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Ethiopia: People’s resistance movements have brought change in political relations on three decades old Ethiopian Federation, Obbo Ibsa Gutamaa April 16, 2019

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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People’s resistance movements have brought change in political relations on three decades old Ethiopian Federation. This change has forced a transitional arrangement in which supremacy of the law is to be observed. There is consensus it seems, that EPRDF new leaders administer the transition. This will be the first journey towards freedom in the last hundred and more years for all oppressed peoples of the empire from own and colonial ruling classes. Members of those classes won’t go easily without the last effort to regain the power they lost to people’s revolution since 1974. The transitional governments role is not to attempt making fundamental changes but to enforce supremacy of the law and carry on routine government functions. Elected representatives after transition will establish the direction the post empire state would take. Oromiyaa is going to be one of the participating states in the decision making. Finfinnee is her capital. One that says Finfinnee does not belong to Oromiyaa is only one that considers Oromiyaa is not Oromo’s. Leftovers of past ruling class still have nostalgia for the old order. They are even heard advising Dr. Abiy to annul the constitution and rule with iron hand simply to deny Oromo regaining their lost rights. Oromiyaa showed willingness that there must be peace to discuss on how people continue living together not accepting supremacy of Ethiopia but believing in their equality. Freedom for the Oromo is assurance for freedom all oppressed classes and peoples in the empire. For leftovers of past ruling class democracy is disaster and demeaning. They are losers that have tried to sabotage the change that appeared in the empire from the beginning. They had hands in Darg’s genocide, Eritrea’s separation, collapse of the old army, and the coming to power of Wayyaanee. Still, they are trying the last effort to sell their evil ideas before aging takes them away. Their advice made Mangistuu monster and that alone will deny them credibility. The failed coup they masterminded caused the demise of the cream of Ethiopian elite forces. To pass their evil thoughts to the next generation they are advising their young to make all efforts that Oromo shall never raise their heads. They forget that mother mouse has also advised what mother cat advised. They are crying about the demise of the empire system as if it did not start cracking fifty years ago. Though he cannot save it, Abiy can make it smooth and tranquil for them to rehabilitate. From ruins of the empire there will not be catastrophe for the majority but free nations and democratic system are sprouting. Those that are not concerned to empower the peoples but want power for themselves wish crumbling or dictatorship for and show no worry for fate of the peoples. Oromo love peace and serenity; they will have gain from success of transitional government not from its fall. That could take them back to long and bitter struggle. The time is when we need peace and stability for viable change. But that does not mean they will not fight back aggressors. Let alone Dr. Abiy the one they initially tried to compare to, even if the true Moses of their dream comes, he cannot turn the wheel of change backwards, he would only help it cross the transition bridge. They started smear campaign against Abiy when they found that he has his own personality and own dreams not clone of Goobana. His trying to Ethiopianize Oromo demands was not enough for them. Contribution of Oromo intellectuals on matters of Finfinnee and anti-Oromo movements are so far not sufficient. Throwing slogans with emotions alone does not serve much. Oromo question is only about human rights, democracy, peace and freedom for all. Finfinnee will have City Council which will be filled by their representatives according to principle of one person one vote. Contrary to leftovers of Habashaa ruling class Oromo sovereignty will bring to Finfinnee peace, democracy and better understanding with neighbors. Oromo are simply saying that Oromo have sovereign right over Oromiyaa that includes Finfinnee. Areas that require interference of the sovereign will not exceed some tax areas and human rights and areas which are beyond the ability of the city. Non-Oromo residing in Oromiyaa had never been forced to change their style of life, culture and language; the same applies for Finfinnee. Whatever rights universally recognized Oromiyaa will be the first to implement because Oromo have a tradition in which rule of law and respect for human rights have priority. These are the truth whose distorted versions are presented by Nafxanyaa system hopefuls. They want to own everything, Oromo land, resources and Oromo labor. Therefore, Oromo media and intellectuals have a homework to handle. To report to Oromiyaa for Silxee, Adaree, Guraagee, Indagany, Qabeena, Dawuroo, Dorzee, Kambaataa, Hadiyyaa, Alaabaa, Sidaamaa and other Southern peoples that have established their lives on trading in Finfinnee has more advantage than remaining under control of Nafxanyaa hopefuls. Many relatives of Finfinnee residents live scattered over all parts of Oromiyaa than in any other state enjoying Oromo hospitality. But to tell the Oromo that Finfinnee is not theirs will be failed justice. Finfinnee can grow or diminish, profit or lose, based on Oromo will. The Oromo will like Finfinnee get better democratic governance than ever; develop more than ever; be more beautiful and peaceful; welcome all hard-working human beings to join in her development, not oppression, plundering, and neglect of the past hundred years to return to her. Everybody has to understand what it means to say Finfinnee is Oromiyaa’s? The truth is not what the children of colonial war lords, Raas Birruu, Raas Daargee, Raas Kaasaa, Raas Tasammaa, Negus Walda Goorgis, Raas Haayiluu and others who want to maintain colonial legacy say. Oromo are ready to negotiate with any nation and nationality based on equality and respect for mutual interest and rights. All peace-loving persons have to involve in creating understanding between peoples of the region. The Ethiopia Nafxanyaa system hopefuls are singing for, will not come back again but a beautiful maiden is being seen from distance whatever her name may be. What do you say?

Oromiyaan haa jiraattu!

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Why al-Bashir’s fall is only the start of a new Sudan April 16, 2019

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Why al-Bashir’s fall is only the start of a new Sudan

The military has taken control of Sudan while protesters demand a total clean-out of Omar al-Bashir’s regime.

People chant slogans during a protest outside of the Military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, 13 April 2019. According to reports, thousands of Sudanese people demonstrated in front of the Military headquarters in Khartoum demanding that former President Omar al-Bashir face trial, as well as the military-led transitional council. Sudanese defense minister and head of Sudan's military council, Awad Ibn Auf, stepped down a day after leading a military coup that ousted long-time leader Omar al-Bashir amid a wave of protests. Awad Ibn Auf named Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan as his successor. A military-led transitional council will stay in power for two years followed by elections, the army said. Protests continue in Sudan, Khartoum - 13 Apr 2019

Against state machinery, photo credit to Quartz Africa

By David E Kiwuwa, The Conversation

These two weeks have proven momentous for Africa’s governance in general but more specifically for democratic transformation. The youth movement forced the capitulation of the perpetually “absent” Algerian president, 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after 20 years in power.

This was followed quickly by the ousting of the 75-year-old Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir. His fall from power comes almost 30 years after he led a military coup in April 1989.

In the last few years al-Bashir has weathered a number of political crises and challenges to his leadership.

It first looked like he might survive this latest round of protests – but something set this crisis apart from previous ones. While the others fizzled out after brutal suppression, the arrest of opposition leaders and widespread repression, this uprising just refused to “go away”. This was true even after initial brutal suppression with the death toll reportedly reaching 60.

This time the crisis trigger – the country’s economic malaise – appeared to resonate with people on the street. This was coupled with the tenaciousness of the Sudan Professional Association which offered organisational strength to the protest. Other factors included the role of the military which abandoned the man they had helped stay in power for three decades.

Organisational strength

The Sudan Professional Association, made up of teachers, lawyers, doctors and other members of the country’s professional elite, was at the very heart of this uprising. The group shared common experiences across the country. It developed a formidable apparatus which offered the protests an organisational backbone.

The association’s ability to mobilise street protests countrywide placed unusual pressure on the regime’s ability to suppress unrest that spread broadly across cities and towns. The fact that the organisers weren’t a traditional political class gave them crucial political capital. While some people might have seen the traditional opposition as engaging in the usual political fights and settling scores, the association quickly gained acceptability and trust.

As the crisis dragged on, the professional class not only kept up the pressure but increasingly became less interested in compromise: its demands are for a total transition of the regime. Al-Bashir may be gone but they are unlikely to settle for military rule that sees al-Bashir lookalikes in power.

The political class: missing in action

For many years opposition political parties were at the forefront of challenging al-Bashir’s hold on power. This meant they bore the brunt of state repression and were subjected to arrests, incarceration and exile.

This time round, however, the crisis appears to have caught them off guard. Leaders of the three main opposition parties – the National Consensus Forces Alliance, Nidaa al-Sudan and Ummar party – were late in joining the calls for change, ceding the organisational initiative to the non-political class.

But despite their backseat role in the protests, the traditional opposition parties are nevertheless expected to play the role of kingmaker in any transition process. For its part, the professional association is expected to provide significant input.

And there will be another key player as Sudan tries to move forward: the military.

The military

Military coups were a staple of African governance in the 1970s and 1980s. With democratic reforms emerging in the 1990s, the military was forced to retreat back to the barracks. In this period the military class was refashioned both as a guardian of the state, as well as the guardian, in some ways, of the political class.

For leaders who came to power through military coups and later became strongmen the military became the power behind the throne. For example, al-Bashir relied on the military when he led a coup in 1989. Then he relied on the generals to maintain his power through a number of crises.

The fact that the military has forced his resignation is indeed momentous. This suggests that the men in uniform remain the kingmakers. Their reluctance to confront the population, and in some cases safeguard them against marauding and murderous state intelligence outfits, is testament to their self-image as the guardian of the state.

On the flip side, the announcement that the military will now oversee the transitional period for two years smacks of self-serving interest. It will undoubtedly be seen as usurping the role of the civilian political class to lead the transition.

End of an era

The time for fundamental political reforms is now. After 30 years of political repression, systemic corruption and subversion of state institutions to serve the entrenchment of al-Bashir in power, the end of an era now comes with acute challenges – but also opportunity.

Sudan has a chance to embark on the reconciliation of the political class, bringing together those in the opposition as well as the remaining vestiges of the regime.

Secondly, there’s a pressing need to undertake constitutional reforms. Allied to this would be guarantees of civil and political rights, expansion of the political space for old and new political players and stakeholders and the establishment of new structures of transparency and accountability.

Above all, the economy needs to be rebooted to address the immediate social economic challenges that gave rise to the uprising in the first place.

Al-Bashir’s fall is only the start of a new Sudan.


David E Kiwuwa, Associate Professor of International Studies, University of Nottingham