaa civilization and the life of peace and happiness to their people. They all seem to agree to respect universal human and people’s rights and peaceful coexistence with neighbors and all other peoples. These are the minimum they can do together as siblings. ODP as a ruling party is obliged to be impartial, though individual members are entitled to their freedom of thought and expression. That means, as a ruling party care should be taken as far as possible, as not to take sides with any political group or declare political positions that could antagonize any group during the transition.

Accepting democracy means accepting and tolerating differences; therefore, there is no ground for democrats to fight each other. Oromiyaa and the road to freedom for the Oromo is built with blood and bones of Oromo patriots that nobody should be allowed to mess with. There are many that have interest on Oromiyaa. Because those have no legitimate cause, they try to force it into submission rather than presenting their case for dialogue. Had they not got snitches from inside they could not have been able to play on this great nation. Still they are trying to use openings left by selfish and unconscious Oromo to penetrate it. Because it was the tool that the Oromo used to break the backbone of supremacist imperial Ethiopia, OLF is a name that every Oromo national should keep as an amulet. It is only the enemy and Oromo naive that wants to destroy this symbol of independence. Their foes are on the verge of success to marginalize and attack one by the other. But the Oromo, by clinging to their Kaayyoo have made unparalleled contribution with great sacrifice to bring about the present change and avert that situation. Though the change achieved by blood of patriots seem to be full of hope, we are seeing that several obstacles are awaiting it in transiting to viable democracy. Companions that do not trust each other at difficult turns are moving together. Persons that are not alike in objectives, wishes, heroes they claim and history are getting deployed to transit together. In particular anti-Oromo elements that try to distort the truth by cacophony are more in numbers. However, determination and commitment Oromo youth have to advance their nations Kaayyoo fills one with great hope.

Now enemies of Oromo unity and freedom are relentlessly working to divide the youth by region and religion. Recently what happened in Western Oromiyaa was depicted to the other regions as if it is skirmish between a segment of OLF outlaws and the Oromiyaa state helped by the federal forces. But no one wanted to point out that it could have a far-reaching consequence to unity of Oromiyaa. And, no Oromo force raised its voice to show concern against fratricide in progress. Thanks to traditional institutions and peace-loving individuals the clash has at least paused for now. In such a war no side can win but the national cause would suffer unprecedented set back. It would have been an excuse for all that have interest in Oromiyaa and those that want to control the region to gang up and push the gun wielders to the extreme. The nation has to wake up as not to lose this rare opportunity in consolidating its unity.

Some political organizations, build their political platform on sabotaging Oromo independent progress and reversing the Oromo revolution. They have no own initiative to offer for the changed situation better than what their ancestors inherited them. If equality of all nations and nationalities and the federal system is accepted there should be no other entity to directly interfere in internal affairs of the Oromo. Any overlapping interests should be addressed only through the federal state to which the federated states have delegated part of their sovereignty for the purpose. Chauvinism and nostalgia for the feudal colonial past will only destroy the hope for possible continuation of togetherness. As Oromo our sovereignty over Oromiyaa is not negotiable

As Oromo we have proved with determined struggle of the last fifty years that Oromo sovereignty over Oromiyaa is not negotiable. Whether rulers of the empire are Oromo or non-Oromo the Oromo question of “the right to national self-determination” has to be answered. The sacrifices of the past colonial years have started to show fruition. Because many are vowing to sabotage it, it is expected from all to awaken and safeguard it from getting stunted. It is a patriotic duty to see to it that our Kaayyoo reaches its goal by clinging to, like we did in the past and hand it over. We have full hope that the change we achieved with blood will transcend all obstacles and pass to the next level. If we can, we shall tame companions to the change; if they refuse, it is because they do not fit in the first place. Our struggles have different objectives, wishes and dreams. Our struggles have different objectives, wishes and dreams. But for the sake of peace and stability of our region, we shall submit our difference to determination of the law and meanwhile try to strengthen points on which we can agree. No cacophony from any quarter should distract us from the truth. Determination and commitment of Oromo youth to advance the national Kaayyoo gives tremendous hope and has to be further encouraged. If all have to continue together in one piece, no one should be asked to make further sacrifices for glory of the dead fuedo-colonial history but for freedom. It is wise to listen to the Oromo side as well, rather than trying to force down Ethiopian garbage into their throat. We could get more benefit if we respect each other’s identity and rights. If we, people of Horn of Africa could only stand a moment and look at ourselves as Africans, we will not fail to see the danger encircling us. We will be like dogs encircled by hyenas while quarreling on carrion. They can lose the carrion as well as their being. Now is the time when we should resolve petty misunderstandings among us fast and find a way on how to prevent our continent from danger haunting it. Otherwise just like what happened in the nineteenth century, history is going to repeat itself; some of us siding invaders to get advantage over the rest of us. However, not any more as allies but as stooges. With that black people are going to lose their resources and honor together. Remember, Pan Africanism can flourish only if its component parts are genuinely free. The Change underway will transit to the next level with Patience, Tolerance and Struggle. Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

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
February 2019

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