Who Will be the Highly Seeked Oromo’s Obama?
As the election 2020 is approachong, we are asking ourselves: who of the Oromo leaders will prevail and take responsibility to democratize and develop Ethiopia (Great Oromia)? Dr. Abiy of ODP? Ob. Daud of OLF-S? Ob. Galaasa of OLF-T? General Kamal of ONP? Dr. Marara of OFC? I think both Drs have no problem in accepting and leading Ethiopia. But, the two leaders of the OLF and the General need to change their view and be ready to lead Ethiopia, beyound liberating Gadaa Oromia. They should have a paradigme shift. Who ever will take this responsibility, the political power in Caffee Araaraa should stay in Oromo hand. We not yet have a luxury to lose the present opportunity. This power center is essential for us to re-own our heart and mind – Finfinne, in order to have both political and economical influence on Oromia at all the five levels (Gadaa Oromia/independent republic, Great Oromia/democratic Ethiopia, Greater Oromia/integrated Horn, Greatest Oromia/federated Africa and Global Oromia/international Community).
Few years ago, there was a discussion going on regarding Ethiopian democratization vs. Oromian decolonization (national freedom of the Oromo from any sytem of domination), which was firstly initiated by Addis Neger Online. The author of the article demanded that a certain Oromo Obama or Oromo Mandela take the responsibility to democratize the country and give a lasting solution to the problems of that cursed region. What a nice wish and good demand! The author wrote his piece few days before the Ethiopian election 2010. He seemed to be optimistic of the ongoing “democratization and election in Ethiopia”. Is now Dr. Abiy that highly seeked and wished Oromo’s Obama? Can Ob. Daud, Dr. Marara, Ob. Galaasa and Gn. Kamal be one?
Let me leave the oppression history in Ethiopia for historians and talk about the recent situation under the TPLF rule. No question that the present TPLF, the hegemonist caricature of the original TPLF, was ruling all nations in the empire with iron fist since 1991. What a pity for Tigreans, who died for the cause of freedom and democracy during their rebellion and struggle against the fascist Derg. Who of them thought that their organization, TPLF, would be transformed into a worse fascist and racist organization than the regime they had fought against?
Unfortunately, TPLF was not only transformed from liberation front into such fascist hegemonist force, but it also used to be an instrument for the only one dictatorial psychopath, Meles Zenawi. Then, there was no more TPLF or any organization from Tigrai ruling the empire, but there was only one psychopath as brutal as Hitler and Stalin, who ruled citizens and nations in Ethiopia with brute force and malicious manipulation. He gathered the very submissive individuals with slave mentality from each nation in the empire to use them as “representatives” of their respective nations. So, he got slaves from Amhara, Oromo, Tegaru, Afar, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gamballa, Harari and all Southern nations.
The election in May 2010 was one of the situations where he could show these two methods (force and manipulation) for the sake of perpetuating his rule further. Individual citizens and national groups in the empire have been intimidated by force and manipulated by fraud in order to make the dictator and his followers “win” the election. He could “win” almost 100% of the federal and regional parliamentary seats. This election was similar to the elections which took place under dictators like Stalin, Sadam Hussen, Mengistu H/Mariam and so on. So, there was no surprise about the result.
Why was the result like this? Why could not Ethiopia experience till now any sort of genuine democratic election? The answer may be as described below, in the following examples. Specially, elections in multinational countries like Ethiopia are the competitions not only among political parties, but also among nations in the country for power and domination. In Ethiopia, the contest for power takes place particularly between the two Habesha nations (Amhara, Tegaru) and other oppressed nations, specifically the Oromo. The relationship between the Abyssinian ruling class and the Oromo nation was a relationship between colonizers and the colonized, whereas the relationship between the two Habesha nations was a competition between two colonizers, which is similar to the fight between England and France over Africa during the scramble for Africa.
The situation in Ethiopia under the TPLF rule was comparable, for instance, with a scenario that smaller nation Denmark would occupy Germany, France and other nations in West Europe, make Paris its capital city, choose German language as working language of the “federation” it formed, call the whole federation as Federal Democratic Republic of Europe and foster a government, where only individuals from Denmark take key positions in the government, military, economy, civil service and security. Was this not absurd?
Unfortunately, this was what Tigreans (our Denmark) were doing today in Ethiopia. They came to Oromia (our France), made their capital city Finfinne (our Paris), their working language Amharinya (our German language) and tell us that the country they did rule dictatorially is called Ethiopia (our Europe). Then, let’s imagine that Denmark people, Germans, the French people and all other nations in “European empire” were going to election under government of the fascist dictator from Denmark.
Can any one imagine that Germans, French citizens and other nations of Western Europe under such dictator vote for the fascist regime dominated by oligarchs from Denmark? Can anyone think that such fascist dictator from Denmark can allow the election be fair and free? Can we really believe that democratization of such “European empire” dominated and ruled by minority group from Denmark be possible?
Ethiopia is such a conglomerate of different neighboring nations, which actually deserve their independence and it is only after freedom of nations from alien rulers that democratization of nation-states can be easier and possible as already practically seen in Europe. The question we needed to answer was why did European regimes want us to do, what they actually don’t wish for themselves and their nations? How did they come to observe such almost an impossible election in the empire or the futile attempt of democratization in the colonized (occupied, subjugated and oppressed) nations?
To use another example to describe the past Ethiopia, such an empire with a system of domination was almost similar to Apartheid of ex-South Africa as the blogger on Addis Neger tried to compare. Was it expected that such South Africa be democratic before dismantling the system? Why then was Oromo nation, in particular, and other oppressed nations, in general, suffering under looting, subjugation and lording of Tigrean oligarchs be expected to get our right per sham election orchestrated under colonizers? The only difference between South Africa and Ethiopia was that, nations in South Africa were not colonized (dominated) by other nation from the same region, but by white minority from Europe. That is why the answer to Apartheid was not necessarily decolonization in a form of autonomy for each nation in the region. Being free from system of Apartheid used by the white minority regime was the sort of decolonization all nations together wanted to achieve.
That is why the first example of “European empire” is more appropriate to describe the situation in Ethiopia. If “Europe under Denmark oligarchs” needs to be democratized, no question that the subjugated nations like Germany and France should be liberated first. Then after, the liberated nation-states can have their fair and free democratic election. Of course, after that, the free and democratic nation-states can build union of free peoples as they did in the form of European Union (EU). I think this is a reason for the fact that they supported “disintegration” of Yugoslavia into free nation states, including the very small nations like Kosovo. These independent and democratic nation-states are today part and parcel of European union. If this method of achieving national freedom and multinational democracy is right for Europe, why do European regimes want that Africans move another way which didn’t work for them?
The legacy of colonialism in the Horn of Africa, in particular, and in Africa, in general, is the artificial division of nations (ethnies), which they like to call “African tribes” per colonial borders. The colonialists either divided one nation to be included into more than two countries or clamped many nations together into one state (country). For instance, the only one nation (Somalia) was divided to be included into five countries (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, British Somaliland and Italian Somalia) as well as many nations in the Horn like Tegaru, Amhara, Oromo, Afar, Sidama, etc. are put together in only one Ethiopia ruled by Abyssinian elites under protection of the Western regimes.
Almost all African countries are suffering under consequences of such arrangement, and yet Africans are accused and blamed by these same self-righteous Western regimes for lack of democracy. For African nations to be really democratic, they should first get rid of these artificial colonial borders. Nation-states based on free will must be established. Only such relatively [deleted] nation-states can vote freely during elections in a possible multiparty democracy of the respective nations free from unhealthy competitions among different nations for domination.
Otherwise, in multinational countries, where nations are put together by force like in Ethiopia, there will always be competition of nations for dominance, not only the necessary competition of political parties for power. There can be certain arguments against such suggestion to have nation-states as a prerequisite for genuine democratization, because of the presence of many small nationalities in Africa, which may not be in a position to foster viable independent state. For such smaller nations, federal arrangement like that of genuine ethnic federalism, which is formally tried in Ethiopia, is good arrangement. It needs only to be genuine, not so fake as it was in Ethiopia now. Each nationality can have its own autonomous province (state), zone, district or county within a voluntarily formed multi-nation-country, based on its size.
Coming back to the circumstances in Ethiopia, it was just pipe dream to expect democratization of the empire as long as Abyssinian colonial system of domination is intact. This system of domination was under absolute control of Tigrean elites from minority nation. Does the present “ODP’s take over of federal government” change this situation? Is Dr. Abiy’s Oromia already free from TPLF’s colonial domination? Genuine and free democratization means loss of power for the TPLFites, which further means lose of economical advantage they individually, as a group of oligarchs and as minority nation enjoyed. It was simply naivety to expect these individuals and the group allow genuine democratization of the empire, while they know what the consequence of losing this power means for them. Was Dr. Abiy successful in taking full power from the TPLF oligarchs? Will election 2020 really be fair and free?
Taking part in elections under TPLF regime was good only in order to use the process as a means of struggle against tyranny. The participation of Medrek and others in the past elections has got only this purpose. If there was anyone who expected TPLF to give up power per ballot, that was unrealistic. I personally expected that a sort of peaceful public uprising had to follow the already programmed vote riggings. Unfortunately, neither Medrek nor any other political organization, be it “legal” or “illegal” was ready to call for such an uprising during the past elections. This persuaded me to ask, what is then the purpose of taking part in elections? Was boycotting not better? Some would say, “it was better to expose undemocratic nature of TPLF.” Didn’t we do this during the elections in 1992 and 2005? Was this anti-democratic nature of TLF not known?
Actually, the best approach against such fascist dictators was only to fight them without any compromise. Beside the “legal parties,” which were accompanying the regime in sham elections, there should be underground organizations and armed forces, which were ready to force such regime to give up the grip of power it had in Finfinne palace. I had an expectation that underground movement of the AG7 and likes in addition to rebel forces like the OLF and ONLF could make public uprising possible following the already known vote riggings. Actually, this was just wishful thinking of the few, including me. Forunately, Oromo youth could coordinate and lead such uprising, even though it took place exclusively in Oromia and to some extent in Amhara..
Where we know that the TPLF oligarchs never allow democratization of the empire and even reactionary unitarists are not ready to see the domination system of the empire destroyed, what should be the future approach? The few Habesha democrats like those in AG7 should be determined to make an alliance covertly or overtly with liberation forces like the OLF and ONLF in order to dismantle domination system in the empire (i.e. decolonization of all suffering nations in the empire, including Amhara and Tegaru oppressed mass). Is ODP of Dr. Abiy now part of such alliance by default?
Let me hope that very few from the conservative parties also follow the same procedure. In the past, it was not time for opposition forces to talk about democratization, but for all to struggle for decolonization of the oppressed nations together. Is Dr Abiy for such decolonization of Oromia as a prelude for democratization of Ethiopia? Interestingly, some Amhara nationals are starting to sense what it means to live under national oppression. Most Tegarus actually know it very well, that is why they fought against it until their struggle has been hijacked by TPLF junta. 2018 was the right time for such forces of decolonization from all nations in the empire to come together.
What was common ground for decolonization forces from these different nations in the empire to forge a sort of alliance against the TPLF oligarchs? The common ground was not either “unconditional independence without union,” which was propagated by liberation fronts or “unconditional unitary state without national independence,” the mantra which was always prayed by unitarist patriotic forces. The way forward as a common purpose was only union of free peoples in Ethiopia, which is the goal of unionist democratic forces like ODP, PAFD and Medrek.
Hopefully, many of those from liberation forces and unitarists will give up their ultra left and ultra right positions, respectively, and come together in middle position of the unionists. Unfortunately, TPLF is still instrumentalizing both the Ultra forces to make them fight each other and neutralize each other. This makes them not to be a good challenge, so that TPLF could balance the power in the empire for its own benefit. That was why we do hear, see and read TPLF cadres being camouflaged as either of the two ultra forces to attack the other side so that it could seem as if main struggle in the empire was between these two, instead of fighting of all against the evil TPLF. At the end of the day, the above mentioned three opposition forces agreed on the middle position. It was very easy for such an alliance of all oppositions to engage TPLF with appropriate methods to compel it give up power, without unrealistically expecting that it may give up power per ballot box.
Such allied and united opposition coul easily start the following coordinated three best methods against the fascists: civil disobedience, armed struggle and public uprising. Taking part in elections was only be for the sake of facilitating these methods, not for the sake of taking power per ballot box as if the election under TPLF leadership was going on in democratic nation-states. Democratization of an empire with colonized nations is practically impossible. Wehad to first decolonize such nations, which were suffering under the system of domination and, now we can talk about democratization of each nation in a possible union of free peoples. Trying to persuade us to talk about democratization process before decolonization was simply one of the ways used by TPLF oligarchs just in their attempt to fool us. But, Dr. Abiy was bold and strong enough to take power from TPLF, especially in areas of military and security.
We had enough election processes to expose TPLF in front of the “gullible” international community, which has either naively or deliberately accepted the TPLF led empire as one of “African nations, which was on the noble road of democratization.” OLF already exposed the undemocratic nature of TPLF in 1992, just a year after its takeover of power in Finfinne palace. CUD did the same job of exposing in 2005. Medrek repeated it in 2010; of cource #OromoProtest of 2014 finally did the best Job of exposition. Lastly, we did not need this job of exposing TPLF any more. What we needed was to come together, forge a necessary alliance based on the above mentioned common ground and then fight against the fascists specially by using the above mentioned effective three methods.
We already decolonized the oppressed nations, and now we are ready to democratize all national areas of Ethiopia in the form of multiparty competition. Are the above mentioned Oromo leaders for such decolonization before democratization? Yes, democratization of the empire is impossible, decolonization should precede democratization, i.e. citizens’ and nations’ freedom should be achieved in order to exercise democracy. After decolonization (after achieving freedom from the system of domination), we can democratize all decolonized nations in the region, which can have a possibility to foster an Ethiopian union on grave of the Abyssinian empire, based on genuine free will of all the concerned peoples. The question to be answered is: who of the Oromo leaders prevail to be the well seeked Oromo’s Obama? I hope, the two OLF leaders will be ready to excercise leadership of Ethiopia (Great Oromia) beyound their goal, i.e liberation of Gadaa Oromia!
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