By Leenjiso Horo
It was in May of 1991, the Tigrayan Liberation Front (TPLF) marched into Finfinnee- the capital city of Oromia, using force and violence. That is, it seized political power in the empire in blood and violence. As soon as it set its feet in Finfinnee, it embarked on a widespread campaign of killings and knapping, intimidation, incitement, abuse, terror, and violence of varying proportion against the Oromo people. Since, it has been ruling the empire with an iron fist, blood and violence. It did not take long time for the Oromo people to recognize and understand the TPLF’s true nature, its character and its mortal danger to Oromia and to themselves. It was with this understanding they called upon the Oromo political organizations to unite and fight. The call was not well received by some political organizations. It was during this time the Oromo representatives from eleven regions of Oromia gathered at Odaa Bultum in December of 1991 and passed important resolutions. In the resolution, the representatives stated that the Oromo people will never sacrifice their birth rights, their dignity, their honor, and freedom to make peace with the alien force that occupies their country and so demanded the TPLF to immediately and unconditionally terminate its interference in the internal affairs of Oromia. Hence, TPLF regime has been suffering serious crises of legitimacy since it assumed the political power in the empire. It has never earned legitimacy since it appeared on the political stage of the empire.
Finfinnee is a three-way capital city. It is a capital city of Oromia, empire of Ethiopia and Africa. Neither Oromia nor the other two invited TPLF to Finfinnee. It had no legal base to entry Oromia and hence Finfinnee. Hence, its entry was illegal. And ever since, it has remained an illegal and illegitimate. Moreover, the Oromo people are uniquely the sole owner of Finfinnee. It is Oromo’s socio-political and cultural center. However, the Oromo people have become the victim of TPLF rule in their own country. It specifically targeted the Oromo population for total annihilation. The TPLF regime is prone to murder people en mass. It is a regime that is encapsulated every evil of the Nazis. From the pinnacle of power, it has initiated and implemented a state-sponsored and a state-organized genocide against the Oromo people. Its goal is and has been to drive Oromo from Finfinnee and its vicinities. It is an enemy with unbridled greed and insatiable lust for wealth and power. It has usurped the ownership of land from our people. Since then, it has been destroying Oromia’s landscape, Oromo economies, social cohesion and environment in Oromia. Ever since it arrived in Oromia, it has been vandalizing, plundering and pillaging the wealth of the Oromo nation. It sees Oromia as its oil field and Oromia fertile farmland as its oil that brings wealth and power to it, to its members and its supporters.
By now, it must be understood that the TPLF is a fascist regime with an insatiable propensity to committee genocide. In Oromia alone, it has already set in motion policies of destruction primarily aimed at total extermination of the Oromo people. AAMP is one of its policies. The initiator, instigator, and implementer of this policy is the TPLF regime. Since its seizure of political power in violence, it has been persistently engaged in mass massacre of civilians. Now, it has made the Oromo school children its new victims in its wave of mass massacre. Consequently, the streets in cities towns, and villages in Oromia are stained with the slaughtered bodies of the Oromo school children. Such mass massacre has given rise to genocide unseen in the Ethiopian empire since the conquest of Oromia by Menelki II of Abyssinia, a century ago. Despite all these, in a strange twist of history, the OPDO is still working with this fascist regime to implement its policies and the others are still seeking for some type of accommodation with it. Furthermore by using State power, the TPLF regime has annexed the Oromia region of Wollo to Amhara region. In so doing, it has set in motion a time bomb for the future conflict between Amhara and Oromo over Wollo. Along with this, it has also been inciting to violence people against each other- those peoples who have been living side by side as good neighbors in peace and harmony for centuries. Simply put, TPLF has been preparing conditions for the peoples of the empire to descend step by step into a war of all against all.
Today, the TPLF regime has engaged in a process of a partition of Oromia. Its “Addis Ababa Master Plan” is euphemism for partition of Oromia and annihilation of the Oromo population. This must be clearly understood. If it is allowed to be implemented, this “Master Plan” destroys Oromia, and with it, Oromummaa (Oromoness), the Oromo people and their institutions. Such are the objectives of the TPLF in this plan. Hence, in the name of this “Master Plan,” the TPLF regime has been committing genocide against the Oromo people on a mass scale and now against the Oromo youths. As a consequence, today streets in cities, towns and villages in Oromia are filled with dead and dying Oromo children. Unless we stop this sinister plan here and now, we may run a risk of Oromia marches to its death with its people. And it goes without saying that a nation that fails or unable to defend, protect itself and its children against genocide and a nation that failed to defend, protect and control the territorial integrity of its country, its natural resources- the land, the rivers, the lakes, mountains and etcetera and its environments from destruction by the enemy is a nation that marches to its death. Here it must be crystal clear to all the Oromo nationals that the greatest threat to Oromia and to the survival of its people is the TPLF. For this, the eviction of TPLF from Oromia and its liquidation must be the first order of the day of the Oromo national liberation struggle.
The Oromo question is a colonial question. A colonial question is a question of total independence. It is for this, the Oromo people have been fighting since their colonization and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) since its inception in 1970s. In a colonial question, the phrase the right of nation to self-determination means the right of colonialized nation to establish its own independent and sovereignty state-a separate polity. It has no any other meaning than this. Hence, colonial question is neither a question for regional autonomy, nor a question for federalization nor for democratization of an empire, but it is a question for independence. In a struggle against a colonial occupation, to abandon armed struggle in the fight for independence and to opt for empire federalization or empire democratization is to opt to see one’s own country and people degraded and dishonored and their people’s aspiration for liberation destroyed. And such is construed as a crime against one’s own country and people. Armed struggle must be seen as the only solution for the colonized peoples to fight to defeat colonial occupation. With this in mind, one must also clearly understand that it is only the independent and sovereign Democratic Republic of Oromia that alone can decide as to whether Oromia opt to remain independent state or opt to re-join other nations and nationalities in a form of a new political arrangement. Hence, on these issues no one has such jurisdiction except the Oromo people. This means, no an organization or a group has right to decide on the future of Oromia and its people. This is clearly stated in the Political Program of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and in the Resolution of Oromo Assembly at Odaa Bultum of 1991.
Oromia Shall Be Free!
The Oromo Assembly at Odaa Bultum
December 11, 1991
To Oromo Economic Association
We, the representatives of the associations of the eleven Oromo regions have deliberated a meeting at Odaa Bultum, Habro District, Western Hararge. There we thoroughly discussed the current political situation prevailing in Oromia and passed the resolutions. That is enclosed.
The Representatives of the Oromo Regions at Odaa Bultum
1. Wallaga Oromos Association
2. Hararge ” ”
3. Arsi ” ”
4. Jimma ” ”
5. Wallo ” ”
6. Ilu Ababor ” ”
7. Gojam (Wombera) Oromos Association
8. Shewa ” ”
9. Bale ” ”
10. Boran ” ”
11. Guji ‘’ ”
12. Oromo Health Professional Association
13. Oromo Lawyers ‘’
14. ” Economists ”
15. ” Workers ”
The Odaa Bultum Resolution of the Oromo Assembly of December 1991
Resolutions of Representatives of Oromos drawn from, Eleven Regions, various Professional Associations and Mass Organizations
It is nearly over a century now since Menelik II, using modern weaponry and expert military advice supplied to him by Europeans, colonised Oromia and that the exploitation of human and material resources of Oromo land started.
Ever since the colonisation, the Oromo people have waged uninterrupted struggle to regain their lost sovereignty. This uninterrupted struggle of the Oromo people together with the struggle of other peoples in the Empire resulted in the downfall of the Haile Sellassie I regime and subsequently in the crumbling of the Derg regime.
In the long history of struggle against the Derg regime the “London Peace Conference” was turning. It paved the way for the July Conference that was held in Addis Ababa. This historic conference gave birth to the Charter governing the transitional period in Ethiopia. In this Charter the rights of nations to self-determination is unequivocally affirmed. This attempt to resolve conflicts in the peaceful way gave hope to all concerned that people’s demand addressed democratically.
This is not to be and the EPRDF is the obstructing the smooth implementation of the Charter. To give political competition a chance and prevent it from being transformed into armed conflict, we the representatives of various professional associations and mass organizations and have gathered here today at this historic place Odaa Bultum, in Habro district Hararge and discussed the prevailing situation in Oromia. After exhaustive discussion and long deliberation we have resolved the following:
1) The EPRDF is currently engaged in harassing, intimidating, imprisoning, torturing and killing the Oromo people. We demand the immediate coming to end of these unwarranted acts and that the EPDRF army returns to its barracks unconditionally.
2) The right to decide Oromia’s future has to be left to the Oromos. Accordingly we demand the immediate termination of interference by alien forces in the internal affairs of Oromia.
3) In different parts of Oromo regions such as Arsi, Bale, Jimma, Walo, Hararge, Shawa and etc. Forces of the former Amhara ruling class in collaboration with the EPRDF forces have been engaged in mass massacring of innocent Oromos and in destruction of Oromo shelters and crops. We demand that such atrocities be stopped immediately that the victims of this crime be compensated and provided for.
4) The EPRDF forces, through their actions have made their anti-Oromo stand clear. Therefore, the Oromo people do not entertain the illusion that such a force would guarantee its peace. In the light of this fact, the EPRDF force’s role of maintaining peace in Oromia goes contrary to the interest of the Oromo people. We fear that the move would aggravate the already existing problems of our people. Condemning their atrocious acts, we strongly believe that the right to maintain peace and order in Oromia should be left to Oromos.
5) Currently, the EPRDF has stepped up its malicious propaganda, directed at creating mistrust and hostility among the Oromo people and their neighbours with the objective of alienating the Oromo people from natural allies. We strongly demand that they immediately refrain from such ill-intended manouvers.
6) With the ill-intension of creating artificial division among the Oromo people, the Wallo Oromos are arbitrarily annexed and included in the Amhara region. Condemning this arbitrary division we demand for the re-incorporation of Wallo into Oromia.
7) In the struggle aimed at overthrowing the Derg regime that the part played by the EPRDF forces was decisive is recognized. Therefore the Oromo people owe to it a debt. But Oromos will never ever sacrifice their birth rights and freedom in exchange for the debt payment.
8) We hereby would like to bring to the attention of peace loving and democratic forces and international communities that failure to meet our demand is in breach of the articles 1, 2 and 13 of the Charter and is a violation of the Charter on the part of the EPDRF. On the behalf of the Oromo people we appeal to the international community to urge EPRDF to abide by the July Charter and express their solid support to avert the suffering of our people.
The Oromo Assembly at Odaa Bultum
December 4, 1991