Oduu Haaraya

Empire Federalization as a political scheme to undermine the Oromo struggle for independence


      By Leenjiso Horo

      March 2014



The purpose of this article is two folds.  On the one hand, it is to make a distinction among the forms of federalism, and on the other, to underscore that federalism is a wrong political answer to a colonial question.  Hence, from the outset I would like to state that empire federalization is against the right of colonized nations to self-determination and so it is against the colonized people’s legitimate yearning and aspirations for freedom, national independence, and statehood.  Federalism of Empire state of Ethiopia is hostile to the necessity of establishing independent democratic republic of Oromiyaa.  Hence, to suggest Ethiopian empire federalization including colonized Oromo people in it is tantamount to a road-block in the path of Oromo struggle for national liberation.

The federalization of empire approach to the colonized people’s struggle for independence is incompatible with the history of all societies hitherto known to history and hence to suggest empire federalization is not only politics of bankruptcy but it is also a political moral hazard.  Indiscriminate usage of the term federalism is to obscure the purpose it is intended to serve and hence to invite confusion.  In history, federalism has never been sought as an answer to the people’s struggle for independence from empire.  Such question has never been raised in the history of people’s struggle against colonial occupation.  The former Oromo Dialogue Forum (ODF) and the now Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) has committed a political blunder and logical fallacy so as to present misrepresentation of historical facts.  Its Political program says, “The ODF shall strive to establish a democratic federal republic in Ethiopia, where sovereignty shall be shared between states and the federal government.”  Ethiopia is an empire and the campaign for empire federalization is the height of the ODF’s political absurdity.  In this case, its mystification of empire federalization is to engage in political sophistry in order to invite confusion, to neutralize and demobilize nationals, to produce paralysis and create capitulation.  In so doing, Ethiopian Empire federalization is intended as a means to undermine the unity of Oromo and their national liberation movement. And so, its argument of empire federalization has to be ditched in its entirety.  The purpose of this article is to demystify the politics of empire federalization by explaining what federalism is all about and what purpose it is intended to serve.

The formation of Federal arrangement

Federalism has never been sought as a solution for a colonial question.  It has been sought as an answer to the problems of minority nations and nationalities within an existing larger state.  It has been used in forming Multination federal state.  Multinational federal state is a hold together of minorities within a state territory, minorities that have been and are historically part of a state whose national sentiment or national feelings or identities exists for the state but who otherwise feel oppressed and want their distinctive interests to be guaranteed with a constitutionally protected autonomy.  In this case, minorities seek self-governing autonomous status with political decentralization.  Hence, it has been used as an instrument to accommodate linguistic, religious, national, and cultural minorities and for this as recognition of their territorial autonomy.  If their interests are not protected, they may opt to secede from the state.  Federalism of this type is a response to threat of disintegration of the state (e.g. Amhara, Tigray, Agaw, Kunama, Saho and etc).

The first question that comes to mind is as to what federalism is.  Oftentimes, it is said that federalism has never been easy to define, to understand, and to explain.  The reason is that there is no a single form of federalism.  Federal forms differ.  Thus, it is for these, Federal political systems, broadly understood to include federations, confederations, unions, leagues, condominiums, consociationalism, and associated states and etc.  Here it goes without saying that federalism is a creation of federal form of a government or governance structure and a system of checks and balances with independent legislative, executive and judicial branches.  Federalism is characterized by multi-functionality such as ‘self-rule’ and ‘shared rule’ based on the principle of ‘joint action and self-government’. Three major types of federalism have been identified in history: “Coming-together or bringing-together” federalism, “holding-together” federalism, and “putting-together” federalism.  All of these depend on a political logic, economic and historical conditions and characters that forced them into it.

Coming-together federalism

Coming together form of federalism is a federal arrangement formed between or among independent sovereign states voluntarily.  This means it is the previously existing independent sovereign states with sovereign governments that can enter into such arrangement.  Such federalism is formed against common external threat, or for security purposes: military and economic security or diplomatic purpose or all of them combined.  For instance, the thirteen-American colonial states formed federation after having defeated the British.  All thirteen states were sovereign states with sovereign governments.  They formed federation to defend themselves against British.  The British were their then common enemy.  Federation of Soviet Union was formed for fear of invasion from the West; the European Union was formed against the economic threat from the USA and Japan.  In general, the purpose of forming federation always has been and still is for purpose of common defense or security.

Hence, federation is an alliance or union or association between or among independent, free and sovereign states or countries.  For this, federalism is a negotiated agreement between or among sovereign states.  By being forming federal arrangement, then the States grant or delegate certain powers or sovereignties to a federal government, which carries out certain duties, responsibilities, and activities on behalf of federating states.

Federalization of political system can take a form of centralization or decentralization of power.  Such is a federation of free, independent, and sovereign states formed to live together on the basis of freedom, liberty, equality and solidarity.  These means federalism is a special form of state organization.  However, to choose federalism does not mean to choose democracy as some Oromo individuals try to preach.  Federalism is not essential for democracy.  Similarly, to choose democracy does not mean to choose federalism as there are many unitary democratic governments.  Federalism and democracy are two different things.  They address different things. In fact, there is no correlation between federalism and democracy.  However, one thing can only be said in regard to this:  that federalism enhances democracy by providing a platform for criticism and opposition to government policies and its politics.  It might also be said that federalism is only stable where there is a well-functioning democracy.  The basic principle of democracy is simply the rule of the people.  It conveys the supremacy of the people.  Hence, democracy means government of the people.  It is to make government accountable to the people.  It allows citizens to choose those who govern them under freedom and at regular intervals.  Elections have to be free, fair, and transparent.  It denotes freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and affiliation, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, association, and of movement, and existence of free press and independent judiciary, one person-one vote, and so on.

On the other, federalism is a distinctive form of state formation.  It is based on the coexistence of people of the state and people of the sub-units and on the coexistence between two governments -federal government and regional government, each of which is invested with powers to make different decisions; and constitutionally each government makes different laws, levy taxes, pursues different goals and different policies and delivers different public services to their citizens.  Both governments, however, can collect different contribution from the same public (e.g., through taxation and etc.).  For example, in the United States there is a federal tax, a federal law and state tax and state laws.  Hence, it is clear that federalism is a form of state organization.  And so, it is not the same with democracy.  “Federalism” as Robert A. Dahl defines it, is “a system in which some matters are exclusively within the competence of certain local units- cantons, states, provinces- and are constitutionally beyond the scope of the authority of the national government; and where certain matters are constitutionally outside the scope of the authority of the smaller units.”

In the federal system, the powers that are not delegated to the federal state remain powers of the states.  This means a state government has the right to structure its own internal operation.  For instance, in the United States as a part of voluntarily coming together all states have reserved for themselves what is called the “states’ rights” that include, among other things, states have their own constitutions and national guards.  State governments levy taxes, enact local laws, and have local control of institutions, police, schools, hospitals, Clinics, and etc to the needs, tastes, and priorities of local inhabitants.  It was in this spirit, in forming federation, the United States Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  For instance, all states delegate sovereignty to the federal state to maintain national security, conduct international diplomacy, sign international treaties, regulate commerce with foreign nations, coin and print currency, builds Airports, Post Offices, and make laws for the whole country and et cetera.  These are outside the scope of state governments.  Hence, in the federal arrangement, there are two equal, separate, independent and sovereign governments: federal government or central government and state government.

Both governments jointly supply services to the same citizenry.  Again, each government needs the powers, the popular support, the legitimacy, the resources, and the organizational and financial capacity to carry out its roles from the same citizenry.  Examples of such states are: U.S., Canada, Australia, and Switzerland.

As stated above, coming together federalism is to unite peoples living under different independent political entities, who, however, share common language, common culture, common identity (e.g. thirteen American states).  It was with this in view that John Ray, one of the founders of AmericanRepublic wrote this:

“Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people—a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence” (Federalist paper no. 2, 1788).

Simply put, this means common feelings of nationhood or bonds or shared values that can serve as a basis for a state-nation should exist among the peoples of different independent states before committing themselves to the creation of federation.  It should be understood that federalism not only lies in the constitutional or institutional structure but primarily it lies in the society itself.  The American thirteen colonies were such independent political entities with societies sharing the same values (e.g. language, culture, democratic values, national spirit etc).  Hence, the United States of America has become a state-nation.  It is a national federation not ethnic federation.  Such common feelings of nationhood or bonds or shared values or national spirit do not exist between Oromo people and Abyssinian people.  The relationship between the two peoples is the relation of colonizer and colonized, conqueror and conquered, dominator and dominated, masters and serf, victimizer and victimized.  The relationship of the colonizer and colonized is a relationship of pride and humiliation.  The colonizer and the colonized do not have common interest; do not share the same joys, the same sorrows.  Ethiopia is an empire of such peoples.  An empire is formed by colonizing many countries and forcibly putting them together under one imperial administration, one constitution, one law and one rule.  Ethiopia has been and still is such an empire.  Hence, there are no social, psychological, and political, and historical factors that can serve as a centripetal force to pull the peoples in the empire together.

In the United States other than the first thirteen states, the remaining states became members of federation through different paths.  Nathan Glazer highlights these paths in these terms:

As the United States expanded Southwestward from its original largely homogeneous (except for African slaves) thirteen colonies, it was decided that no territory would receive statehood unless minorities were outnumbered by White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP).  Sometimes, the technique employed was to gerrymander state boundaries to ensure that Indians or Hispanics were outnumbered, as in Florida.  At other times, as in Hawaii and the southwest, statehood was delayed until the region’s long-standing residents could be swamped with enough WASP settlers.  American authorities were even skeptical of immigrant groups concentrating in particular locations lest this lead to ethnically-based demands for self-government and grant of public land were denied to ethnic groups in order to promote their dispersal….

It is vitally important to note this.  The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has learned a lot from this approach.  Since it came to power, the Tigrayan regime has been pursuing a policy of reducing Oromo population to status of a minority through annihilation.  It has been and still pursuing this policy through different mechanisms.  For this, it has undertaken a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of colonized peoples, Oromo included.  That is, the objectives of such a coordinated plan have been and are to implement the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of the colonized people, and the destruction of collective and personal security, liberty, health, dignity.  Such are directed against the colonized people, and the actions involved are directed against the collectivity and individuals as members of the national group.  The Oromo people have singularly become the primary target for these.  Among these mechanisms are the forced expulsion of Oromo population from their land and their physical extermination in order to eliminate the possibility of resistance.  And in their place, the regime has been and still is massing massive immigration of none Oromo nationals to Oromiyaa.  The purpose is to change the demography of Oromiyaa; to reduce the Oromo population to minority status.

The Tigrayan regime and those aspiring to grab pieces of Oromo land have failed to learn from what Abraham Lincoln told the joint session of US Congress over a century and half ago.  In addressing Congress, the President has to say: “A nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its laws,” the people change as ‘one generation passes away and another generation comes’ and the laws change to serve the people better, but “The territory is the only part which is of certain durability,” he said.  This means as people and laws change, the territory remains forever unchangeable.  It remains forever as the home of each successive new generation and so Oromiyaa remains forever the home of the successive new Oromo generations.  Those who grabbed Oromo land must understand the consequence that follows; that you will never hold onto the Oromo land.  The Oromo land and other properties in Oromiyaa are collective goods common to all Oromo; cannot be sold or leased.  Oromo land is sacred land; Oromiyaa’s soil is a sacred soil.  The Oromo people will never allow an inch of their land or soil to remain in the hands of the forces of the grabbers.  Here, one must understand the maxim that what has been taken or seized by force and violence must be returned by force.  In this case, those who acted alone or conjointly with the Tigrayan fascist regime of the TPLF against the peaceful Oromo people and their country will never escape the action of their consequences.

Another method that the TPLF has been using is terrorizing the Oromo people through harassment, arbitrary detention, persecution, long-term and life sentences in jails in an unparallel way in Oromo history.  The purpose is to force Oromo out of the country to diaspora so as to create new space for the new coming non-Oromo nationals to populate Oromiyaa.

In addition, the regime has also undertaken looting, plundering, vandalization, and desecration of Oromiyaa’s resources and poisoning of lakes and rivers, degradation of environment to alter the life of the people and with it the destruction of natural habitats in Oromiyaa.  Along with these, the regime has willfully allowed its Tigrayan and multi-national corporation land-grabbers to dump toxic industrial chemical wastes into the lakes and rivers of Oromiyaa and allowed them to release synthetic chemicals into the air that our people breathe, into the water our people drink, the food our people produce and eat, the climate our people depend on, and the soil on which our people farm.  These chemical wastes are poisoning and killing plants, human and other animal species in Oromiyaa and in the South.  These are other methods of annihilation of the Oromo people to reduce to minority.

In conjunction with these, the regime has long been engaged in desecrating Oromiyaa in order to shrink its size.  It has been doing this by arming and encouraging its neighboring peoples to invade Oromiyaa and take over Oromo lands and at the same time disarmed the Oromo population in the areas putting them in a position not to be able to defend themselves and their lands against the invaders.  For instance,  Somali militias and its regular army have been trained, armed, financed, supported, and led by the TPLF into Eastern Oromiyaa in Hararge region in Mi’eeyso, Anniyya, Qumbii, Jaarsoo and other areas and encouraged them to go on a killing spree of the Oromo population in the areas, grabbing the lands, and looting the resources including the livestock.  The same is true in southeast Oromiyaa in Baalee, in south Oromiyaa in Boranaa and in western Oromiyaa in Wallaggaa.  All these are intended as a means of annihilating the larger Oromo population so as to reduce them into minority status and to shrink the geographical size of Oromiyaa.


Furthermore McGarry, John and Brendan O’Leary wrote:

“Federalism can be used to manage divisions in contemporary ethnically heterogeneous societies that the provincial borders of the federated units… should be designed on ‘balance of power principles’-proliferating where possible, the points of power away from one focal centre, encouraging intra-ethnic conflict, and creating incentives for inter-ethnic co-operation (by designing provinces without majorities), and for alignments based on non-ethnic interests.”

TPLF has been trying to apply this principle.  Though its attempts were failed time and again, it tried to create conflict between Oromo Christians and Oromo Moslems.  Now it is trying to create conflict within Moslems themselves, knowing well the very fact that the majority of Moslems in the empire are Oromo.  It has also failed again in this sinister scheme.  Finally, it found the ODF/ODO that can carryout its mission.  Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) is creation of the TPLF conjointly with foreign forces.  It is a collection of individuals who have rebelled against their own past, who turned against their organization, against their comrades who have fallen in the struggle and against those who are still living and those who are still languishing in the colonial concentration camps.  Hence, ODF is an organization of those who have rebelled against the history of Oromo people, of Oromo unity, and of the objective (kaayyoo) of the Oromo struggle.  Over the years as the members and leadership of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), these individuals had been bringing upon the OLF uninterrupted series of crises, splits, factionalism, betrayal, treachery, stagnation and confusion until they finally settled by forming the ODF.  This is not all.  They have also been encouraging sectarianism within larger Oromo nationals.  This organization should be treated and recognized as a rebel; as a divisive force; its action is to bring permanent harm to the Oromo nation and to their struggle.  Its purpose among other things is to create intra-Oromo or within Oromo conflict- meaning Oromianization of conflict.  The “Oromianization” of conflict has been and is the goal the Tigrayan regime of TPLF has been pursuing for years as a means to divide and weaken the Oromo liberation movement, specifically targeting the OLF through its paid Oromo agents.  These agents have been inside and outside the Oromo political organizations.  Here, what the OPDO has been unable to do, the ODF has done -divided Oromo nationals.  It is, therefore, clear that those Oromo nationals who created ODF have succumbed to the political manipulation of the Abyssinian political elites and their foreign sponsors.  The attempt is and has always been as we have seen throughout history to protect the colonist power and its empire.  Particularly at this time in our struggle, the attempt is to divert the struggle away from TPLF so as to focus fighting within the Oromo.  The creation of ODF serves this purpose.  Since its creation, it has been waving the OLF fag to defeat the OLF flag.  Everything that ODF does have but one objective, to maintain the “unity” of the Ethiopian empire.  Such is a political cowardice and an outright capitulation to the fascist TPLF camp.  For this, its political agitation of Ethiopian empire federation has to be exposed and repudiated as a threat to the objective of the Oromo struggle and their aspiration.  Now, in the name of empire federalization and of citizenship of Ethiopia it has become a candidate to fight for the maintenance of the empire along with Abyssinians against the struggle for independence of Oromiyaa.  For ODF independence of Oromiyaa has lost meaning.  As a result, it has removed itself from national liberation struggle.  Not only this, it has also reduced the Oromo colonial question to the question of seeking citizenship of the Ethiopian empire.  This is a road, the ODF has unwittingly chosen to take for its own self-abolishment and its end result will be pitiful and bitter grief for its members and sponsors.

Roadmap for ending colonial occupation

The roadmap has already been set in motion.  It is national liberation struggle.  It is up to all of us to join it.  We have obligations and responsibilities as Oromo nationals to join it to defend and protect our people and country, our soil, our rivers, lakes and habitats.  For this purpose, it is time to unite as one and fight as one.  We have nothing to lose by uniting, defending, and protecting our country and people against all enemies -internal and external.  Therefore, as Oromo nationals we need to come together, to unite, to organize, to involve ourselves, to stand up together, to speak out together and fight together as one so as to defeat the enemy.  If we recognize this colonial empire, its government, its regime, and its constitution in the name of Ethiopian empire ethnic federalization, as ODF/ADO does, instead of fighting the empire rulers in the mountains, valleys and villages, terrains and plains, and on the streets in towns and cities of Oromiyaa, we have the problem, the problem is us; we have the enemy, and indeed, the enemy is us.

Keeping on multiplying organizations is neither an answer to the Oromo question.  It does not help the Oromo struggle a bit; it only hurts and weakens it.  Unity and struggle in unity is the only answer to the Oromo question and to dislodge the enemy from Oromiyaa.  Our struggle has to take new forms of pro-active struggle: political, economic, armed, and diplomatic in order to fully engage against the enemy.  It is time to move forward together in unity. In order to move forward, the organization, the leadership and the members have to be militant-without which there can no liberation.  The real and effective struggle to defeat the enemy is only armed struggle.  It is only armed struggle that can change balance of forces.  Hence, the concrete and immediate goal and task of the Oromo nationalists must be to squarely focus attention on fighting the TPLF to dismantle and remove it from Oromiyaa.

The TPLF has its ideological base in its war in Oromiyaa and the south.  Its ideological supporters are Nafxanyaas.  Nafxanyaas are the fascist vanguard of the Abyssinian ideology.  It is for this the Tigrayan regime of TPLF adopted and following their military and political guidance for extermination of the Oromo population.  Today, Nafxanyaas are already doomed militarily; politically in a deathbed, in pain and trauma praying to the ghost of Menelik; they are only left with political ideology.  For this, they are playing the ideological war card in support of the TPLF against the Oromo people.  It would be the kiss of death for the right-wing nafxanyaas to choose to go on to campaign against the legitimate Oromo question.  Today, it is the right-wing Nafxanyaas and the TPLF that are the primary enemy of our people and country.

The Oromo history and the objective of Oromo struggle have been told time and time again.  Hence, today no an Oromo person is new to Oromo history and the objective of their struggle.  However, knowing history along is not enough.  Knowing the objective of struggle alone is not enough.  It is important to act on the lessons of history in order to achieve one’s objective.  Hence, we should not fail history.  If we fail it, we doom to repeat past mistakes.

As it is oftentimes said, history is the creation of man; man is not the creation of history.  For this, history does not act on the people.  It is the people that can act on it.  It was in this spirit over two and half centuries ago Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels wrote:

“History does nothing, it ‘possesses no immense wealth,’ it ‘wages no battles.’  It is man, real living man, that does all that, that possesses and fights; ‘history’ is not a person apart, using man as a means for its own particular aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims”(The Holy Family, p.125).

The above quoted passage has important message: the message is that history does not fight by itself; it is a wealth to be used to fight; ideas do not fight; one’s objective alone does not fight; declarations of intent do not fight; however important they may be.  They need an agent.  The agent is man.  It is man that fights for a particular goal.  The goal of the Oromo people is the liberation of Oromiyaa.  The agent of the liberation of Oromiyaa is the Oromo people.  And to achieve this goal, Oromo must fight.  This requires being conscious, politicized, organized, united, and armed.  Here armed should be taken to mean both political and military.  Without these liberation is not possible.  Nothing great has ever been achieved in history including liberation, in doubt, without enthusiasm, without confidence, and courage.  Certainty, enthusiasm, confidence and courage are key to achieve one’s goal.  Another important issue to understand is this: simply to say the rule of Ethiopian empire over Oromiyaa is illegitimate or illegal is not enough to secure liberation.  Such is simply to deny legitimacy to it.  However, the declaration of denial of legitimacy to it, by itself, alone does not halt the functioning of the Ethiopian empire state because legitimacy is not needed for a state to function.  There had been many illegitimate states throughout history that functioned well.  Similarly, the rule of the Ethiopian empire state over Oromiyaa has been and still is illegitimate and illegal for the Oromo people since the day of their occupation and colonization.  And yet, it has been functioning very well for over a century.  It is only a strong confrontation launched against it by nationally inspired superior revolutionary armed struggle accompanied by strong political forces, and the revolutionary development of the notion of alien rule is illegitimate rule; alien rule is illegal rule is what makes a Ethiopian empire state not to function.  These are the only means to bring colonial rule to an end.  In the absence of these, the empire still continues to function.

Holding-together federalism

Holding-together federalism is a type of federal arrangement that has been used to cope with internal problems such as ethnic divisions by giving them their own states in which they form majority (e.g., in India, Nigeria, and Belgium).  Nigeria and India adapted holding together form of federalism after the departure of British.  This means, they hold together what were under British colonial administration.  The national minorities included in the federation did not have a previously existing known political sovereignty and hence had no negotiating power or bargaining power in the formation of federal state.  It is for this; those federations were not created as a result of an agreement among the states, but by act of constituent Assembly.  In India, Nigeria and others, federalization was designed to maintain the unity of a state-to hold the state together after the empire disintegrated.  Holding together form of federal arrangement can also be made as a result of civil war, political conflict and tensions in a multinational unitary state (e.g. Argentina).

The argument has been that the minorities in the respective states had much less prior sovereignty before the formation of federation than the American States.  Before the formation of federation, the thirteen American states were sovereign independent states.  It was these sovereign states as stated in the previous page that voluntarily came together to trade some of their sovereignty in order to form American federalism that created America as a state-nation.  In the case of holding together federalism, the minorities have to be historically integral part of the existing larger state.  Under this condition, they do not have prior sovereignty.  Thus such minorities do not have political bargaining power in the formation of federal state.  In this case, federal governance structure can only be formed by constituent Assembly or by elites.  This is a type of federation whereby the delegation of authority or power is granted from a central government to regional governments.  Oftentimes, such regional governments are created by the central government on the basis of  linguistic, national, and cultural differences (e.g. in Nigeria, in India and etc.).

In the case of holding together, new states can be formed from the existing state or states (e.g. India and Nigeria) but in the case of coming together, no new state or states can be formed within the jurisdiction of the state without the consent of the legislatures of those states.  No a piece of land can be carved out of the existing State to make a new State or make it a part of another existing State.  As a “coming-together” federal state, the United States Constitution states the following:

“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress” (Article IV section 3).

To distinguish the “Coming together,” and “hold together” forms of federalisms, Alfred Stepan wrote:

Let us briefly examine the “holding together,” and “non-bargaining”, characteristics of the creation of federalism in India in order to show how they differ from the “coming together” and “bargaining” modalities associated with the creation of U.S. style federations. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Indian Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, when he presented the draft constitution for the consideration of the members of the Constituent Assembly, was very explicit that the Indian constitution was designed to maintain the unity of India.  He argued that the Indian constitution was guided by principles and mechanisms that were thus fundamentally different from those found in the United States constitution. In his address to the Constituent Assembly Ambedkar assumes that India is already a diverse polity with substantial unity, but that to maintain this unity, under democratic conditions, a federation will be useful. Ambedkar told the members of the Assembly that: “…The use of the word Union is deliberate…  The Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, the Federation was not the result of an agreement by the States to join in a Federation and that the Federation not being the result of an agreement, no State has the right to secede from it…  Though the country and the people may be divided into different States for convenience of administration the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source.”

Stepan continues on quoting Ambedkar: “The … Constitution has sought to forge means and methods whereby India will have Federation and at the same time will have uniformity in all basic matters which are essential to maintain the unity of the country….”  It was under this condition the 568 Princely States in India were incorporated into Indian federation.  These Princely states did not have sovereignty before Britain colonized India.  All were loose Princely states of India.

Now let us turn to the absurdity of what the so-called Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) says.  It says, it wants to turn Oromo from ‘holding together federalism’ of TPLF to which it claims as a drafting member of it to ‘coming together federalism’.  The means and mechanism is, it says through “democratization” of Ethiopia.  But, Ethiopia is an empire.  The southern part of the empire, Oromiyaa included, are the colonized countries and prior to colonization they had sovereignty and independence and were not historically an integral part of Abyssinia.  Ever since Emperor Menelik II established the empire named Ethiopia, through conquest, occupation, annexation and colonization, every successive Ethiopian empire rulers have been holding the empire together.  That is, successive colonial administrations have been holding the colonized peoples together in the Ethiopian empire by sheer brute use of force.  Interestingly enough, the initiator and implementer of this so-called Ethiopian ethnic federalism is the colonizer itself, the TPLF-the murderer of the nations and nationalities in the empire.  It imposed this on the Oromo people through its surrogate organization, the OPDO and supported by its newly created proxy-the ODF.  It is an artificially constructed sham and pseudo-federalism.  Its whole attempt is to hold the empire together in the disguise of “Ethiopian ethnic federation”.  Ethiopia being an empire cannot be federalized nor democratized.

 Putting-together federalism

 “Putting together federalism” is also a federal arrangement being formed through coercion of previously existing independent sovereign states by a non-democratic means by a powerful state or dominate state in order to create a “federal system” categorized as a multinational federal state.  For instance, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Soviet Union were such federations.  This model of federal arrangement is the most coercive formation process of any federal model.  Since it was formed by coercion, such federation was held together by the powerful center.  Under this system, the former sovereign states had very little power.  Hence, this type of federation is inherently unstable form of federal arrangement.  For this, after the Cold War, as the center that held them together collapsed, the federations were disintegrated.  For instance, of the Soviet Union twenty two countries were formed.  Of Yugoslavia seven countries were established. Czechoslovakia split into two.  These federal arrangements were not based on the will of the population of respective states but imposed on them by elites and so finally it fell apart, collapsed and disintegrated.

Federalization of an empire as a pseudo-political answer to colonial question

The cause of Oromo freedom fighters today is the same as the American freedom fighters of the late eighteenth century.  The American cause was for independence and so the Oromo cause.  Americans fought against the empire and so the Oromo are.  As we had seen the European empires, particularly the British, the French and Portuguese empires that had dominated the nineteenth century, came to an end.  And before them, there were also Roman Empire, Russian Empire, Mongol Empire and Han Empire, among many other empires.  These empires too came to an end.  Hence, all empires known to history were collapsed, disintegrated, and finally came to an end.  None of them were federalized.  What we can learn from these is a simple truth that empires cannot be federalized nor democratized, and so the Ethiopian empire.  Hence, it is a twist of history to engage in a false campaign to “federalize” and/or “democratize” Ethiopian empire.

 Now one may ask a question as to what model of federal arrangements among the discussed above fit the Oromo colonial question.  As it is clear from the above discussion none of the models fit the criteria for federalization.  First and foremost, the Oromo people and the Oromo nationalists do not recognize the rule of Ethiopian empire as legitimate over Oromiyaa.  For this, the Ethiopian empire state, its government, its regime, and its constitution are illegitimate and illegal.  It is for this that Oromo people have been fighting to dismantle them.  The establishment of the OLF was to serve this purpose.  However, the ODF recognizes this empire state, its government and its regime as legitimate and legal over Oromiyaa and it has been advocating for the need to participate in it.  Thus in its explicit recognition, it says:

“We aspire to build on the positive aspects of Ethiopia’s current federal set-up.  However, to make the simultaneous exercise of self-rule and shared-rule possible it is necessary to remove the procedural and substantive shortcomings that stand in the way of democracy and federalism.”

This is a statement of explicit recognition of the illegitimate and illegal colonial regime and the empire as the legitimate and legal ones. This means ODF recognizes the legitimacy of Ethiopian empire, its government, its regime, and its constitution over Oromiyaa.  Hence, for ODF Oromiyaa was and still is an integral part of Ethiopia.  It is for this, the ODF believes in the possibility of federalizing Ethiopian empire through democratization.  This group has gradually evolved over years as a political weapon for the Abyssinian political elites to fight against the Oromo struggle for independence and the OLFODF is unguided missiles.  It says anything without reservation against the Oromo struggle and the OLF to denigrate them.  In a net shell, ODF is formed to maintain the Ethiopian empire.

Furthermore, ODF’s statement of recognition of the empire goes on:

“This [positive aspects of Ethiopia’s current federal set-up] can be accomplished by exercising self-determination in a multidimensional fashion whereby subject nations, in due course, freely elect delegates to their respective state and central constitutional assemblies.  When this process is completed, the present ‘holding together’ type of bogus federalism will be transformed into a genuine ‘coming together’ variety.”

Here a couple of fallacious arguments are made.  One is transforming “holding together federalism” into “coming together federalism” and the second is “exercising self-determination in a multidimensional fashion.”  Here logic is reduced to absurdity- to transform “holding together federalism” which is an answer for a oppressed minority nationalities that have been historically integral part of an existing state into “coming together federalism” which comes from a totally different political logic – a coming together of previously existing sovereign states whereby the people of those states share common language, culture, identity and et cetera.  The argument of transforming ‘holding together federalism’ into ‘coming together federalism’ is , therefore, the height of political confusion and absurdity in logic.  It is a flawed argument and won’t hold up to scrutiny.

The ODF’s second deceptive argument is “exercising self-determination in a multidimensional fashion.”  This is a statement of political confusion and absurdity of logic on the part of the ODF.  The question can be raise as to how “exercising of self-determination in multidimensional fashion” can be operationalized and implemented.  The answer given by the ODF is through “citizenship,” “constitutional patriotism – a strong commitment and faith in the common democratic institutions,” and “federal multinational Ethiopia of peoples of Ethiopia.  For ODF, the Oromo struggle has been and still is for “citizenship” not for national independence.  It has reduced the Oromo national liberation struggle for independence to a mere struggle to “citizenship,” “constitutional patriotism,” and “federal multinational Ethiopia.”  It is clear ODF has lost logic, turned it upside down and so railed against history.  There has never been ‘exercising self-determination in multidimensional fashion’ in history.  Thus, there is no evidence to support such argument.  Throughout history, all colonized people exercised their respective self-determination individually.  The prerequisite for exercise of self-determination is sovereignty or statehood.  Sovereignty implies political freedom of a nation and its territorial independence, control of its territory and building of national institutions.  These mean the fullness of its sovereign rights.  Only when a nation is sovereign and has a sovereign rights, it can deal independently with the matters concerning its own state organization, including the question as to whether it should join other independent states in forming a new political arrangement to live together with others or stay as an independent sovereign state (see the OLF Political Program).  In this case, an independent nation may choose to remain an independent or choose to join other nation or nations on a voluntary and equal basis under a new political arrangement.  In Oromo case, it is the Democratic Republic of Oromiyaa alone that has a sole and exclusive right to exercise self-determination as to whether to join other independent states in a form of new arrangement or to stay as sovereign state.  For this, Oromiyaa has to be free, independent and sovereign state before its exercise of self-determination and so it goes without saying for all colonized people of the south.  You have probably told or heard enough to be able to know, understand, and grasp the meaning of self-determination.  In plain language self-determination from colonial occupation means political self-determination from the colonialist empire and the establishment of independent nation-state.  For this, the Ethiopian empire has to come to an end giving the way for the colonized nations and nationalities in it to freely decide their own destinies.

Again, it is an independent state alone that can freely elect delegates to their respective states and central constitutional assemblies, once all independent states agreed to live together in the federal form of government.  This is as previously stated is to establish a coming together form of federalism after the collapse and disintegration of the empire. All in all, one must recognize that it is the exclusive prerogative of the Oromo people alone whether to join in federal arrangement or choose different form of arrangement with other nations or not. The phrase “holding together federalism” does only applies to the Abyssinia itself to hold together what is left after the empire is gone.  That is to hold Amhara, Tigray, Agaw, Kunama, Saho, House of Israel/Beta Israel(a.k.a. Falasha) and others together in the like of Russia after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1990s.  But to hold together the peoples in the empire argument is to deny that these peoples are not a colonized people and to argue that they have been and are historically an integral part of Ethiopia.  As it is clear, ODF talks only in vague terms about federalism.  As Oromo Dialogue Forum, it has preached us to believe in the “constitutional patriotism- a strong commitment and faith in the common democratic institutions” of Ethiopian empire.  As Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister oftentimes quoted to have said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” and so “The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.”  This is what the ODF has engaged in since its inception as Oromo Dialogue Forum (ODF) and now as it transformed itself into Oromo Democratic Front (ODF).  Its repetition of vagueness and lies anesthetized the brains of its members/followers making them less critical and more receptive to the false idea of Ethiopian empire federalization.  First and foremost, the uncontestable fact is that all empires that appeared in history were demolished and dismantled.  Ethiopia has been and still is a colonial empire.  For this, it has to be demolished and dismantled as those empires before it.  Like all empires before it, the Abyssinian colonial empire/Ethiopia is now approaching the edge of a cliff and is about to fall over it so as to undo itself.  Once it is undone, the rest depends on those colonized nations and nationalities that have been and are fighting to dismantle it to decide as to whether to live as independent and sovereign state or opt to form new arrangement to live together.

In order to establish federal system of state and government, the necessary, sufficient, and desirable conditions are the dismantling of the Abyssinian colonial empire and the formation of free, independent, and sovereign states.  It is the free, independent, and sovereign states that can establish federal form of state and government in accordance with a freely expressed will of the independent peoples of respective states, not including the colonialist Abyssinian state.  Note, I said not including colonizing Abyssinian state.  The reason is, there was no empire builders have ever a part of forming federation.  The drama of political absurdity that we are seeing today is: the initiator of “Ethiopian federalization” is the colonizer itself, supported by its apologist the ODF-an organization that turned its back against to the Oromo liberation struggle for independence of Oromiyaa in order to seek alliance, partnership and unity in the Abyssinian political camp for the purpose of “federalizing” the empire.

Ever since the colonization of Oromiyaa, the successive Ethiopian empire’s political machines have promoted a rapid Abyssinianization or Ethiopianization of the Oromo’s children and the children of other colonized peoples of the South.  In order to accomplish this, the Abyssinians political machinery first arrogantly attacked the Oromo culture and its virtues and then dismissed it as a contemptible all virtues of the culture of the colonized peoples.  It presented the Oromo culture and identity as a contemptible culture and looked down upon them.  Hence, after having successfully attacked the Oromo national common values that give a feeling of affiliation to the nation and ones fellow citizens, the Ethiopian political machineries undertook the policy of assimilation through which it stripped off the national identity of the children of the colonized people and then these children were led to cast themselves as “Ethiopians.”  Some Oromo children fell victim to this and become “Ethiopians.”  Those Ethiopianized Oromo nationals have themselves become “Ethiopianizers”, in turn.  They have become political cadres of Ethiopianization or Abyssinianization.

Today, such political campaign of Ethiopianization is still unfolding in front of our own very eyes.  This is what ODF has become- the Ethiopian empire cadre/the federalist.  Its leaders have been crisscrossing continents after continents preaching Oromo as being Ethiopians.  Here is what the founder and President of ODF preached at ODF’s meeting in Washington, DC, in 2013.  The president made reference points to Greek and Hebrew languages and to the Bible.  Here is the transcript of the sermon, “In the Bible, where in Greek language it says Ethiopia, in the Hebrew language it says Cush.  So, Cush is EthiopiaOromo are Cush.  And therefore, Oromo are Ethiopians.”  It was at this junction, its members rose up to their feet and clapped their hands in approval.  And the speaker followed that with Oromo expression of approval “A’haa!” which means Oh!  It seems comic in the extreme when the ODF’s president says Oromo are “Ethiopians” without making distinguish between the recently created Ethiopian Empire from the Biblical Ethiopia.  Today’s Ethiopia is the same as Abyssinia.  Today’s Ethiopians are the same as Abyssinians.  It is the name of Abyssinian Empire.  Hence, to say Oromo are “Ethiopians” is simply to debase oneself to a mere joker and it is a political madness.  On the contrary, there has never been a time in the Oromo history when the Oromo call themselves Ethiopians.  The word “Aethiops” is a Greek word which means burnt appearance.  Its root words are “aithein” which means “to burn” and “ops” which means “the face or appearance.”  All together, it means “burnt appearance.”  This is what the leaders and members of ODF/ADO want the Oromo people and nationals to believe.  Actually, such a political campaign is a disgrace in a national politics.  The Cush people had never called itself Aethiops/Ethiopia.  They never called themselves ‘the burned faces.”  Again, the Oromo people have never in their history referred to themselves as Ethiopians nor regarded their country as Ethiopia.  There is no a people called Ethiopians, nor there is a territory called Ethiopia. The name Ethiopia for the Greek and ancient Romans and Cush for Hebrew, and in the Bible refers to all dark faced peoples, the world over, not to the Abyssinian empire-Ethiopia of today.  The name Ethiopia existed thousands of years before the creation of the Ethiopian empire of today.  Ethiopia of today was created by the Abyssinian military conquest in the last quarter of the nineteenth-century with blood, violence, pillage, robbery, death and destruction and extermination of the Oromo people and the people of the south and it has no relationship with the ancient Ethiopia referred to in, Greek language or as Cush in Hebrew language and in the Bible.  Hence, today’s Ethiopia is an empire.  For this, it cannot be federalized.

As it is clear now, it is to these Abyssinianized Oromo nationals, the nationals who are assimilated to the Abyssinian socio-political culture that the federalization of Ethiopian empire has become very attractive.  They are attracted to federalism, because federalism has been regarded as the denial of nationalism.  Its purpose has been and is to undermine and weaken nationalism.  Hence, the notion of Ethiopian empire federalization has resonated particularly strongly among those who have grown up and schooled under the Dergue regime.  Most of them were members of the former Workers Party of Ethiopia (WPE) and its Youths League who have fallen victim to the Derge’s Ethiopianization political motto of “Ethiopia First/Ethiopia Tiqidem.”  The purpose of “Ethiopia First” was to strip off the children of colonized peoples’ national identity and national cultural values.  Hence, the rule of successive Ethiopian colonial administration rests, among other things, on the annihilation of consciousness of the children of the colonized peoples.  The TPLF has taken out the hearts and minds of these victimized nationals.  Then, it became their master; it owned them; it controlled them; it corrupted them; it crippled them and kept them asleep. In these ways, the TPLF made them cattle; then robbed them of their eyes, their ears and their mouths so as not to see, hear and speak out against the genocidal crimes that it has been and is committing against their people.

Furthermore, the Tigrayan regime has instructed these opportunist individuals-the individuals with a passion for enrichment of themselves at the expense of their people to focus on personal gains- political, or financial or land.  Specially, the land has become their incentives to join the TPLF and to abandon the Oromo struggle.  These are rugged individualists who have bent on self interest and lack sense of duty to their country and people.  For this, they have been and still are rushing to Oromiyaa from Diaspora to take a free piece of Oromo land or to buy it with the full knowledge of the TPLF’s actively committing a war of annihilation against the Oromo population.  Hence, the Oromo land has become an umbilical cord connecting these opportunists to the colonial regime.  With this, their independence disappeared completely and they cutoff solidarity with the Oromo people and their struggle.  A person in this category recently told me this: “Wayyaaneen malaan afaan nu lugaamte; lafa nuu kennitee afaan keenna xaxxe.  Yoo farra Wayyaanee dubbanne, waan horanne nurraa fudhatti.  Kanaaf, dubbatuun rakkinna nutti ta’ee jira.  Gama kaaniin, Oromoonis nu jibbee jira; gantoota nuun jidhaa jiru.  Biyya yoo deemnu, nama dhokataa deemna.  Kanaaf, nama odoo jiru du’e fakkaanna.  Malli harkaa nu badee jira.”  It is in this way; TPLF has chained these individuals with the lands and other advantages and kept them silent.  At the same time, these individuals are the contributors for the Blue NileRiver dam construction project of the TPLF.  The majority of ODF members with a few exceptions are these individuals.  These individuals were purposefully recruited to the OLF membership in the Diaspora so as to make help abandonment of the objective/Kaayyoo of Oromo struggle through promotion of passivity and spectatorship and through advocacy for “democratization” of Ethiopia and or “federalization” of it.  If referendum/plebiscite is conduct today or in the future these groups publicly told us that they will campaign and vote for “federalization of Ethiopian empire” against the campaign for independence of the colonized people.

The OLF political program does not specifically suggest empire federalization.  The Program meant the colonized people can make any arrangement if they wish to live together.  This is what the political program of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) calls a voluntary new arrangement of the colonized peoples.  The new arrangement could be federation, confederation, commonwealth and etc.  It does not say the colonized and the colonizer make federal arrangement together either.  It is the only sovereign, free and independent states alone that can make a new arrangement on a voluntary and democratic basis if they wish to live together and have common commitment to live together based on common needs, common concerns, shared interests and values, strategic necessity and interdependence.  In this case, all states are equal.  No a member state can hold monopolistic domination and control of government apparatus of federal state.  In absence of this scenario, federal form of state cannot be formed, if formed it is not viable.

As of now and as a colonial empire, Ethiopia cannot be a candidate for a federal system of government.  The statement of ADO/ODF that says, “Transforming the present ‘holding together’ form of federalism into the ‘coming together’ variety” in Ethiopia is a misleading and misguided political sophistry mainly for the purpose of confusing public.  Ethiopia has been and still is a colonial empire in “Democratic federal state” disguise under Tigrayan regime as it was in “SocialistState” disguise during the Dergue regime.  As it is well known, the Dergue regime superimposed “Ethiopian Socialism” on the political structure of the Ethiopian empire, but it did not work the way it was intended to work.  On the contrary, it led the empire to disintegration.  Similarly, Dergue’s successor, the TPLF/EPRDF regime has also copied the structure of ethnic federalism from other countries and superimposed it again on the political structure of the already dying empire.  This is also not working; the empire is again on the verge of collapse and disintegration.  It must be clear that as “Ethiopian socialism” did not guarantee its success by copying a socialist structure and superimposed on the structure of the empire and so “Ethiopian federalism” cannot guarantee its success by copying a federal structure that performed well in an established federalism and superimposed on the structure of colonial empire.  In order to voluntarily come together through political bargain the argument should be, first and foremost, one has to establish one’s own independent sovereign state.  The Oromo struggle is to establish independent state of Oromiyaa, a sovereign unitary democratic republic and sovereign nation-state.  As it is attempted to show above, ‘holding together’ is the option taken by the colonized people to remain together by forming a multi-national democratic federal state after the colonizing empire is collapsed and disintegrated and empire rulers have evacuated themselves from the colonies.  But to transform holding together empire into coming together empire is simply ignoring the political reality and embarking on political illusion.

All in all, in history, federalism has never been sought as an answer to the colonial question, nor it has been sought as an answer to maintain an empire.  Its primary purpose has been and still is to manage the question of oppressed minority nations and nationalities in divided societies, those nations and nationalities that have a historical identification with and an emotional national tie to the large state and historically were and still are an integral part of oppressor large state.  Its purpose is to give these oppressed minority nations and nationalities a self-governing autonomous status with self-rule and shared-rule (e.g. India and Nigeria).  Another purpose is to serve independent states to come together for purpose of common concern or interest (such as thirteen American colonies).  However, no Empire has ever been federalized nor democratized in history.

No ethnic groups have a homeland within borders of Oromiyaa

Within Oromiyaa proper, there is no a single stable minority nation or nationality occupying rural land space as homeland to which self-determination becomes a question. That is, an area for which such a nation or nationality seeks autonomy.  The nationalities that live in Oromiyaa are those who came from their respective country to seek better life.  They live in towns and cities.  Towns and Cities are the creatures of states.  For this, the Oromo people are a blessed people.

Federalism has been used and still in use as a means of conflict management in a divided societies in a larger state as explain in paragraph under ‘holding together federalism’.  It can also be used by independent sovereign state by voluntarily coming together.  Moreover, a dominant or powerful state also coerces or pressures, as Soviet did to weaker sovereign states to join in federation with it (putting together federalism).  All these do not apply to OromiyaaOromiyaa is a conquered and colonized country.  For this, first and foremost, it has to re-establish its independence.  The argument of federalizing and democratizing Ethiopia is not a valid argument for Ethiopia is an empire.  Hence, the argument to federalize and democratize empire is a betrayal of common sense and logic.

Federalism is inappropriate in Oromiyaa proper. The reason is simply there is no a territory or territories within Oromiyaa proper that is/are populated with minority nations or nationalities to be accommodated in a form of federal arrangement.  Federalism implies the existence of multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-cultural ethnic minority nationals occupying specific territory/territories within a larger state.  It is for this, multiple governments are needed to mange conflicts within a larger state.  But there is no specific territory populated with minority nations or nationalities within Oromiyaa to make a multiple governments with.  The simple truth is that from east to west and from south to north, Oromiyaa is uninterruptedly populated with the Oromo people- one people, one nation. And the land is uninterruptedly interconnected.  Hence, Oromiyaa is one country populated with one Oromo nation.  Before its colonization Oromiyaa was a unitary, sovereign nation-state and one sovereign Oromo nation.  And the new independent Oromiyaa still would be republic of a unitary nation-state and one sovereign Oromo nation.

Furthermore, as all countries in the world have neighbors, so Oromiyaa has.  However, no a country in history has ever voluntarily formed federation with neighbors out of sheer fear of them.  And Oromiyaa cannot be the one. All countries have a vested interest to have internal stability and to live in peace with one another as good neighbors. And so Oromo and the Oromo neighbors too.  In fact, the Oromo have friendly and fraternal relations with their neighbors for a time immemorial.  In order to alter this balance, the Tigrayan regime of TPLF has sponsored in the empire a “war-of-all-against-all” to deny the peoples peace and stability.  Toward this end, it has been sowing seeds of enmity, violence, conflicts, and suspicious among nations and the nationalities in the empire.  The ODF has fallen to this fear.  I would say this to those who have fallen to such fear: that as a colonized people, the Oromo people and their nationalists prefer independence with risk of this danger than peace with colonialism.  We must reject the enemy’s sinister mechanization.  For example, Sidama is a neighbor country of Oromiyaa and it is a conquered and colonized country as Oromiyaa.  Hence, the independent Sidama people has no reason to fight the Oromo people and so the Oromo people.  The independent Sidama people and the independent Oromo people can voluntarily come together after the realization of their independence to establish a federal form of government or other form of arrangement if they wish and find it beneficial to both.  And so it goes to all colonized peoples of the south those who are neighbors of Oromiyaa.

Again, recently another argument has been building up.  The argument is that the Oromo has to represent the peoples in the empire.  This is a dangerous argument. It is a paternalistic attitude based on numerically of the Oromo people. What is the motivation to represent others if not for the purpose of dominancy?  It is “Abyssinianism” in disguise.  Paternalism is to undermine the dignity, independence, and integrity of other nations and nationalities.  It is a characteristic of dominance and interference of their choice and hence violation of their autonomy.  This is what the Abyssinian has been and still is doing to the colonized nations and nationalities in the empire.  And it has been rejected.

The Oromo represent no one, but themselves.  To represent others and speak on their behalf has been and is the Abyssinian way.  The Abyssinians have been speaking on the behalf of the colonized people since their colonization.  It is wrong to represent and to speak on the behalf of others.  Like Abyssinians, it is also the Abyssinianized Oromo nationals who have been advocating for such dangerous political line.  We do not represent other nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire nor do those nations and nationalities represent us.  Simply put, in this national liberation struggle of ours, we only represent Oromiyaa and the Oromo people alone.  It is true we can coordinate our struggle with those colonized nations and nationalities that fight for their independence.

By way of summary

Federal political systems have variegated forms.  Of these, in this article three major popular models are discussed. The models are “coming together,” “holding together,” and “putting together” forms of federalisms.  It is important to distinguish these three models of federalism.  As it is discussed in the previous pages, Coming-together federalism is associated mainly with the U.S. model in which thirteen sovereign states came together to form a central government and a larger national body.  This process is guided by a “federal bargaining” process where the involved states negotiate the terms under which the system is formed.  Hence, such federation is a coming together of different political entities, the entities originally separate into new common state.

“Holding together” model of federalism is to hold together heterogeneous multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-lingual minority nations and nationalities which were, historically part of an existing larger state, after the state’s independence from a colonial rule.  In this federal model, federal government can create new state/states from the already existing autonomous regional state/states.  Here, holding-together should be taken literally; it is either to be federal reforms or territorial disintegration.  It is a choice of whether to accommodate minorities in the federal form or let the territorial disintegration.  This federation is not a result of individual states negotiating, like in the American case but rather a central act of the constituent assembly.

On the other hand, “Putting together” model of federalism is a form of federalism formed by a powerful state by coercing weaker states.  Such federation results in a non-democratic centralization of national power of a powerful state where the former sovereign sub-units have very little power and where the federal system needs continued coercion to stay unified.  Such model of federal arrangement is mainly associated with the former Soviet Union.  It is unstable form of federal model.

All in all, none of the three models discussed in this article and the rest of other forms have ever been sought in history as an answer to colonial question in the form of federalization.  Hence, these models do not fit Ethiopia, since Ethiopia is an empire.  This fact is important and cannot be ignored in support of fictitious and illogical theory of empire federalization and democratization as has been propagated by some Abyssinianized political swindlers within Oromo nationals.  Empire federalization is a sheer lunacy orchestrated by political swindlers to make-believe the unbelievable for their political ambitions.  No empire has ever been federalized nor democratized in history.  Hence, Ethiopia being an empire cannot be an exception.  For this, the campaign for federalization and/or democratization of an empire stands irreconcilable and in contradiction with the struggle for independence of colonized peoples.

Oromiyaa Shall BE Free!

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  1. Ofcourse federalism is the wrong answer to colonialism. But your article lost credibility when you said ODF is created by TPLF…you are insulting thousands of oromo nationalists like lencho who have been fighting for oromo their whole lives. You should apologize for such character assassination of oromos.

    So let us discuss carefully, it is true that any form of federalism can’t answer a colonial question.
    But there are four reasons why ODF and OFC choose federalism

    #1. The amharas have became the face of opposition to TPLF in the eyes of the international community..which means we are in danger of losing our small freedom if amharas/gurages (and the so-called “mixed” ) return to power. To stop this, we need a legal opposition presense inside ethiopia…that is why OFC and a stronger ODF is important

    #2. Whether you like it or not, there are many oromos who are ethiopianists and they don’t see oromo struggle as colonial question. So we can only work under the system

    #3. Oromia is surrounded geographically and it is in best interest of independent oromia to rejoin a greater federalism system. So we can shortcut this by going directly to federalism

    #4. If the federal ethiopia experiment does not work under OFC/ODF leadership, we can always go back to indepenendt oromia nation. Actually it will be easier and the UNited Nations will easily accept a scenario where the broader ethiopia holds a peaceful referendum and government accepting oromia independence. Otherwise, if we do it your way, we will become like somaliland, with nobody recognizing our referendum independence.

    Sometimes, it is better to let our smart leaders in OFC and ODF lead, instead of attacking them. Don’t character assassinate because you disagree

  2. Mr. Pride Oromo,

    It sounds illogical to match your given name with your views. If you agree to the notion that federalism is the wrong answer to colonialism, how come du you happen to defend ODF??

    Obbo Leenjiso , your argument is enjoying to read . Keep bro! Time is not as far as some thinks and oromummaa is flourishing! Osoma ka gang gang ka jabaate irra aanee waan barbaade argata!