Oduu Haaraya

What Menelik Said About Finfinnee

Oromo wiki | By Abishe Gerba

Towns all around Oromia, specially those larger and brighter once, in one way or another, were established as garrison stations. Then their Oromo indigenous population cleared of to make space for new migrants settlers. Finfinnee or Addis Ababa was also established first to host Menelik’s advancing army further to the south and western Ethiopia. There are number of oral and written evidences of how Menelik and his wife Tayitu were so pleased with Finfinnee that they decided to make it their station to command their force to invade and occupy the south and west.

In a book entitled ‘Oromia yedebekew tarik‘, the extent of excitement about the local landscape of Finfinnee by Menelik and his wife is an evidence to the fact that the Naftenga system had in mind to take Finfinnee out of Oromos’ hand that early. As he sits on a rock and takes a hot spring bath, as written on the book, Menelik says to his wife ‘Now Galas have filled this place; however, in the future, my grandsons will build houses and make this place their city‘.

As he wished, his grandsons have filled Finfinnee and are finishing the job their forefathers have started. During all this time, the Oromos are the prime target of ethnic cleansing. During the Menelik’s time, it is well documented truth that Gullale and Galan tribes were massacred and driven out of their homeland. As an evidence, those who fled Menelik’s army attack still live in places such as Arsii and Baale. What is most shocking is that Menelik’s statue that stands in the centre of Finfinnee is build by clearing a sacred Odaa tree where the General Assmbly of Gullalle Oromos were held.
Today, the issue of Finfinnee is more of a strategic dispossession of land. Over the last 10 years, the federal government have played nasty games on the Oromo people regarding Finfinnee, its special interest on the city as stipulated on Article 49 of the FDRE constitution. The sudden move of Oromia region government seat to Adama and back to Finfinnee is one of such incidents to demonstrate. It is very alarming if one sees how farmers have been and are being dispossessed from their land for as low as 5 birr per hectare and no compensations at times. But what is more important to closely look is that Menelik’s plan of making Finfinnee his grandsons’ home by pushing Oromos further away in to the wild is pursued aggressively and nobody seems to check that.
The recent master plan to ‘integrate’ towns with Finfinnee is a strategic and systematic implementation of Menelik’s wish. What is different might be who settles now might be a bit different. During Menelik, the Amharas where the favourite to be given priority while now the Tigrays are those who are buying large swath of land with their close brothers, the Amharas next in line.
Every Oromo should know that the master plan is part of a well thought TPLF plan since 10 years to take the entire region of about 100km in diameter of Finfinnee out of Oromia’s hand and redistribute it to Abyssinians. It is an instrument to bypass the regional and federal law that prohibits any federal or city administration of Addis Ababa to annex any land from Oromia. It is a tool kit to destroy Oromo values, its language, culture and its identity and replace it with Abyssinian state sponsored identity.

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