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Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ethiopia

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01/08/12

  01:04:12 am, by admin, 2227 words  
Categories: Ethiopia, Yilma Bekele

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ethiopia

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)and Ethiopia

By Yilma Bekele

The news that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) has decided to struggle for freedom in consort with all Democratic forces in Ethiopia is the best Christmas present the Ethiopian people gave themselves. There is no question we are entering a new chapter in our struggle to be free like any other human being. The decision by the leadership of the OLF is a very significant development that has a potential to tip the balance of power. If you ask me, two hands are always better than one.

As reported by Abebe Gelaw of ESAT the OLF at its Plenary National Council meeting held in Minnesota on December 30 and 31 “announced its historic decision to drop its long-held secessionist agenda and to embrace the unity of Ethiopia under a genuine federal arrangement that must guarantee the rights, equality and liberty of all Ethiopians.” What more can one ask for?

The OLF led by Brigadier General Kemal Gelchu made a very tough decision. All Ethiopians owe him a debt of gratitude for his farsighted leadership. The position he reversed is not an easy one. It took courage by him and the other leaders to take such undertaking. Generations of our Oromo people have grown with that aim as a call of duty. It will take a lot of work to change that.

Change is something that is difficult to accept. It is natural that most of us resist change. We all have our comfort zone and any thing different is disconcerting. The OLF and Brigadier General Gulchu’s decision is bound to disturb our comfort zone. That is what leadership is all about. This is not the first tough choice made by the Brigadier General. On August 8, 2008 he defected from the Ethiopian National Defense Forces with two hundred solders and officers with him.

As a person sworn to protect Ethiopia he did not look kindly at becoming an errand boy for TPLF. Upon defection he joined the OLF and rose to position of leadership. Today under his leadership the OLF is entering a new chapter. The Oromo people have paid a heavy price under different administrations. The rest of the Ethiopian people have suffered as well. The realization by the OLF that the bond that ties us together is so strong and deep that decoupling is not a worthy endeavor is a breath of fresh air. If this bold decision will shorten the suffering of our people even by a day we welcome it.

The new situation does not sit well with some people. It is understandable. Separation, secession, self-determination have been a mantra of the liberation movements in Ethiopia for the last fifty years. It is like all other liberation movements that emerged in the sixties. You know us we Ethiopians once we got hold of something we don’t let go. ELF, EPLF, OLF, TPLF stayed true to that religion of unending struggle. It has not brought us peace or prosperity. A new OLF is emerging from the old. A smarter and mature OLF that will satisfy the real needs of the Oromo people.

The lack of competent leadership has been the Achilles heel of the movement. Many so called ‘educated’ leaders have caused a lot of agony and hardship to the Oromo people. There is no need to pretend otherwise. Over fifty years of sacrifice and nothing much to show for it is a loud statement. The TPLF mafia group acerbated the problem by stocking hatred and animosity while ruling with an iron fist from the background. The OLF was reduced to peddling hate to collect revenue while exposing its constituents to abuse and shame. In today’s Democratic Ethiopia every prison, jail, detention center is filled by Oromo political prisoners.

Ginbot 7 Movement and Dr. Berhanu should be given credit for patiently working without much fanfare and prepare the ground necessary for such decision. It shows maturity by both organizations to put differences aside and work for the common good. There are only winners and no losers in this situation. The OLF press release states “The OLF National Council also focused on the timely demand of working with other democratic forces in forming the new Ethiopia that will guarantee and protect the fundamental rights of all peoples in Ethiopia. The new social contract will and should be based on the free will and consent of all peoples in Ethiopia.”

The job is half done. It is a very promising beginning. The real work starts now. Changing people’s hearts and minds is not an easy task. On the other hand if it were easy we would not be where we are now. The TPLF regime will do all it could to throw cold water at this news. It will go out of its way to dismiss it as useless. It will create bogus news and opinions to discredit the participants. The regime fears unity more than any army. It was the unity of all those organizations under the umbrella of Kinijit that exposed the hollowness of the TPLF regime. The unity of OLF with any other organization is their nightmare come true.

The news will also get its share of criticism from the opposition. It is understandable. After all separation was the only demand on the table. The leadership of the Fronts saw it as the magic cure. The central highlanders saw it as the final disintegration of Ethiopia. Most Ethiopian political leaders used the issue to further their own agenda. Some used it a recruiting tool regardless of the consequences. At the end it came to loose its meaning except to the people on the ground that are still paying the price for failed leadership and unholy alliances.

Some in the opposition are crying foul before they even saw the press release. That is nothing new either. We love to jump the gun and dive into condemnation and mudslinging. It is a shame when it comes from those that should know better. Reasoned and well research thesis that will enhance the discussion to higher level is what is expected. I am not against opposition to the new position as articulated by the OLF but I am only asking for a seasoned discussion that will take the aspirations of our people into consideration.

It is not a good idea to scratch the bottom of the barrel and emerge with such prize as “Oromo nationalism was built by successfully deconstructing the Ethiopian nationalism. Since 1991, the former has effectively displaced the later in Oromia and as a result an entire generation has been brought up with that narrative. Furthermore, despite its limits, self-rule has allowed the rise of millions of bureaucratic elites who have vested material and political interest in preserving the gains of the Oromo struggle and maintaining the nationalist narrative.”

What exactly does that mean? Has OPDO satisfied the aspirations of the Oromo masses? Are we praising it for raising a new generation that is programmed to hate Ethiopia? Is that Good? When did being mildly screwed pass as a fair reward or a fair exchange, is that what is meant by limited self-rule? Furthermore when did Bandas that serve the occupying force get elevated to future leaders? I hope we are not thinking of rewarding TPLF controlled Oromo thugs that have amassed huge fortune robbing the Oromo people and build the new Oromia on their shoulders? It is a wobbly foundation if you ask me.

I am assuming the so called ‘bureaucratic elites’ are the same ones that for example are selling and leasing fertile Oromo land to such as Flower growers that suck every drop of water from the rivers and streams, discharge carcinogen chemicals that will stay in the soil poisoning the drinking water for the next hundred years, that hire our Oromo girls of fifteen years old to spray the flowers with chemicals without adequate protection not even lousy gloves and increase the chances of respiratory and other disease with no health insurance and no compensation and no retirement – I will say these folks are not good material for a solid foundation.

Name-calling and cynical dismissal of our leaders efforts is not a winning strategy. The OLF and Ginbot 7 are not some garden-variety organizations to be dismissed lightly. They are doing what they believe is the right thing to relive the hardship of eighty million Ethiopians that are faced with hunger, disease and ignorance as we speak. We give our leaders the respect that is due. We respect them for their vision of a better future, intelligent leadership, and their sacrifice of family and profession while working on our behalf. That is not much to ask.

Both Dr. Berhanu and Brigadier General Kemal are successful in their own right. That is why they have attained such a high level in our society and the profession they choose. They did not kill, bribe, threaten or bully to reach where they are now. We should encourage such behavior in our leaders. They are just like us and they should act like one of us. I do not have the pleasure of meeting the brigadier General but I have the honor of meeting Dr. Berhanu. I found him to be both humble and real in the way he looks at himself and his surrounding. I like it when my leader is just like me not someone that sits on my shoulder constantly telling me how better and different he is from me. If we don’t show them respect who would?

We welcome our Oromo brothers and sisters. It will not be an exaggeration to suggest that it will be very rare to find an Ethiopian with out a trace of Oromo in him. That was one of the reasons the concept of separation of Oromia from the rest of Ethiopia did not get traction. It was not because there was no national oppression, it was not because there was no injustice but rather the prescription being suggested for the disease did not feel right.

It is very unfortunate for our country and people that we are a witness to such malpractice by TPLF Doctors regarding Eritrea. Separation was the medicine administered to the illness we had. It did not take long to see how wrong it was. Today both people are paying the price. Mistake was made. People’s lives were ruined. We hope future generation will set this right and bring children of the same mother together again. It will happen. Take my word for it.

What makes every Ethiopian happy is this single step taken by the OLF leaders. A single bold step in the right direction is what I thought. Our role will be to sing ‘wefe komech, wefe komech’ stretch our arms and make sure no one fails. We are not into looking back at what happened yesterday. Why do that when tomorrow is a brand new day and we can create a new reality. We are going to get rid of our old baggage. We do not obsess about our past failings but look forward to what can be achieved when we work together. That is the message of OLF to the rest of us. It is smart to hit the reset button and start new and fresh.

It is a good beginning for 2012. We can build a lasting union on solid foundation starting now. We urge the leaders to involve as many people as possible in this national dialogue. This is our school in building a brand new Ethiopia. No one has failed like us so we really can turn that negative experience into a valuable lesson. Our association with the TPLF virus and the Derg germ though depilating hopefully have given us a good dose of anti body for a long and bitter struggle.

Our vow for the New Year should be ‘I have heard, listened, experienced the atrocities of the TPLF regime now it is time to do what is necessary to liberate myself.’ It is true you cannot liberate others while you are still a slave. We are slaves to old ideas, old biases and old-fashioned way of thinking. Starting 2012 we are going to think different. We are going to judge others as we judge ourselves. We are not going to wait for others to liberate us while we sit on the side watching. That does not work. That has never worked. To own your freedom you have to work for it.

I am not being a blind cheerleader. There will be bumps on the road. In order to minimize unfortunate misunderstandings I believe the best remedy is to stay vigilant and be part of the struggle. It is a lot better to contribute sincerely and positively to enhance the quality of the struggle. Nitpicking and negative comments will only help those that are working overtime to protect their ill-gotten power and wealth and that is exactly what we claim not to want.

Let me say something before some of you raise it. I am qualified to say all I said because I am an Ethiopian. If you want more I am an Amhara, a Gurage, and an Oromo born in Sidama. I share blood with all the first three groups and due to birth I have a strong affinity with my Sidama brothers and sisters. I am a rainbow Ethiopian. Melkam Gena.

27 comments

Comment from: ameneshewa [Visitor]  
ameneshewa

who will trust OLF ?? we never forget BEDENO if they have a position like WOYYANE they may kill all non OROMO so better we stand with EPRDF WOYYANE until better PARTIES are coming to our interest

01/08/12 @ 02:46
Comment from: C'est moi senait [Visitor]
C'est moi senait

OLF

Based in eritrea ,financed and armed by polpot issayas.
Go in Egypian or any Arab embassy and ask for visa and tell tham you are an olf. , then you have a visa in matter of few seconds. But if you tell them ,you are an Ethiopia,speciall Amhara ,tigri, or Christian, your visa will be rejected depends on how you approach these Arabs.

The question now, OLF with shabia means nothing more than a cancer to mother Ethiopia. That Devil pol pot issays is to destroy Ethiopian unity . And we have already weyannes who are now destroying us inside out.
The best way to bring change in Ethiopia is not by OLF old tactic somewhere in border to Sudan or Somalia by killing a few weyanne solders rather inside the capital by hunting down every single hoddams and weyannes. That is what I call struggle .

01/08/12 @ 05:10
Comment from: werner2010 [Visitor]
werner2010

OLF Statement:
What is actually said, and who is in a position to make such a major statement?
My friends from the Ethiopian nationalists camp take from the statement that the OLF has totally given up the demand for secession, some even believe that OLF has renounced armed struggle.
I have spoken with some Oromo friends of mine, and some of them say that the statement is just a rephrasing of what OLF has been saying through out the years. Three options: federation, confederation or secession. And they assert that the statement is made just to soothe the G7 camp, but truly the final decision will be done by the Oromo public. Some others are simply sad and angry and say that this is an unforgivable betrayal to the Oromo cause. They even use the words treason and surrender.
The reaction to the statement is either euphoria (G7) or fury (Oromo diaspora); there is a huge gap in between.

01/08/12 @ 05:47
Comment from: gadaa [Visitor]
gadaa

Wait and see, the agreement remains on paper. They faced strong objection from the Oromo society and their own members. They are not in a position to change our constitution at coffee meeting. Actually it helps the so called pro Eth. for cheap propaganda and divide and rule method among Oromos for certain time, but has no continuity. It is not new phenomena to see such games in all Eth. parties including those who believe in Ethiopian unity without preconditions. Can any one give an answer why the number of ethiopian Oppositions is so increased and why they couldn’t form a united front? As long as they are civilized, educated, experienced and the second in population nr. in Ethiopia, why they didn’t push the struggle and creat puppets at the front? For them if the Oromos and Ogadens do something they accuse them terrorists.If the tigrean they call them banda, tribalist if the southerns-un civilized…etc. Really is there anyone can believe this people? For me the current rulers are not different from them, may be better in some aspects.

01/08/12 @ 07:20
Comment from: addiszemen [Member]  

DESPERADO, yilma bekele,..

You’re so desperate and confused looser who sniffs around like a darenged stray dog licking every garbage thrown at him.
you’re an identical twin brother of eliass kiftaff, with nonesensical hopeless barking. You cried BEKA, BEKA, you cried shabia patriotic bla bla, you cried ONLF, you cried to save alshebab, etc… Endless cries. Now still you’re hoping and telling us OLF is the only leadership which can take you to your “promisedland” of arat killo.
you’re given a certain cyber arena to blabber and cry your nonesense, but actually you’re the same as those brainless hopeless crybabies under every article who cheer up for every negative article about Ethiopia, i.e Tulu proud eritrean, Mesfin Bidatam dergue buchila, TEDDY the loony shabian pimp, etc… Can this loosers make any different no matter how bitterlly they cry? I will let you contemplate on that, because that is the only way you might be able to see yourself in perspectives. Looser!!

01/08/12 @ 07:40
Comment from: obsa [Visitor]
obsa

Only Amhara affiliated websites have talked a lot about the new OLF. If these sites were trustworthy sources of information, they would have also presented press release of the main OLF. Therefore, this news is nothing more than Amharas propaganda against OLF. They are attempting to confuse oromo people. The real OLF is struggling until Oromia is get liberated.

01/08/12 @ 09:46
Comment from: bika [Visitor]
bika

…the redressing of OLF clarifies only one thing ,groups like OLF,ONLF,G-7….are instruments of Isayas and he can shape mold or do them as it fits his interest.Those who believe these mercenaries stand for the interest of any nationaliy in Ethiopia are either fools or …..

01/08/12 @ 10:08
Comment from: Mengistu Gadamu [Visitor]
Mengistu Gadamu

Kikikiki….

Lies, lies, lies… like always. Playing with words and long standing dishonest Amhara elite chauvinist manipulations. Not a single Oromo hates Ethiopia at any time and any place. I know this living facts on the ground because I have made a study.

What they hate is exclusively Amhara elite’s exclusive and totalitarian enslaving domination and exploitation cunningly hiding under the name and symbols of Ethiopia and Ethiopianism which in effects only makes them and only them alone the true Ethiopians who are entitled to exclusively own Ethiopia at all costs and at all the expenses of all other groups in the empire. Even the OPDO does not at all hate Ethiopia but HATES ONLY Amhara chauvinist elite’s undemocratic totalitarian domination misusing and dirtening the good name of Ethiopia that has been there for centuries while undergoing multiple metamorphosis on its arrival to this vary day.

If according to your logic the current ruling partner OPDO under the tplf is an Ethiopian hating group together with the none ruling political movement,the independent OLF, do you think that the OLF faction to be under your Amhara feet or call it OPDO II just like menelik II :) can really bring about an all encompassing democracy, peace, sustainable development and justice for all other than acting as an old lonely donkey carrying lots of your loads on its broken back and walking the steep rough up hill road on a very hot sunny day? I strongly doubt!

01/08/12 @ 10:18
Comment from: Zelalem Balcha [Visitor]
Zelalem Balcha

This is absolute joke because the real OLF led by Daud Ibsa has rejected the very existence of a rogue faction led by Kemal Gelchu. If Ginbot 7 seven is truelly interested in finding Peace and lasting security then they would reach out to the real OLF led by Daud Ibsa. This is nothing more than colonial style divide and rule. Ginbot 7 and Berhanu Nega are only interested on power grab, pure and simply. If they care about the Oromo people then they would simply come out in favor of referendum for Oromo people.

Free Oromia!!

01/08/12 @ 10:24
Comment from: Jart [Visitor]
Jart

OLF is a mere blip in the Oromo people poltical direction at the moment. The poeple have spoken. They want their Ethiopian-ness, they want development. OLF and those in Minnisota are just the tail end who follow the mass in the front. That’s all. Minnisotans just shut up and serve my Burger.

01/08/12 @ 13:19
Comment from: Matewos [Visitor]  
Matewos

I think the only solution to struggle TPLF is through unity of Ethiopian people. I wonder the effort of Dr. Berhanu’s party to bring unity among opposition parties, esp. with OLF. Therefore, the new OLF’s strategy may be one of the signs for untiy we Ethiopian need

01/08/12 @ 14:00
Comment from: David Makuria [Visitor]
David Makuria

Dear Yilma Bekele,

First of all, who is to say that those decades of struggles for the Oromo people and the sacrifices of those who have been giving the ultimate prize for the cause is all of a sudden replaced by the Pseudo- OPDOs. Let’s not make any mistake; this group of so-called members of the central committee of the OLF who dropped the secession by no means represents the ambition and aspiration of the OLF, and more importantly the aspiration of the more than forty million Oromos. These same people, a mere four years ago under the tutelage of the Weyyanes were imprisoning, torturing and killing the same people they claim to represent now. We all know the history of the Oromo liberation movement is marred by individuals like the “generals”. If it were not for the betrayal acts of those who short change the Oromo cause, we all know that no enemy has a chance to stand in front of the Oromo people.
For the general and his cronies, the struggle for the Oromo people is defined as spend a few years in the West and get back to Finfinnee to enjoy Dadhii (Tej) and fon dhedhii ( Tire Siga). That is when he realized that to fulfill their ambition it takes a lot more than what they did since 2008 and took a sharp turn in their strategy. May be these strategy can get them to what they wanted to fulfill their personal ambitions. However, let’s not make any mistake, if history is any indicator, the outcome of the Oromo cause will not be affected by the ambitions of these greedy Oromo or otherwise individuals whose mere existence is to fulfill their own desire.
Secondly, the right to self-determination is not a gift give to the Oromo people by any group or individuals. But rather, it is entrusted by the United Nation and more importunately, it is an inalienable gift bestowed on us from our Creator. By know, I hope you have some understanding that the question of the Oromo people for self-determination is and will be the burning issue for the Ethiopian Empire in particular and the horn of Africa in general. The Oromo people will not rest until this fundamental issue is resolved.
Last but least, as proven time and again the Oromo people is known to co-exist with its neighbors. We are a proven record of being a good host. But all we are struggling and asking for is a basic and fundamental human right issue. Let us practice our right on the land of OROMIA!

01/08/12 @ 15:35
Comment from: Bethihu [Visitor]
Bethihu

Yelma Bekele,

First of, i would like to say congratulation for your dreams come true Christmas gift that you ever got!! Since you shout out loud, and so excited about the usual fake diaspora’s hilusinting fabricated stories, when are going to join the OLF rebels and to unpacked your gifts?!?!

I hope you are on your way to Asmera by now, and you will send us your picture with that beautiful picture from sawa of
the Eretrian peoples slavery comp..LOL!

However, it is not hard to see that you are realy foolish individual that who can be pleased with empty packaged gift…..and once again congratulation for your dream come true gifts…LOL!!!!

God bless the world!!

01/08/12 @ 16:24
Comment from: one Love [Visitor]
one Love

commentators and analyses should be careful to not jump on bandwagon. However, i do agree with yelma honest article as he mentioned he is entitled to his opinion. we have come long way and we can see our destination now.

01/08/12 @ 16:37
Comment from: comparmiso [Visitor]  
comparmiso

we’ve never been racist; we just need our freedom. Kemal Gelchu is a top OPDO,member of TPLF not OLF. He stinks & suck. Alaabaan Oromoo ka’uu qaba.

01/08/12 @ 20:58
Comment from: Etiopía tikdem [Visitor]
Etiopía tikdem

ነጻነትን ሰላምንና ዲሞክራሲን የሚያፈቅር ሕዝቡን ይወዳል ፣ ነገር ግን ስልጣን የሚያፈቀር የሚወደው አራሱን ብቻ ነው።

01/08/12 @ 23:42
Comment from: teddy_yedz_lej [Member]  
teddy_yedz_lej

I used to think that these people might have a point, but at some point I understood that OLF is a party which is working to separate the Oromo people from its beloved brother and sister tribe (approximately 82 tribes) and create another country in African continent. The Oromo people don’t want that and it’s not a good move. Now when they realize that it is impossible to split an important tribe from its brother and sister, they start preaching that they want to unite Ethiopia. What a stupid speech. You think Ethiopians are that stupid??? here is my comment for OLF leaders, stop politics and please go back to farming, it is so good and important for you guys at this point, because you spend approximately between 35-40 years of your age doing nothing or sometimes killing some innocent people of my country. Stop joking around and drop politics. By the way I am not those ignorant racist people of north, I am mixed and from the center, and good example of Ethiopian which is mixed and proud. I LOVE ALL TRIBES IN MY COUNTRY AND MAY GOD PROTECT THEM ALL.

01/09/12 @ 06:04
Comment from: mortar [Visitor]
mortar

I consider the current campaign by Amhara affiliated political groups and media such as ESAT as a war aggression against the Oromo people. If they want genuine unity with the oromo people why do they negotiate with the splinter and illegal OLF which the oromo people have rejected to follow. Why not they negotiate with the real OLF. Oromos who knowingly or unkowingly joined this splinter group have to think many times before they work with these oromo enemies.

01/09/12 @ 06:27
Comment from: one Love [Visitor]
one Love

Mortar! you made a good point, I have wrote several times how Ethio review and Ethio media have been catering to chauvinist die hard wishes. mainly these two medias have silly and out dated believe to take Ethiopia back they do anything blindly. Oromo and others have told them that is in’t gonna happen but they can continue day dreaming, but we will move on

01/09/12 @ 16:00
Comment from: belachew [Visitor]
belachew

I don’t think it is not a good idea presented for unit speech by the so called OLF general. Really OLF need to struggle with the other Ethiopians fellow. It is traumatized for everybody when remembered in the past what they did for the other Ethiopian people they are cruel. It is totally EPDRF (WOYANE) better than OLF. Nobody wants you except shebia.

01/09/12 @ 20:44
Comment from: obsaa [Visitor]
obsaa

By Boru Jibat*

Inspired by the famous 2011 Arab spring that brought down long time dictators in North Africa, a spirit of collaboration was propped up between various political forces opposing to the current minority rule in Finfinne. Although most of the non-Habesha forces, such as the OLF, ONLF and SLF, have already formed strategic partnerships, such cooperation between Semitic-speaking groups and the rest of political forces in Ethiopia has been non-existent. It was imperative, therefore, to see leaders of some of the Diaspora-based Habesha organizations coming out to media along with political forces from oppressed nations in Ethiopia to underscore the need to act in unison.

The joint radio interview by representatives of OLF and Ginbot 7 at one time kind of planted the seeds of hope for collaboration and voluntary unity. Although it has been constantly proven difficult to find common political position with the Amhara elites’ camp, even with the most progressive elites, the healthy conversation we heard during that interview seemed to have signaled that positive changes might be taking place.

Many, including myself, seriously took this and tried to see light at the end of the tunnel. But, not too long after this joint interview, many of us proved ourselves wrong. Things began to take different course when Mr. Leenco Lata exposed that he was repeatedly approached by Dr. Berhanu Nega to join him to address the Ethiopian community in Minnesota. Leenco Lata is an ex-OLF Deputy Chairman, who currently does not hold any leadership position in the OLF.

It was clear why Dr. Berhanu secretly reached out to Mr. Leenco for such a meeting while he was well aware that Mr. Leenco could not speak on behalf of the OLF. But, he must have naively thought that, given his stature, Mr. Leenco’s appearance alongside with Amhara organization in political stages organized by the later would annoy the Oromo Diaspora, and create confusion and division within the OLF supporters, an opportunity Dr. Berhanu would have loved to exploit. But, both Mr. Leenco and the Oromo Diaspora were too smart to fall into this trap. Then, Berhanu had to rest on a softer target. The subsequent meetings, which he had organized and conducted with the group that were banned from the OLF three years ago, exposed that Ginbot 7 was nothing, but another old-school self-serving Habesha organization, which, as always, was not ready to recognize the rights and needs of nations in the Ethiopian empire.

Habesha groups, no matter who are leading them, cannot break out of the hard shell that blinds them for over a century, and hence, it remains difficult to have a meaningful dialogue with them and build a nation together. The new developments that have lately begun to manifest themselves in the Habesha camp show that the groups may have much deeper trouble when it comes to working with each other as well. The evaporation of Kinijit party from the national political scene following the 2005 election, the continued bitter hostility between Ginbot 7 and the rest of Habesha parties in Diaspora, and the continued in-fighting among the home-based Habesha political parties are testimonies to this.

I hope it is in everyone’s memory that the OLF did whatever it can to help create a new Ethiopia, in which the rights and dignities of all its citizens are guaranteed. That effort was frustrated when the TPLF decided to monopolize power by sidelining all progressive political forces, including the OLF itself. Instead of working with genuine representatives of the people, the TPLF continued to use its surrogates to impose its dominance in the empire. The decision by Ginbot 7 to conspire with the OLF splinters is simply a “copy paste” of this incident, and has once again stalled the possibilities of genuine collaboration between Habesha and Oromo organizations.

In the weeks and months leading to the ‘formal’ announcement of this “unblessed marriage,” we saw 95% of members of this group disassociating themselves from it. Exactly on the same day this marriage was declared, the remaining leaders of the group announced that they were not part of the deal. Kemal Gelchu, Hailu Gonfa, Amin Jundi, Nuro Dedefo and Ahmed Abba Nesha were the only ones in the wedding gown.

However, despite watching its partner dying a slow and awful death, Ginbot 7 still continued with the marriage arrangement because it thought this would undermine the OLF. This action of Ginbot 7, however, was clearly counterproductive. Instead of weakening it, this action rather reinvigorated the OLF camp. It cleared the later of traitors and the divisive agenda they were propagating for the last three years, and once again brought together genuine Oromos. Our people are in renewed spirit and are determined more than ever to rally behind their organization.

This kind of attack is not new to the OLF and the Oromo people. The TPLF regime used all its military and propaganda machinery to try to alienate the OLF, and kill the cause of the Oromo people. It has left no stone unturned to demonize the OLF: rounded up hundreds and thousands of innocent Oromos, tortured and brutally murdered women and children to prepare a fake documentary videos to discredit the OLF, planted and detonated bombs in several hotels in and outside Finfinne and tried to blame it on the OLF, attempted to create a fake OLF, and so on. But, all of them did not work, and the OLF, not only effectively resists this massive campaign, but also stands tall in the Horn of African political scene, and continues to give Meles and cohorts a never-ending nightmare.

Anyone seeking peaceful solution to political stalemate in Ethiopia should be smarter than TPLF and Ginbot 7, and have their compass calibrated. Ginbot 7 was too naive to try to attack the OLF in this way while they knew what this organization and its people had gone through in the last 20 years by successfully enduring massive onslaughts declared on them. Dr. Berhanu’s political compass must be messed up to make him believe that he could manipulate the aspiration of the Oromo people through buying soulless thugs like Kemal, who seemed to never get tired of putting himself up for sale.

There is no reason why Oromo people should worry that Ginbot 7, with this level of thinking and its present organizational capability, would undermine their national struggle. But, we take it to heart that no matter how trivial it is, Ginbot 7 is worse than the TPLF, and its goal is to perpetuate the same political agenda crafted by its fore fathers who brought us to political mess that we find ourselves in.

But, one may wonder why Ginbot 7 has chosen to engage in an activity that undermines mutual trust, hurts the spirit of collaboration and partnership? And why many Habesha elites are rejoicing of such mischievous deed?

The answer to the first question is plain and simple. Ginbot 7 merely wants to restore the Habesha supremacy constituted by the Atse’s by trampling over collective rights of the nations and nationalities for which the oppressed people have paid heavy price. The achievements so far gained are not a gift by anyone, but they were earned through blood and sacrifice. Berhanu and cohorts should have drawn a lesson from the results of the 2005 election, where they were rejected by all oppressed nations because the unity they were propagating with no regard to the rights and dignities of the different nations in the empire did not hold water.

The Oromos and other oppressed nations in Ethiopia have no problem with united Ethiopia, but the peoples should agree and sign in to that unity contract by themselves without any imposition. The Oromos do not hate unity, but, equally, they do not want to remain in forced unity imposed on them. However, they are willing to enter into voluntary union of nations and nationalities to form a new Ethiopia in which the economic and political rights and values of the different nations and nationalities are respected.

The OLF is belligerent to make sure that the Oromos have such right to decide on whether they want to continue as a united country with the rest of Ethiopians or want to go on their own. It has never said, at any time, that it wants to cede Oromia from the rest of Ethiopia. What is increasingly becoming dangerous for Ethiopian unity is, not the OLF’s position of insisting on the right to self-determination for the Oromos and other oppressed nations in Ethiopia, but it is the refusal to recognize the natural rights of the people to determine their own destiny and the blind denial by the Habesha elites of the plights of the Oromos and other nations. Their repeated attempts to distort the genuine questions of the oppressed nations are simply adding a fuel to an already raging fire. This will serve nothing, but only increases animosity, erodes trust, and narrow down the political space for possible partnership and voluntary union.

The reason why majority of the Habesha elites rejoiced with the action of the OLF splinter led by Kemal Gelchu is plain and clear. It is not because such a strategy is going to fortify the Ginbot 7 camp, but because they thought that it would annoy the OLF and the Oromo people. True, it is annoying when one breaks the sacred oath and decides to walk on the blood of our fallen heroes to sell our cause to groups which never liked Oromos. But, both the disappointment of the Oromos and the celebration in the Habesha camp are short lived. Kemal Gelchu served in the OLF only for two years, his continued presence or his dissociation from the OLF does not have a minute effect to the organization. OLF was there before him, has been there since 2008, and is still there after Kemal has surrendered.

Just like the action of Ginbot 7, the action of some Habesha individuals singing the Ginbot 7 dance was equally disturbing. But, this again will not have any impact on the OLF. It also does not benefit the Ginbot 7 camp as well, but it undoubtedly harms the spirit of Ethiopianisim, and highly undermines efforts and opportunities for forming a new Ethiopia that belongs to all of us.

One should question why we did not see a single letter from the Habesha elites protesting the inhuman treatments that the Oromos have suffered under the Tigrean minority rule for the last 20 years, but yet overwhelmed by letters celebrating the marriage of Kemal Gelchu with Ginbot 7? Is it really because this association will bring an end to the TPLF rule or because it is out of animosity for OLF and the Oromo people? Only few people like Mr. Fekade Shewkena can be spared from this condemnation. Mr. Fekade challenged the Habesha camp in his recent post that I thought was well articulated. It does not make a lot of difference on the ground whether the Habeshas protested the imprisonment of the Oromos or not, but it cultivates ground for the country that we aspire to build.

Let me conclude my message by an Oromo saying that goes like this, “Tikseen dhiyootti dhiiftee fagoo barbaacha dhqxi.” The opportunity for genuine collaboration to form a united Ethiopia is slipping away by days. Continued neglect for dignities and rights of nations and nationalities, and dirty political tricks cannot save the country from the political dilemma it finds itself in, but will only further complicate the already complex political landscape and make chances of a voluntary union remote.

* Boru Jibat can be reached at bjibat@yahoo.com

01/10/12 @ 02:51
Comment from: Tariku Hailu [Visitor]
Tariku Hailu

Good for OLF and Ethiopian people. We expect same path for Ogaden Liberation Front and other Organizations running against United Ethiopia.

01/10/12 @ 10:03
Comment from: Jabaa [Visitor]
Jabaa

Haha… You have no pleasure in meeting Brigader Kemal and u have the honour to meet Brehanu… Pleasure and Honor. Brehanu is honor and Kemal is pleasure like a football game. Scheiße!!!

01/10/12 @ 16:33
Comment from: Tulu Proud ET [Visitor]
Tulu Proud ET

Welcoming the reunion of Oromos with their Ethiopian brothers and sisters!!!

It is very wise and a big step forward to recognize and accept what will bring stability and prosperity for Oromos and all other Ethiopians. Reunion!!!

The only people who don’t like this impressive and successful reunion are those Woyanes that are looting the Oromos, Amaras and all other non Tigres Ethiopians.

This reunion will bring the end to the minority TPLF and EPRDF looters and abusive regime in Ethiopia.

No more dividing Ethiopians. All the division only helped Meles and his cadres to abuse the people of Ethiopia and Ethiopia’s resources and wealth.

01/11/12 @ 17:05
Comment from: Aduu [Visitor]
Aduu

Oromo Youth Condemn a Radical Political Shift Declared by B/General Kemal Gelchu’s OLF Group

January 10, 2012 – We, the Oromo youth, want to express our disappointment and issue this press release in rejection of the so-called “New OLF Program” made public on January 1, 2012 by the OLF Change/Jijjiirama group led by B/General Kamal Gelchu.

According to the press release, the group had a two-day Oromo National Council Conference that resulted in the decoding of the OLF’s long established political program and affirmed their dedication to the struggle and to establishing a new Federal Republic of Ethiopia. The group called to reverse the Oromo political program that was deeply rooted in Oromo people’s political interest, which embraced the right to self-determination as an Oromo nation.

We, the Oromo youth, oppose and condemn such a political paradox within Oromo political affairs for the following reasons:
1.The minority clique within the the OLF-Jijjiirama group does not symbolize the view of Oromo people and their political struggle.
2.The introduced program undermines a century long Oromo struggle for self-rule and self-determination, including ultimate sacrifices that have been paid by countless fallen heroes and heroines.
3.The program disregards the complex Oromo political evolution, changing the entire course of the Oromo struggle overnight.
4.The new political vision is poorly constructed, paradox, and leaves the future in doubt.
5.The program devalues the mission and objectives of the Oromo Liberation Front, thus compromising the interests of the Oromo people.
Therefore, it has become a historical responsibility for us to publicly send a strong signal of opposition to those who compromise the interests of Oromo people and disregard a history of political suffering. We call upon each and every Oromo, especially Oromo youth, to stand against a political vision that undermines the Oromo people’s rights to self-determination. Like any other youth in the world, the Oromo youth have their share in building a nation, being a voice for voiceless, defending their nation from internal and external enemies, promoting their culture and language, and fighting for the freedom of their people. Be part of history in defending Oromia, and may we never, ever, let down our martyrs.

Organizers:

Hashim Adam, Former President of OSU and IOYA
Edao Dawano, Former President of OYA; Oromo Youth Activist
Merertu Geleta Kitila, Former Vice President, Secretary, and PR of IOYA
Negassa Ayana, Former President of OYA; Oromo Youth Activist
Nadhii Haji, Active Member of IOYA and OYA; Oromo Youth Activist
Abdurahman Hassen, Active Member of IOYA, OYA, and OYA Hawwisoo
Surraa Tolasa, Active Member of IOYA and OYA; Oromo Youth Activist
Gutama Habroo, Secretary of IOYA
Jireenyaa Yaadetaa, Oromo Youth Activist
Miesso Wako, Active Member of OYA and OYA Hawwisoo
Ibrahim Ansha, Oromo Youth Activist
Dawit Baisa, Former President of IOYA
Mayra Kusa, Oromo Youth Activist
Oda Abdisa, Oromo Youth Activist

The above organizers can be contacted at this e-mail: OromianYouthVoice@gmail.com

01/11/12 @ 23:57
Comment from: Wedi jole [Visitor]
Wedi jole

I am all for the Oromo people’ s right of self determination. Worst should give the power to Olf so they can teach the evil Amhara what pay back really is. Tigre this Tigre that Sirius Gemma Oromo yasayishal.y # 1 party is weaned # 2 is Olf . Amharas are theist wicked finafints of this earth.

01/12/12 @ 02:12
Comment from: Andnet [Visitor]
Andnet

most of the people who gave their comment for this post seem to have a hidden agenda. Most of them pretend to be oromos while they are not. In fact the same person gave most of the comments by changing his name. The most important thing here is that the OLF led by brigader general Kemal Gelchu entered into negotiations with G7 of its own will. If the other OLF that is led by Dawd Ibsa wants to deal with G7 it can do it. Any rational minded person understands that creating unity and collaboration is the best way to bring down ones enemy. Anyone who preaches otherwise either lacks the wisdom or has a secret agenda.

01/15/12 @ 03:11

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