A keynote address by Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, at the 2016 Oromo Studies Association (OSA) annual conference.
I am here today to talk more about ourselves than the regime in power about whom I have been talking for a quarter of a century. I want to share my thoughts with you openly and honestly because I believe we have reached a stage where open, frank and honest discussion are necessary to lead our people towards the ultimate goal of liberation in our long journey to freedom. As we march forward, we should be honest to ourselves and to our people.
Exactly twenty two years ago, I presented a paper on how to democratize multi-ethnic polities like Ethiopia at the International Conference on Ethiopian Studies held at Michigan State University.
I then argued that “Oromos are the best candidate and centrally placed in terms of history, geography and demography to lead the country’s democratization drive. I even further argued that “Oromos can better claim that they are nearer to the Menilek palace at Arat kilo than those who came from Menez yesterday and Adwa today”. Some Oromo nationalists who found my ideas infuriating painted me as if I am playing the role of Gobana of the 19th century. In fact, they accused me of treason against the interest of our people. Undeterred, I continued to do what expected of me as much as I have understood the trends of Oromo politics, Ethiopian politics, African politics and global politics – all of which I had taught at Addis Ababa University for twenty eight years before I was pushed out because of my involvement in national politics. Read full