A lot has been written and said about the formation of AFD in May,2006, Jijjiramma in July, 2008, and that of ODF in 2013. In this article, I will attempt to debunk the similarities and differences, if there is any, between these three groups and their anti-Oromo Struggle stand.
After the recent transitions of Oromo Dialogue Forum from AFD of 2006, Jijjirama of 2008, and then to ODF in 2013, one Oromo friend of mine raised the following question to me; “why after all these years? Why establish another Oromo party at the time when Oromo’s of all ages demanding the unity of all Oromo organizations? Why those pro-Ethiopian organizations within OLF including ODF did not come out with their current proposition twenty years ago”?. Your guesses and responses to the above questions could as good as mine. However, reading between their political programs and their speeches, the main target audiences of ODF and Jijjiramma are all Abyssinian Organizations, both Amhara and Tigre and their international backers (Western governments). In other words, by committing themselves to maintain the Ethiopian empire unity and integrity at the expense and sufferings of the Oromo’s and Southern nations, both ODF and Jijjiramma betrayed the genuine struggle of the Oromo people to appease their Abyssinian masters and the Western governments, who financed and armed them to displace and kill our people at will for over one hundred years.
The ideologies behind for the formation of the three pro-Ethiopian Oromo Organizations were hatched after OLF was forced to leave the then Transitional Charter (TC) that was established after the fall of the Darg in May, 1991. AFD was formed by the combinations of the Jijjiramma, ODF and the Shane-led OLF group. In other words, until 2013 and the consequent formation of ODF as another pro-Ethiopian force by coming out of its closet, the Shanee-led OLF was the combinations of all these three groups. The only point that differentiates the AFD and ODF with that of Jijjiramma –OLF led by Kemal Galchu is only the latter being sent by Meles Zenawi to infiltrate and take over the OLF and presents it as a trophy to TPLF. This action of the TPLF agent-Kemal was encouraged and supported by the current ODF leadership. For example, the current deputy president of the ODF was an advisor to the Kemal led Jijjirama of 2008.
Although, we were told AFD was a genuine alliance that was formed by and among the stake-holders of the Ethiopian empire, and its ultimate goal was to take the Oromo liberation struggle to the next level, the reality was that AFD was inside-out another pro-Ethiopian Organization that was engineered and led from behind by the current leaders of the ODF. Both ODF and the Kemal-Jijjiramma group strive to maintain the empire at the expense of Oromo and other Southern nations misery, their only difference is that the Kemal group accepted the Ethiopian empire without any pre-conditions and joined the Diaspora Amhara group known as G7 ; the ODF group demands “Ethiopian Citizenship” as its pre-conditions, but willing to join either the Amhara camp or the TPLF junta in Finfine if their demand for loyalty is accepted by either of the two Abyssinian camps. Both groups are trying hard to prove to their Abyssinian audience who is more loyal or Ethiopian than the other.
It is quite entertaining and equally sad to see how euphoric all Abyssinians camps are after taking two but the same Oromo political organizations prisoners without a single shot. The Abyssinians are not only euphoric but they are in a position to choose who is more docile and will serve them better in keeping their empire intact by keeping Oromo’s and Southern nation peoples in their prison. From what is being talked and written in the Abyssinians camps, at this particular moment, they are showing their preference to the Kemal group over ODF.
Prior to joining the TC in 1991, OLF forces were in the West, South, South East and Eastern Oromia. There was very little communication(s), particularly between the OLF leadership in the West and the South and Eastern Oromia. At that time, the then leaders of the OLF, including the chairman and other prominent figures were based in the South and Eastern Oromia. On the other hand, the Western front which was headed by the current ODF president was assigned as head of the diplomatic front for the organization. It was this group that represented the OLF at the 1991 London Conference.
There are two schools of thoughts regarding the London Conference of 1991 and its impact on the OLF as an organization. The first school of thought argues that the OLF delegations should have demanded the disbandment of the OPDO and the complete absence or withdrawal of TPLF fighters from Oromia as a pre-condition before it joined the TC. According to this group, had there was consensus and pre-conditions attached in joining the then TPLF led TC, it could have forced the TPLF and its international backers to accept the seriousness and demands of the OLF and the Oromo people to run their own affairs, without whom the TPLF and its international supporters could have faced strong resistance by the large disbanded Darg soldiers and the OLF insurgency in the towns and villages of Oromia. This group point their finger to the haste decision to join the TPLF led TC and the haste decision to leave it, which in-turn had exposed millions of Oromo’s and OLF members to the brutal treatment and killings in the hands of TPLF junta.
The second school of thoughts argue that, the OLF decision to join the TPLF led TC in 1991 with all its shortcomings has enabled the OLF to reach the Oromo masses on a large scale and strengthen Oromo nationalism. Those in this school of thoughts, however blame the lack of effective and coordinated leadership to call the KORA SABAA or the General Assembly of OLF early during the TC, which could have hammered the way forward for the Organization and, hence could have minimized the loss and destruction on the Oromo people in the hands of TPLF junta after the hasty decision of the OLF to leave the TC. Among those vocal critics of the OLF handling of the crisis’s in the aftermath of OLF leaving the TC, is Obbo Ibsa Guutama. In his 2003 book titled “Prison of Conscience” Obbo Ibsa Guutama, among many argues that the very little communication between the OLF leaders, particularly between the Leadership in the Eastern zone and the Western zone, and the failure to convene the KORA SABAA during this period has led to the crisis in the organization, which has contributed for the split of OLF into two in the year 2000.
There is a general consensus among the Oromo nationals, and also an official admission on the part of the ODF president, for example at the recently held Oromo Dialogue Forum at Washington DC, in which he replied without any shame and remorse “yes I had numerous meetings and discussions with Meles and Isayas over the last twenty-one years” in reply to one of the participants question whether this allegation was true. However, no one dared to ask or demand from the ODF president what were the meetings about and what were the topics of discussion? There was no doubt in my mind that the topic of discussions between the ODF president and Aste Meles was how to infiltrate, weaken and destroy OLF, and finally submit OLF as a trophy to TPLF.
In his four parts article titled “Kemal Gelchu & Co. “OLF” Trojan horse” of January 2012, Argan Beekan http://oromoaffairs.blogspot.
The current leadership of the ODF started sabotaging the OLF right from the time OLF left the TC. But their activities of sabotaging the Oromo struggle started taking formal shape after the 1998 Mogadishu Kora Sabaa, where they managed to install their shadowy individuals within the Shanee-OLF. To achieve their goal of forcing “Oromo’s are Ethiopians””proposition, this group worked tirelessly from within the OLF camp, until the year 2013. Although, there was no official approval from the Shanee-OLF group, many still believe the current ODF leadership Ethiopian agenda have had tacit approval from the Shanee-led OLF group. To substantiate their arguments of how ODF had a tacit support for their activities, they point their finger at individuals like Bayan Asoba, who was the Shanee-OLF spokesperson until 2013. Many still believe that AFD was the brain-child of the current ODF leadership and was embraced by the Shanee-OLF group but rejected by all independent Oromo Orgaizations and nationalist Oromo’s worldwide. Those who argue there was a tacit approval from the Shanee-led OLF group for the anti-Oromo activities of the ODF until the year 2013, give more examples such as the Agenda for Peace” of the year 2000 that was presented by current ODF president to OSA conference, the then Burgen Conference, where the current ODF leaders pushed hard for the acceptance of Wayyane demands, the omission of “Independent and Democratic Republic of Oromia” from OLF constitution and replaced by “self-determination”phrase in 2004, attempts to weaken all Oromo Organizations, communities, youth, Women, and civic organizations in the Diaspora, and the takeover of OSA leadership and replace it with pro-Ethiopian individuals at its helm.
“For the last forty years, thousands of heroic Oromo sons and daughters have paid the ultimate price for the realization of Oromo freedom, and indeed the Oromo public in general have been engaged in anti-colonial freedom struggle led by the OLF. The founding document of the OLF also states that the Oromo struggle is a struggle of decolonization against Abyssinian colonization and dominations. To achieve this noble goal of liberating Oromia, thousands and thousands paid the ultimate price. What you guys are doing in the name of AFD is like turning the clock back forty odd years, and reducing the Oromo anti-colonial struggle as a class struggle, and this is what makes this day the saddest days of my life”end of quote.
Finally, to achieve their evil agenda, ODF and its leaders want to portray OLF as a secessionist organization that is bent on destroying Ethiopia. Therefore, ODF, including any pro-Ethiopian empire Oromo organizations must be confronted by all Oromo’s, particularly by the Diaspora Oromo’s, so that they will cease their activities of attacking the Oromo struggle for freedom and peace. If not confronted and stopped now, these sell-outs will continue sabotaging our march towards freedom by conspiring with our enemies to reverse some of the victories we achieved with so much blood and sacrifice.
Oromia Shall Be Free!!