Reexamining the Oromo Question

Politically conscious Oromo intellectuals had expressed the Oromo question in so many ways for the last hundred years and with especial emphasis in the last fifty years. But they are falling on deaf ears, for many want a piece of Oromiyaa for it is relatively considered for now the wealthiest in the region and the people the most meek, generous, and productive. Now Ethiopian empire is disintegrating because of mismanagement and decadence. There are those trying to form alliances pulling on old strings and new phenomenon. By nature, some of those had been parasitic and never stood alone. They prefer disintegration than losing that status. But when Oromo peasant could no longer stand them, things started to fall apart and resistance started to develop. To articulate this situation and make their stand clear to the world the Oromo had to come out around six decades ago with unwavering determination on their quest for right of nations for national self-determination up to and including independence. Only that was the means for purgation of these parasites.

Oromo question is based on peace, independence, and freedom. Their struggle has put the enemy off balance that demarcation between two camps is getting mixed up. We have started to see persons who were supposed to be in this camp, in other one and vis versa. Nafxanyaa descendants that shun country of birth think they can deny their own country, owners of the country by cacophony. Oromo names may confuse third parties who cannot differentiate Oromo nationalists from Oromo defectors. For instance, names like Juulaa, Leellisaa and Guddinaa may confuse them. These mercenaries and fake Oromo are blurring their people’s Kaayyoo by giving false face for nafxanyaa establishment. They are such ones that are driving Oromo youth in front without enough training for the purpose of depleting enemy fire power. When they deploy these children to war, they know that they have no chance of returning home. They are fulfilling the plan that enemy has to reduce Oromo population. But, since Oromo heroes and heroines are armed with clarity of thought and revolutionary principle, they have no confusion what so ever. Oromo are currently getting annihilated at least in five major ways:

1. Fighting for freedom

2. Hired or forced to fight for causes of others

3. Unarmed, peaceful peasants and other nationals subjected to genocide

4. Preventable natural calamity such as draught, locust, deluge, and disease

5. Making no effort to get out of such humiliating and despicable situation.

Except for the first, all are enemy caused. Independent minded, self-respecting, and self-confident Oromo must support the first without preconditions for there is no other feasible alternative. There is no other organization formed to free Oromiyaa but created to gnaw Oromiyaa. Fundaments of objective of Oromo struggle is one country, one people and one destiny. As Oromo nothing should divert us from this and tempt us to cross border and abandon our Kaayyoo. Oromo can be whatever they like in free Oromiyaa. They will be governed by their own laws and representative in their own land. But first, they must struggle in unison to be free together. Peaceful or armed means of struggle cannot be a point to divide the nation; both can be carried out at the same time for the same end, independence. What is required is a peaceful region and empowering peoples of the region and assure that no one can deny

them the right of national self-determination and support implementing what they chose. With this we prove that one people is not created to be above and another to be under.

To appreciate Oromo question, one must understand the way Ethiopian empire was created. Ethiopia/Abyssinia collaborated with imperialism in 19th century and took part in the Scramble for Africa. It was then that the Oromo countries were occupied by force led Amharic speaking gunners or nafxanyaa forces as they used to be known. Then they formed the nafxanyaa colonial empire. After WWII when all colonies were considered for liberation Oromo countries were not listed. That led to resistance movements in every corner of Oromiyaa until a pan-Oromo political organization the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was founded to unify them. It is now over fifty years since then.

Now the resistance war had been taken over by WBO (Oromo Liberation Army). Population wise Oromo are said to be one among three largest ethnic groups in Africa and the largest in the region. They are just coming out of hundred years of harsh rule, brainwashing and dehumanization. That might have effect on their speed of recovery. Otherwise, they are a force to reckon with. Until fire arms were introduced, they were indomitable. After they were vanquished by gun wielders all possible measures were taken to turn these heirs of Nile civilization to stone age. That is why disparity is seen with forces of the North. However, they are catching up fast.

Within last fifty years there were liberation and other movements within Ethiopia proper and liberation movements in the colonies. The liberation fronts were nation based, while the others were class based. The Ethiopia based liberation fronts were descendants of founding fathers of the Ethiopian colonial empire. Oromo as nation had never reconciled with that empire. OLF was born to reflect that. Oromo had different political, economic, and social history. Aliens that want to have relation with them must understand those differences. Oromo had issues with TPLF/EPRDF but not more issues than OPDO/PP. For now, that of TPLF may be off the table.

Oromo stand against genocide in Tigray, as human beings, and as African siblings. An Ethiopian liberation front, TPLF and the Oromo one, OLF with international pressure agreed to form the defunct transitional administration (1991). They both accepted in principle the right of national self-determination for all nations, nationalities, and peoples under empire Ethiopia. It was for the first time that an Ethiopian ruling group recognized their difference in identity and accepted participation of colonies in determining the future of that region. But greed of leaders of the dominant party then failed it. Bygones are bygone, Tigraaway are suffering at present for those principles. All those that share those principles must understand that they are dying not only for Tigray but also as proxy for all those that cherish rights protected by federal constitution.

Oromo revolutionaries believe that to be equal partners with peoples of the North, nafxanyaa system-built empire must be dismantled. Otherwise, any individual or group occupying or competing to occupy it cannot behave differently from its original makers. Therefore, Abiy and PP and allies are Oromo current enemies. Oromo individuals involved in administration of the empire are mercenaries of old Ethiopia and by no means represent their nation like all Goobanas of the past. They are only enemies of the Oromo that want to cover up Oromo plight that brand the current government as Oromo

government. Call them PP or OPDO they are both customs made to fit alien interest with Oromo brain taken out of them and faces covered with Oromo mask. Had they had grain of Oromummaa in them, they would have dismantled themselves and leave the true ruler naked as not to smear Oromo’s name.

Oromo can befriend neighboring African peoples and beyond. Oromo tradition demands being compassionate, honest, and truthful to friends. They expect reciprocity from the other side. Any group or individual on empire’s throne had never been friendly to Oromo. Oromummaa is not only DNA but also abiding by rules of law, cultural and ethical political norms as inherited from Gadaa Fathers. Abiy as contra to Oromummaa as he is lets Goojjamee, Minjaaree etc. cross border, invade, grab land, and destroy Oromo life and property. That is why we say Abiy’s is not Oromo government. Had it been Oromo Karrayyuu Abbaa Gadaas would not have been massacred and their land invaded under his watch.

Amaaraa /nafxanyaa elites deny Oromo and others having country and identity of their own. Despite that there are Oromo friends among them having similar political objectives. Being Amaaraa elite’s lackey did not save Abiy from being accused with intention of building “grand Oromo empire like the 16th century” in reverse of his mission told to the world; though, there had been no such empire at all. If not going to war in defense of own interest Oromo had no tradition of enslaving and oppressing.

Abiy’s bravado of making Ethiopia great again were all in vain; Amaaraa elites preferred Isaayyaas to make her what she deserves. Some may have hidden agenda of outsmarting him to regain the Red Sea. They cannot see that alliances are changing. It is not long agonizing history and inequality but present-day common interest that bring the oppressed together. Nafxanyaa system hopefuls have developed a habit of massacring the Oromo and crying “Oromo massacred us.” Despite call by OLF for independent investigation the world has ignored that and continued voicing with them the killing and false crying. Conspiracy that started last century to suppress Oromo voice did not yet end.

Recently a member of past Ethiopian Youth’s Revolutionary League (IHII’AWWALII) came out with anti-Oromo mentality and complaining that Isaayyaas is being manipulated by Abiy in advancing his “Oromo expansionism.” Is he serious? He has made his objective clear; to reunite old Habashaa and peoples in the North against the South’s movement to be free. To help that he cites history, descent, and religion the North had in common. The interview indicates he was not alone in taking present Ethiopian government as Oromo one.

Ethiopians intentionally refuse to accept that it is PP in power, which is EPRDF minus TPLF. The word Oromo in OPDO was not even tolerated that it was changed to PP. The interviewer had also doubt in his mind on this issue. But if history matters not the empire, not OPDO or PP were Oromo made. They are their own Frankenstein Monsters. They are just like those assimilado, Goojjam and Walloo that became Habashaa/Amaaraa and turning against the Oromo attacking them. Ruling the empire is not Oromo’s turn for Oromo had never been in turns with the makers. Oromo person had served them, they are still serving them, PP, its members, and their running dogs are all nafxanyaa colonial servants. When the time comes not their decadent empire Oromo will have their independent country and free people. If

Oromo wanted to enter competition for empire building, no one can stop them as the late Mallas Zeenaawii once prophesied.

Such misunderstanding and not accepting differences Oromo claim with the North could sow seeds of doubt in their possible good relations. Let us reiterate that Oromiyaa is not an appendage of Ethiopia but a separate and independent country. Northerner are not ready to swallow this bitter truth. The root cause of conflict between old Ethiopian partners is monopoly on access to wealth of Oromiyaa not internal power struggle as it used to be. Each had own ways of preempting the other on this matter. But now things are changing the owner had become one of the contestants, for that matter progressively significant.

History, descent, and religion cannot override the desire for power and economic interest of the already established. For Oromo liberation it is only Oromummaa which could serve as engine for the struggle. Oromo community is not monolithic. It is composed of people with different interests, world outlook, creed etc. There can be pacifists and warriors; independents and unionists as of right. All those that have self-confidence as Oromo and believe in Oromo self-reliance fight internally for those rights democratically before abandoning one’s community. Temporary gains and thoughts and cowardice need to overcome.

It is not unnatural for family, clans and religion and region to sway away one from grand idea of a nation. But that is temporary and excusable. But defecting to the enemy is not pardonable. Religion and region are no more soft joints to press and divide the Oromo. Oromo know what they have individually and in common as a nation and what they could lose by schism. They also know being buddies with aliens does not mean being off one’s guard. Oromo need only free Oromiyaa and united Africa, not replacing Ethiopian empire with Oromo Empire. After all Oromo are the oldest democracy, they are proud of. 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

November 2022