Nafxanyaa as a system and nationality

Summary –

The genocidal enslaving Nafxanyaa colonial system by which modern Ethiopian empire was founded was formed by the kingdom of Shawaa with help of European imperialists. Many foot soldiers were recruited from defeated nations and nationalities and were baptized into Orthodox Christianity and were transformed into Amaaraa. All were referred to as Nafxanyaa or Qawwee (Gun). Nafxanyaa period could be grouped int three phases from emperors to the present. Though they have differences in degree and method all are known for genocide on the colonized peoples and dehumanization and abject exploitation of resources. Land reform and recognition of the right of nations to self-determination had taken place in the last two phases. ODP comes at end of the third phase as a transitional government and force of change. It is the first to ascend to Ethiopian empire’s power without hiding its identity of Oromummaa. Dr. Abiy is its chair person. The change did not go well with descendant of old Nafxanyaa. They are refusing to recognize Oromo claim of sovereignty over Oromiyaa and even Oromiyaa as an entity. It is during this period that descendants of the Nafxanyaa, minors and adults, clergy and lay knowledgeable, all Amharic speaking started openly to call names and gang up against the Oromo. The Oromo are asking for formation of a new union of the willing free and equals different from old Ethiopia. Dr. Abiy ‘s style of governance has opposition from the Oromo and Ethiopianists. Oromo may start realizing that political issues require not emotions but tactics. To defeat Nafxanyaa mentality it is advisable to suppress internal contradiction and concentrate on external ones. Thus, the Nafxanyaa system was created and led by the Amaaraa war-lords but was eclectic in its composition. Nafxanyaa system hopefuls are now trying to provoke the Oromo in organized way to make errors of judgement. But Oromo ethical standard (safuu) is greater than their evil thought.

Regions and sub-regions of Old Ethiopia (Habashaa) were governed by warlords. At the center is a crown which every warlord dream to have it one day. Thus, getting the crown was mostly violent. All depended on short lived raids and forcing warlords next to them to submission. Those that are able to capture the crown claim to have descended from King Solomon of Judea. That was their source of sovereignty. At the end of the 19th century the Shawaa king changed that trend by going outside the traditional bounds and started extensive colonial campaign by “ashkars” (servants) known as Nafxanyaa and armed with guns. It was the Amaaraa ruling class and their overseas friends that founded and led the genocidal enslaving Nafxanyaa system. Oversea friends supplied war material and expertise. Foot soldiers and cavalries were recruited from overrun countries as well but the majority of officers and personnel were Orthodox Christian Amaaraa majorly with Tigraaway participating as junior partners. All non Habashaa recruits were baptized into Coptic Orthodox Christianity and assimilated into Amaraa nationality. Therefore, Nafxanyaa system was eclectic not homogeneous in ethnicity but all baptized and assimilated were considered Amaara. They also considered themselves as such and marched on their own people with impunity. The Tigraaway emperor Yohaannis IV has given permission for its oppression though responsibility for managing the Nafxanyaa system was that of the Shawaa king, Minilik. All kings believed that they were “Elect of God” and so their legitimacy was derived from divine power. The second Nafxanyaa phase started with inception of the Darg and ended in 1991.

By Nafxanyaa colonial conquest the feudal empire Ethiopian was built. It was a venture that several Amaaraa were proud of and still some enjoy its memory. Nafxanyaa system was a gun wielding feudal system whose economy was based on land and free labor. Majority peoples of the colonized countries lost their land and freedom overnight. Half the population were killed by the Nafxanyaa marauders and millions were sold as slaves to domestic and overseas markets. The remaining were turned into serfs that supply the Nafxanyaa with free labor. Those slaves and serfs from Oromiyaa and the south were ones that were used as pack animals during the march to Adwa (1896). Few fortunate slaves like Qusee, Baalchaa and Gabayyehu were able to rise to rank of military leaders. The first Nafxanyaa has done to southern nations, nationalities and tribalities more harm than what the Nazi has done to Jews and Romani minus technological tools. Foreigners that have witnessed firsthand Nafxanyaa campaigns have written all about it (e.g. Alexander Bulatovich and De Salviac). The conquered were subjected to heavy taxes, tithes, hard labor etc. They were systematically dehumanized, humiliated and impoverished. The people did not yet recover from its effects even after a century and half. All that want to reestablish the Nafxanyaa system should not forget that genocide has no statute of limitations. That period lasted until the fall of the last emperor, 1974.

The second Nafxanyaa phase started with inception of the Darg. It was led by feudal soldiers that called themselves “socialists”.  They have tried to win legitimacy by leading self-declared workers party and exercising some sort of elections. But their true legitimacy is from the guns. Though they changed the feudal base of the empire by nationalizing land, the imperial structure of the state was not changed. Land ownership was changed from state and feudal lords to Nafxanyaa state monopoly. The first Nafxanyaa tried to assimilate Oromo and others for over hundred years but failed. It claimed Ethiopia to be one nation with one language, one state religion, one history and one flag. Darg recognized that Ethiopia is not one nation but an empire in which there are several nations and nationalities.  Revolutionary democracy based on Marxist Leninist ideology was their guide line. It maintained unitary system of government in which Amharic was at the center. Though recognizing the right of nations and nationalities to develop their languages and culture it invested much to develop Amharic supremacy. It even had a lofty plan to make Amharic medium of instruction for higher education. Thanks to liberation movements it failed and Darg was discarded.

The third Nafxanyaa system was more friendly to nations and nationalities than its predecessors. It accepted their demand for right of nations to national self-determination up to independence. It recognized that in its new constitution that established the federal system. Amharic still continued to be its language like its colonial predecessors. Nine states were recognized. Despite Sidaamaa’s demand to stand alone it was added to Southern nations, nationalities an peoples’ state. Theoretically and legally all states were equal. But in practice the TPLF was supreme in all. TPLF turned into a corrupt machine that summarily killed, imprisoned and abused human rights extensively, looted their property and plundered resources of the states at will. It run a fake election and imposed the result by force. That denied it legitimacy. It rather ignited peoples’ furry which led to protest movement that it could not stand against.

Before TPLF/EPRDF was overthrown as a group, EPRDF made internal change and replaced TPLF by OPDO which later was renamed ODP. That means continuation of the third phase of Nafxanyaa system. Had TPLF implemented its constitution imperial base of the republic would not have survived. It is survival of that, that is giving false hope Nafxanyaa system remnants for possible return of the Nafxanyaa system. The new change in EPRDF came with some change of attitude. Rights enumerated in the constitution are more or less practiced in Finfinnee. But the change did not reach the outer skirts. ODP is the ruling party in Ethiopia and in Oromiyaa. That confuses the Oromoness of Oromiyaa state governance. The empire state still persists. Power flows down from Minilik palace with same language and same authority.  The empire is still led by one party like it was led by one king, one military leader and one guerilla leader.  TPLF had tried to compensate Tigray for sacrifices it made to bring about change. ODP did nothing for Oromiyaa for sacrificing its Qeerroo to bring about the present change.

But for some gross mistakes it demonstrates, ODP still speaks afaan Oromo. It is the first Oromo that has come to power without requiring changing its Oromummaa. Background OPDO history should not be brought forward to open old wounds among the Oromo. Alienating it could have more harm than benefit. Emotions have run high because of the silly ways Dr. Abiy handled Ethiopian history, the language case, and the Jawar incident. Better or worse he is an Oromo and deserves benefit of the doubt. Original Oromo struggle of OLF had a yardstick to judge Oromo politicians. In absence of such yard stick our complaint is no more collective but individual. Though ODP as a whole is not showing the commitment and determination Oromummaa requires, it is better than TPLF and ADP for the Oromo. That is not forgetting that Oromummaa requires risk takings as well. But even these should not lead to total rejection and severing engagements by others but in-home reprimand at the highest. Let them first have agreed upon political code of conduct. Oromummaa as an outlook of Oromo struggle must be defined as to be a common frame of reference.  Before they agree and strengthen themselves other Oromoo organizations should not antagonize ODP.

For Oromo it is time to suppress internal contradictions and concentrate only on the external ones unless one is proved to be hopelessly treacherous. It does not seem that level is reached yet. It does not also seem viable alternative for smooth transition is ready. Possible chaos should be kept at bay at any cost. Dr. Abiy is managing imperial bureaucracy with modern ideas. The tactics he uses to guide this through the transition is his own. He may be overwhelmed by old practices but since the transition is time bound tolerance with advice is expected from the Oromo. To be careful that his actions do not lead him to doom is his responsibility. While supporting being critical is also required. Since its occupation of Oromiyaa there is no time that the enemy stopped denying the Oromo leadership. Trying to deflect ODP from Oromo leadership is an indication. Youth with potential of providing leadership for the Oromo are being hunted down, productive farmers are being disabled by government forces, as leader at the top, ODP and Dr. Abiy are responsible and accountable to give them protection. Political groups should also feel responsibility as not to create uncontrollable situations that might jeopardize peace of the region and unity of the people. Conflict between them should not overflow to their sympathizers.

The empire is said to be in transition. If it transits to union based on will of equals and the free then we can talk about democracy equality and freedom. That is what Nafxanyaa system hopefuls stand against. For them territories colonized by the Nafxanyaa has to remain domain of their descendants. They believe Oromo have no claim over Oromiyaa and there should be no state called Oromiyaa. This is fire side story their families told them as constructed by their ancestor Daftaraa (clerics) to justify the genocide they committed against innocent natives. However much educated they may be Nafxanyaa remnants could not see this fiction critically. That is why Oromo proposal for formation of a post empire union of equals and the free is not acceptable to them. Only Oromo determination for realization of their right of nations for national self-determination may awaken them see reality, which by that time could be too late. Unless nation and nationality recognize for each other identity each claim and sovereignty on their own countries and continue narrating fire side stories, they would rather go farther from each other rather than getting closer.  Covering up one’s wrongdoings, if one goes across the seas to look for alliances, since truth is on this side of the seas one will be shamed when coming back to seek for it. Therefore, realizing that we cannot outwit each other with lies, it is better to get face to face in good faith and approach each other with truth and seek solution for our regional problems with in our own region. No foreign ruler or parliamentarian can bend justice and truth. The transitional government of Dr. Abiy should be advised to go back on track, be impartial to all outlooks, take firm grasp on power, secure supremacy of the law and cater for smooth transition to “democracy”.

When a house or a tree falls down lives that were sheltered in it will be disturbed until they go back to their original abode and adjust to it. The fall of Nafxanyaa system and the empire it built has to be taken in that light. Those that lived on it will not easily believe that it has fallen. The happiness its fall brought to majority of peoples is not their concern. These days minors and adults, clergy and the wise Amharic speaking folks came out shamelessly cursing incidents that were not verified by investigation. They alarmed the world with loud cry as victims when their sinister plan failed to hit its intended goal. Jawar’s assassination failed because Oromummaa preempted them. Their attack on peaceful demonstrators and people at home also failed not hitting the target they intended for, though with unexpected causality. Even then they did not stop crying foul on Amaraa and Orthodox Christianity.  But the result of death was the opposite implying who was armed.

Oromo youth protest was political directed against the government no any ethnic or religious groups. There is no people related to the different peoples; one that has more religious affiliations than the Oromo. Oromo tradition prohibits conflict between religions.  What do descendants of the first Nafxanyaa want from the Oromo? Why are they mobilizing the Amaaraa against Oromo with false alarm? Why are they provoking the Oromo to make errors? Don’t they know that Oromo have strong tradition of ethical standard (safuu). Oromo will not henceforth, tolerate any one’s superiority except that of the law. For them Nafxanyaa system has fallen and they will make sure that it will not raise its head again. Therefore, it is wise for those who think they can scare the Oromo by shouting in Amharic to stop it in time and mind their own business. Interfering in matters of material and spiritual concerns of the Oromo is no more permissible. 

A system against humanity like Nafxanyaa system should not have existed even in minds of peoples after the banning of Nazism. This period is hoped to be the end of traces of the Nafxanyaa system. The empire is expected to be totally dismantled and a new union of the equal and free or independent republics shall be built on its ruins. All cultures, languages and history of nations, nationalities and peoples will be rewritten. No culture, language or history of peoples in this region shall have more privilege than others. Each state is sovereign in its own territory. Normally the federal state will have as much sovereign power as member states agree to give up from their sovereignty. New relations between the states, different from imperial Ethiopia will be defined by member states of the federation. Rights and duties of persons from different nationalities that took residence in different states will not change under the federal system. As residence of the state in which they are, they have to respect the laws of that state. Their right of movement and taking residence in any state will not be curtailed.  Their legal loyalty is to the state to which they registered as voters. Trying to disturb the peace of their residence being in cahoots with external groups could be more dangerous for their own group safety than to the indigenous.

Reorientation to the new situation and program of reconciliation for all people will be necessary to close old chapter and open new ones. The Nafxanyaa system has to be condemned and any effort to revive it should be outlawed. Then only will the oppressed people be sure of its demise. In the name of Amaaraa there were systems like those during what they call Era of Princes, the Nigusa Nagast system and the Nafxanyaa system. Majority of the people might have felt the effect but did not cause them to exist. For the first time it was the present proposal of forming union of the equals and free that they could have participated in. But their elites that have especial interest are preventing them from free participation. The ordinary Amaraa will benefit to be united with other people on the basis of equality, respect for each other’s interest and freedom. The downtrodden Amaaraa never shared material benefit from booties of war except empty psychological grandeur as the conquering race. It is not freedom of others but enslavement that has consequences.

Nafxanyaa elements who are mostly assimilado and cannot trace their ethnicity through either parent are the ones that fan old style “Ethiopiawiinnat” in the name of Amaraa and endangering free post empire union. All people need peace, security, freedom and happiness in life. Nafxanyaa system hopeful assimilado dream of living on others wealth and labor and so are continuously working to create discord among peoples. The Nafxanyaa system, though eclectic in ethnic composition we have tried to show how it is related with the Amaaraa nation. For modern Amaaraa nation trying to embrace it rather than disowning it could make them responsible for all its genocide and other crimes. They should also think the greatness of Ethiopian empire of which they are proud of was achieved by humiliating and enslaving other peoples which are no fighting for their identity and freedom. If Amaara have wise persons and elders they have to strain those Nafxanyaa system hopeful hooligans that defame and insult the Oromo who rather deserve apology for past sour relations. That is not honorable for their good name and peace. Recognizing errors of the Nafxanyaa system, will end as irrelevant the discourse “Who is the Nafxanyaa?”. Let us enjoy what we have in hand rather than what we lost for good.

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

November 2019

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