By Kassim Sheimo
The last 24 years of Oromo struggle against TPLF regime has been a failure by many aspect due to lack of unity, strong viable leadership, lack of clear vision, proliferation of influence of locality, religion, and regionalism inside Oromo political organizations. The end product of these processes is a devastating failure of Oromo political and social fabric inside and outside of the country. As majority of us recall from 1991 to present day, Oromo people have not yet lost hope on its once was a vibrant organization with tenth of thousands of regular fighters as well as millions of volunteers and all most 90% support from Oromo public. The difference created before the fall of Dergu regime and following the TPLF dominated transitional government has resulted into devastating consequences for our cause. There are so many conspiracy theories that are still hidden from Oromo public as to why, when, who, and in what circumstances the OLF is divided into different factions. Why the Organization once enjoyed massive human and material resources behind it suffered such humiliating failure is a mystery.
The Oromo public rallied behind OLF with high level of energy, devotion, enthusiasm, commitments, and loyalty. Many foreign obverses and even some among us were surprised when the OLF able to attract huge public turned out by hundreds of thousands and able to garner millions of dollars in just few public engagement. It was unimaginable that any able Oromo would be left behind to a call by the organization. Many who live around the world volunteered to go back and fight the enemy under its banner of free Oromia. Enormous donations in terms of money and moral supports were pouring more than what the leaders were be able handle. It is therefore heartbreaking to see such organization suffered splits into many factions, consequently suffered calamitous failure, lost the support, and confidence of the Oromo public at home and in diaspora that it once used enjoy. Tenth of millions of dollars collected from the public are unaccounted for. There were minimal or no oversight. Those public enthusiasms and hopes were gradually vanished. It is very sad to see such diverse homogeneous 2nd largest ethnic population in Africa divided into a loopy localism, religion, and region. It is disgraceful that the leaders of these factions disgruntled the Oromo public. Today we have come to the point where these factions cannot attract more than 10 to 15 people at any location where Oromos are more dominant. The dynamics of political dialog and engagement have been intentionally ignored because these leaders can’t handle the outpouring public anger. They chose to go around, create locally based little pocket of sympathizers to get some pictures and video of sort of meeting and release to tell us that they still out there and alive. They just can’t talk to the public because they are afraid that they would be challenged, embarrassed, and humiliated by the public.
The latest attempt of TPLF government to engage us through its puppet OPDO leaders is the tantamount to our division, weakness, and failure. Otherwise, it would be unimaginable that Ato Abba Duula who is the right hand of cruel TPLF gangsters would appear here among us, especially in diaspora trying to talk to us about investment and development when our people are actually marginalized politically, economically, and socially in the country; when millions of Oromo people are evicted/ faced eviction from their ancestral land; when Oromo young generation are hunted and mercilessly killed for just raising the fundamental human rights. The irony is, some of our faction leaders suppose to be at forefront in protesting Ato Abba Duula’s visit has actually found to be feasting and entertaining with the agent of TPLF. Especially those that are packing their luggage for power sharing journey to Finfinne were more visible with Abba Duula. They are at desperate position to appease the TPLF bosses so they would be welcomed back to cronyism.
The evolving big question is for how long these faction leaders highjack the Oromo cause and stall our destiny to free land? It is safe for me to say that the Oromo struggle has its fare share of devastating political failure because of poor political, organizational, structural, and military judgments; lack of common sense, lack of high Oromo value, inefficiency, lack of accountability, and responsibility. Simply we cannot afford to stand by and allow such impunity to go unchallenged forever. It is our unalienable right to be vocal, opponent, and critic of those who failed us; and in the face of those who are still unflinching to lead us into more disasters after disasters. We all need to come out and discus with no fear of repercussion, no limit what so ever. We need to vent ourselves in constructive and civilized way. Question everything! We need to follow our rational judgment to engage ourselves with discussion, debate, and deliberation by following our egalitarian Gadaa system that anchors our national heritage. We need to be able to create alternate source of power.
Many genuine Oromo children worked hard all their lives to resuscitate and bring this organization back to its fullest factional capacity were vexed with lack of progress and went into hibernation. Many that have tried were anguished by lack of seriousness, lack of genuine interest from faction leaders, many faces of unity that emerged on different occasions that shade some light on the unity of purpose were short-lived and faded away quickly. They left us with bad memories of conspiracy theories. Huge road blocks are erected each step of the way causing one step forward and two steps backward. The liberation movement is almost at standstill or non-existence if we not cheating ourselves. It is smart if we accept our collective failures and sit together and find solution before it is too late. I am not trying to discredit those who genuinely working hard day and night for Oromo cause. At the same time we need to acknowledge, give gratitude, and commemorate the effort of those (General Taddesse Birru, General Waaqo Guutu, Jarra Abba Gadaa, Elemo Qilxuu, Jamal Roobalee, Nadhii Gammada, Gishuu Jarra, etc.) who left us outstanding legacy of knowledge, wisdom, perseverance, hard work, and sacrifices.
Each and every one of us has innate potential to achieve our goal of free country. We need to acknowledge our individual and collective potentials. Recognizing the power that we all possess will help us to gain momentum in our dream of achieving Bilisumma. Because potential is unexposed ability to reach latent power. Getting where we want to be doesn’t require solving transcendental or sophisticated mathematical equation. It rather requires joining each other by expanding our concept, horizon, setting short and long terms goals in the wide ocean full of opportunities. It is not hard to deduce the importance of effective leadership in harvesting those opportunities. Through visionary, determined, and consistent leadership that sends clear message to its friends and foes and armed with discipline, control, and ascendancy will for sure leads not only to victory but also stability and sustainability of peace after victory. Leadership is not a title; it is not forever; it is not a boss; it is rather he who is selfless that leads and follow the interest of his people; it is he who can put positive influence on his followers; it is he who never hesitates to take calculated risks because opportunity only comes through experiment in which risks are unavoidable. It is he who never hesitates to tell the truth because honesty is the best policy. “No legacy is so rich as Honesty” William Shakespeare.
We are equally human and affirm that there is no reason why we cannot solve our differences in Oromo cultural way of “Jaarsumma or manguddumma” and reconcile our differences. Among us, I believe there are hundred thousands of talented Oromo individuals, intellectuals, community leaders, religious leaders, elders, and young Qubee generations that can bring us together. The current TPLF political platform created dangerous clout in the horn of Africa. Conspicuously, albeit our people are increasingly becoming trapped in destitute cycle of poverty, lack of progress, lack of unity, polarized Oromo politics, and increasing religious fundamentalism around the horn of Africa have created potential of vulnerability. This suppressive regime is losing its control in some area of the country due to increasing resisting against injustices in every corner of the country. This development has to be followed by united, strong, and viable, political Organization that would save our people from impending political, military, and social crises. . We need to be able to remove the political uncertainty hovering over our country. Therefore; it is imperative to urgently Create Oromo National Forum for Dialog and deliberation that will lead us to true Reconciliation.
Thank you (Galatooma)
February 10, 2015