The Executive Committee is excited to announce the establishment of the Oromo association based in Europe. The Oromo Community Association in Europe (OCAE)/Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA) is a membership organization based in Europe and established according to the law of Associations (German: Vereinsrecht) in the Federal Republic of Germany. It is a non-political and non-profit organization (NPO, also known as a non-business entity), founded on August 24, 2014, that uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization’s members as profits or dividends. It is a community-serving organization focused on providing services to the community in general in Africa delivering human services programs or projects, aid and development programs, education and health services, and so on. Designation as a non-profit does not mean that the association does not intend to make a profit, but rather that the association has no owners and that the funds realized in the operation of the association will not be used to benefit any owners. It is not member-serving organization with respect to its surplus revenues. Although the association is permitted to generate surplus revenues, they must be retained by the organization for its self-preservation, expansion, or plans (projects).
The organization “Oromo Community Association in Europe (OCAE)/Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA)” is also Europe-wide acting non-governmental organization (NGO) with regard to the development policy focusing on Africa. The seat of the association is in Frankfurt/Main (Frankfurt am Main), Germany. Frankfurt/Main is the place of the management, because the center of directing business is there, where the Executive Committee makes its decisions for the guidance of the association, independently of residence of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman. The association can operate within the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), as well as in all other European countries. In each case, the country specific regulations are valid. It is, therefore, appropriate regional branch offices (bases or outposts) in Germany, moreover also foreign branch offices (contact points), which in each case subject to the by-law of the association, be established.
The association’s colors are black, red and white. The association possesses a logo and a stamp. The area of jurisdiction of the association for all disputes is Frankfurt/Main, Germany.
The association publishes important information for its members in the quarterly (three-monthly) edited Newsletter “Qaanqee Bilisummaa (QAABIL)” (English: “Spark of Freedom”).
The organization “Oromo Community Association in Europe (OCAE)/Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA)” is committed as a pan-African association (PAV). This pan-African association is committed to the promotion of international understanding and solidarity-based development cooperation, which should be achieved, inter alia, through joint cultural and sport events. Contacts between African, German and citizens of other nations should be encouraged by encounter and exchange and contribute to the reduction of xenophobia and racism.
The Oromo Community Association in Europe (OCAE)/Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA) is a trans-European organizing and networking platform for the Oromos in the Diaspora. The association strives to create a strong and active network of empowered and well-connected Oromo leaders. We intend on nurturing the language and culture of the Oromo people, protesting against successive Ethiopian regimes, and coordinating the overall support to the Oromo National Liberation Movement (ONLM) from the diaspora. The association recognizes Afaan Oromoo (the Oromo language) as the core and foundation of Oromummaa or Oromo national identity.
The association is committed to bringing a meaningful change to the Oromo people by strengthening unity among the trans-European Oromo Diaspora, developing and supporting their leadership capacities and mobilizing resources for the advancement of the Oromo National Liberation Movement (ONLM) through programs, such as “Fundraising” at the successive annual conferences of the association, cross generational dialogue and networking.
The association is looking forward to seeing all Oromo nationals living in all regions of the continental Europe to be members of our organization. The association is comprised of individuals as well as Oromo organizations all over Europe. Individual membership is open to all Oromo nationals in Europe who accept and adhere to the by-law of the association. Membership is open to any Oromo organization all over Europe which is non-religious, non-political and has core objectives that are in accordance with those of our association.
The Oromo Community Association in Europe (OCAE)/Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA) was formed to serve as an umbrella association for all Oromo organizations and Student Unions in Europe. The association was founded with the vision of creating an effective network of Oromo nationals living in all regions of the continental Europe in order to synchronize the efforts towards the alleviation of the economic, social, and human rights deprivations of the Oromo people to fulfill our commitments to support the Oromo people’s struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.
II. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
1. To promote support for politically persecuted Oromo refugees from Ethiopia and other people from other African countries. The association provides advice and information to the Oromo refugees in Germany through information sessions and seminars. It aims to help the settlement of newly arrived Oromo refugees in promoting and maintaining Oromo language (Afaan Oromoo) and culture (Aadaa Oromoo). As a nation, the Oromo people are at historical transition between the gallant and revolutionary generation of the 1970s and the rising leaders of the “Qubee Generation” who are energized to shoulder the responsibility of advancing the Oromo succession. The newly arrived Oromo refugees belong to the Qubee Generation. These newly arrived Oromo refugees are transformational leaders. The association is blessed with the Qubee Generation as bearer of Orommumma, which is governed by Gadaa codes of ethics. The Qubee Generation can carry out an effective transformational leadership. Transformational leadership can be seen when our leaders and their followers make each other advance to a higher level of morality and motivation to support the ongoing Oromo National Liberation Movement (ONLM) for self-determination. Through the strength of their vision and personality, our transformational leaders are able to inspire their followers to change expectations, perceptions, and motivations to work towards common goals (kaayyoo waliigala). The association greatly admires and proud of the recent intensified mass movement of the Oromo people against the so called “Addis Ababa Master Plan,” particularly the struggle that led by the revolutionary youth (daraggootaa fi shamarran) of the Qubee Generation. Therefore, the protest that Oromo young generation carried out against the Addis Ababa Master Plan is the right action and we, the Oromo communities in the Diaspora, have to support our Qubee generation in their struggle against TPLF regime.
The association takes into consideration the popular student uprising, known as Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa (FDG) (meaning “Revolt Against Subjugation (Oppression)”, abbreviated as “RAS”), that suddenly broke out on November 09, 2005 following the failed Ethiopian election of 2005 in which the Oromos were denied any meaningful representation. The popular Oromo student uprising day is commemorated every year by Oromos throughout the world in the month of November. This annual commemoration in November encourages the Oromo people to renew the spirit of resistance against the murderous TPLF regime of Ethiopia.
This purpose is achieved in particular by collecting cash and in kind donations for refugees, displaced persons, war victims and disabled veterans in Ethiopia and other African countries, the organization of relief supplies, public relations, supporting aid organizations which pursue the above purpose.
The organization of a program of events is an integral part of the association’s work (for example, readings, theaters, discussion meetings, festivals, cinema shows and presentations). The party political independence does not prevent the association from thinking to comment on social and political issues.
2. To strengthen the unity of purpose and create a network of Oromo nationals all over Europe (Trans-European Oromo Network, abbreviated as TEON) under the banner of “Pan-Oromianism” (an ideology and movement that encourages the solidarity of Oromos worldwide) and seek partnerships and working relationships with similar national and international organizations. One of the possible ways to strengthen the ongoing struggle of the Oromo nation is by forging the necessary unity of purpose among all Oromo National Liberation Organizations (ONLOs). To be meaningful, the unity of purpose must be designed to respond to the real needs of the Oromo people at a given time in history. The unity of purpose must be shared, clearly understood, owned and, must be able to mobilize spirits, energies, talents, resources and capabilities of people. As critical, the unity of purpose must be translated in to action. The liberation of the Oromo people must be pursued with wisdom, patience, perseverance, strategic thinking—always using the National Agenda and Unity of Purpose as driving factor (guide posts) for marshaling our resources, capabilities and creativity to sustain the Liberation process for which many Oromos have sacrificed their lives; for which many have been forced to flee their homeland (Biyya Oromoo); and, for which many continue to suffer in jail. Their cause is our cause. There is no shortcut to achieve the unity of purpose. It cannot be achieved without mutual trust and respect. It cannot occur without transformational leadership and very strong organization. It cannot be accomplished without participation and inclusion of those that can and should be included. It cannot be achieved without persistence, sacrifice, collaboration and team work.
Accordingly, rallying in unison and speaking with one voice will have greater impact in lifting the spirits of the Oromo people and their leaders and, in encouraging Oromo youth (daraggootaa fi shamarran) that we are behind them. It is also important to show solidarity (waltahiinsa, tumsa) to the international community. This will ensure that the ongoing Oromo National Liberation Movement (ONLM) is sustained no matter how long it takes.
One of the most difficult obstacles in leadership among Oromo political and civic organizations today is the inability to appreciate and accept those outside “the circle of friendship, region, religion, knowledge and familiarity” from contributing to the greater and common good. This narrow and almost “village” mentality in leadership prevents the Oromo people from benefiting from the diversity of talent that exists both within and outside the Oromo country (Biyya Oromoo).
3. To advocate for the rights of the Oromo people and contribute to our people’s quest for freedom, justice, equality, and self-determination. The association is engaged in promoting and advancing cause of the disadvantaged Oromo people to ensure that their voice is heard and responded to. The association also committed to assist the integration of the Oromo nationals with refugee background in the German society through the provision of culturally-sensitive services. The common denominator of the ongoing Oromo National Liberation Movement (ONLM) is the unconditional freedom (bilisummaa) from any sort of political domination, economic exploitation and cultural suppression without disregarding the self-rule of Oromia (Biyya Oromoo). Understood in this way, the Oromo language (Afaan Oromo) will be the national Language of the Oromo people. If the real Federation is implemented in Ethiopia according to the will of the nation-states, the promotion of the Oromo language (Afaan Oromoo) to the first federal/official or working language (procedural language) of Ethiopia is inevitable.
4. To support needy persons, the promotion of international understanding, education, public and vocational training and the common development cooperation in Africa through
– creation and promotion of friendly relations among people of African countries and people from Germany in a spirit of tolerance and international understanding.
– solidarity-based development cooperation, i.e. partnership support of people in the African continent in their efforts to reduce poverty, hardship and social discrimination and to deploy forms of democratic self-help and self-determination by further development of the democratic form of Government with a constitution which guarantees general personal and political rights to develop fair elections and independent courts. The association supports as well projects, which are directed to the satisfaction of basic needs (material basis of life, survival, life support) for clean water, health, education and income generating investment or income- generating activities (income generation measures). Based on the different local, regional and sectoral conditions, peculiarities (specific features), and needs a contribution should be made to secure income and employment in particular by small businesses, taking into account sustainability criteria. This purpose of the association is realized furthermore through fundraising in Germany for the support of the understanding among nations, education, public education and vocational training and the united development cooperation in Africa.
5. To afford a peaceful contribution to the broadening and deepening of democratic ideas (ideas for Democratic processes) through science, research, and education in Africa. Typical characteristics of a democracy are free elections, majority rule, the acceptance of a political opposition, constitutionality, the protection of fundamental rights, the protection of civil rights, and respect for human rights. Since in a democracy the power is exercised by the public, freedom of expression and freedom of the press to the political decision-making process are essential. “Democracy” is in most democratic countries formally supporting a constitutional principle.
6. To promote crime prevention in the fight against corruption (a crime against all forms of development projects) in Africa. This project will focus explicitly on the relationship between democracy and corruption, asking in particular under what conditions democracy reduces corruption. Ethiopia in particular and other African countries in general are a case in point, where years of so-called democracy do not appear to have had an impact on corruption levels.
To achieve this purpose, the association fights corruption at African level in conjunction with international organizations. The association’s work aims at greater transparency and integrity in all public affairs, as well as in business and society. At the African level, the association fights any kind of corruption in government, business, and society, as well as in their relations with each other and to individuals. Accordingly, the association has as its task to bring stakeholders from politics, business and civil society to create transparency together. To do this, the association organizes public events, seminars, but also interviews. The association works not confrontational, but looking for coalitions with Governments, administrations and politicians, business and civil society groups representing a trusted, transparent, value-oriented, civilian democratic political culture. Democracy means equal access to political decisions, and requires equal and free access to information relevant to decision making. The democratic form of Government will survive only as a non-corrupt democracy. To do their bases – transparency, rule of law and freedom of expression – for the individual must be experienced. The Association’s task is the promotion of decentralization (regional planning), local communities (development programme for citizen initiatives) and democratic principles through strengths of political parties and civil society organizations. Decentralization occurs in three stages: the administrative decentralization (devolution), the executive decentralization and legislative decentralization. Decentralization processes can lead to Federal Government regulations. This association emphasizes the dual properties of the federations – constitutionally guaranteed collective management (shared rule or federal government) and self-government (self-rule)- are essential components and modules in a world where many are young democracies longing for stability in relation to the Federal State regulations. Democracy thus pertains to the self-rule of a politically constituted social group—a state or provincial authority, or a city or town.
Federalism is a compromise between common/federal administration and self-government. As such are federal systems rare free of tensions, because they include an often delicate balancing act between territorial integration and autonomy.
Of course, the criminal law should not only look on paper, but must also be implemented through integrity and independent law enforcement authorities and the courts. It is therefore suggested that an independent and free from corruption Justice in turn is important for the fight against corruption.
his association perceives that the criminalization of corruption is not enough, although it has unquestionably preventive effect. Organizational measures which hinder the corruption are also necessary at all levels.
7. The association sees next to the envisaged long-term project work, humanitarian aid (measures for protecting and treating people in a humanitarian emergency, which go beyond a first aid) as his task in particular through appropriate medical direct assistance measures in Genitourinary diseases, as well as in the training and qualification of medical professionals to promote sexual and reproductive health. These emergencies can occur due to different causes such as medical disasters (for example due to a pandemic), natural disasters (Endogenous/ tectonic, gravitational, climatic and other causes), armed conflicts, but also political changes.
The projects should be tailored to the needs of local people and designed so that they can be implemented to help themselves.
This association wants – if necessary – to work in partnership with churches, associations, foundations, non- governmental organizations and initiatives in Germany and in other countries.
8. The association is for the consistent implementation of women’s and children’s rights in developing countries in Africa, in order to enable a sustainable improvement in the living conditions in the societies. In particular, obstacles to development, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage and early pregnancies of children should be removed. Further all children should receive equally access to education and health care as well as be protected against exploitation.
9. The association aims at protection and maintenance (care) of nature and natural environment according to the preservation (conservation) and restoration of the natural-conditioned unity of life and environment. Its efforts are valid in particular for the still remained close to nature landscapes, an ecological shaping of the man-made landscape and close to nature recreational landscapes, the natural ground shapes, protective-worthy single objects, indigenous fauna and flora, the support of the protection of animals, the soil health, the keeping of water and air clean (pollution-free), the reduction (abatement) of noise as well as healthy living conditions, among other things in the residential area, working area, food production area and recreational area in Africa. The association is ready to perceive the interests of consumers by providing information and advice on the environmental and health implications of products, services and mode of behaviors.
10. The other purpose of the Association is promotion of agriculture (promotion of consumerism and consumer protection) in Africa. Thereby, the small farmers receive support with seeds and machinery cooperatives or machinery syndicates (German: Maschinenringe) to acquire bigger land surfaces and to be able to manage and to be able to make therefore an essential contribution for the feeding of their families and the people in Africa. At the same time, the resulting middle class that is necessary for the processing of manufactured products should be encouraged. With the construction of warehouses, agricultural products can be processed and marketed central in the regions. The association supports projects in developing countries in Africa, for example, in Ethiopia (especially in the Oromo regions), Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and the others. The association plans, support and implements projects and undertakings (ventures) in Africa to improve the lives of people mainly in rural areas. An economic business operation is not aimed at. A realization of profits is not intended. Any profits may only be used for statutory purposes. The association is working with existing institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations and companies in Germany and the African countries.
III. TAX EXEMPTION – NON-PROFIT AND CHARITABLE TAX ASPECTS
In Germany, upon application, public-purpose entities (organizations or statutory corporations) may be granted a tax- exempt status, exempting them from German corporate income tax and trade tax. Such tax-exempt status may also result in a value-added tax (VAT)-exemption or reduced VAT rate for services provided by such entity, depending, however, on the specific type of service rendered.
The entity must directly and exclusively pursue (i) charitable or (ii) public-benefit (non-profit) purposes within the meaning of the chapter “Tax-Privileged Purposes” of the German Fiscal Code (German: Abgabenordnung). While “charitable purposes” are limited to activities dedicated specifically to poor, dependent or disabled people, “public- benefit (non-profit) purposes” cover a wide range of activities. The activities of the entity need to be of an altruistic nature. The entity must not have any economic purposes of its own.
The assets and financial means of the entity may only be used for the purposes as defined in the Statutes. No shareholder may receive any financial benefit from funds of the entity. No person may benefit from expenditures that are not related to the purpose of the entity or through inappropriately high allowances or payments.
According to its statute (by-law), the Oromo Community Association in Europe, (OCAE) or Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA) promotes charity and non-profit purposes.
The statute of the above mentioned association as amended on 05 April 2015 meets the statutory requirements according to sections 51, 59, 60 and 61 Fiscal Code of Germany (German: Abgabenordnung, abbreviated as AO).
The Oromo Community Association in Europe (OCAE) or Waldaa Hawaasa Oromoo Awuroopaa (WHOA) was recognized on April 15, 2015 as being tax-exempt by the local tax office (authority) in Frankfurt am Main (German: Finanzamt Frankfurt am Main) with tax identification number 47 250 05029 – VB K 03.
Funds received by a tax-exempted non-profit entity (organization) are attributable to either the:
– “ideal sphere” of the entity (not taxable /e.g. donations)
– “asset management” (not taxable /e.g. renting out an asset)
– “business sphere” (taxable /e.g. operating a business), or
– “special-purpose business sphere” (not taxable/i.e. a business that serves and is required for the non-profit purpose of the entity)
Hence, even if an entity achieves tax-exemption it may still be partially taxable with its received funds, unless this can be regarded as (i) pure asset management, (ii) special-purpose business (German: Zweckbetrieb) or (iii) donations and similar contributions provided by donors to serve the ideal purpose of the entity.
If existing assets are being used by the tax-exempted entity to derive income, without creating new assets in the process, this may be regarded as non-taxable asset management.
For a tax-exempted special purpose business, it would have to be demonstrated, that (i) this business serves the public-benefit purpose of the entity, (ii) fulfilling the entity’s public-benefit purpose actually requires to exercise this business and (iii) that this business activity does not compete with similar activities of non-privileged taxpayers to a greater extent than necessary.
Today’s tax-exemption rules in the Federal Republic of Germany have been broadened to cover also cross-border public-purpose activities. Hence, an entity may be recognized as tax-exempted (thus being able to issue certificates to donors for tax-deductible donations) even if a charitable purpose or other non-profit (not-for-profit) purpose is being pursued abroad. However, requirements to achieve a tax exemption in these scenarios are strict.
In a specific procedure available for potential not-profit (not-for-profit) entities the German tax authorities review draft documentation and grant/reject tax-exempt status in the process, subject to a retroactive review of the actual activities in the following. In the process, further requirements from a non-profit tax law perspective regarding (i) the exercise of the activity and the monitoring of the use of the funds and (ii) aiming at clearly separating a non-profit entity from any potential genuine business activity pursued by its shareholder would have to be considered.
With best regards,
The Executive Committee (ExCo)