Oduu Haaraya

Do you think ODF will be formally register in Ethiopia?

Geresu Tufa

As we have learned from different media outlet, ODF entourage led by Obbo Leenco Leta have flow to Shaggar. If my source is accurate they in Shagar as I am writing this short comment. The news has triggered a lot of ado among Oromo and Ethiopian activists at home and in Diaspora. Given Obbo Leencho’s role as dominant figure in OLF and longstanding controversies about his different political moves, it was not difficult to expect such kind of fuss. There are some optimists who are expecting/ hoping for some kind of Black Swan (miraculous ending) as outcome of the move while at the same time their/his detractors are asserting that this is a realized “conspiracy theory” which they have been prophesying for so long and its result would have an apocalyptic impact on Oromo struggle for freedom and justice.
Most people seems to be either mesmerized with the move or in situation of wait and see kind.
There are also fears and concern from non-Oromo oppositions that this move might be ended up by “legitimizing” the regime.

As per Obbo Leencho’s interview with Radiyoo Bilisummaa Oromoo, a podcasting radio (ODF’s organ), so far there is no formal/informal or concrete agreement between ODF and TPLF led Ethiopian government. As I have learned from Obbo Leencho’s interview, ODF have been trying to reach out to the regime directly and indirectly (through different interlocutors), however, as he said on his latest interview, the regime has not yet given any response whatsoever for ODF’ proposal of going back to participate in political business at home.

Obbo Leenco has not hide that, ODF leadership has resolved unilaterally to move home since they are frustrated by refusal/ delay of any reaction from the regime to resume talk. Hence, according to Obbo Leencho their current decision to go back home without any formal or official consent from the regime is try to talk to them directly and to get ODF formally registered. Based on information we have so far, what can be conclude at time is that ODF’s fate at home is at a mercy of the regime.For those who know the nature and characteristics of Ethiopia politics the move appears to be unusual if not adventurous.

As to how the regime will treat them, it depends on the regimes, tactical and strategical calculation. Given the regimes longstanding repressive character, its excessive suspicion and hostility toward anything Oromo and Oromo political activists, its unquenchable thirst to rule for ever ,control freak behaviour and its insecurity( especially after they lost their Prophet like leader), at this point in time it is very difficult to forecast the rationale that would influence their calculation or decision. What one can honestly and realistically say is it is very very difficult to be optimist.

Even though, it was not clearly spelled out most of ODF supporters and some leaders have been hoping that there would be some kind of formal understanding through formal talk, not because of ODF political pressure and clout but based on strategic political calculation of finding out some kind of “rational third” way to Oromo/Ethiopia political gridlock. Some of them are also hoping that “third party” or may be some governments in the west who have the interest of political stability in the region might use their leverage on TPLF to make some concession for the sake of future stability. What have been ignored from this calculation was that, ODF has no stick or what negotiation experts call BATNA( Best alternative to negotiated alternative) which they can used as bargaining cheap) if the regime refuse to give the required concession. Let alone in Ethiopia, where most political business characterized by violence, it is even unrealistic to secure some kind of tangible political concession, in the so called advanced countries, solely based “the merit of one’s idea or rational’.

Hoping that Oromo people will remain cautious and resilient to continue its struggle for freedom and justice in all form I will forward the following questions for discussion.

Do you think ODF will be formally register in Ethiopia?

How the people react?

Can they participate in the coming election given the short time that remains?

What negative or positive impact on Oromo political forces at home and in diaspora?

If the regime refuse to register ODF what will be their fate?
Would they ended up oblivious in the future if they couldn’t participate in the coming election?

How can it will impact the Oromo political landscape?

Would ODF move have negative impact on existing or future armed struggle?

What will be the reaction of “traditional Amhara political forces” reaction?

Can we expect some kind Black Swan outcome from this move?

What will be its short and long time impact?

Can the “presumed glory and myth of /around some ODF’s political leader” might have some seismic impact on the outcome as some are hoping?

What kind of precaution Oromo people at home and in diaspora should take to avert the possible ramifications of the move if any?
Does this move break and change forever the attitude and political rituals of Diaspora that have been considering staying in Diaspora by itself is form of “passive resistance”?

What kind of tactical and strategically positive and negative Impact will have on Oromo political movements at home?

Does it gives some kind of “legitimacy coat” for repressive regime? These and many more questions need to be discussed and answered in the days to come.

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