Oduu Haaraya

Who are the Garri and Gabra Oromos

Who are the Garri and Gabra Oromos?

Abishe Gerba

Following the unfortunate clash between two Oromo tribes, last week I wrote a short note about the evil strategy of TPLF to spark conflict within Oromo nation to keep the entire southern Oromia in a constant state of turmoil in a bid to counter OLF insurgency. Thanks to Oromo elders, the Guji-Borana conflict is over and solution on the Negelle Borana town’s name case is pending. Perhaps, as we have heard, the name Negelle Borana is restored and those responsible for removing the word ‘Borana’ would be brought to justice.

Now, after reading more on the issue, I have realized that the matter is much complicated. Nevertheless, one important fact remains. The centre of TPLF’s strategy is to make the Oromo nation busy by dividing and exploiting the nation thereby obscuring the fundamental questions of Oromos and the struggle of OLF. The Guji and Borana Oromos are the victims of a strategy to force them to dwindle their support to OLF.
There are two Oromo tribes I have come to know closer- the Garri Oromo and the Gabra Oromo. Let me tell you a bit about them.

The Garri, as they call themselves in Oromo language and Ghari, as they call themselves in Somali language live in Oromia, Somale region, somalia and Kenya. They occupy border regions of these countries and states. So they don’t have common language. Most speak Afaan Oromo and some use Somali. Both in Oromia and Somalia regions, it appears have been asking for self-rule and they have been denied both Oromia and Somali region.

Garri people are believed to be very close to Borana. In fact, they share about everything except those in Somali only know Somali language. Yet the Garri have not been easy with the Boranas on land, pasture and water issues. Borana Oromos believe the land Garri occupy is theirs while Garri have even developed their own map to create Garri Republic. Garris even do have liberation militia that is believed to be supported by the Liyu Police of Somali region and TPLF that clearly shows Wayane cares less for sustainable peace and stability. Garris are almost entirely Muslim. The Gabra Oromos are very similar to Guji or Borana Oromos. They have same language, same way of life, same culture and understanding of their environment. Gabra Oromos have almost the same problem as Garri. Gabra Oromos have been asking for their own Wereda or zone but have been denied. That has made them insecure about the geography they occupy as the Borana Oromos claim it.

Most Oromos in central, eastern and western Oromia have probably never heard Gabra or Garri Oromos. First time I heard about Gabra Oromo was when Abbush Zalaqqaa released a single Heellemmaa. Garri is even newer to me.

From online resources I have read and videos I have watched, almost no work have been done to create the spirit of Oromummaa in this two Oromo communities. Some Garri and Gabra don’t even know they are Oromos. In fact, the Garri know more about the mythical Abyssinia than Oromummaa.

Borana, alongside Barentuma, is the father of every Oromo. That is what I believe as an Oromo and genealogy proves it. However this does not go easy with other Oromo tribes of the region. The exclusive emphasis and reference made to the Borana Oromos as the sources of Oromummaa and the center of Oromo wisdom has made other Oromos in the region feel neglected and ignored.

So we know TPLF is arming the likes of Garri militia to deploy them against OLF insurgency or just to keep the conflict going. It is igniting conflict between brothers on minor issues such as names of locations. It is the source of all conflicts in that region. To make the situation worst, OPDO the puppet organization have almost forgotten about the Garri and Gabra.

Solutions on the entire issue of self-admjnistration should be analysed closer. Oromos in diaspora should know better about the Garris and Gabras just like any other Oromo tribe.

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