My philosophy-Part four
Through the last few centuries and during the last twenty seven years the Oromo has seen their institutions of self-government undermined, leadership liquidated or co-opted, territory divided, social cohesion disrupted, cultural institutions damaged, resources plundered, traditional religious practices interfered with, and population severely affected through a combination of factors including brutal warfare and natural calamities, which accompanied that warfare.
As a result, the Oromo people struggled to see progress in every aspect of life – economic, political, social, cultural and religious.
TPLF leaders have used their formidable military muscle to keep their power, destroy all independent Oromo organizations, and instigate conflict in Oromia.
The attack on Oromo organizations exhibit discernible trends. First the TPLF appeared determined to destroy all independent Oromo leaders and organizations in an effort to remove any obstacle to its desire to control the resources of Oromia.
And the most disturbing development was the TPLF’s war on Oromo nationalism. Their aspiration was to become a ruling class only to serve their own self-interests.
Since TPLF leaders established their full control over the Ethiopian state, they continued with the tradition of multi-faceted attacks on all Oromo institutions.
The objectives of such continuous multi-faceted attacks on Oromo civic and political organizations can be summed up in three sentences: control of Oromo resources under the guise of a federal system; destroying Oromo nationalism and undermining independent organizations.
The challenges before the new PM [Abiy Ahmed (PhD)] were both complex and difficult. Over and above the onerous task of consolidating power, stabilizing the economy, reforming politics and putting the transition on a solid footing, Abiy had to grapple with the weight of public expectations from the Oromo people.
In general, the Oromos’ sheer demographic size did not translate into political and economic power. The Oromos’ history has been one of marginalization and exploitation.
But, to establish credibility and earn the trust of his Oromo ethnic group, the PM needed to do more.
Oromo nationalism, not unlike other nationalisms, is complex and dynamic. It is fed by multiple streams, taps into a reservoir of potent, accumulated grievances and draws energy and sustenance from a rich repository of cultural memory and aspiration.
Much of the disenchantment of the Oromos with the federal system in recent years is driven by perceptions that it had become hollowed out, conferred no meaningful autonomy, bred its own inequities and stoked inter-ethnic tensions and violence.
The outcome of these oppressions on the Oromos is the fact that they, until now, have been marginalized from the economy, political power, social life and they are culturally dominated. These problems are at the core of the crisis across the Oromia regional state.
The crisis in Oromia is complex, serious, and multi-layered, and its causes and drivers are varied. In my opinion, Abiy’s government is supposed to start to respond to the existing political questions and demands of the Oromos promptly.
Some of their political questions are Oromiffa to be an official language of the federal government, liberation from economic marginalization, adequate compensation and recompensation for land expropriation, determination of the territory of the city of Addis Ababa, cessation of exploitation of resources of the region, true federalism with no external intervention, new Ethiopian identity that is inclusive of Oromo culture, improvement to cultural domination and promotion of their culture, more political empowerment, good governance, equitable administration, justice, socially responsible investment in the region and enough representation in the federal civil service.
Despite the existence of all these political questions some activists deny the existence of these questions at all. Although not an Oromo myself, in my opinion, this is nothing less tham political insanity.
Everyone who is concerned for the political questions of the Oromos should not be tagged as a narrow nationalist. This concept is a relative one. Whatever ethnic groups we may come from we need to appreciate these questions and cooperate for the job of answering them as we are concerned, as we should be, for the centuries-long oppression of the Oromo society.
Ed.’s Note: The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. The writer can be reached at [email protected].
Contributed by Tagel Getahun