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]

Forms of Political Systems: Unitary, Federalism, Confederalism, and the Oromo question

By Leenjiso Horo, April 2020

The great mass of the people are the foundation of the state. People are the basis of all legitimate political authority…..No sovereignty can come into existence, or continue to exist, unless the people consent to and authorize it. The inherent and inalienable sovereignty of the people is therefore assumed as a political principle of incontestable validity, -a premise which could not be assailed.

--Prof. C. Edward Merriam, A History of American Political Theories (1910)

This article mainly focuses on federalism as a constitutional arrangement of government and a little touches on unitary, and confederal forms of governments. Federalism differs from Unitary, in which the regional governments are subordinate to the central government, and from confederalism in which the confederal government is subordinate to the regional governments. [More]

The Legacy of the Past on Ethiopia’s Modern Political Life

By John Markakis
12/03/2020
Posted at 00:05h in Blog, Featured by roape1974

The legacy of the past weighs heavily on Ethiopia’s modern political life and is frequently manifested in crises that topple regimes and threaten the state’s survival. ROAPE’s John Markakis seeks to fathom the reasons for the repeated failure to resolve them. In this blogpost he highlights the root causes that need to be confronted if meaningful reform is to be achieved.

Source: http://roape.net/2020/03/12/the-legacy-of-the-past-on-ethiopias-modern-political-life/ [More]

Middleman: A prime minister torn between rival camps is increasingly acting in his own interests

Source: https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2019/12/18/middleman/
 
Viewpoint
Middleman

December 18, 2019
by Mebratu Kelecha

He just keeps swinging back and forth depending on the circumstances. Such efforts will not gain him long-term acceptance. This will, in turn, continue to shape his views, actions, and role in the transition. As his legitimacy is increasingly challenged by ethno-nationalists, he may be forced to definitively take a side—but beware, the jilted camp will not take rejection lying down, and Abiy is unlikely to respond meekly to challenges to his rule. [More]

Participating in a ‘Meddemer’ Principle or Perpetrating a Reign of Terror in Oromia?

By Imiru Itana 
16 Dec 2019
The Habesha ruled Oromia for nearly one hundred and fifty years. They occupied and dominated Oromia, subjugating the Oromo people. They plundered the properties of Oromo. Thousands were taken to prison and tortured and killed whereas the whereabouts of thousands remained unknown. Our forefathers perished in the hands of the brutal enemies; our fathers followed their footsteps and now our children too are paying heavy sacrifices of life in front of our own eyes in broad day light. What crime did the Oromo people commit to face such a suffrage? Are we cursed by who it may concern? No! It cannot be like that when still we are the most worshipers of different faiths. So, what is a problem? We have the tradition of easily forgetting enemy atrocities committed against us. We show too much sympathy towards those who hurt us because that is how we are. We do not follow the principle of zero tolerance unanimously when things go against our interest one after the other. We rush to accept deal wherever there is an offer of deal or no deal before testing it. Where does this lead us to, then? [More]

The Case for a National Council of Oromia

First published August 9, 2018 | by Assefa Tefera Dibaba

In the past, on another platform (at OSA Conference, July 2016, Washington DC), I put forward three scenarios for the escalating Oromo civil resistance to bring about a systemic change, and not just a reform:

a) If it obtains a degree of support from the federal armed forces, or at least win their benevolent neutrality,

b) If the political alliances which supported the status quo governance will gradually wane, and

c) If a national consensus and urgent pronouncement of unconditional unity and convention will be reached among the divided Oromo political organizations and, as a result, IF the national liberation struggle will take a new momentum under a strong leadership and headed toward a clear direction.

It is this last scenario (c) after two years that still resonates most and necessitates an immediate action for the Oromo people to call upon the divided Oromo political parties and to give a party (or parties) a legitimacy based on commitment to the people’s rightful concern or that it suffers a legitimacy deficitif it will not put the people’s demand first (though it is not an easy task to determine “Who are the People?”). [More]

Warnings over 'Africa's Yugoslavia' as Ethiopia coup attempt heightens risk of violent Balkan-style split

By Adrian Blomfield, AFRICA CORRESPONDENT
30 JUNE 2019 • 7:00AM
SOURCE: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/30/warnings-africas-yugoslavia-ethiopia-coup-attempt-heightens/

The meeting was meant to have been top-secret. The men gathered inside the room were the most powerful in northern Ethiopia’s Amhara region.

The agenda before them was incendiary: the removal of Asamnew Tsige, the regional security chief whose shadowy ambitions had chilled the Ethiopia establishment.

But somehow Mr Asamnew had got wind of what was afoot.

Unknown to the participants, a convoy of his loyalists, armed and dressed in unfamiliar camouflage, was advancing towards them along the palm-lined avenues of Bahir Dar, Amhara’s capital.

Moments after they entered Amhara’s regional headquarters, the meeting room would be splattered in blood and gore. The region’s president and his chief aide lay dead.

Survivors emerging from under tables ripped curtains off their hooks in a vain attempt to staunch the wounds of Amhara’s dying attorney-general. Events were only just getting underway.

Elsewhere in Bahir Dar, Asamnew loyalists reportedly attempted to storm the city’s police headquarters and state media building.

Hours later came more killings, the most startling of them all, as Ethiopia’s powerful army chief, Seare Mekonnen, and a visiting retired general were shot dead while they ate their dinner in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, 300 miles to the south. [More]

Lutheran Saints #4: Onesimos Nesib and Aster Ganno

June 12, 2019

By Sarah Hinlicky Wilson

Source: https://www.sarahhinlickywilson.com/blog/2019/6/12/lutheran-saints-4-onesimos-nesib-and-aster-ganno?fbclid=IwAR3_N5X6tuT2YqO4Tmo_u4zsQt_7UH5ahGV5IyvWHNLbJcds76MCq-Hqsow

If you attend a Lutheran church you may have noticed occasionally the unfamiliar name “Onesimos Nesib” among the commemorations of saints. Here’s his story—one that can’t be told without that of his friend and coworker, Aster Ganno. Go to an Ethiopian church in the U.S. today and you’re pretty well guaranteed to find Sunday School rooms dedicated to both of them, and maybe one to Gudina Tumsaas well.

Proposed date of commemoration: June 21. [More]

Evidence: Menelik’s Genocide against Oromo and other nations

By Falmataa Oromo First Published on Oromia Times 4 Jan 2014

Source: https://oromiatimes.org/2014/01/04/evidence-meneliks-genocide-against-oromo-and-other-nations/

Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn (1990: 24) wrote that ‘No fewer than 80 percent of the Herero and 50 percent of the Nama had… fallen victim to colonial rule’. They indicated that the Herero and Nama were exterminated for opposing German colonial rule. They added that ‘the staggering human cost of German colonial rule in South-West Africa’ was accompanied by plunder. The sources suggest that more than 90 percent of the Maji or Dizi, about 80 percent of the Gimira, between third thirds and three quarter of the Kaficho and about half of the Oromo population had lost their lives as the consequence of the conquest and colonisation The small kingdom of Walaita also lost a large proportion of its inhabitants. An Abyssinian expedition in 1894 slaughtered about 119,000 men, women and children (Prouty, 1986:115) in less than two weeks. [More]

OROMO NATIONALISM, AND THE CONTINUOUS MULTI­FACETED ATTACK ON THE OROMO CULTURAL, CIVIC AND POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS

By Professor Mohammed Hassen April 25, 2019
Georgia State University

The attack on Oromo political, cultural institutions and national identity began with the conquest and incorporation of the Oromo into the Ethiopian empire created by Emperor Menelik II (1889-1913). Following their conquest, the Oromo institutions of self-government were destroyed, their leadership liquidated or co-opted, their territory divided, their social cohesion disrupted, their cultural institutions destroyed, their property plundered, their traditional religion interfered with, their population decimated through a combination of factors including brutal warfare and natural calamities which accompanied that warfare.4 [More]

Oromo never desired others land passing over their own country

By Ibsaa Guutama   10 April 2019
OLF is the first-born Oromo political organization. It was founded to free Oromiyaa from Ethiopian colonialism and establish independent Democratic Republic Oromiyaa. Since then, as Oromo struggle advanced with strength much change has taken place in the empire. Today except for colonial mentality colonial relations are no more what they were at the beginning. But Ethiopian government with its symbols and insignia's that reminds more than hundred years of subjugation is still in power. The jarring cacophony of the past is still practiced by those that have nostalgia for Nafxanyaa days. [More]

OROMO CONSENSUS: UNITY MAKES STRENGTH

8 April 2019
By Leenjiso Horo*
However, the Oromo people never gave up the struggle to put their house in order. Since colonization, they struggled in various parts of Oromiyaa. Among the many to be recalled are: the establishment of Western Oromiyaa Federation and its application for recognition to the League of Nations through the British, the Raya-Azabo resistance, the Macca-Tuulama Self-Help Association, and the Baale resistance movement- these were among the many resistance movements. These resistances gave birth to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the pan-Oromo political organization, in 1973. This was the first rise of the Oromo people from their fall of the late 19th century. The Oromo people rallied around the OLF and made their clear determination to rid Oromiyaa of Ethiopian colonialism, and to build a proud, dignified, free, independent, and sovereign Oromo nation and state. This is the Oromo consensus. With this, the Oromo struggle marched forward. [More]

No Change Unless Old Ethiopia Mentality is Changed

8 April 2019
By Ibsaa Guutama
History of Itophiyaa of the past 150 years we are frequently lectured by Ethiopianist politicians and clerics do not include Oromo; if assumed to including it is misconstrued. Colonizer and colonized have different histories, though taking place at the same time. One is of defeat, shame, enslavement and suffering; the other is of victories, pride, slave driving and happiness. Telling both situations will make it true history and help us to alleviate one and correct the other rather than falsely telling sharing the glories of togetherness in building Ethiopia over and over. The Oromo say, “Fooling the wise is seeking hatred”. [More]

Oromo elites are shunning initial Kaayyoo of the nation as articulated by OLF without replacing it with any viable alternative

By Ibsaa Guutama

23 March 2019

Oromo elites are shunning initial Kaayyoo of the nation as articulated by OLF without replacing it with any viable alternative. This raises a question if they are accepting that Oromo were and will be self-reliant independent nation? So far it is only struggle under that kaayyoo, that could enable them to reach the level from where they could hit their goal. Without reaching that level it will be difficult for nation and country to get attention and respect for one’s rights and interest. It is because of that initial kaayyoo that the enemy is campaigning against OLF even without doing anything and continuously keep on cursing any Oromo alleging for being OLF. [More]

Barara is not Addis Ababa

By Guluma Gemeda PhD
University of Michigan-Flint
25.11.2018
Recently, unpublished, 49-page document entitled: ‘Addis Ababa is Barara, and Barara is Addis Ababa’ has circulated on the internet. The name of the author(s) is not indicated but an organization called Amhara Professionals Union (Amba) claims to have sponsored it. The purpose of this document, as indicated in its introduction, is to counter a draft law prepared by the Ethiopian Council of Ministers’ regarding the special interests of the Oromia regional state in Addis Ababa (Finfinne). Although these rights are guaranteed in the 1995 Ethiopian constitution, the paper rejects them because Addis Ababa/Finfinnee is historically not an Oromo land. It argues that Addis Ababa was founded not even by Emperor Menilek II in 1887, but it was built as Barara by King Dawit (r. 1380-1412) in the fourteenth century.[1] However, this town was destroyed during the wars of Ahmad (Gragn) ibn Ibrahim in the 1530s. [More]