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Remembering the Heroes of Revolt Against Subjugation of the Oromo Students on November 9, 2015. #OromoProtests November 9, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

#OromoProtests, 2nd August 2016 and continues

Remembering the Heroes of Revolt Against Subjugation of the Oromo Students on November 9, 2015

By Yunus Abdellah Ali, ayyantuu.net

timthumbNovember 9 is the day we remember Oromo student martyrs for just cause of the Oromo people. In 2005 OLF made a call for revolt against the dictatorial government of Ethiopia and on 9th November 2005, the Oromo students began the revolt in response to the call. Since that day the struggle continued to this date.

In April 2011 Qerroo stretched the struggle for freedom of the Oromo people into every part of Oromia. The struggle which is ongoing with full support of youth and students of Oromia embraces the causes of the people of Oromia.

The well coordinated revolt of last year against the dictator Wayyane government on the issue of land ownership is still continuing in a more aggressive way. In this ongoing struggle many precious lives have been sacrified. Those fallen heroes let their blood to flow like a flood, but left their bones to be broken into pieces just for the freedom of the Oromo people. So every year the history of Oromo people will remember it.

November 9, is the memorial day of the struggle against subjugation and it will be held in different parts of Oromia and all over the world by Oromo communities and the friends of Oromos. On this special day, the Oromo youth who sacrified their life for their goal, their heroic hard word for freedom, and their painful journey they had been through will be remembered and honored. By doing so we show our respect and love that we have for our heroes and it is also our responsibility as a citizen of Oromia.

On this day we also remember the Oromo political prisoners who are in torture and we also make a way of struggle that can bring the freedom of our political prisoners and how we can apply it in to practice.

If Oromos united and revolt with one voice, we can over throw the dictator wayyane government from its root with in just one night. And then we can have our free independent state of Oromia. All we need is a focused struggle with unity and aggressive revolt with any weapon we have. The last year revolt is our positive sign to understand how impactfull our united struggle was.

So that by using our experiences and our achievements of revolt against subjugation and the struggle of Oromo liberation , we can launch stronger and more intensive struggle that will remove the dictator TPLF government painfully from our land Oromia.

On this day ,the Oromo youths, the freedom fighters, the heroes and other Oromos who have been sacrified on the struggle of Oromo people will be remembered!
We will fulfil the dream of our heroes which they sacrified for!

November 9 every year, we will remember the day of Revolt Against Subjugation of Oromo Students.

Victory For Oromo People!!!
Yunus Abdellah Ali

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Oromia: OFC’s letter to the diplomatic community. #OromoProtests December 25, 2015

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Odaa OromooOromo Federalist  Congress

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The arrogance of the Ethiopian regime comes partly from the lack of serious pressure from the international community, especially from countries such as the US and the African Union, which watches the senseless drama silently.

The Master Plan is the continuation of the massive land grabbing across the country in such places like Gambella, Beni-Shangul, Afar and Oromia.

 

 

OFC’s letter to the diplomatic community


 

To: Members of the Diplomatic Community:


We, the Executive Committee Members of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political party, make an urgent appeal to members of the diplomatic community on behalf of the Oromo students and the larger Oromo population.

The Ethiopian government is committing an atrocious act of brutality against Oromo students and the larger population, who are peacefully protesting across Oromia for their rights. Consequently, most universities, colleges, high schools as well as elementary sections across Oromia are also closed. Far worse, for the last four weeks, over 85 students and ordinary citizens have been mercilessly killed; thousands have been wounded while several thousands have been detained. Moreover, the government security personnel have targeted our members who were candidates and observers during the 2015 elections. None of the imprisoned persons are charged with any crime and brought to the court of law as the Ethiopian law requires. We think, the arrogance of the Ethiopian regime comes partly from the lack of serious pressure from the international community, especially from countries such as the US and the African Union, which watches the senseless drama silently.
As you might aware, the Oromo youth and the larger Oromo population are demonstrating against the so-called Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia towns Integrated Development Plan (Master Plan), which was done without the consultation of the local population whose livelihood, depends on land. Similar opposition to the same plan in 2014 claimed not less than 78 students’lives in Ambo town and other Oromo areas. No one was made accountable for that vicious act.

The Ethiopian government that shelved the plan for one year arrogantly revived it recently, provoking a fresh unrest. During this interregnum, except in few limited areas, at that under a controlled environment, the government did not conduct any discussion with the Oromo population on the Master Plan and its effect on poor Oromo farmers. Furthermore, none of the opposition parties and independent civil organizations was consulted as stakeholders. Sadly, for its brutal killing of students in 2014, the Ethiopian regime did not face any condemnation from the donor governments which prop up the regime except the western-based human right organizations, which did a good job. Thus, encouraged by the silence from the diplomatic corps and their foreign governments, it is now repeating the same act with a new vigor and sense of impunity.

Contrary to the claim of the Ethiopia government, the Oromo students and population are not against development per se. The Oromo students are protesting against massive land grabbing and the displacement of Oromo farmers from their ancestral land under the guise of development in several places. For your information, we have evidence that shows – after the 2005 elections alone more than 150,000 farmers were displaced with their families from the environs of Addis Ababa and nobody knows as to where about of these farmers and their children. Land is not just a material possession for the Oromo. It is intimately tied to their way of life and who they are. Thus, the Oromo students are also protesting against the systematic destruction of their traditions, values, language and other distinct Oromo traits that follow the loss of their ancestral land. Moreover, students are protesting the de facto annexation of Oromian territory that follows the implementation of the Master Plan that envisages encompassing nearly 3 times the current boundaries of the city. This is not only land grab, but also power grab, dismantling of the federal system and an existential threat for the Oromo.

Even before the implementation of the Master Plan, the City of Addis Ababa had exponentially grown horizontally into the peripheral Oromia territory. As a result of this, hundred thousands of farmers have continued to be disposed of their land, the only basis of their livelihoods. As indicated above, thousands who were disposed of their land at a nominal compensation have left their ancestral land and some of them moved to the harsh and unforgiving city life in Addis Ababa where they have become either homeless, daily laborers or beggars. The Master Plan is the continuation of the massive land grabbing across the country in such places like Gambella, Beni-Shangul, Afar and Oromia. Far worse, the corrupt government officials and cadres are recklessly displacing poor farmers for their own personal enrichment.

We strongly believe that looking away from the crimes of the Ethiopian regime and allowing it to terrorize millions of its citizens under the guise of fighting international terrorism is both morally as well as politically wrong. And partnership in fighting international terrorism should not be taken as a license to kill innocent citizens by authoritarian regimes such as that of Ethiopia. As we write this appeal to you, the Oromia region is under a practical state of emergency where the army, the federal police and other armed units of the regime have become the law of the land by themselves. Therefore, we urge you to put an utmost pressure on the Ethiopia government to stop its senseless killings and cease to use excessive force. We further request you to support the legitimate question of the Oromo students and ask the Ethiopian government to immediately stop the implementation of the Master Plan, release imprisoned students and other citizens as well as bring to justice those who have used excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators. As this is also a delayed reaction to the total robbery of the May 2015 elections by the EPRDF regime, we urge you to advise the regime to engage the country’s democratic forces by opening up the political space for all the concerned stakeholders so as to find a durable solution through a national dialogue.

Regards,

For the OFC Executive Committee, Merera Gudina (PhD) & Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations,
Chairman, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC)
Vice – Chairman & Head of Foreign Affairs of MEDREK.

 

 

Why do the Oromo Resist the Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) Master Plan? December 1, 2015

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???????????Say no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo peopleSay no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo people. Say no.

Why do the Oromo Resist the Master Plan?

 By Asebe Regassa Debelo, PhD Candidate*

1.     Introduction

In this brief commentary, I will address some general conceptual issues related to resistance against development intervention and then I will proceed to the specific case about the ongoing contested master plan of Finfinne city called “integrated urban development”. This assessment is aimed to achieve multiple purposes; namely to contribute academic inputs to policy making, to clarify to the readers on the nexus between development interventions and resistance, and to indicate that the ongoing resistance from the Oromo is within the context of rights enshrined in the constitution of the country.

Like elsewhere in the modern world, successive Ethiopian governments have been engaged in translating various versions of development discourses into practice – albeit posited within different ideological orientations. The imperial and military regimes had put in place hegemonic systems in channeling down policies and programs that they also tried to sell to the populace under the buzz concepts such as ‘development’ and ‘modernization’. In this regard, historical accounts remind us the social, economic, cultural and political consequences of such modernist development discourses and practices of different groups in the country among which the Oromo were significantly affected. To mention one, the collectivization (villagization) program of the military regime disrupted social ties, economic practices and cultural connectedness of the people to their land. This hints at the repercussions of development projects that are conceived, implemented and managed within hegemonic systems of governance because absence of democratic systems opens the path to external interventions without proper consultation of citizens.  Nevertheless, the post-1991 political order in Ethiopia has put in place for the first time in the history of the country a system whereby nations and nationalities are given rights of self-determination to decide on matters that affect their communities including the right to administer resources and development projects, and to promote the language, culture and history of their people to mention a few – no matter how the practical implementation is still the subject of contestation.

2.     Development Interventions and Popular Resistance: An Overview

High modernist development practices all over the world entailed the exercise of top-down and expert-based scientific knowledge that considered participation of ordinary citizens and local knowledge at odds with the development visions of the state and/or non-state actors. High modernist development discourses give limited room for participatory approaches of development and government-public partnership. This approach was practiced by colonial powers and continued in the post-colonial periods as well. The general assumption behind high modernist development discourses was that few elites would plan development programs and mobilize the mass for its implementation under strict control of ‘experts’. However, as a famous scholar on peasant resistance, James Scott, has noted, the power of domination often produces the power of resistance from the group that is seemingly powerless as seen in literal conceptions of power. Since the mid-1980s, scholars began not to underestimate the agency of the “weak” who under conditions of domination can use different strategies of resistance against development interventions that they define from their own values, identity, worldviews and history.

However, it is misleading to construe local communities’ resistance against development intervention as if the people are against development – despite controversies revolving around the concept itself. Although the term can be given different meanings and manifestations according to the interest, ideology and worldviews of various actors, what local communities often resist is not the conventional understanding of the concept per se – referring to improvement in the overall wellbeing of human society and their environment. Rather, the approach, strategy and consequence of development programs, projects and practices constitute contestable meanings.

3.     The “Integrated Urban Development Plan and the Question of the Oromo

3.1.                       Background

According to the 1995 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia (Article 49) Finfinne (Addis Ababa) became the capital city of the Federal government while at the same time it has been the seat of Oromia regional state. Finfinne is adjoined by Oromia region in all directions. Article 49.5 of the constitution gives special right for Oromia to get special benefit from Finfinne as it is the heartland of Oromia besides being its administrative capital. According to the constitution (Article 49.5), “The special interest of the State of Oromia in AddisAbaba, regarding the provision of social services or the utilization of natural resources and other similar matters,as well as joint administrative matters arising from the location of Addis Ababa within the State of Oromia, shall be respected. Particulars shall be determined by law”. Nevertheless, there are critiques that Oromia has not yet benefited from Finfinne. On this topic, because of lack of empirical evidence whether the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) tried to utilize the constitutional rights given to Oromia in getting benefit from Finfinne or not, I would not push this assertion forward.

The plan, according to the government, is intended to create integrated urban development between Addis Ababa city administration and Oromia towns surrounding the capital city such as Burayu, Sabata, Sululta, Bishoftu, Laga-Xafo Laga-dadhi, Galan and other semi-urban centers adjoining these towns. From this perspective, the government tries to disseminate its development programs by presenting to the public the advantages of the plan in terms of infrastructural and social provisions. On the other hand, the     Oromo from different walks of life, including some members of the OPDO officials are skeptical whether the Master Plan has been planned for mutual benefit of Finfinne and Oromia regional state or is just a systematic strategy of incorporating Oromia towns into Finfinne.  Thus, it is crucially important to analyze some underlying reasons behind Oromo’s resistance and discontent to the Master Plan. In the following section, I will try to discuss it situating within historical experiences, political scenarios and procedural drawbacks in the planning process. However, one should boldly know that no one is against development project that changes the lives of its people if carefully planned and implemented.

3.2.                       Why do the Oromo Resist the Master Plan?

  1. Memories and experiences of past evictions and dispossessions

Like other nations and nationalities in the country particularly those who faced the brutal conquest under emperor Menelik II during the late 19th century, the Oromo people have lived memories and experiences of ‘development’ induced displacement, dispossession and oppressions under the successive regimes. Moreover, the assimilationist and hegemonic systems in the past have left enduring repercussions on Oromo culture, language and identity with the case in Finfinne more appalling still today. Historical accounts of the establishment of Finfinne city in 1886 illuminate that the territory was inhabited by different Oromo clans until they were eventually displaced by the imperial regimes. The city was built on the ancestral land of the Oromo through policies of land alienation, dispossession and displacement of indigenous peoples in similar approaches to many other urban centers in the conquered regions of the South. It is, thus fair to argue that Finfinne city was established as a garrison town predominantly occupied by war generals and soldiers. There is no need to turn history books or archives to understand the displacement of indigenous Oromo communities from Finfinne and to comprehend the impacts of the assimilationist projects under the imperial and military regimes. It is rather enough to see the current ethnic composition of the Addis Ababa city where one can clearly see that people who identify themselves as Oromo are immensely few in contrast to Finfinne’s being the heartland of Oromia. Therefore, resistance against the Master Plan should be understood within the historical antecedents the Oromo experienced with regards to dispossession of their land, displacement from their ancestral land and the socio-economic, cultural and political repercussions of development interventions.

  1. In response to the constitutional rights

The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE Constitution 1995: Article 43.2) clearly stipulates the right of each nation, nationality and people of Ethiopia to be fully consulted and involved in development projects that affect their community. In addition, Article 39 of the same constitution gives unconditional rights of self-determination to the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia that include the right and autonomy to determine which development program to envisage and the right of self-government on territories they historically inhabited. These are a few of the fundamental principles of ethnic federalism that are enshrined in the constitution. In this specific context, Oromia regional state and the Oromo people have constitutional rights to decide on the urban development programs through democratic, transparent, bottom-up and inclusive approaches of participation. They have the right to decide whether they opt to go for the integrated urban development or not. The resistance from Oromo intellectuals, politicians, students, peasants and business people should be understood as a response to interventions that to a large extent violated their constitutional right, particularly Article 43.2 of the FDRE’s constitution – the right to be consulted and involved in development projects.

  1. Mistrust generated from lack of genuine participation

Resistance to state development projects to a large extent reflects the nature of state-society relations, questions of legitimacy and trust. Governments have the leverage of building legitimacy and trust or become victims of legitimacy crisis based on their policies, programs and overall political systems vis-à-vis citizenship rights of the society. It has been evident from discussions during public sensitization programs on the Master Plan that the planning process was top-down and did not involve citizens who will be affected by the project. A higher official from EPRDF presumably acknowledged the importance of involving grassroots communities through bottom-up approaches though he maintained the view that there was no problem with the top-down approach in development intervention. Here comes the fundamental disparity between constitutional promises and practices.

Under such circumstances where citizens are not consulted and involved in the planning process, one should not be surprised if they resist the project because any conscious society does not accept something without knowing its benefits, impacts and implications. Therefore, resistance is a function of procedural incongruity with the constitutional promises.

  1. Anticipated Repercussions on the identity, culture and livelihood of the Oromo

Development projects such as urban expansion, dam projects, large scale agricultural projects, and protected areas conservation have significant repercussions on the livelihood, culture and identity of indigenous peoples all over the world unless critically handled. Because of historical experiences the Oromo faced under successive regimes in Ethiopia – experiences of displacement, suppression, exploitation and dispossession – the current project is also seen by the majority of the Oromo as a continuation of the past trends. Rhetoric and discourses can’t simply convince people who have lived-in scars and experiences in their minds, around their homesteads and in their neighbors that are reflected in their culture, identity, language, economy and politics. The government can rather convince the people on the benefits they would enjoy from the project not by injecting them with high modernist discourses of development but through practical and genuine involvement of the people in the projects.

Still another challenge that awaits the government is whether it has really delivered in other areas of development, whether other development projects didn’t have socio-economic and cultural impacts on local inhabitants elsewhere in the country and whether there is independent judiciary system that citizens can use as a guardian of their human rights in cases any development program threatens their right. I leave this question open to the readers. In practice, according to those who think it would incorporate Oromia towns surrounding Finfinne city, the current Master Plan will adversely affect the Oromo by reducing peasants into landlessness and in exacerbating land expropriation under the guise of investment. Like situations in the capital city, Oromo language, culture and other related rights would be suppressed if these towns are incorporated into the city without clear negotiation on who administers these “integrated” cities.

A way forward?

  1. The development project should not be imposed, rather it should involve stakeholders particularly local communities who will be affected by the project from inception to implementation.
  2. The integrated urban development can serve the interest of all stakeholders if and only if it is participatory and if it doesn’t violate constitutional rights of Oromia regional state and its geographical boundaries.
  3. Finfinne City has the potential to develop by its own given that the city administration makes inward looking to develop a system of modernizing the city not necessarily through horizontal expansion. The unanswered question is: why Finfinne city administration started this integrated plan while there are immense critiques that it is unable to solve its own municipal problems. Therefore, before launching ambitious and ambiguous projects like this, the city administration should have utilized all available opportunities within its administrative boundaries to develop and modernize the city.
  4. The regional government of Oromia has to claim its constitutional right to get special benefit from Finfinne (if not yet).
  5. What guarantee does the regional government of Oromia have as to whether Finfinne administration eventually incorporates the surrounding Oromia towns to its administration or not? This is critical question the federal government, Finfinne city administration and particularly the regional government of Oromia should address. More importantly, the failure to put this agenda on the front line in negotiating with the other actors will be a critical test to the legitimacy of OPDO in representing the Oromo people.

In conclusion, two fundamental issues should be made clear regarding resistance against the “Integrated Urban Development Master Plan” of Addis Ababa City:

1) It has been evident that people are not against development per se. However, where development projects are perceived to be threatening fundamental rights and needs of the citizens, it becomes a policy to be resisted rather than a program to be embraced. On the other hand, under contexts where the people are recognized as rightful citizens whose voices, views and knowledge contribute to the overall development vision through genuine participatory approaches, it would be expected, to a large extent, that development mobilizes the society towards similar goals of the state.

2) Regardless of the power of domination the intervening actor might have, development intervention faces the utmost resistance from the people whose livelihood, culture, language, identity and history will be affected. Therefore, the government should not overlook the potency of local resistance in impacting on its legitimacy and trust.

*The writer of this article can be reached at asebe2011@googlemail.com

Oromia (Buraayyuu): OFC Urges Ethiopian Govt to Stop the Master Plan of Eviction Against Oromo Farmers, and to Respect Constitutional Rights of the People: OFC Also Calls for Public Meeting in Burraayyuu on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015: Kongirasiin Federaalaawaa Oromoo (KFO), dhimmaa Maastar Pilaani irratti mari’achiisuuf Sanbata Guddaa (Dilbata) as deemuu ( Sadaasa 8 bara 2015) Magaalaa Burraayyutti walgahii ummataa waamee jira. November 5, 2015

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???????????Say no to the master killer. Addis Ababa master plan is genocidal plan against Oromo peopleOromo Federalist Congress Public Meeting in Finfinnee to protest TPLF's landgrab in the name of Master Plan. picture3KFO Marii Uummataa, Oromo Federalist Congress public meeting in Buraayyuu Oromia

The Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) has written a letter to the various organs of the Ethiopian government – urging the government to stop the  genocidal  Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) Master Plan, whose goal is to evict millions of Oromo farmers from their ancestral land in the name of ‘development’ around the city of Finfinne; in the same letter, OFC has also urged the Ethiopian government to respect the constitutional rights of the people, especially Article-49 of the Constitution – which deals with the special interests of the State of Oromia over Finfinnee.

OFC will also hold a public meeting in Burraayyuu town in Oromia at the town’s stadium on Sunday, 8th November 2015  – from 9am to 1pm  to discuss with the public about the genocidal Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) Master Plan.

VOA: Maqaa Maastar Pilaaniin Eenyummaa Uummata Oromoo Dhabamsiisuun Haa Dhaabatu Jedhu Momitoonni

OFC PUBLIC DISCUSSION
ON FINFINNEE MASTER PLAN
PLACE: BURAAYYUU, OROMIA
VENUE: CITY STADIUM

DATE: Sunday, 8th November 2015
TIME: 9:00 am 

Paartiin Kongirasii Federaalawaa Oromoo, dhimma Maastar Pilaanii Finfinnee ilaalchisee, torban dhufu magaalaa Burraayyutti, marii ummataa geggeessuuf qophaayaa akka jiru beeksisee jira.
================================
Paartiin Kongirasii Federaalawaa Oromoo, dhimma maastar Pilaanii finfinnee ilaalchisee, Hawaasa magaalaa Burraayyuu fi naananwa ishii waliin marii taasisuuf qophaahaa kan jiru yoo ta’u, mariin kunis, Sadaasa 7 bara 2015 tti akka ta’e ibsamee jira.

Marii kanarratti namoonni hundi qoodarraa fudhachuu akka qabanis waamich darbeera.
Karoorri Mastar pilaanii Finfinnee mootummaan hujii irra oolfachuuf karoorfatee jiru kun, magaalota 37 fi aanaalee 17 kan ufi jalaa qabu yoo ta’u, namoota hedduu, lafa qonnaa isaanii irraa kan buqqisu ta’uulleen himamee jira. Bal’inni lafti pilaanii kanaa kan inni ufi jalatti hammatu, hektaara miiliyoona 1.2 yoo ta’u, lafti kun yoo fudhatame, qotee bultoota naannawa san jiraatan hedduu irrattis dhiibbaa hamaa kan qabudha jedhamaa jira.

“Yaa Oromoo yaa lammi koo
Jabeeffadhu irre Oromiyaan hin ciciramtuu nutuu du’a malee ……….” Dr Mararaa Guddinaa

Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) will hold a public meeting in Burraayyuu at the town’s stadium on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 (Onkoloolessa 28, 2008 ALH)

Xalayaa Kongirasiin Federaalaawaa Oromoo Wayyaanetti barreesse

Xalayaa Kongirasiin Federaalaawaa Oromoo Wayyaanetti barreesse1