In response to the current Mohamed Jahar and his colleagues broadcast on Aljazeera about the socio-political conditions of the Oromo people, the question of are you Ethiopian national can be entertained in terms of the politics of citizenship/Nationality. How did the Imperial law treat the Oromo person? who is citizen or national of the Ethiopia under Imperial law in particular and that of others successive Abyssinian ruling regimes in general, what did the Abyssinians add or attack on Mohamed J. teaches us?
Politically, this has many interpretations and implications. It shows how there is a big ideological difference between the oromian Kush origin people and the Abyssinian Semitic people. Our differences are not only in terms of our culture, language, history and origin but also we have completely a different political outlooks and attitudes which reflect a deep-rooted politics of hatred, racism, and discrimination against one another.
The negative ads on cyber against Mohamed Jahar shows how they are naive politically, it shows how they left behind and how they belittle themselves, this has nothing to do with the Oromo person legal status, it can’t halt the movement of birth rights, it can’t change or solve the socio-political problems in the empire, it can’t change the course of the political and legal system in the empire, rather it will aggravate the political hatred among rivalry forces in the empire. I think it is a better idea to look into how the successive Imperial legal system rule on the status of the Oromo person whether the Oromo person is a national or non-national of the Empire. First, I would like to define the word citizenship /Nationality to get a clear picture of the concepts in literature of politics; second, I will go over the legal system that governs the politics of citizenship in the empire.
The term Citizen/Nationality is interchangeable used in a literature of the politics; it’s about a personal social, cultural and political duties and obligations of the person. Not only about the obligations of a person but also it is about the right of the persons. This legal and political obligation of the person is governed by the law of the land, the law rules about who is a citizen and who is non citizen. The status of the person ruled by the law of the land, by the constitution of the country and no person is above the law of the land. Depends on the law of the land the person can acquire a nationality either by birth or naturalization. In plain language, this is an ordinary definition of the term citizen or nationality in world of the politics. However, contrary to this, under the most conservative states of the world such as like African and Middle East countries, governments do not count much on the status of persons and their political roles, Only a person who born on that soil entitled as citizen/national of that country which entirely different from the western world political cultures.
It means that the law of the land that rules about the status of a person different from state to state depends on the legal, political, social system and condition, the situation about the status of the Oromo person in the Empire was simple and clear, the first law of 1931 and the revised constitution of 1955 did not produce the Oromo person as a citizen/national of the Ethiopia, the law did not treat Oromo as a person, the law did not recognize the diversity and identity of the Oromo person, the Imperial law treated the Oromo as alien. And also, the Imperial law was nothing but it was about the law of Monarchy, and the law was ignorant about the legal status of the Oromo persons, did not protect the rights of the persons, it was about how to keep and protect the power of the Emperor and his servant or loyalist interest. As wrote and taught us the Oromo person was alien and migrated to the Ethiopia Empire, the political geography that was framed and mapped without the will and consents of the majority indigenous Oromo person and other non Semitic ethnic groups . Oromo person was subject and slave, had no any political, social, cultural and economic rights under the imperial law, any act that threaten the security of the Emperor was an act of crime and a serious offence. The emperor was above law and an elect of God not an elect of the people, the Emperor had an absolute power and exercise unlimited power, it was about the law of the Emperor an individual person not the law of the citizens.
Second, the constitution of the Dreg regime was also not about the right of citizens it was about the territorial integrity and socialist ideology. Any act against socialist principles and ideology, was a crime, it was a crime against state and state security, there was no legal trial for the Oromo person, no due process of law for the Oromo person, the law of the land did not give a damn recognition or protection to the identity of the Oromo persons, the legal status of the Oromo person was endanger, the dignity and integrity of the Oromo person was not protected, the identity of the Oromo person was not respected. Legally, Oromo person had no justice trial; politically, Oromo person had no political rights, culturally, there was no respect and protection for the welfare of the Oromo person cultural and religious rights, and economically the Oromo person was marginalized. Under any condition any person who identify himself /herself as an Oromo, speak the Afaan Oromo or associating as an Oromo was crime and a crime against state security, a crime against one country, one language, and one ideology .
This was the biggest legal and political philosophy of the period. The socialist ideology had gone and the semi imperial legal system was framed in a slights different fashion and tone, in the process the two main changes was the shift of the political power within the Semitic family from Amhara to Tigrean, and the form of the state from the unitary state system to the Federal state system. However, in real senses the system misses many basic principles of the federal elements. The motive behind such a legal and political frame was to deceit an international community or the citizen in language of a Democracy which in practice does not respect the legal and political status of the Oromo person or its citizen rights. The notion of federalism was there as the state institution. Ideas, principles and the philosophies were there, but in practice the evil socio-political problems has not changed. Nothing could separate the current regimes from its older legal system in terms of protecting the Oromo person security, dignity and integrity. The philosophy of divide and rule, the politics of racism, and crime against humanity is the order of the day, there is no an independent political party, there is no rule of law, there is no freedom of expression, freedom of free press, and freedom of association in the empire .
The dispute is under what ground or legal reason the Oromo person can treat himself/ herself as the national of Ethiopia, Either way, the act against the Oromo person is crime and it is a crime against humanity, it is a crime both under international Human Rights Law as well as the law of Nations. As John Markaks (1975/6), note on his book “the Anatomy of the Ethiopian polite”, the imperial law did not treat the Oromo person as a national of the Ethiopia and the Oromo person was an alien and subject. Neither law of the empire treated the Oromo person in respect and dignity. As we see and experienced this has been an indisputable legal and political issue in the empire. I think the Oromo persons can have the right to decide about the legal status of his/her person and it is a naive to conclude on the legal statutes of the person without free will of the person. The roles of the law should not be there to force or rule on the legal status of the person rather it is to govern a justice and fairness on the soil without a bias or prejudice against the status of a person. The Oromo person was /is not sovereign and need to be a sovereign!