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OROMIA: SEENAA GABAABAA OBBO BAQQALAA MOKONNON WASANUU: A PIONEERING AND LIFE-LONG OROMO NATIONALIST February 9, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in Oromo.
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Odaa OromooObbo Baqqalaa Mokkonnon Wasanuu (1930-2016)

 

 

SEENAA GABAABAA OBBO BAQQALAA MOKONNON

(SBO): Obbo Baqqalaa Mokonnon abbaa isaanii Qanyi Azimaachi Mokonnon Wasanuu fi haadha isaanii Adde Abbebbechi Ejersaa irraa akka lakkoofsa Itiyophiyaatti Sadaasa 28,1922 naannoo Oromiyaa, konyaa Salaalee, ona Wacaalee, ganda Boolee jedhamee beekamutti dhalatan. Obbo Baqqalaa Mokonnon haadhaa fi abbaa isaaniif mucaa jalqabaa; obboleessaa fi obboleettii isaaniifimmoo hangafa turan.

Obbo Baqqalaan abbaa isaanii fi haadha isaaniitiin, keessattuu adaadaa isaaniitiin kunuunfamanii guddatan. Afaan Amaaraas baratan. Akkuma ijoollee naannoo isaanii farda gugsii, bishaan daakuu, xiyyaafannoo qawwee, kollee/qillee xapahchuu jaallatu ture. Barnoota afaan Amaaraa erga fixanii booda mana barumsaa Tafarii Mokonnon seenanii barnoota sadakaa lammaaffaa xumuratan. Sana booda, yeroo sanatti haarawaa banamee kan ture koollajjii hujii daldalaa (Commercial College) seenanii waggaa afuriif barnoota isaanii hordofan. Barnoota isaanii xumuranii hojjetaa herregaa ta’anii Baankii Daldaala Itiyoophiyaaf (Commercial Bank of Ethiopia) waggaa 13 hojjetan.

Obbo Baqqalaan amala gaarii, miidhagaa, uffatnaa bareedaa fi walumaa galatti of- eeggannoo fi of-babbareechuu dhan dargaggoota yeroo isaanii turan keessaa dinqisiifamaa turan. Haa ta’u malee, haala jireenya isaanii fi jireenya saba isaanii, keessattuu rakkinaa fi badaddina ummata Oromoo, yeroo walbira madaalanii ilaalan jireenyi isaanii nama qullaa karabaataa hidhatee adeemu isaanitti fakkatte. Jireenyi isaaniis hiikaa dhabe. Kanaafis umurii dargaggummaa irraa jalqabee hanga lubbuun isaanii dabartutti waan dandahan gochaa turan. Gochaa kana keessatti- jalqaba jireenya firaa fi saba isaanii foyyeessuuf akka nama tokkootti waan tokko tokko gochuu eegalan.

Waan dalagan keessaa hanga xiqqoo maqaa dhahuuf: baankii hojjetan keessaa horii baasanii namoota rakkatoo Waajuu keessaa fi naannoo jiraataniif hiranii akka hoolaa, handaaqqoo, dhadhaa fi kkf nagadanii bu’aa argatan; horii liqeeffatanimmoo akka baankiitti deebisan gochaa turan. Abbaan isaanii, Qanyi Azmaachi Mokonnoo, mana barnootaa Waajjuu fi Dabre Tsigee keessatti bananii turan. Obbo Baqqalaan, namootni naannoo sanaa ijoolleen isaanii akka mana barnootaa kanatti geessanii barsiisan gochaa turan; bakka nagadaa (gabaa) abbaan isaanii Dubar keessatti dhaabaanii turan namootni akka dhimma itti bahanii jireenya isaanii fooyyessan carraaqqii guddaa godhaniiru. Kun hundi jireenyaa fi mirga ummata isaanii, akka isaan barbaadanitti jijjiiruu akka hin dandeenye, waan hubataniif haala foyyaheen ummata isaanii gargaaruuf yaaduu jalqaban. Utuu kana yaadaa jiranii warra waldaaa Maccaa fi Tuulamaa bu’uuressaan, Obbo Hailemariam Gammadaafaa, waliin wal quunnaman. Marii isaani wajiin godhetan. Kuni obbo Baqqalaa hedduu gammachiise. ‘‘Dhuguma Waldaa kana keessatti qooda fudhadhee fedhii fi kaayyoo kiyyaa bakkaan gahuun nan dandhaha’’ jedhanii waldaa kana dhaabuu keessatti qooda guddaa taphatan.

Akka lakkoofsa Itiyophiyaatti bara 1955 waldaan Maccaa fi Tuulamaa ifatti erga dhaabbatee jalqabee geggeessitoota kaan waliin onnee fi murannoo dhan guutuu Oromiyaa keessa naannawanii ummata dammaqisuu fi ijaaruu dhan bakka hedduutti damee Waldaa Maccaa fi Tuulamaa dhaaban. Akka lakkoofsa Itiyophiyaatti bara 1959 waldaan Waccaa fi Tuulamaa guddatee guutuu Oromiyaa keessa sochoosuun waan sodaachiseef mootummaan yeroo sanaa obbo Baqqalaa dabalatee hoggantoota waldaa Maccaa fi Tuulamaa irratti hidhaa waggaa 10 hanga adabaa du’aa isaanitti murteessee gara mana hidhaa ‘Alem Beqqanyi’ jedhamutti darbataman.

Obbo Baqqalaan hidhaa isaanii xumuranii erga bahanii booda intala- intala bulchaa (Baalabbaata) wallaggaa, Kumsaa Morodaa, kan ta’an adde Atsede Habtemariame fudhanii ilma isaanii Kumsaa Baqqalaa dhalchan.

Obbo Baqqalaan bara 1991 yeroo mootummaa cehumsaa dhaabbatee ture Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo simatanii qubsiisuurraa eegalanii koree manguddootaa qindeessuu dhan naannoo adda addaa deemanii ummata barsiisaa fi ijaaraa turan. Obbo Baqqalaan akka lakkoobsa Awurophaatti bara 1992, biyya isaanii keessa jiraachuu irratti rakkina waan taheef biyya Ingilizi seenanii, magaalaa London keessa waggaa 24 jiraatan. Biyya Ingilizi yeroo jiraatan firoota fi ilmaani firoota isaanii walitti sasaabuu dhan maatii guddaa uumanii; firaa baayyee horatanii jireenya hedduu nama gammachiisu dabarsan.

Obbo Baqqalaan erga biyya Ingilizi seenanii hujiin isaaniii inni guddaan QBO jabeessuu, ummata Oromoo tokkoomsuu, gorsuu fi barsiisuu ture. Obbo Baqqalaan dargaggoota hedduu qabsoo bilisummaa Oromootti fiduu, qaruu fi jajjabeessuu keessatti gahee guddaa taphachaa turan. Kallattii dhan koree ABO biyya UK keessatti qooda fudhatanii Abbaa Dinagdee tahuu dhan qabeenyaa dhaabaa amanamuummaa fi qusannoo dhan qabanii hujii dhaabaarra oolchaa kan turan amanamaoo turan. Kanatti dabalee sagalee Oromoo ukkamfamee ture mootummaa Ingilizii fi biyyoota kaanitti dhageessisuuf hiriira ummataa qindeessuu fi keessatti qooda fudhatuu dhan utuu hin hifatiin waggaa 24 falmaa turan. Obbo Baqqalaan qorra, cabbii, bokkaa fi aduu utuu hin sodaatiin hiriira bahuu, hawaasa Oromoo ijaaruu, gorsuu, ebbisaa kan turan hangafa Oromoo ti. Akkasumas waajjira mootummaa biyya Ingiliziitti deddebi’anii rakkina Oromoo ibsaa turan. Itti dabalees walgahiilee Oromoo biyya Norway, Germany, Belgium fi USA irratti argamanii barnootaa fi gorsa bal’aa ummata Oromoof kennaa kan turan abbaa fi barsiisaa guddaa turan.

Obbo Baqqalaa kan isaan dheekkamsiisuu fi nama waliin walitti isaan buusu waan tokko qofaa ture. Innis firaa fi sabni isaanii yeroo miidhaman arguu ture. Kanaaf umurii isaanii guutuu mirga lammii fi saba isaanii falmaa turan. Hujii Obbo Baqqalaa kan adda taasisu keessaa inni guddaan cichoomina kaayyoo kan hin dhumne qabu ture. Amanamummaa fi qulqulluummaan sabaa fi lammii isaaniif qaban daangaa hin qabu ture. Akkasumas, yeroo hundaa hamilee guutuu qabaachaa turan Hanga daaqiiqaa lubbuun isaanii baatuutti dararama Oromoof quuqamaa, ilmaan Oromoo yeroo ammaa ajjeefaamaa jiraniif yaaddawaa turan.
Obbo Baqqalaan bara jireenyaa isaanii rakkina, hidhaa fi baqattummaa obsaan keessa darban; kaayyoo dhabbataniif daqiiqaa tokkofillee utuu hin irraanfatiin, sodaan Waaqayyoo utuu isaan irraa adda hin bahiin kan jiraatan qabsaawaa Oromoo jabaa fi goota turan. Mirgaa fi kabaja sabaaf jecha lubbuu isaaniillee yoo kennan hin jibban ture. Firaa fi saba isaaniif gaachana guddaa kan turanii dha. Yeroo gaddaa fi gammachuu maatii isaaniif; guddaa fi xiqqaaf; kuni fira dhihoo, kuni fagoo utuu hin jedhiin nama hundaaf walxiqa dhaqqabaa turan. Yeroo rakkinaa yoo dandahan kan qaban irraa hiranii, yoo dadhabanimmoo fira irraa fuudhanii nama gargaara turan.

Obbo Baqqalaa Mokonnon baatii lamaaf mana yaalaa (hakiimaa) St. Thomas jedhamee London keessatti beekamutti tajaajila irra turanii dhalatanii waggaa 86 itti Dilbata, Amajjii 15, 2008 (akka lakkoopsa Itiyoophiyaatti) adunyaa kanarraa du’aan boqotan. Guyyaa dhukkubsatan irraa jalqabee hanga lubbuun isaanii dabartutti ilma isaanii, obbollaa isaanii fi firoottan isaaniitiin akkasumas ummata Oromootiin marfamanii guyyaa tokkollee utuu dhukkubni isaanitti hin dhagayamiin utuu taphatanii fi kolfanii nagaa dhan adunyaa kanarraa godaanan.

Obbo Baqqalaa of biraa dhabuu keenyaaf gaddi guddaa akka nutti dhagayame ibsachaa ilmi isaanii fi maatii isaanii bal’aaf jajjabina akka argatan hawwina. Akkasumas, ummatni Oromoo beekaa fi goota akka Obbo Baqqaalaa of gidduu tii dhabuu irraa gaddi guddaan akka itti dhagayamu hubatamnaa dha. Garuu mul’ataa fi kaayyoon Obbo Baqqalaan ilmaan Oromoo gidduutti dagaagee mirga Oromoo gonfachiisuu yeroo itti belbelaa jiru kana waan isaan umurii ijoolluummaa irraa jalqabanii itti dadhabaa turan bakkaan akka geenyu abdii qabna.

Obbo Baqqalaan seenaa Oromoo keessatti bakka guddaa qabatanii bara baraaf jiraatu.

Qabsawaan ni kufa qabsoon itti fufee bakka gaha!

Injifannoo ummata Oromoof!

Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo

Gurraandhala 3, 2016


 

 

OBBO BAQQALA MOKONNON: A PIONEERING AND LIFE-LONG OROMO NATIONALIST


 

By Asafa Jalata, PhD

It was with deep sadness that our people both in Oromia and in the Diaspora heard on January 24, 2016, of the passing away of Obbo Baqqala Mokonnon, one of the distinguished pioneering founders and leaders of the renowned Macha–Tulama Self-Help Association (MTA). He was a great leader and a highly respected nationalist who devoted all of his adult life to fighting for the rights of the Oromo people.

Obbo Baqqala died at the age of eighty-six. He spent about a decade in an Ethiopian prison as a prisoner of conscience and about a quarter of a century in exile. His death is a tremendous loss to his family members, to our nation, and to all Oromo nationalists who have sacrificed their lives by struggling for the liberation of the Oromo people and their beloved country, Oromia. Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism), which Oromo nationalists such as Obbo Baqqala and his father Mokonnon Wasanu helped to blossom, has developed into the leading ideology of the Oromo national movement and has mobilized the entire Oromo nation into action to liberate itself from Ethiopian colonialism and global imperialism. The current Oromia-wide protest movement is the living example of this process.

This pioneering Oromo nationalist started to fight for the national rights of the Oromo when he was very young. While an Oromo collaborator class has emerged that seeks personal gain and interests at the cost of the Oromo nation, Obbo Baqqala continuously struggled and sacrificed for his people until his death. While living as an exile in London, England, Obbo Baqqala was a dynamic and vibrant nationalist; he actively participated in the affairs of the Oromo nation in the Diaspora by building and supporting the
Oromo Community Association in London and by energetically participating in the activities of the Oromo Liberation Front. All those who knew Obbo Baqqala can testify to this reality.

In the 1960s, Obbo Baqqala was known for two important contributions to the MTA. With other members of the association including Maamo Mazamer, Haile Maaram Diima, Taaffasa Gammachuu, and Fiixuma, he provided security service for the members and leaders of the MTA during meetings.
Particularly, as a trusted and brave man, he worked closely with General Taddassa Biru, who would later emerge as the leading figure of the association. His second contribution was in the area of membership recruitment. He helped build the membership base of the association by identifying prominent Oromo individuals and professionals in Finfinnee, explaining to them the objectives of the association and recruiting them. For instance, with the advise of General Taddassa Biru, Obbo Baqqala recruited Addee Axadaa Habte Maaram Bakare, a prominent Oromo woman, to be a member of the association. She helped in recruiting many Oromo individuals from Wallaga to be members of the association. Later Addee Axadaa and Obbo Baqqalaa married each other and promoted the Oromo struggle together.

When the military regime of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown and when the OLF participated in forming the transitional government of Ethiopia, Obbo Baqqala joined the OLF and participated in the Oromo national struggle. In 1992, when the Tigrayan-led Ethiopian government forced the OLF out of the transition government, he sought political asylum in London and lived there until his death.

The Members and the Board of Directors of the MTA-USA are proud that the Oromo nation has given birth to the likes of committed nationalists such as Obbo Baqqala Mokonnon who contributed their knowledge, skills, financial resources, and lives for the liberation of the Oromo people and country.
Those who serve their people will always forevermore live on in history and will have a special place in the hearts and minds of the Oromo people. We will always remember the long and dedicated service of Obbo Baqqalaa to the cause of our people. May our Waaqa bless our people with millions of other committed nationalists just like Obbo Baqqala Mokonnon! The members of the Board of Directors of the Macha-Tulama Cooperative and Development Association, USA, Inc. express their deepest condolences to his family members and to all those who were touched by his life-long service to the Oromo and, his infectious love for the dignity of his people.

Sincerely,
Asafa Jalata

Asafa Jalata, PhD
President, Board of Directors of Macha-Tulama Cooperative and Development Association, USA

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Financial Times on #OromoProtests: A dispute that started over a football field has evolved into one of the biggest challenges to the Ethiopian state since the end of the civil war a quarter of a century ago. February 9, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo#OromoProtests iconic picture

 

 

#OromoProtests: “This is a popular uprising against political marginalisation, non-representation and corruption,….”


 

Ethiopian land protests put down with deadly force


A dispute that started over a football field has evolved into one of the biggest challenges to the Ethiopian state since the end of the civil war a quarter of a century ago.
When local officials expropriated the school pitch for developers, students took to the streets of Ginchi, a small town 80km from Addis Ababa, the capital.
Their protest was swiftly put down. But the incident was symptomatic of a wider collision in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies as the government seeks to transform a predominately agrarian society through industrialisation, commercial farming and urbanisation.
The Ginchi protest was the first spark in an outpouring of opposition to local and federal government in which at least 140 people died between November and last month, according to human rights groups. The protests spread across Oromia state, home to millions of subsistence farmers from the Oromo, the largest group in Ethiopia’s federation of ethnic nationalities.
Their anger was directed at local governments affiliated with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (which with its allies controls all 547 seats in parliament) because of perceived corruption plaguing land deals as speculators surf rising property prices in towns around the capital.
At the same time they accuse the federal government of riding roughshod over local sensitivities with a plan to extend administration of overcrowded Addis Ababa into Oromia, which surrounds the capital.
“The master plan is about taking Oromia land and expanding Addis. It will create job opportunities but not for the farmers because their land is being taken,” says a labourer in the satellite town of Sululta.
Sululta, where factories and new housing developments encroach on traditional farmland, was one of about 30 Oromo towns that were the scene of mass protests in December. Peasant farmers pouring down on horseback from the hills to join protesting students were met with tear gas and bullets.
Elsewhere police stations and symbols of the state were attacked. In some isolated incidents so were private businesses.
“They are giving permission [to build] for the people who are rich but they are not giving permission for poor people,” said a farmer near the town of Chancho. He had been unable to obtain a permit to build a house for his son on his three-hectare barley plot, and had one mud construction torn down near a towering cement plant. Another farmer said he was given tiny compensation when compelled to surrender land to local officials who sold it on.

Such parochial grievances conflate with broader frustration among the Oromo at the perceived dominance in federal institutions of the Tigrayan ethnic group. Oromos make up about 40 per cent of Ethiopia’s 90m population, Tigrayans, who spearheaded the 1991 revolution, about 6 per cent.
“This is a popular uprising against political marginalisation, non-representation and corruption,” says Merera Gudo, head of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress and one of the few senior members of his party not under arrest.
The government a month ago shelved the blueprint to expand Addis. Since then an uneasy calm policed by security forces has settled over the region.
But the episode has exposed a fundamental contradiction in the way Ethiopia is governed — between the federal state as enshrined in the constitution and the reality of centralised, authoritarian power.
“The master plan was intended to co-ordinate planning between Addis and satellite towns . . . Infrastructure would be developed, bottlenecks in housing addressed and the dynamic of the economy maintained,” says Arkebe Oqubay, a minister and former Addis mayor who acknowledges there was insufficient consultation with those likely to be affected. “It left room for misinterpretation and proper explanation has not been done,” he adds.
Abel Belete, a political analyst in Addis, says it was unprecedented for Ethiopian authorities to back off in this way under popular pressure. “It is a sign of weakness,” he says.
Despite the climbdown, underlying tensions remain, with the population appearing cowed rather than persuaded.
“Thinking for the people and thinking for the country are very different. You can stamp on the people and still promote the country,” says a young Oromo professional who was afraid to speak openly for fear of arrest.
He recognises efforts by the government of Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister since 2012, and Meles Zenawi, his predecessor, to deliver services, create jobs and invest in infrastructure. But like many of the 100,000 graduates emerging from new universities each year, he wants greater democratic rights and opportunity.
“We are not free to express ourselves. That means people are not involved in the development process,” he says.
Ethiopia’s semi-authoritarian government has fostered some of the fastest economic growth in Africa while resisting liberal market orthodoxy and giving the state a central role in development. It is an experiment keenly watched by other African governments more constrained by democratic process.
But the Oromo protests are interpreted by some observers as one sign that Addis Ababa’s strategy also has limits.
“Ethiopia is undoubtedly fragile even if the underlying state is strong,” says an Addis-based diplomat from the region.

 
When local officials expropriated the school pitch for developers, students took to the streets of Ginchi, a small town 80km from Addis Ababa, the capital.
Their protest was swiftly put down. But the incident was symptomatic of a wider collision in one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies as the government seeks to transform a predominately agrarian society through industrialisation, commercial farming and urbanisation.
The Ginchi protest was the first spark in an outpouring of opposition to local and federal government in which at least 140 people died between November and last month, according to human rights groups. The protests spread across Oromia state, home to millions of subsistence farmers from the Oromo, the largest group in Ethiopia’s federation of ethnic nationalities.
Their anger was directed at local governments affiliated with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (which with its allies controls all 547 seats in parliament) because of perceived corruption plaguing land deals as speculators surf rising property prices in towns around the capital.
At the same time they accuse the federal government of riding roughshod over local sensitivities with a plan to extend administration of overcrowded Addis Ababa into Oromia, which surrounds the capital.
“The master plan is about taking Oromia land and expanding Addis. It will create job opportunities but not for the farmers because their land is being taken,” says a labourer in the satellite town of Sululta.
Sululta, where factories and new housing developments encroach on traditional farmland, was one of about 30 Oromo towns that were the scene of mass protests in December. Peasant farmers pouring down on horseback from the hills to join protesting students were met with tear gas and bullets.
Elsewhere police stations and symbols of the state were attacked. In some isolated incidents so were private businesses.
“They are giving permission [to build] for the people who are rich but they are not giving permission for poor people,” said a farmer near the town of Chancho. He had been unable to obtain a permit to build a house for his son on his three-hectare barley plot, and had one mud construction torn down near a towering cement plant. Another farmer said he was given tiny compensation when compelled to surrender land to local officials who sold it on.

Such parochial grievances conflate with broader frustration among the Oromo at the perceived dominance in federal institutions of the Tigrayan ethnic group. Oromos make up about 40 per cent of Ethiopia’s 90m population, Tigrayans, who spearheaded the 1991 revolution, about 6 per cent.
“This is a popular uprising against political marginalisation, non-representation and corruption,” says Merera Gudo, head of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress and one of the few senior members of his party not under arrest.
The government a month ago shelved the blueprint to expand Addis. Since then an uneasy calm policed by security forces has settled over the region.
But the episode has exposed a fundamental contradiction in the way Ethiopia is governed — between the federal state as enshrined in the constitution and the reality of centralised, authoritarian power.
“The master plan was intended to co-ordinate planning between Addis and satellite towns . . . Infrastructure would be developed, bottlenecks in housing addressed and the dynamic of the economy maintained,” says Arkebe Oqubay, a minister and former Addis mayor who acknowledges there was insufficient consultation with those likely to be affected. “It left room for misinterpretation and proper explanation has not been done,” he adds.
Abel Belete, a political analyst in Addis, says it was unprecedented for Ethiopian authorities to back off in this way under popular pressure. “It is a sign of weakness,” he says.
Despite the climbdown, underlying tensions remain, with the population appearing cowed rather than persuaded.
“Thinking for the people and thinking for the country are very different. You can stamp on the people and still promote the country,” says a young Oromo professional who was afraid to speak openly for fear of arrest.
He recognises efforts by the government of Hailemariam Desalegn, prime minister since 2012, and Meles Zenawi, his predecessor, to deliver services, create jobs and invest in infrastructure. But like many of the 100,000 graduates emerging from new universities each year, he wants greater democratic rights and opportunity.
“We are not free to express ourselves. That means people are not involved in the development process,” he says.
Ethiopia’s semi-authoritarian government has fostered some of the fastest economic growth in Africa while resisting liberal market orthodoxy and giving the state a central role in development. It is an experiment keenly watched by other African governments more constrained by democratic process.
But the Oromo protests are interpreted by some observers as one sign that Addis Ababa’s strategy also has limits.
“Ethiopia is undoubtedly fragile even if the underlying state is strong,” says an Addis-based diplomat from the region.

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http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ca4ee89e-ce77-11e5-831d-09f7778e7377.html#axzz3zgeTM22s

#OROMOPROTESTS: ETHIOPIA SHOULD STOP KILLING, MAIMING AND INCARCERATING ITS PEOPLE’S QUESTION February 9, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests.
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Odaa OromooDeath toll climbs as #OromoProtests still rage in Oromia state ( Ethiopia); schools remain closed. As of 30 january 2016. Fascist Ethiopian regime conducts genocide against Oromo people.#OromoProtests of 7 December 2015#OromoLivesMatters!Stop killing Oromo Students

ETHIOPIA SHOULD STOP KILLING, MAIMING AND INCARCERATING ITS PEOPLE’S QUESTION

EDITORIAL, ADDISSTANDARD, 9 FEBRUARY 2016

 

It is happening again, sadly. The government in Ethiopia is back to its signature of killing, maiming and jailing its own people because they are exercising their chance of rejecting state excesses using the only means available: taking to the streets to protest.


Ethiopia is a country that has effectively obliterated several channels that normally help foster a healthy communication between citizens and the state .The sorry state of independent media and civil society organization is distressing; and every day lived experienced of Ethiopians and their contacts with authorities at any level is alarmingly toxic.
Authorities in Ethiopia should have therefore been the last ones to get started by the idea of citizens taking to the streets to make their grievances heard. Alas, that is not to be.
Hundreds and thousands of students and residents in more than 100 cities and towns in Oromiya Regional State (Oromiya for short), the largest and most populous state in Ethiopia, are in and out of the streets since early Nov. last year. Like every experience when Ethiopians were out on the streets protesting state excesses, every day is bringing heart breaking stories of Ethiopians suffering in the hands of security personnel. Since Nov.12th 2015, when the first protest broke out in Ginchi, a small town 80km west of Addis Abeba, countless households have buried their loved ones; young university students have disappeared without a trace; hundreds have lost limbs and countless others are jailed
Ethiopians are once again killing, miming and jailing Ethiopians.
The immediate trigger factor is the possible implementation of the infamous Addis Abeba and Surrounding Oromiya Special Zone Integrated Development Plan, popularly known as ‘the Addis Abeba Master Plan.’
The federal government claims it is a plan aimed at only creating a better infrastructure link between the capital Addis Abeba and eight towns located within the Oromiya Regional State Special Zone. But the reason why it is having a hard time selling this otherwise fairytale like development plan is the same reason why it is responding heavy handedly to any dissent against it: it is what it wants to do.
The current protest is led by the Oromos, who are the largest ethnic majority in Ethiopia. In all the four corners of the Addis Abeba surrounding localities, Oromos also make up the single largest majority whose way of lives have already been affected by mammoth changes Addis Abeba has been having over the last Century.
They are rejecting the central government’s top down plan because they are informed by a merciless history of eviction and dispossession. Several researches show that over the last 25 years alone about half a million Oromo farmers have unjustly lost their farmlands to give way to an expansion of a city that is xenophobic to their way to being.
Not the first time
Sadly, this is not the first time Ethiopians are pleading with their government to be heard in regards to the so-called ‘Master Plan.’ The first protest erupted in April-May 2014 when mostly Oromo student protesters from universities in Ambo and Jimma in the west, Adama in the east and Medaawalabu in south east Ethiopia, among others, expressed their disapproval of the plan. Like today, they have resorted to communicate with authorities the only way they possibly can: take to the streets to protest. And like today authorities have responded the only way they have so far responded to Ethiopian voices calling for justice: killing tens, maiming hundreds and incarcerating thousands.
As of 1991, when the current regime first came to power, students, mostly Oromo students, have staged several protest rallies calling for justice. Each time the end result has been nothing short of a disaster.
Although the 2014 Oromo students protest marked the first of the largest protest against the central government, a not so distant memory of Oromo students’ protests and subsequent crackdowns reveal a disturbing history of state brutality gone with impunity. To mention just two, in late ‘90s Oromo Students at the Addis Abeba University (AAU) protested against a systematic expulsion of hundreds of Oromo students, who, authorities claimed, had links with the then rebel group, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). But many of those who protested against the dismissal of their dorm mates soon joined the growing list of expulsion; hundreds of were also jailed. Today mothers speak of their kids who have disappeared without a trace since then. And in early 2000 Oromo students have taken to the streets to protest against the federal government’s decision to relocate the capital of the Oromiya regional state from Addis Abeba to Adama. Many of them were killed when police opened fires in several of those protests, including the one here in Addis Abeba.
Although in 2005 the federal government decided to relocate the capital of Oromiya back to Addis Abeba, fifteen years later Ethiopian prisons are hosting hundreds of students who were jailed following their protest against the decision in the first place; hundreds of them have left the country via Kenya and have become homeless in foreign lands. Less mentioned are also the lives that have been altered forever; the hopes that were dashed; the students’ quest to study and change their lives that were cut short; a country that is deprived of its young and brightest; and family fabrics that were shattered.
State impunity and all that
Following the 2014 Oromo students’ protest and the killing spree by the federal and the regional state police, Abadula Gemeda, speaker of the house of people’s representatives and former president of the Oromiya regional state, promised to bring to justice those who were responsible for the killing.
But two outstanding experiences explain why Abadula’s words were mere rhetoric. And the government in Ethiopia should address both if it wants to remain a legitimate representative of the people it claims to govern.
First, so far no one who represents the government has been held accountable for the killings, maiming, disappearances and unjust incarceration for countless Ethiopians following protest crackdowns. No matter how excessive the use of force by its security agents against unarmed protesters is, the government knows (and acts as such) it can simply get away with it, as it did several times in the past. This is wrong. A state that has no mechanism to hold its rogue agents accountable for their excesses is equally guilty.
In addition to that, in what came as a disturbing twist, the government has adopted a new strategy aimed at portraying itself as a victim of public vandalism. It is rushing to clean itself of the crimes committed by its security agents. Using its disproportionate access to state owned and affiliated media currently the government is presiding over the stories of victimhood more than those whose lives have been destroyed by it. In an act of shame and disgrace to the profession, these state owned and affiliated media are providing their helping hands to complete the act of state impunity.
Second, the central government’s first answer to the repeated cries of justice by Ethiopians is to communicate with them through its army. Like in the past, in the ongoing protests by the Oromo, which have largely focused on cities and towns within the Oromiya regional state, protesters are not only facing the regional state’s security apparatus but also the merciless hands of the federal army reserve. This is an act that not only trespasses the country’s constitutionally guaranteed federal arrangement but also makes the horrific crimes committed by necrophiliac security agents against protesters to get lost in unnecessary details, hence go unpunished.
Public protests in the past and the manner by which the current government dealt with them should teach the later a lesson or two. But the first and most urgent one is that it should stop killing, maiming and jailing its people’s questions.
In addition to the unknown numbers of those who have been killed by the police and the army in the wake of the ongoing protest, cities have seen their hospitals crowded with wounded Ethiopians of all ages; hundreds of individuals, including senior members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), are already thrown into jails without due legal process. In clear violation of the constitution by none other than the state most of them are held incommunicado in places unknown to their loved ones.
In the wake of his release after serving four years in prison, Bekele Gerba, the prominent opposition figure, told this magazine in April last year that prison was “not a place one appreciates to be, but I think it is also the other way of life as an Ethiopian.” Sadly, Bekele is once again thrown in to jail because that is Ethiopia does to its people’s questions. But an end to this is long overdue.


Editorial: Ethiopia should stop killing, maiming and incarcerating its people’s question

Oromia: The New Agenda for Oromo Struggle February 9, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Oromia.
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Odaa Oromoo

The New Agenda for Oromo Struggle

Ibsaa Guutama, Gubirmans

Oromo youth have created a new agenda that is no more limited to elites but mobilizes the whole population. It is a fluid process that can engulf any impediment on its way. During those days when Oromo were totally suppressed and placed under alien rule and all possible rights were denied no one from the colonizers camp had come out to say “please have compassion for them” When they found no way out from boundless oppression their youth of the sixties were able to find an opening and filled them with hope that liberation was possible. To fulfill that they drew a political program and vowed that they will not turn back until democratic Republic Oromiyaa is found. When they saw this, Ethiopians came out on them from all corners and threw contempt and insults. Even today no one among them has come out to say “they have the truth, wrong is being done on these people in particular, let us correct our policy and find viable solution”. They talk much about unity; its content is for them and is not meant to include non-Ethiopians like the Oromo. One person from among them, student Walalliny Makonnin is being condemned to this day for writing about the right of nations for national self-determination.

To hoodwink the question people have for ownership of their country they started saying all peoples of Ethiopia have questions of class the harm done to Oromo is no different from others and so can be overcome through class struggle. Oromo youth fooled by this rallied to fight their wars. Later they were betrayed and crushed. Some that survived joined those that had held firmly to the question of independence and freedom. Though some dropped out of the struggle by unknown pressure those that newly joined the struggle are numberless. They are still trying to repeat those lies. But there will be no turning back until what is aimed for is achieved. Youth that excel their elders and more proud of their identity are coming forth. The question is not one that can be gaged bay Wayyaanee but one that is feared to bring about her demise. She knows that people’s arms cannot be bent with Agaazii club; that is why the struggle for her is becoming the last birth pang and so catastrophic.

Oromo revolutionaries had taken vow that in Democratic Republic Oromiyaa human rights for all Oromiyaan citizens will be realized equally. In the same manner that it will be a country where universal human rights shall be respected and will not be where they are gagged and humiliated like in Ethiopia was ensured by fathers that built organization for the struggle. To get these rights respected Oromiyaa will not expect permission or suggestion from any one. The youth have asserted that the right of nations to national self-determination is a birth rights not something that someone bestows on a nation. All nations and nationalities that want to befriend them have to accept this truth. Oromiyaa is not a twig of anybody but a self-dependent country. Historically Oromiyaa is known as a country that allows others to live with it its laws not one that pushes away immigrants. With Oromo let alone human beings all living things will not be touched outside the law, it is also safuu (unethical).

Despite that knowledge, there are those that are sneaking around to create discord among Oromiyaans. To fend off these is the duty of all natural and naturalized Oromiyaa citizens. That is only to get own law respected not from fear of anyone. With Oromo anyone refusing to abide by the law is equally accountable for one’s action. If the exclusive right of the Oromo over Oromiyaa is not recognized that life for them has no meaning is already determined. Never again will they live denied the democratic heritage of their forefathers, suppressed by minority and traitors. There are groups that have taken this determination seriously and started to correct therir approaches. This is victory for Oromo youth.

To rally their constituency some Ethiopian elites still repeat what their fathers were bellowing on them that countries occupied during formation of their empire are their exclusive gift from their day of birth. That is why they are lamenting that “a country cannot be created with struggle for identity”. This shows that they are stunned by the coming forth of identity they thought to have suppressed long ago. The Oromo has nothing to fight for more than to get their Oromummaa (Oromoness). Oromummaa means personality, land, history, culture and resources. For what are they expected to fight if not for these? There is no doubt that identity of Oromo is created by Oromiyaans and identity of Ethiopia is created by Ethiopians. The Oromo had never accepted and will not accept formation of Ethiopian identity by crushing that of the Oromo. The colonies have broken their chains. Henceforth their will not be any capable “moderate” Oromo that could help driving the Oromo back to chains.

Agenda of the struggle has now changed from the first phase. The doubt about Oromo unity created between diaspora Oromo has been aborted and its being as strong as steel has been assured by Oromo youth. They have also asserted that the Oromo struggles only for one thing, for realization of being owners of their country and get back the lost right of national self-determination including independence. Oromo youth has never mentioned about secession but independence; they do not even understand what it means. The struggle is not to replay the role of Obbo Goobana Daaccee but to correct his mistakes. That did not benefit even him but rather destroyed him.

Aliens are trying to divide Oromo activists into extremists and moderates similar to the situation in 1998. That is what the Oromo say patriots and galtuu. Then without Oromo notice among them it was heard from foreign diplomats. If they say it will happen it happens. They split apart without delay. For this reason without neglecting, it is advisable to be vigilant and ward of alien hand that could possibly come through galtuu. No one should lend ears for those that say it is only from the Wayyaanee that Oromo have to guard themselves. Oromo nationals have to abstain from all that deny the right Oromo have to independence. All have to know that no one can represent all Oromo until such a time when a common leadership comes out and declare a national policy for alien relations. If they are not those that want to reinstitute Ethiopian dominance over their people, all oppressed nationalities have to worry about liberation of their country from oppression. For that first responsibility is theirs. If all could make efforts on ones part to create a peaceful environment, equality, love and happiness will not be difficult.

Those who want to reload Ethiopianess that was once forcefully imposed over others are nowadays heard groaning. Oromo had served as fountain of oppressor’s power and power of reaction over a long period of time. Now the majority of Oromo have returned to use their power for their own liberation. If there are remnants they are only the sluggish that is only burden not a force for the aliens. Based on this fact it must be known that Oromo have drawn a new political agenda of struggle. To relate to Ethiopia as oppressed and oppressor is no more but as equals. There is no weaponry that the incumbent government did not pile in its arsenal. But that cannot defeat the power of determined people. Hence what is required is to facilitate how peoples of the region could live in peace and tranquility as good African neighbors. If they try to set relations they have with the Oromo just like in the past it could be inviting catastrophe on their own people. Rather than tackling the impossible problem of mounting Oromiyaa as before, it would be better for them to adjust their tactics and strategy to reality.

Even if it was not intentional for the youth, they are able to get attention to the Oromo question by touching soft parts of Western Governments. The recent resolution of European Parliament seems that they are saying “we regret for imposing on you Minilik and Haayila Sillaasee. Had they not been enmeshed in their policy “national interest has priority over all others” and though they pushed aside their moral principle and said they will continue to give help to Ethiopia, they could not hide that situation in Oromiyaa had pricking their conscience. We hope that the condition that may result from that could make it a must for them in the course of time to take similar measures as the Europeans. Both see what is going on from the angle of their interest.

The Oromo people are under disaster. The Wayyaanee has scattered terror in them that they spend day and night with fear. Every home of Oromo mother has become a home of mourning. With pain of wounds in their hiding place and tortures in prisons Oromo youth everywhere are moaning and are subjected to live in nightmares. Families of the imprisoned are suffering from hunger, thirst and lack of necessities. The education system is disrupted and Oromiyaa is being taken back one generation. All nationals are expected to give priority for search of solutions to said problems. Though their rising together has given hope, if warding off with equal force is not started there is a possibility of untimely retreat from the struggle. At his moment what is wanted is one that stands by their side and give encouragement and help in devise strategy together not one that vaunts from a distance. Results may delay but victory for the truthful is inevitable.

Oromo political organizations are still following the old trend. They are just starting beating drums calling for unity when people back home are already fighting in unison. Even then they had never been sincere, for each want to appear as chief on every forum and the ego do not want to be swallowed in unity of decadent organizations. They are unable to pull themselves out of the force of habit of previous years. There is no one among them that clashed in the field of struggle for the cause they claim to stand for. It is like the saying, “Birds fight in the air for meat on the ground”. They think individually as opposed to collecting thinking that the struggle requires. Why did all leave OLF forming miniature Odaa, to sit idle in foreign land? There are those who say OLF lacks democratic practice and compassion. That should worry no body now; it has become history since what happened in the country. The question now must be going back to play own role or pull out of politics? Since they had been spending most of their time in fund raising they may continue with it in case they could be fringe benefit for the nation.

By this time Oromo should have a quarter where they could receive fugitives for protection. Every year, we hear about killing enemy fighters, not about liberation of a land. There were times when false information was fed. For instance, once we were shown fighters slaying camel for food. We believed the camel died to save the struggle. We did not know that she was commercial created to help in collecting alms. Be as it may what happened after that? They showed us some fighters lining up to hand over to the enemy arms supplied by the people. Many strange things not fitting the struggle for liberation were seen since then. Abba Jifaar, Mootii of Jimma is often quoted for saying “Respect starts at home” rising as the little Abba Jobir arrived at a meeting late as planned. Note that no one will remain sitted when he rises. It would be ridiculous to believe organizations that could not handle those nearest to them with due respect are sincere in their call for unity to the far offs. Unity and comradery becomes reliable only if they start at home.

But there was no soul that came out and took responsibility and accountability for all that happened. A political organization requires strict discipline and transparency. If one is not in a surrounding where one can apply own laws it will be difficult to question common member or member of the leadership for good or bad. The lack of consequences for infringement of rules is one of the causes of schism. If they melt (unite) together another episode jarring to our ears is going to be performed otherwise to expect them to bring more benefit for the country than what they did so far, will be lying to and cheating the people. People’s leadership is one that lives in the country, to deserve that they have to go back and reestablish themselves the soonest possible.

As it stands now difference between Oromo diaspora organizations and those of the Habashaa are not visible. Oromo organizations and elites are forming warm relations with Habashaa ones without any preconditions. They are taking the Oromo youth and farmers movement as giving them the opportunity to overthrow the Wayyaanee and strengthen the empire. It should have been the time to dismantle the empire system by keeping the enemy at arm’s length. Blood and sweat of Oromo children is not something to be used as negotiation tool by any one. The Oromo can communicate only with those that recognize their exclusive right over Oromiyaa beforehand.

Organizations having Oromo name and working as opposition parties are having hard time for being Oromo their Ethiopianess having been denied. They are the ones that taste the abuses Oromo people are daily undergoing. They wanted Ethiopia, which has demonstrated enough that it does not want any Oromo as equal partner. Members of legally registered organization like Bekela Gerba, Dejene Tafa, Bekele Nega, Addisu Bullala, Desta Dinka, Derejje Merga, Gurmessaa Ayana (sic) are said to have been added to old list of old prisoners for being Oromo. Baqqalaa Garbaa went back from US after promising in front of the world in mid 2015 to conduct non-violent struggle. He was trying to implement terms of the constitution in collaboration with terrorist like TPLF. It seems they imprisoned him with allegation of inciting the Oromo people’s struggle, and now he is found between life and death. He is an Oromo son whose bravery cannot be denied; it may be said he followed an erroneous policy but no one can belame him for betraying his people. At this juncture when Oromummaa is being looked down with contempt and is being humiliated, it is only Oromiyaans that can make it feared and respected. That is why Oromo children are paying the ultimate sacrifice. It is not the time one can stand aside and let an adversary harm ones own. All Oromo are obliged to rescue Baqqwala and comrades in distress. They like all of us have family and dreams. Whatever befall on him and his comrades have to be a challenge to us all.

Though some elders are stumbling, the principal objective started fifty years ago are being continued by present day youth. At this time when the struggle is heating up there is no visible difference of outlook between revolutionaries. Thanks to Wayyaanee’s push even those in doubt are being dictated by their conscience. The present condition seems that at least theoretically they have drawn a minimum program between them. Since beseeching is not helping for own survival for all to fend off the enemy has become a must. Blood has flown, such a grand people is humiliated, elderlies are slashed together all values Oromo revered are smashed. An alien without safuu or ethical values occupied them. Therefore they refused submit and kneel for inevitable death.

Be it for any cause to allow an alien build its enemy nest in Oromiyaa amounts to putting a noose around ones neck. Oromiyaans that chose to become tools for enemy force are responsible for the danger that befalls them as consequence. Traditionally Oromo respect those that come in peace and give them essential protection. Oromo had never discriminated any one for one’s identity. For this reason, to maintain the respect and benefit provided them is up to the beneficiary. Oromummaa is not a matter of blood; it is independence, equality and democratic Gadaa outlook. Let all who do not know, know and those that knowingly distort will have what they deserve. As a people that have national sovereignty, the Oromo have no alternatives to strengthening their unity more. For them to determine the level of unity they are going to have with Ethiopia and other neighbors, they have to be liberated first. It is only an independent country that can negotiate with other countries on equal terms. Unity that might be created with aliens could be viable only if based on treaty signed properly with free will of participants. Viva Oromo unity! The struggle shall not stop short of victory!!

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 forefathers!

Ibsaa Guutama
February 2016

http://www.gubirmans.com/The%20New%20Agenda%20for%20Oromo%20Struggle.html