Oromia Today

Independent Voice of Oromia

OLF and TPLF: Major Issues and Outcomes of a Decade of Negotiations since 1991

Source: From a Presentation by Abiyu Geleta, Oromo Studies Association Conference of 2002 in Washington, DC.

I. Introduction

This is a brief account of major issues and outcomes of a decade of negotiations between the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF) since 1991. In those negotiations, there were always third parties involved in one form or another. Third party intervenors will be mentioned, if anything, for the purpose of identifying the structure of the negotiations. I will not attempt to analyze the dynamic process of the negotiations between the OLF and the TPLF. How far the primary parties had been cooperative or strident antagonists as negotiating partners is not considered in this account. My focus is to indicate major issues, outcomes and shifts in the issues and structures of the negotiations with changing situations.

Tacit as well as formal negotiations between the OLF and TPLF as national liberation forces had been ongoing matters even before 1991. In this paper, the year 1991 is taken as a benchmark for an obvious reason. It was the beginning of negotiations of issues of the highest state affairs--state succession and state formation--between the two parties. [More]

How rescued Ethiopian slaves came to fight for Britain in the Anglo-Boer war

Date: 28/01/2021
Author: Martin Plaut

A group of Ethiopian slaves were freed by a British warship in 1888 off the coast of Yemen, as they were being taken to the slave markets of Arabia. The freed slaves were then taken round the African coast and placed in the care of missionaries in South Africa.

All the 204 slaves freed by Commander Gissing were from the Oromo ethnic group and most were children.

The Oromo, despite being the most populous of all Ethiopian groups, had long been dominated by the country’s Amhara and Tigrayan elites and were regularly used as slaves.

Emperor Menelik II, who has been described as Ethiopia’s “greatest slave entrepreneur”, taxed the trade to pay for guns and ammunition as he battled for control of the whole country, which he ruled from 1889 to 1913.

Commander Gissing took the Oromo to Aden, where the British authorities had to decide what to do with the former slaves. The Muslim children were adopted by local families. The remaining children were placed in the care of a mission of the Free Church of Scotland – but the harsh climate took its toll and by the end of the year 11 had died.

The missionaries sought an alternative home for them, eventually settling on another of the Church’s missions, the Lovedale Institution in South Africa’s Eastern Cape – on the other side of the continent.

The children reached Lovedale on 21 August 1890.


Source: https://martinplaut.com/2021/01/28/how-rescued-ethiopian-slaves-came-to-fight-for-britain-in-the-anglo-boer-war/ [More]

Oromiyaa: The country at the crossroads of history

 
By Leenjiso Horo 
December, 2020 
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

This article is a general summary of the conquest, resistance, and failures, betrayals, and hopes for the future. Along with these, it also points out the lack of political homogeneity among Oromo political leadership, and activists about the Oromo political question and the goal of struggle. For the last 150 years, Oromo history is filled with betrayal, traitors, turncoats, and backstabbers. Because of this, Oromiyaa today found itself at the crossroads of history. As a consequence of this inhomogeneity, many keep on asking the question as to which way Oromiyaa. This articles points out the direction for this question. [More]

'Slaughtered like chickens': Eritrea heavily involved in Tigray conflict, say eyewitnesses

Conflict and arms

 'Slaughtered like chickens': Eritrea heavily involved in Tigray conflict,

But according to eyewitnesses, aid workers and diplomats, the fighting has also involved many thousands of soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea, suggesting that what the Ethiopian government calls a “law enforcement operation” bears the hallmarks of a regional conflict.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/dec/21/slaughtered-like-chickens-eritrea-heavily-involved-in-tigray-conflict-say-eyewitnesses [More]

Sudan Will Decide the Outcome of the Ethiopian Civil War

Source: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/11/14/sudan-will-decide-outcome-ethiopian-civil-war-abiy
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—While the world girded for the U.S. election in early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched a war against the northern region of Tigray. The region is home to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front—the party that dominated Ethiopian politics for decades and has since been displaced and sidelined as Abiy has sought to consolidate power and made peace with the TPLF’s archenemy, Eritrea. [More]

Systemic discrimination against the Oromo people: Politicisation of an Oromo-English dictionary

Curate Ethiopia
Insights into Ethiopian Culture

Dr. Tilahun Gamta 1st August 2020
 
Many Oromos wonder how I was able to write and publish The Oromo-English Dictionary (OED) in Ethiopia under Mengistu’s regime, a regime that had been openly hostile to the Oromo nation. Here, I offer my reflections on the writing of the work and some of the difficulties encountered in publishing it. [More]

Family of slain Ethiopian singer mourns their 'hero like a lion'

WORLD NEWS
JULY 23, 2020
Dawit Endeshaw
AMBO, Ethiopia (Reuters) - The white stone house with a paved floor stands out in the Ethiopian town of Ambo, a poor region where homes are mostly constructed of wood and mud.

But the surrounding fence is incomplete - a constant reminder to the elderly inhabitants of their most famous son, political singer Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Addis Ababa last month.

“My son was a hero like a lion, he roared about his people, but he was eaten by rats,” Gudetu Hora, Haacaaluu’s mother, tearfully told Reuters at the home.

Haacaaluu, 36, was a member of the Oromo, Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, and his songs were anthems for the young protesters who brought down one of Africa’s most repressive regime.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-protests-family/family-of-slain-ethiopian-singer-mourns-their-hero-like-a-lion-idUSKCN24O0S5 [More]

Hachalu Hundessa: 'Eighty-one killed' in protests over Ethiopian singer's death

1 July 2020


Hachalu, 34, recently said that he had received death threats. He will be buried on Thursday.

His songs focused on the rights of the country's Oromo ethnic group and became anthems in a wave of protests that led to the downfall of the previous prime minister in 2018.

"So far 81 people have been killed, including three Oromia special police force members," Ararsa Merdasa, the Oromia police chief, said in a televised press briefing.

Many people were injured in Tuesday's protests and there was "significant destruction to property," Getachew Balcha, the spokesperson for the Oromia regional government, told the BBC. [More]

At Least 52 Killed in Ethiopia Protests Over Singer's Death

By Reuters

July 1, 2020Updated 7:01 a.m. ET
ADDIS ABABA — At least 50 people were killed in Ethiopia's Oromiya region in protests following the fatal shooting of a popular singer, a regional spokesman said on Wednesday, laying bare splits in the prime minister's political heartland ahead of next year's polls.
Musician Haacaaluu Hundeessaa was shot dead on Monday night in what police said was a targeted killing. [More]

Bridging the Divide in Ethiopia’s North

Bridging the Divide in Ethiopia’s North

Crisis Group Africa Briefing N°156

Nairobi/Addis Ababa/Brussels, 12 June 2020

Minimap Image

What’s new? Tigray and Amhara, the powerhouse regions of northern Ethiopia, are locked in a bitter land dispute exacerbated by national politicking that pits their elites against each other. Given dim prospects for a comprehensive settlement, the dispute could escalate into conflict.

Why does it matter? Ethiopia’s delayed elections will likely be sometime in 2021. Amhara nationalists could stoke sentiment against Tigray’s ruling class during the campaign. Tigray’s government is arming itself as hardliners promote secession. Confrontation between the regions would draw federal military intervention, potentially exposing ethno-regional cracks in the army’s cohesion.

What should be done? Federal leaders should provide incentives to Tigray’s ruling party to come to the table. They should urge Tigrayan and Amhara factions to temper provocative stances and explore compromise. The parties could consider an outcome in which Tigray guarantees political representation and language rights to minority populations in the disputed territories. [More]

Democracy imperiled in Africa by 'reformers' turned dictators

OPINION

by Michael Rubin
| June 11, 2020 05:41 PM

It is often forgotten that the worst dictators are often, early in their careers, lauded as reformers. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was initially embraced as a “pragmatist” by diplomats and journalists alike. In 1991, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi the Nobel Peace Prize; only in subsequent decades would she expose herself as an apologist for ethnic cleansing. Of course, she is not the only figure to sully the preeminent peace prize’s legacy. [More]

ETHIOPIA: "BEYOND LAW ENFORCEMENT": HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY ETHIOPIAN SECURITY FORCES IN AMHARA AND OROMIA

RESEARCH
ETHIOPIA: TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT

29 May 2020, Index number: AFR 25/2358/2020

The political reforms introduced in Ethiopia by the incumbent government in 2018 presented the country with an opportunity to break with its abysmal human rights record marred by extrajudicial killings, torture and other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance among other serious human rights violations. While initial first steps have been taken towards improving the human rights environment in the country, a persistence of old-style patterns of violence perpetrated by the security forces threatens to derail sustained long-term gain.

To read full report: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AFR2523582020ENGLISH.PDF [More]

Ethiopia: Security forces 'must face justice for horrific human rights violations' - New Report

Amnesty International UK
Press releases
29 May 2020 10:8am

At least 10,000 people were arbitrarily arrested and detained last year as part of the government’s crackdown on armed attacks and violence in Oromia Region

Forces have burned homes to the ground, committed rape and extrajudicial execution in response to inter-communal violence

‘With elections on the horizon, these violations and abuses could escalate out of control unless the government takes urgent measures’ - Deprose Muchena [More]

Ethiopian army gunned down man because his phone rang during meeting, Amnesty says

By Greg Norman | Fox News 29 May 2020

An Ethiopian soldier gunned down a 32-year-old businessman during a security crackdown last year because his phone went off during a public meeting, Amnesty International revealed Friday.

The shocking killing was carried out as Ethiopia was trying to suppress an armed uprising by the Oromo Liberation Army, which formed in a region where members of an ethnic group had been complaining they were being marginalized from political and economic power, the BBC reports.

“During the meeting, one of the phones collected rang and the soldiers asked who the owner of the phone was,” Amnesty International wrote in a report about the August 2019 incident in the Oromia regional state, citing testimony from a witness. “Ariti Shununde responded saying that the phone belonged to him.”

“The EDF soldier ordered him to come to the front and he obeyed. Then the soldier told Ariti to turn around,” it continued. “As soon as Ariti’s back turned towards the soldiers, the soldier shot him in his back with two bullets. They killed him in front of the crowd.”

Amnesty says Shununde’s family and friends then started wailing and soldiers broke up the gathering.

“They then ordered some people to pick up the body and bury it immediately,” the report said. “As ordered, they instantly buried him at the cemetery of the locality.”

Local government officials later told Shununde’s family that he was killed by mistake.

Amnesty says the killing was never investigated and the soldier behind it, to this day, is still roaming free.
Source: https://www.foxnews.com/world/ethiopian-army-killed-man-over-phone-amnesty-says [More]

To Heal, Ethiopia Needs to Confront its Violent Past

Laetitia Bader
Senior Researcher, Africa Division

And yet, over the last two years, Ethiopia has experienced growing unrest and communal violence. The rise in violence, has led to deaths, displacement, and property destruction.

The government’s response to some of these challenges already show signs of backsliding. There are many credible reports of killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests by security forces. We have also documented shutdowns of phone and internet services in Oromia, and the arrests of journalists and opposition leaders and their supporters. A return to abusive practices is a painful reminder of the longstanding failure to effectively reform the security sector and address its culture of impunity. [More]

Ethiopian Security Forces Accused of 39 Extrajudicial Killings

By Reuters

May 29, 2020Updated 3:47 p.m. ET

"The report is further proof that the new administration has not parted ways with the practice of forcefully stifling dissent, committing egregious human rights violations and carrying out extrajudicial killings," the Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Federalist Congress, an opposition party, said in a joint statement.

Based on interviews with 80 victims or direct witnesses of violence, Amnesty's report said the Ethiopian army and regional security forces in Amhara and Oromiya were involved in inter-ethnic killings, mass arbitrary detentions and rape. [More]

Ethiopia's security forces accused of torture, evictions and killings – report

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/29/ethiopias-security-forces-accused-of-torture-evictions-and-killings-report

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed has been lauded for his democratic reforms. But Amnesty International are now urging him to investigate allegations of serious human rights abuses

Tom Gardner in Addis Ababa

Fri 29 May 2020 15.15 AEST

In Oromia, security forces are waging a counter-insurgency campaign against rebels from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), an armed guerrilla movement demanding more autonomy for Oromos, which returned from exile in 2018 after Abiy removed it from Ethiopia’s list of terrorist organisations. [More]

ANALYSIS: THE ROLE OF THE QEERROO IN FUTURE OROMO POLITICS

addisstandard / May 26, 2020 / https://addisstandard.com/analysis-the-role-of-the-qeerroo-in-future-oromo-politics/

The Nature Of The Qeerroo As A Movement
This brings us to the question of what kind of movement the Qeerroo actually is. Foreign observers, Ethiopian political analysts, and many ordinary Ethiopians have struggled to define it and to identify its internal structures. The Qeerroo is said to be formally organized as the National Oromian Youth Movement, which had its own homepage. It is, however, doubtful that this is the main representative body of the movement. Some claim that it emerged in the 1990s as part of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), while others argue that the Qeerroo started around 2005, as an underground network called “Qeerroo Blisumma Oromia” (Qeerroo for the Freedom of Oromia). Recently Qarree has appeared as the female counterpart to the male Qeerroo, and some even claim that the Qarree “recently has been formalized.” [More]

Why are Africa's coronavirus successes being overlooked?

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/21/africa-coronavirus-successes-innovation-europe-us

Examples of innovation aren’t getting the fanfare they would do if they emerged from Europe or the US

Remember, early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, the speculation as to how apocalyptic it would be if this disease hit the African continent? I do. There was deep anxiety about what it would mean for countries with lower income populations, dominant but harder-to-regulate informal economies and far fewer healthcare facilities than the UK or Italy. [More]