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.
A unitaryy is a political doctrine that advocates for the creation of a unified and centralized system of government of a unitary state. A unitary state is a system of political organization in which all of the governing power resides in a central government. It is a polar opposite of federalism. Hence, a unitary form of government is a single state political system in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government: the central government and regional governments whereby the regional governments are subordínate to the Central Government. In this system, the central government is supreme. This means sovereignty is constitutionally vested in the central government. Hence, a unitary state is a single consolidated state. And power is solely held by the Central Government and it can abolish regional governments or reduce their powers. Regional governments neither have Constitutional protection nor have a constitution of their own.
In a unitary state, regional governments have no constitutional standing, no independently elected territorial legislature, and minimal revenue-raising authority. Ethiopia has been a unitary empire with no history of democracy. Since its foundation to date, the Ethiopian empire state is a state where political expression of the democratic will of the conquered and colonized people to form their own state to live in peace, freedom, and dignity has been endlessly suffocated and denied.
The Federal structure of Government
Before looking into the structure and definition of federalism, it suffices to look at the ways a federation is formed and who involve in it. History has shown that there are two ways to form a federation. In this regard, Daniel J. Elazar wrote: “Federal institutions have developed in response to two different situations. On one hand, federalism has been used to unite a people already linked by bonds of perceived nationality or common law by constitutionally distributing political power among a general government and constituent units to secure greater local liberty or national unity….On the other hand, federalism has been used as a means to unify separate peoples for important but limited purposes without disrupting their primary ties to the individual polities that constitute the basic units of the federation. In such cases, the federal government is limited in its scope and powers, functioning through the constituent governments, which retain their plenary autonomy and, to a substantial degree, is dependent upon them” (Exploring Federalism, 1987). The example in the first case is 13 American states and in the second case India, Nigeria, etc. In both cases, they make the federal union of states.
This union is a multi-state political system in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status. What one can take from this is: In the federal system, neither one government is subordinated to the other, nor can give to or take away power from the other. Here, the so-called Ethiopian federalism does not fit the above named criteria because Ethiopia is and has been an empire. Before federalism, first and foremost, the colonial empire has to be dismantled and disintegrated. Here, the Ethiopian empire needs dismantling. The colonized nations and nationalities have to be free and independent by exercising their inherent and inalienable right to national self-determination. It is only the free people that can enter freely into forming a federation.
Now, the question can be raised as to the criteria for the forming a federalism. To form a federation, first and foremost, the will to federate must exist among the peoples. That is among the federating units of political communities, a shared ideological commitment to the political ideals and values of the federation must exist. The will to federate has to be found on mutual recognition and respect of the integrities of each other. The integrities to be respected and recognized are the values, interests, and identities of each other. In the federal formation, the values represent human dignity and equality, mutual respect, recognition, voluntary consent, tolerance, and reciprocity. It is each of these values that together give rise to federal principles.
The federal principles are equality of status, self-rule, and shared rule; proportionality, comity, subsidiarity, asymmetry, and guaranteed individual and collective representation. These principles together form constitutional and political structures of federations- the distribution of powers.
Scholars of federation defined each of the federal principles as: Equality of status refers to that federal and state governments are co-equal and co-sovereign. That is, the federal government is not the creature of the state governments. Hence, neither one can compel the other government to do its will.
Self-rule and shared-rule denote self-rule at the regional state level and shared rule at the national level. Hence, it refers to competition, conflict, and cooperation between the federal government and state governments. Negotiation and bargaining are methods of resolving differences.
Proportionality requires that neither the federal government nor the state government action should exceed the powers and authority delegated to them constitutionally. It accommodates the necessary balance between state and federal powers. In this system, the Constitutional court is the ultimate arbiter of proportionality and may strike down acts it finds to have breached the principle.
Comity refers to intergovernmental courtesy, principally motivated by a desire to preserve and promote harmony among federating states. It involves the three basic intergovernmental duties in a federal system- state-to-state, states-to-federal, and federal-to-states and is prominently in the interstate relations. It refers to the binding of the states into a closer political union. Hence, in the authentic federal union, comity binds the federating states into a single, national, political community while the peoples of federating states maintain their integrities-values, interests, and identities.
Subsidiarity is defined as a principle by which the smallest possible social or political entities should have all the rights and powers they need to regulate their affairs freely and effectively.
Asymmetry refers to the diversities among the peoples of federating member states. Diversity includes among other things territorial size, population, cultural, economic, and social factors and political culture and tradition, history, and origin.
These federal principles together find their way into the constitutional and political structures of federations and distribution of powers. In short, union and autonomy.
C. Edward Merriam wrote: “In the formation of state governments, the doctrine of delegated powers was everywhere prevalent. Assuming that the people were, originally, and continue to be the only source of political power, it follows that all governmental authority is only delegated by the people and is held in trust for them. Governmental authority has no inherent force in itself; it is not a creator, but the creature; it is not a master, nor even the partner of the people, but their agent or servant; it acts in the name of and in behalf of someone else and not for itself”(A history of American Political Theories 1910).
The Federal Political Structure of Government
Merriam Charles defines the structure of the federal political system of government in these terms: “Government is not the sovereign organization of the State. Back of the Government lies the constitution, and back of the constitution lies the original sovereign State-the people, which ordains the constitution both of Government and liberty. Recognizing the fact that the sovereignty belongs not with the ordinary Government or administration, but with the State in supreme organization…” And he continued with this argument”… Sovereignty is not found in governments, nor in the constitutions lying behind governments, but in the peoples lying behind constitutions. There can be no ulterior source of political authority lying behind the people” (History of the Theory of Sovereignty since Rousseau, 1900).
This structure clearly shows that people are the basis of sovereignty, legitimate political power, and authority. That political power and authority flow from the people through the constitution to the organs of the governments. Furthermore, federal and state governments are interdependent. In Orestes A. Brownson’s words, “The nation must exist, and exist as a political community before it can give itself a constitution; and no state, any more than an individual, can exist without a constitution of some sort”(The American Republic, 1886). Here, it must be clear that a federal state is a single political system in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status. That is equality of ranks, equality of stands and equality of constitutional status.
Today, there are several definitions of federalism in use. Here are a few of them:
By the federal principle I mean the method of dividing powers so that the general and regional governments are, within a sphere, co-ordinate and independent (Kenneth Wheare, 1946, Federal Government).
“Federalism is a political organization in which the activities of government are divided between regional governments and a central government in such a way that each kind of government has some activities on which it makes final decisions” (Riker William, Federalism, 1975).
Federal principles are concerned with the combination of self-rule and shared rule. In the broadest sense, federalism involves the linking of individuals, groups, and polities in a lasting but limited union in such a way as to provide for the energetic pursuit of common ends while maintaining the respective integrities of all parties’ (Daniel Elazar, 1987, Exploring Federalism).
“As federal form federalism requires the existence of two distinct levels of government, neither of which is legally or politically subordinate to the other. Its central feature is, therefore, the notion of shared sovereignty” (Heywood Andrew, Key concept in politics, 2000).
In this case, John Law also argues “federalism” is about “constitutional division of powers (the powers flowing from sovereignty) between two levels of government – not the division of sovereignty itself. Sovereignty is an indivisible concept. It refers – in its core sense to the final and absolute source of political authority underlying a society, which alone is capable of arbitrating and giving definitive resolution to all internal disputes. As such, it can only be thought to lie in one place.” (Perspectives on Federalism, 2003).
‘Federalism … refers to the advocacy of multi-tiered government combining elements of shared-rule and regional self-rule. … Within the genus of federal political systems, federations represent a particular species in which neither the federal nor the constituent units of government are constitutionally subordinate to the other, i.e. each has sovereign powers derived from the constitution rather than another level government, each is empowered to deal directly with its citizens in the exercise of its legislative, executive and taxing powers and each is directly elected by its citizens’ (Ronald L Watts, 1996), etc.
From the above, in a nutshell, the simplest possible definition of federalism is self-rule and shared rule; co-sovereign status.
Constitutional allocation of jurisdictional Powers
In a federal system of government, the Constitution allocates the jurisdictional powers between the central government and regional governments. In this system, the jurisdiction of the federal government mostly deals with national security, arms, and ammunition; it administer banks, print and borrow money, mint coins, insurance, banking, regulates foreign exchange and money circulation; establishes police, prisons, Foreign affairs, and national Economy: to organize, promote and facilitate economic growth and development and technological innovation at local, regional, sectoral and national levels. It has responsibility for national laws and currency. Besides, it also controls tourism, Trade: import, and exports; it administers all issues related to immigration; citizenship; it grants passports, entry into and exit from the country. And it builds public-owned transportation networks of interregional roads, highways, railways, buses and airlines; communications networks of telecoms, and Post office, and electricity and funding regional state projects the national environment creates and protects national parks and historical sights, etc.
On the other hand, as a self-rule and shared rule government, the regional state government is responsible for: controlling regional economic resources-both above and below the ground. Its responsibility includes building public-owned infrastructures: electricity, gas, and water; phone; regional roads and highways; establish traffic laws; regulates Traffic, traffic lights, and Roads signs. Its other responsibilities include investment in public education, training; skills development; educational facilities-schools, regional Libraries, School libraries. It needs to invest in safety, healthcare, hospitals, Clinics, and Ambulance services; business, agriculture, etc. It has the responsibility to erect monuments and control pollution. In so doing, its role is to interlink the rural areas, villages, towns, cities, neighborhoods, and countryside through the development of roads, clinics, hospitals, businesses, schools, etc. into integrated networks to serve the public. On the contrary, since the colonization of Oromia to date and even under the regional government of Oromia all these are absent and do not exist still today. In fact, since the last twenty-seven years to date poverty has increasingly grown to astronomical levels in Oromia. The rural areas, urban, forests, rivers, and lakes have been destroyed.
Now, the question to be asked is as to whether Ethiopia is truly a Federal state or not. It is not a federal state for the following six reasons:
First, In John Law’s word, “Federal principles grow out of the idea that free people can freely enter into lasting yet limited political associations to achieve common ends and protect certain rights while preserving their respective integrities.” Ethiopian federalism is in contradiction to this statement. Ethiopia federalism is formed not based on coming together of states as equals to establish Ethiopia as bodies of politics in which all reaffirm their fundamental equality. The fact is that the Oromo people and the other peoples in the south did not give up their inherent and inalienable sovereignty, their independence, to join Abyssinia to form the Ethiopian empire.
Second, the regional states that constitute the Ethiopian empire did not come together to form “federalism.” The majority of them are the conquered states and territories. Hence, the Ethiopian federalism does not qualify as a coming-together form of federalism. In the coming-together form of federalism, federal arrangements between or among free, independent sovereign states coming-together freely and voluntarily on their own to live together based on freedom, liberty, equality, dignity, respect, and solidarity. That is a federal union that arises when all sovereign nations voluntarily surrender their sovereignty, all to all. With surrendering sovereignty, the states remain non-sovereign states. However, they still possess the power to govern themselves, but not sovereign power. Ethiopia is not such a federal union.
Hence, one does not have to be a historian to notice the absurdity of calling an empire, a federal state. Empire federalization is at odds with history. Ethiopia is an empire, established by force and genocidal violence. Hence an empire can neither be federalized nor democratized. All empires known to history were neither federalized nor democratized. Ethiopian empire is not an exception. All people who fell under the yokes of those empires restored their independence and sovereignty through their struggle. And so, the nations who fell under the yoke of the Ethiopian empire have to follow the same pass. On the contrary, if the Ethiopian empire is to be a federal and democratic state with the inclusion of the colonizers, it will be the first in history.
The fact is the Oromo Confederate state did not give up its inherent and inalienable sovereignty and independence to join Abyssinia to establish the Ethiopian empire. It is incorporated into the empire by conquest and colonization. Hence, Ethiopian federalism is a pseudo-federalism; it is an imitation, not real federalism. It is a holding-together form of federalism of conquered territories and peoples to prevent their breakaway from the empire. Still, the fact remains, since 1991 to date, the former EPRDF and now the Prosperity Party(PP) regime has been holding-together the Ethiopian colonial empire by brute use of force in the name of “federalism” as the Derg Military regime did before it from 1974 to 1991 in the name of “socialism.” However, the holding-together of such an empire will ultimately doom fail.
Third, the Ethiopian imperial government, despite claiming to have a formal federal constitution, its practical functions are unitary. The authentic federation is based on multi-tiered, polycentric powers, and non-centralization. Hence, Ethiopia is a pseudo-federal state with a pseudo-federal form of government. Here is the paradox. It is federal only in name, form, and structures, and propaganda, but it is not in character and reality; it is unitary in spirit and functions. The fact is, Ethiopian Federalism is a window dressing, superficially designed to create a favorable impression on the minds of uninformed people. Hence, it is not federal in practice. It is a formal structural skeleton of federalism on paper with no life in it. This structure masks a centralized authoritarian concentration of power in the hands of empire rulers that stands in direct contradiction to the true federal principles. For centuries, the Abyssinian Orthodox Churches and political elites had been teaching their followers that God had vested indivisible, and unlimited secular authority in their Negus. Hence, they presented their kings, queens, princes, and princess as God’s sovereign agents in Ethiopia. Based on this, the successive feudal rulers of the Ethiopian empire from Emperor Menelik II to Emperor Haile Selassie I claimed that they derive their power from the divine right of kings. And they were graced with the title of “Elect of God.” From these feudal emperors to the Mengistu Haile Mariam’s People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) to the PM Meles Zenawi’s and his successors’ Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE)led by fascist Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and now to PM Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party (PP), Ethiopia remains a centralized authoritarian unitary colonial empire state. Hence, despite the name, form, and structure laid out in the constitution listing Ethiopia as being a federal state, it remains, however, a unitary- a unitary empire state, as it was under the feudal regime of the absolute imperial Monarchy of Emperor Haile Selassie.
Here, it suffices to recall to mind that the Ethiopians’ ideology of divine right of Ethiopian kings and princes that had been the chief primary political gospel of Ethiopian institutions and Orthodox Churches throughout their history had received a deathblow and swept away by the 1974 revolution. Despite this, the members of the dinosaur generation, the neo-Nafxanyas are still aspiring to bring the restoration of their pre-1974 political monopoly. For centuries, the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, the monarchic and aristocratic political elites preached that the governmental power of their kings being based not upon popular consent but upon the divine will and the ordinance of the God that citizen are consequently bound to render their obedience. They preached this over a century and a half that their kings and princes derive their powers from God but not from the people. Ironically, however, the divine right of the fascist dictators replaced the Divine Right of Kings. The fact remains today as pre-1974, Ethiopia is an empire, albeit without an Emperor. The central government controls everything while the regional governments are subordinate to it. In a real federal system, however, the federal government and state governments are co-equal and co-sovereign constitutional polities; the states are not creatures of, or subordinate to, the federal government. The federal government has only limited power, delegated power; all powers not delegated to the federal government remain constitutionally reserved to the states. The irony of the Ethiopian government is that it claims that it is a federal state. In a federal state, Prime Minister, President, regional presidents, and the legislatures are elected by the people in a fair and free election. However, in Ethiopia, a Prime Minister, President, regional State Presidents, and the legislatures are not elected by the people in a fair playing field and free election. They are selected by and responsible to the legislature that themselves not elected by the popular vote in a fair and free election.
Fourth, Ethiopian federalism stands in contradiction to all federations hitherto formed. That is, the mechanism used in the federation formation in Ethiopia contradicts the way the federations are established in the United States of America, in Canada, in Australia, in India, and Nigeria. In America, the thirteen sovereign states came together voluntarily and formed a federation after defeating the British Empire. Here, all thirteen sovereign states surrendered their respective sovereignties all to all to establish collective sovereignty of the federating people. In India and Nigeria, the federation was formed by the sponsorship of British Colonial power after it decided to grant independence to them. With this, the peoples who were under colonial occupation opted to stay together in the form of federation. The EPRDF has been preaching to us that it has established a federal government. However, there is no federal-state whereby sovereign states voluntarily came together to form the federal government. Ethiopia is still an empire. An empire cannot establish a Federation. Ironically, the absurdity of all is that the EPRDF constitution states “the House of Federation has the power to interpret the constitution.” not the Supreme Court. Such is the EPRDF regime’s political hack and illegal usurpation of the power of the judiciary. The fact is the power of the EPRDF’s a government since its inception and seizure of power in 1991, rested on the force, brutality, lies, deception, corruption, clientelism, cronyism, nepotism, fraud, extortion, patronage, theft, embezzlement, and misappropriation and the transfer of massive amounts of wealth from public to individual private interests, to kleptocrats and so the PP’s government today. None of them have earned public legitimacy. People need a thoroughly clean government, a government elected by the popular vote in a fair and free election. That is the government of the people, by the people for the people.
Fifth, the characteristics of federalism are transparency, accountability, and legitimacy. For this to support the legitimate system of governance, the federal networks must be open, accessible, and inclusive. On the contrary, the governance of Ethiopian federalism is neither open nor accessible nor inclusive as the governances under feudalism and “socialism” before it.
Sixth, Ethiopian “federation” is a federation of the TPLF with its puppet organizations. It has nothing to do with the peoples. The fact is, despite its members and opportunists running around supporting it, this federation has never had any support and consent from the peoples of the empire. In Daniel J. Elazar’s words, Ethiopian federalism has failed to meet this criterion. Hence, it is not federation of the independent states of peoples but a federation of the TPLF with its satellite or puppet organizations. For this, it is incompatible in spirit and functions with the authentic federation as defined by Daniel J. Elazar: “A federation is a polity compounded of strong constituent entities and a strong general government, each possessing powers delegated to it, by the people and empowered to deal directly with the citizenry in the exercise of those powers.” From this, one can understand EPRDF then, and now the Prosperity Party (PP) does not have delegated authority and power from the people. It was for this, the people rejected the EPRDF then, and now the PP.
More often than not, history has shown time and again that Federations imposed on the colonial people from outside top-down without the will of the colonial people to federate fail. Regarding this, Thomas M. Franck, Professor of Law at the New York University argued that “without a shared sense of political community, federations, no matter how well designed, are doomed to fail” (Why Federations fail: An Inquiry Into the Requisites for Successful Federalism, 1968). Hence, federations have failures when imposed top-down on peoples without the shared political or ideological will of the federating political community. This means the federation imposed from outside on the people without their support and participation doomed to fail. In this respect, we have already witnessed the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. Even worse, federalism was unable to prevent the tragedy of Yugoslavia. Not only these, but we have also seen the dissolution of the Central African Federation of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, and Nyasaland, now Malawi. And we also have seen the split of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia and the failure of the Cameron Federation. And in this regard, the Ethiopian federation is not the exception, and sooner, or later it will be doomed to fail. The fact is, it is already doomed to failure. Ethiopian federation is artificially designed mercantilist-federation. It is a federation without the participation of the people and hence it will soon fade away. It cannot stand the test of time.
The Confederal Structure of Government
First of all, Confederalism is a form of state organization defined as a political arrangement by independent sovereign states to establish a central government for a common cause. And the established a central government is subordinated to the regional governments. Confederation is a political institution of loosely united or associated independent sovereign multi-state in which there is a division of power between levels of governments and the central government. Hence in a confederation, the regional governments are supreme. In this system, the role of the central government is to coordinate on the previously agreed upon services. The common cause is the defense and the regulation of trade. In this confederal system of government, each regional state is independent with sovereign status because upon entering into forming confederation, each confederating entity retains the right to withdraw from the national body. This means the system has multi-independent political power centers and each member in the confederacy is fully sovereign and has a veto over the acts of confederal government. This makes the system fragile and unstable. Put simply, a member can decide to pull out of the confederation at any time at will if it wishes to do so. If this happens, the confederation ceases to exist and the center falls. Hence, confederation is not a viable form of government. This means, under a confederal system, a country tends to split apart.
This was what had happened to the Oromo Confederation under the Gada system. From the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries by the cruel of twists of history in Southwestern, Western, and Northern regions of Oromia, some of the inter-Oromo confederating republics withdrew from the Confederation. Then, these republics established their kingdoms. Consequently, the Gada System collapsed. With this, the center fell apart. These weakened and undermined the Oromo unity and the Gada system itself. The Abyssinians took advantage of this Oromo weakness and undertook a war of conquest, occupation, and colonization. As a consequence of this, Oromia territories were conquered.
Daniel J. Elazar (Exploring Federalism, 1987) has to write the following: Since its beginnings, political science has identified three basic ways in which polities come into existence: conquest (force), organic development (accident), and covenant (choice). These questions of origins are not abstract; the mode of the founding of a polity does much to determine the framework for its subsequent political life. Conquest can be understood to include not only its most…direct manifestation that a conqueror gaining control of the land or a people but also… conquest of an existing state. Conquest tends to produce hierarchically organized regimes ruled in an authoritarian manner: power pyramids with the conqueror on top, its agents or collaborators in the middle, and the people underneath the governing pyramidal structure. In this system, the security of colonizers depends on the insecurity of the colonized. The collaborators maintain the balance between the two.
Oromia was conquered and colonized in the late 19th century by Emperor Menelik II of Abyssinia with the active participation of the European powers of the time. In this war of conquest, the Abyssinia received European military firearms, political, and military expert advisors and trainers. Here below are the countries that actively helped Menelik II in the conquest:
Source: Darkwah, Waugh, Shoa, Menelik and Ethiopian Empire,1969, Cited in Wugina Dirsatochina yetark Iwunatoch, 2006.
Along with these, local Oromo collaborators, Gobana Daaccee and his associates, joined the Abyssinians in fighting against their country and people. Against these odds, Oromo fighters were armed only with spears and shields. This war of fighting with spears was no match to guns. In addition to these, particularly in Arsi, smallpox was used as biological warfare. Hence, the outcome of the war was in favor of the Abyssinians. It was these combined forces of Abyssinians, Europeans military and political experts, the use of modern weapons, the local Oromo collaborators, and the use of biological warfare along with the failure of the Oromo to unite against Abyssinia that lead to the defeat of the Oromo fighters and finally to the conquest and colonization of Oromia.
As the above table shows, Menelik received seven hundred fifteen thousand guns or rifles with fifty million ammunitions from the European powers of the time. It was with these military firearms that Menelik was able to defeat the Oromo people and the rest of the peoples in the south. Without this military firepower and political and military experts from European powers and the local Oromo traitors’ collaboration, King Menelik II of Abyssinia could have never defeated the Oromo fighters.
Ever since the conquest to date, Oromia has been and is under the Abyssinian colonial rule. After the conquest, the collaborators helped the colonizer to rule over Oromia. Now, as the old collaborators passed away, the new generation of collaborators come into being. Today, these new generation of collaborators, the neo-gobana, are supporting the settler-colonizer in its brute rule of force, violence, and genocide, including propaganda work against the Oromo people. As the old gobanas were, and so the neo-goobanas are against the political independence of Oromia.
The power Pyramid
In this system of conquest and colonization, power flows top-down from the colonizer to the collaborators as well as to the colonized people. And, also the collaborators pass to the people the orders given them. The Oromo people have been subjected to this type of Ethiopian empire system since their colonization to date. The colonized people and the collaborators are both subordinated to the conquerors.
Such is the condition under which the Oromo people have been living since their conquest and colonization. Dan Brown, in “The Da Vinci Code, 2003”, wrote as follows: “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe.” This means history belongs to the victors. The victors condemn the colonized people to humiliating and demeaning conditions and never record their suffering experiences. The conqueror in the war of conquest not only needs just for the seizure of territory, its lands and resources, and people through committing genocide, but it also needs to eliminate the people’s identity. To eliminate their identity, it commits Culturocide against the defeated people and takes active memoricide against their collective memory of the conquered. Here while genocide is the physical destruction of a targeted group, culturocide is the destruction and erasure of the culture of the targeted people; it is the colonization of their awareness. Memoricide is the destruction of memory. That is, it is the extermination of the collective memory of the past of targeted people. It is the erasure of historical references to their past.
Ironically, today the representatives of the dinosaur generation Prosperity Party (PP) and its PM Abiy Ahmed have built a memorial “Unity Park” in Finfinnee, the heartland of Oromia for glorification, admiration, adornment, exaltation, and symbolization of Menelik II and Haile Selassie I, the emperors who had committed genocide and culturocide against the Oromo people. The fact is, in this so-called memorial unity park, the colonial empire’s PM Abiy Ahmed and his Prosperity Party (PP) have made these emperors demi-gods. He and his party are worshipping them as being demi-gods and want the people against whom these colonialist emperors committed genocide to worship these demi-gods with them. Here, PM Abiy Ahmed and his PP’s action is a disrespect for the dignity and worth of the Oromo people. This construction of the Memorial Park or Museum in Finfinnee, for the historical enemies of the Oromo people, is an attack on the collective dignity of the Oromo people and is intended to insult, belittle, demean, and humiliate the Oromo nation. Its purpose is to commit memoricide against the Oromo people. That is, the primary aim of erecting this “Unity Park” is for the destruction of the collective memory of the Oromo people about the past evils, violence, genocide, and crimes against humanity that the successive Abyssinian settler-colonialist rulers of Oromia had committed against them. All in all, PM Abiy Ahmed and his Prosperity Part’s primary purpose for erecting the Menelik’s Statue is to deprive successive Oromo future generations of a past, a past that belongs to Oromo collective memory. Moreover, again failing to learn from history, still today, the current regime as its predecessors were, is committing the same crimes against the Oromo people. Aanole, Calanqo/Chalanqo, and residents of Finfinnee whose genocides were committed against are made absent from this “Unity Park”. Here, one has to recall at Aanole Abyssinia’s Emperor Menelik II mutilated breasts of over 5,000 Oromo women’s and right hands of men’s. Such crime is the first in history. Besides this, at Azule, in Arsi, and Calanqo, in Hararge, King Menelik II of Abyssinia, in fighting against the Oromo warriors in his war of conquest, was able to kill over 12, 000 Oromo fighters in each location, using European powers supplied military firearms. Despite these, PM Abiy Ahmed and his Prosperity party (PP) have built a memorial Museum or “Unity Park” for these fascist emperors-Menelik II and Haile Selassie in Finfinnee, the heartland of Oromia. History has shown over and over that evil men commit evil deeds. Menelik II and Haile Selassie were evil men and monsters. Hence, to erect memorial statues for such men are glorifying and humanizing history’s monsters. Erecting memorial park for the evil emperors is the legitimization of the crimes of the mutilation of breasts of women and the hands of men committed at Aanole as just and proper actions. The goal of this “Unity Park” is twofold: on the one hand to make the Oromo’s collective memory about the genocidal crimes against them to fade away, and on the other, to influence the future Oromo generations to glorify, admire, and appreciate these fascist evil emperors as heroes and visionaries. It is to memoricide the Oromo’s remembered past, and their connections to the lived present, and imagined future. It means to kill the Oromo past to kill their future. Here, it must be clear to all, erecting memorial statues to Menelik II and Haile Selassie is waging of war on the Oromo past, present, and future. It is Menelik’s war against Oromo all over again. Hence, PM Abiy Ahmed and his Prosperity Party (PP) are not only committing memoricide but also committing genocide against the Oromo people.
Here is the lesson to be learned if one does not pay attention to it. In the 1970s, Guatemalan president Gen. Efrain Rios Mott, the man who had committed the worst atrocities against the Maya people of Guatemala has to say this “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea.” Of course, the phrase is rooted in a pronouncement of Mao Tse-tung’s while fighting the Japanese Imperial Army as it occupied China: “The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.” Gen. Mott went on saying this: “If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea.” His predecessor Carlos Arana Osorio also made a similar statement, “If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so.” Every dictator, in the past and the present, has learned this lesson. And so the Ethiopian empire successive regimes including the current one. This lesson is applied in Oromia today, particularly in Wallaga, Guji, Borana, Wollo, and Western Shawa against the Oromo people. This war will soon engulf the whole Oromia. It is a matter of time.
Today as always, the Ethiopian empire rulers consider every Oromo the enemy of the Ethiopian empire and particularly in these regions of Oromia, without exception as an enemy. Because of this, old men and women, boys and girls, farm laborers, storekeepers, students, schoolteachers, priests, and herders have been under military attack. And, indeed, under the Prosperity Party (PP) regime, these regions of Oromia are turned into the killing fields of Oromo people. Here genocide is being committed in the name of federalism and Ethiopian unity.
Now, the question is as to why the Oromo people remain silent as the Prosperity Party (PP) is waging a war of destruction against the Oromo people in the above-named regions of Oromia. This inaction of the Oromo is the testimony to what Karl Marx wrote: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Today, in the twenty-first century, the Oromo history of the late nineteenth century is repeating itself. Indeed, this is a tragedy on the part of the Oromo people not to come to stand in solidarity with our people of Wallaga, Borana, Guji, Wollo, and Western Shawa. As it is often said, those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat it. Indeed, today the Oromo people have failed to learn from the history of Menelik’s conquered of Oromia. He undertook the war of divide and conquer. At that time of the conquest, no one Oromo region had ever come in defense of the other region. Consequently, the whole of Oromia was conquered one by one at a time. Today, the PP has adopted Menelik’s model in the war against the Oromo people.
Still today, the Oromo have failed to learn from history. Let us look at the recent events: In 1991, as the Derg Military regime defeated by the forces of the people, all Liberation Fronts entered Finfinnee with a victory. At the time, there were five Oromo political organizations. Upon entering Finfinnee, they failed to unite to defend Oromia against the enemy. Because of their failure to unite, the TPLF the enemy of the Oromo people took over the whole empire, including Oromia. So, instead of grabbing the victory, the Oromo political organizations opted to grab defeat in their failure. Finally, the TPLF chased all of them not only from Finfinnee but also from Oromia altogether. Having being chased out from one’s own country was a disgrace and humiliation not only for the organizations but also for the Oromo people.
And again 1991 repeated itself in 2018, as the TPLF/EPRDF defeated by the gallant sons and daughters of the Oromo people, the Oromo political organizations again failed to unite to dismantle its institutions to take over Oromia. Instead, because they failed to unite, they allowed the OPDO, the brain-child of TPLF, the organization that brutalized the Oromo people for 27 years to take over the empire as was TPLF in 1991. Here the Oromo political organizations snatched defeat from the jaws of victory of the Oromo people. Here again, the tragic history of 1991 repeated itself. As a 19th-century Russian historian, Vasily Klyuchevsky wrote: “History teaches us nothing, but only punishes for not learning its lessons”. Hence for failing to learn our history lesson, it is punishing us. And Once again, the Oromo political organizations instead of grabbing victory in unity, they opted to take defeat individually in failure to unite.
The failure for unity has been because of the leadership of the Oromo political organizations. At the hierarchies of these organizations have been and are politically incompetent, divisive individuals whose interests are not Oromo unity-centered, but instead self-centered, self-interested, extremely egocentric, and self-serving individuals with no interest in unity. It is because of this, every attempt for unity had failed over the years to date. Even today, as the colonial Military Command Post is committing genocidal war and war crimes against humanity, against our people in Wallaga, Western Shawa, Borana, Guji, and Wollo, the Oromo political organizations, civic organizations, and the political activists have been and are taking a backseat and watching in silence. Still, they are unable or unwilling to unite among themselves. They fail to agitate and organize the Oromo people across Oromia to come together armed to fight against the enemy in unity and solidarity with our people in these regions of Oromia. They have failed to learn from the principle of struggle that Dr. Haile Fida used to advocate for: “the conscious, the organized, and the armed people will win.” Instead, they choose to run in a circle like a rabid dog across Oromia campaigning to open offices to run for election to the office of the empire. Here the silence, the failure to agitate and organize people to take action in solidarity, and the failure to unite against the enemy as it decimate our people are the betrayal of the people and struggle for which the Oromo heroes and heroines had sacrificed their lives.
Not only this, today, as every country in the world is scrambling to prevent the global threat of the coronavirus pandemic from spreading to their people by providing all available information and assistance, the Ethiopian regime, on the contrary, denied access to the information and assistance to the Oromo citizens in these regions. It cut off the internet, telephone, and water from the Oromo people in these regions. By so doing, this regime is purposefully exposing our people to the deadly disease. Unless one is short of memory, Menelik had used smallpox as biological warfare against Arsi in his war of conquest in the 1880s. As a consequence of this biological warfare, tenths of thousands of lives of Arsi Oromo perished. The fact is, it was not the Military firearms alone, but it was primarily the biological warfare that helped Menelik’s in the conquest of Arsi successful. The use of Military firearms and biological warfare in combination reduced the population of Arsi. Similarly, today in the 21st century, the current Ethiopian empire regime is using coronavirus pandemic as biological warfare, particularly in Wallaga, Guji, Borana, Wollo, and Western Shawa regions. While this war of genocide is going on in Oromia, specifically in Wallaga, Western Shawa, Borana, Wollo, and Guji, the Oromo political and civic organizations, political activists, and the rest of the Oromo people are watching in silence as spectator observers in neutrality. As the renowned Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel stated: “What hurts the victim most are not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.” Similarly the renowned Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr spoke in these words: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Let us not forget, our silence encouraged the settler-colonial regime, the tormentor of our people, in its war of the extermination of the Oromo people. And so, let us not forget, our neutrality helped the settler-colonial regime, never the Oromo people. Indeed, it is a tragedy to be silent and neutral over such a crime. Neutrality, silence, and inaction always mean standing on the side of the victimizer, never on the side of the victim. It is, therefore, time to end neutrality, silence and and inaction. It is time to take a side and stand up against this regime’s extermination of men, women, and children. It is time to speak out against it, to denounce it, and to fight back, to take collective action in defense of our people.
Here today, the Oromo people are facing the most dangerous period since their colonization. Therefore, this time, they should not allow themselves to perish region by region, one at a time, as during the early conquest in the late 19th century. This time, they must stand together shoulder to shoulder and fight together as one people and one nation to survive from this catastrophic danger of national extermination.
Here is the question, if you do not stand in solidarity with your people today at this critical time, then when? This question needs to be answered, not tomorrow, not the day after tomorrow, or not next year, or the year after, but immediately now, today. If you do not join them in solidarity today, it means you willfully allowed your people, to perish and eventually, along with them, you all will perish too. The enemy of today is the worst enemy than the enemy before it to the well-being, interests, and aspirations of the Oromo people. Never forget the action of the current regime of the Ethiopian empire, the erecting of the statue of Menelik in Finfinnee to erase the memory of the history of the mutilation of the breasts of women at Aanole that Menelik committed from the new Oromo generation and the future generations to come.
All in all, Abiy Ahmed, the PM of the Ethiopian empire, with the full knowledge of Menelik’s wars of genocide, destruction against the Oromo people, and the mutilation of breasts of women at Aanole, and the consequence grief and the suffering of entire Oromo nation, choose to take this villain monster man from crimes of such history of his for humanity and presented in a different light, wrapping him in a gold wrapper, flavored with loud words and slogans to “teach” the young Oromo generation about this evil man as a kind emperor, hero, and visionary.
Such are the conditions under which the Oromo people have been living. Ethiopia is a settler-colonial empire. In this settler –Colonizer Empire, the relationship between the Abyssinian settler-colonizers and Oromo people has been and is the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized; the victimizer and the victimized, the brutalizer and the brutalized, and the exploiter and the exploited. As the above pyramidal structure shows, throughout the conquest and colonization of Oromia to date, there have been Oromo agents or collaborators of Abyssinians sitting between the colonizer Abyssinians and the colonized Oromo, serving the empire.
From the above, it is clear that the Oromo people have never been consented and authorized to be part of Ethiopia. Hence, they have never granted political authority and legal authority to the conqueror, to the Abyssinians, to rule over Oromia. Therefore, the Oromo people have neither recognized, nor accepted, or willed or believed in the system of Ethiopian empire political authority over Oromia. The fact remains, however, since their conquest to date, the Oromo people have been subjected to the brute rule of the iron fist of successive Ethiopian empire rulers oligarchies. Now, the question is: how a colonizer and a colonized establish federation together? It is an irony. It is absurd. Organic evolution involves the development of political life from its beginnings in families, tribes, and villages to larger polities in such a way that institutions, constitutional relationships, and power alignments emerge in response to the interaction between past precedent and changing circumstances, with a minimum of deliberate constitutional choice. The result tends to be a polity with a single center of power organized in one of several ways Classic ….The organic model is closely related to the concept of natural law in the political order.
Covenantal (choice) founding emphasizes the deliberate coming together of humans as equals to establish bodies politic in such a way that all reaffirm their fundamental equality and retain their basic rights. Even the Hobbesian covenant and he specifically uses that term which establishes a polity in which power is vested in a single sovereign maintains this fundamental equality although, in practice, it could not coexist with the system of rule that Hobbes requires. Polities whose origins are covenantal reflect the exercise of constitutional choice and broad-based participation in constitutional design. Polities founded by covenant are essentially federal in the original meaning of the term, whether or not they are federal in structure. That is, each polity is a matrix compounded of equal confederates who come together freely and retain their respective integrities even as they are bound in a common whole. Such polities are republican by definition, and power within them must be diffused among many centers or the various cells within the matrix. The example: The American thirteen States. Ethiopia is a colonial empire and it does not fit this condition of voluntarily coming together. For this, a referendum is needed for the people under the Ethiopian empire.
Sadly enough, failed to learn from previously failed Oromo confederation under Gada System, Oromo in Western Oromia once again established the Western Oromo Confederation in 1936. This newly formed confederation applied to the League of Nations to be recognized as a sovereign independent state to get Protectorate status. The League failed to do so. It turned deaf ear to the legitimate demand of the Oromo confederate. Why? The answer is simple. No one believes that a Confederation or a Confederate state is a viable form of governmental organization. It is seen as an unstable form of government. The reason is as explained above, in the confederation state, there were multi-centered sovereign independent governments. In this regard here is what C. E. Merriam Jr (1900) has to write: “When a state asks for admission to the circle of sovereigns, the international lawyer inquires first of all into the political powers which the applicant possesses…These powers are of such a nature as that of making war and concluding peace, of negotiating treaties with other powers, of regulating internal administration, of independent legislation.” Once, an applicant state failed to show these conditions, a chance not to be accepted into the circle of sovereign states is very high. The Oromo federal-state failed to fulfill these conditions. This was certainly the reason for the League’s failure to consider the request. Instead of establishing confederation, it should have opted for the organization of a government with powers of significant scope, in the center. Had the request been in the name of a federal or unitary form of government, I believe there would have been a high chance to be accepted by the League of Nations.
In summary, in the unitary system, the government centralizes political power. In contrast, the Federal system decentralizes political power. In this system, political authority and power reside in the people. The people delegate powers through constitutional devices to the federal and state governments. Each level of government has its areas of taking actions autonomously, autonomous decision-making powers. In simple words, in the federal political system, the constitution formally divides powers between the federal government and the state governments and among the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary branches. In a true federalism, there is the separation of powers, notably, the separation of judicial powers from legislative and executive powers. In a nutshell, the executive branch never exercises the legislative and the judiciary powers; the legislative branch never exercises the executive and the judiciary powers; the judiciary branch never exercises the executive and the legislative powers. All branches are independent of each other. In addition to this, the federal system of government empowers the Judiciary branches, while the unitary and confederal systems of governments weaken them. The fact is, in Ethiopia, all three branches are the same.
In the confederal form of government, the confederating states centralize political power. Here the confederal government is weak, and the confederating regional governments are strong. Hence in this system, the local government is supreme. The central government holds powers only granted to it by the confederating states. In a unitary form of government, the central government is supreme. It delegates powers to the regional governments or takes away from them. It completely centralizes and controls over the social, political, and economic affairs of the state. On the contrary, in the federal system, governments are based on the constitutionally enshrined principles of self-rule and shared rule with co-equal sovereign status. Federalism is multi-tiered, polycentric power, with a non-centralized political system. In the federal system, sovereignty is vested in the people. In this system, various units of governments: federal, state, and local exercise the powers delegated to them by the people.
Finally, as a colonized people, the Oromo people’s first natural and logical option is only to declare total independence and restore their lost sovereignty. That is to declare the Republic of Oromia and establish its institutions. Today as yesterday, the neo-gobana or neo-quisling Oromo mercenary collaborators of colonial settlers have been struggling against the Oromo unity and their struggle for liberation. These collaborators have been telling our people that they are already liberated and free people and that they do not need to be organized, not to be armed, and that there is no need to fight. Among the neo-goobanas are the very vocal activists who use their access to social media to mislead the Oromo people and give support to the settler-colonialist federation as a panacea for the long-standing colonial political conflict. Since 2018 to date, more than ever before, this new generation of neo-gobana activists in the name of “children of Abbaa Gadaa” has been launching an all-out campaign in Oromia to confuse and mislead those section of the Oromo population that is politically unconscious to support Abyssinian empire federation. The fact is, however, Abbaa Gadaa never existed since the collapse of the Gadaa system a century and a half years ago. And so, are the children of Abbaa Gadaa.
Here is the problem. The neo-goobanas have been confusing the Oromo people using the same word and the phrase that Oromo nationalists have been using-liberation and the right of nations to self-determination. Because of the usage of this word and phrase, the neo-goobanas have been preaching that there is no political difference between and among Oromo organizations. Between these two camps, there is no agreement as to what this word or this phrase stands for. Liberation and the right of nations to self-determination mean different things for the two camps.
For the nationalists, liberation means independence from alien powers. For the neo-goobans and their alliance, it means equal rights and status within the existing state. For the nationalists, the right of the nations to self-determination means, the choice of those nations themselves to decide their destiny or fate without interference by external forces. This right is the right of the formation of an independent sovereign state. On the contrary, for neo-quislings and their alliances, the right of nations to self-determination means the right to develop their own nations socially, economically, and culturally within the existing state and determine their own political status within that state.
The fact, however, is, the Oromo people are still under the yoke of the Ethiopian empire. They have not yet achieved their freedom and independence. And Oromia has now turned into the killing fields and prisoners concentration camps of the Oromo people more than ever before. Therefore, there is no compromise on the question of the independence of Oromia. Hence, the Oromo national liberation struggle is for the economic and political sovereignty of the Oromo people, not merely for ceremonial trappings of the ghostly imperial empire federalization as being advocating for by the so-called Oromo political activists, particularly by the leadership of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). The OFC, the former OPDO/ODP, and now the members of PP and the so-called Oromo political activists have been pursuing different political objectives than that of the Oromo nationalists and some Oromo Liberation organizations. Their differences emanated from how the groups perceive the Oromo question. The former groups say that the Oromo question is and has been about democracy. Most importantly, these groups believe that Oromia is part of Ethiopia and not a colonized country.
On the contrary, the Oromo nationalists and Oromo Liberation Organizations argue that Oromia is a colony of Abyssinia and has been incorporated into the empire-state of Ethiopia, the empire that the Abyssinians created through conquest and colonization. Because of their differences, the neo-goobanas and nationalists have no common goal and vision, and consequently, have been and are pursuing contradictory and mutually incompatible goals and visions. The former groups pursue the policy of the federation of the peoples in the empire state of Ethiopia, while the latter groups pursue full political independence of Oromia. The fact, however, lies with the nationalists. The history of Oromia is the history of the country that is being colonized. Since the colonization, the Oromo struggle for liberation has been nonstop. Now falling, now rising, this century-old liberation struggle continuing to this day. And the future belongs to the Oromo people.
Here is what is to be understood: we are observing the neo-quislings’ and their supporters including those neo-quisling personalities who have penetrated the Oromo political organizations at the top leadership are campaigning for the federation of the colonized nations and nationalities with the Abyssinian settler colonizers for the purpose of maintaining the Abyssinian colonial empire, Ethiopia, instead of campaigning for the rights of those nations and nationalities to self-determination including total independence. This action of supporting a settler-colonial federation of the empire is profoundly detrimental to the interests and legitimate aspiration of those colonized nations and nationalities, including the Oromo nation.
Now, it is clear that the neo-goobanas or Oromo neo-quislings are split into two camps. One camps is OFC and its alliance and the other is the Prosperity camp. Both camps are one and different at the same time. Both camps are one in their political position of maintaining the Ethiopian colonial empire. Their differences are one camp wants to go back in time to the period of old imperial days to maintain the empire while the other wants to maintain the same empire in the federation form. PP represents the former one, and OFC and its alliances- the so-called political activists, represent the latter one. Eventually, in the end, the two camps will unite with the Oromia settler-colonizers against the Oromo people and their struggle for liberation. For this, both are dangerous to the Oromo unity and their struggle for national liberation. Hence, the Oromo people and the nationalists should oppose the two camps’ political positions.
Now, the question to be asked is as to why the Oromo nationals divided into four camps: the empire unitarist camp, the empire federation camp, bystanders, and the Oromia independence camp. The answer to this question lies directly with the conquest of Oromia. The conquest of Oromia was for land and its natural resources. After the conquest to keep the conquered territory, the new wave of wars has been undertaken by the successive colonialist Abyssinian regimes against the Oromo people in three ways: destruction, exclusion, and assimilation.
Here, millions were exterminated; millions were excluded from their land, economy, education, and their political way of life. And the rest were assimilated into the Abyssinian political beliefs and cultural identity. Assimilation means the colonization of the mind, soul, and psyche of some individual members of a colonized people to create a new identity for him or her or them. The assimilated group divided into three camps: the bystanders, the federalist, and the unitarist camps. Here, OFC represents the federalist camp, while the former ODP, and the now PP, represents the unitarist/unionist camp. The federalist camp and unitarist camp are the most active in the politics of the empire, and they are the very opponents of the Oromo struggle for independence. The primary goal of the two camps is to maintain the Abyssinian Empire, Ethiopia.
The bystanders are persons-individuals and groups who choose to close their eyes or look the other way, hear nothing, and say nothing and do nothing but silently go on their daily business as crimes are being committed against their people. Such bystanders are numerous within the Oromo society both in Oromia and in the diaspora. They have become obstacles to the Oromo national liberation struggle. These groups, instead of participating in the Oromo national struggle for liberation, they choose to remain silent bystanders or silent observers. On the other hand, the assimilated active groups have become the local collaborators of the empire-state of Ethiopia. For years, there have been bitter political struggles between pro-Oromia independence Oromo nationalists’ camps, and the combined forces of the Ethiopian empire regime and the Oromo forces of empire federalization, and the Oromo unitarist camp, whose wish is to maintain the imperial empire.
In 2018 with the collapse of TPLF, its brain-child and the mercenary OPDO’s leadership, whose demonic delusion for power and wealth, blinded and darkened its reasoning power, took over the administration of the empire. At the time, the Oromo nationals both at home, and in the diaspora with simple-minded enthusiasm, without thinking of Oromia’s tomorrow, with haste, jumping up and down, dancing, singing, and clapping hands in supporting OPDO’s leadership, believing in this leadership’s political fabrications of promising reform. However, sooner than later, the promise turned out to be false; instead, it turned against the Oromo people. Today, this regime is hunting down, imprisoning, torturing, killing, and mass-murdering of the Oromo people in Western and Southern Oromia. These are the consequence of the support given to the OPDO. It is one of the saddest moments in the history of the Oromo national struggle.
All in all, these Oromo nationals having failed to support the Oromo struggle until its conclusion, they gave support to the neo-quislings’ political organization, the OPDO, after the loss of over six thousand gallant Oromo youths, the youths that brought about the downfall and collapse of the TPLF. This support for the OPDO and its leadership that brutalized the Oromo people with TPLF for 27 years is the darkest mark in our nation that will never forever be erased and forgotten. It is a tragic history of failure. Hence, the support given to the OPDO’s leadership was wrong in the first place. Now, some of these Oromo nationals are beginning to sorrow over their political naivety in supporting it. It is time for these Oromo nationals to have the courage to oppose the PP/OPDO and to stand on the side of the Oromo freedom fighters and the Oromo people.
Here what is to be clear is this: for the neo-goobanas-the traitors, also known as neo-quislings and their alliances, it is a long uphill struggle against the logic of history to convince the majority of Oromo people to opt for the Ethiopian empire federation instead of the struggle for their right to political self-determination. Here one needs to understand that empire federation is being used as political trapping to confuse, mislead, and divide the Oromo people to weaken their resolve to struggle for independence. It is only the free, independent, sovereign democratic Republic of Oromia that has options to join the former colonial empire if it wishes to after the system of empire is dismantled and disintegrated, and the peoples incorporated into it restored their freedom and independent.
Oromia has a choice to make. It can either remain an independent state or choose to join the former empire in the form of federation, or confederation, or unitary. Needless to say, if it chooses to join the former empire, it will be the first time in the recorded history of the colonized peoples to join the colonizer in forming a unity government.
Federation is the result of a shared political and ideological commitment to the federal value and ideal and the will to federate of the free and independent peoples. Ethiopian federation lacks this criterion. It becomes illegal and illegitimate if imposed or forced upon the peoples from the top-down. Such is the Ethiopian federation. So, it is illegal and illegitimate federation.
Finally, the question is: which way Oromia? The settler-colonizers and their neo-goobana collaborators’ way or the Oromo nationalists’ way? Federation or independence: which one has to come first?
Oromia shall be free!
Forms of Political Systems: Unitary, Federalism, Confederalism, and the Oromo question