I have been following the process leading to the formation of ODF by former top officials of OLF with growing bewilderment. My generation recalls the myth of OLF within the Oromoo community even before the front itself got formed with its political programme as an answer to its century old subjugation. The acronym OLF is still very deep seated in Oromoo mind set up. And we all know the high prestige its leaders enjoyed among the Oromoos.
The debilitating division in the leadership of OLF especially since the end of 1990:ies has been terribly painful for the Oromoo people. I will not dwell on trying to suggest the reasons for these recurring faction buildings. One can say undoubtedly that they hurt the Oromoo struggle tremendously.
As a concerned Oromoo I have been getting myself informed for several years on the development of Oromoo struggle for emancipation. I even had some participation in the Oromoo students movement abroad. I remember very well the problems we faced in trying to unify the Oromoo Student Unions in Europe and North America and the role of OLF representatives played. We had the so called “dual membership” issue as the main stumbling block to unity. I remember that a very favorable atmosphere for unity existed among ordinary Oromoo student members of these unions in general 1980. People were ready to get rid of this minor issue on a common platform/general meeting and get united on the bigger issues of Oromoo struggle. I cannot avoid telling that this tide of trying to unify Oromoo student unions unfortunately rocked the position of Dr Nagaasoo Gidaadaa out of the union he was a member. We all know now where Dr Nagaasoo ended up and the trial to unify the Oromoo student unions failed. I remember vividly the statement of Dr Diimaa Nagawoo’s the then regular representative of OLF on one of the unions annual meetings telling “why should you guys are disturb us talking about this issue, leave us and run your own union” when he was approached to contribute to the widely wished unification of the two Oromoo student unions.
In the light of the present news from ODF members including Dr Diimaa’s interview on ESAT September 2011, Mr Leencoo Lataa’s and Mr Lencoo Baatii’s different interviews and speeches one can wonder what these leaders are/have been looking for or if they really meant when they claimed to promote the political programme of OLF. Now they are telling us that they are heading to join in hands with EPRDF endorsing its/TPLF constitution, ethnical military power, etc. Do they really mean that they can contribute something to the Oromoo struggle? What are the conditions for them to work under once they landed in Finfinnee? A déjà vu in the light of OLF leaders return to Finfinnee 1991 without any terms of agreement with TPLF, the acceptance of TPLF guerrilla forces as the national military force of Ethiopia, the encampment OLF military forces to be annihilated by TPLF forces later on, etc ignoring the widespread misgivings several Oromoo nationals expressed. It should be remembered that it was the same actors who did those miscalculations who are now declaring to join hands with EPRDF. The event of Mr Lencoo Lata flying to Finfinnee to get Mr Ibsaa Guutamaa out of prison of the late Mr Meles Zenawi stands for itself.
The formation of ODF and then ODF sounds for me more of personal vendetta this group seems to have against those leaders who expelled them from OLF or refused to accept their political paradigm shift. The steps they seem intend to take is going to undoubtedly split Oromoo forces even in Oromia and weaken the struggle. Whether they admit or not they are going to make the Oromoo people and its struggle a hostage of ODF leaders’ vendetta.
The other obnoxious issue is the misuse of the flag of OLF. All OLF factions which surfaced the last 10-15 years are claiming the original OLF flag even those who have changed the political programme of OLF. ODF is doing the same. Thereby one more confusion for those Oromoos who are not well informed of this mishmash. It is utter arrogance when ODF leaders use the original flag of OLF while they are intending to form “a democratic Ethiopia” denouncing armed struggle, accepting TPLF´s Constitution, reneging on free Oromia, etc.
I could write much more on the issue at hand. But my point should be clear from what I mentioned above. My earnest appeal to the leadership of ODF is, please do not allow your personal ego go before the cause of the Oromoo people you struggled for almost all of your life. Please, do not split Oromoo forces when we need more consolidation and firm stand for our people’s right. Oromoos wish you stay icons of Oromoo Struggle. We have already more than enough of split, renegades, setbacks, etc. I can assure you that you can never do better than what Obboo Bulchaa’s OFDO or Prof Mararaa’s OPC tried to do in vain.
Teferi Lemecha firstname.lastname@example.org