Oduu Haaraya

Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa’s Five Points Message to Oromia’s Qeerroo (Youth) is Still Valid After 40 Years

Obbo Baaroo Tumsaa  (1938–1978), a pharmacist, lawyer, Oromo nationalist and political leader in Oromia (formerly Ethiopia as defined here: http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2015/01/fayyis-oromia-the-end-is-either-an-independent-net-oromia-or-a-union-gross-oromia-but-an-efficient-means-leading-to-tulluu-daalatti/ ) was said to be one of those mainly responsible for the formation of the OLF. He was one of the revolutionary students in the 1960s, who once spoke: “we, the Oromo, must capture state power by any means necessary; in order to do this, we must clandestinely organize all sectors of our society; it is the responsibility of the young educated Oromo like you, to disseminate the spirit of Oromo nationalism when you return to your respective communities; we can only change the deplorable condition of our people by being tolerant to one another and reestablishing a necessary Oromo national unity; in this way, we can build a strong organization,
capture state power and take actions that facilitate fundamental social transformation.” Eci’at (one of the legal opposition parties during the Derg era) was also led by Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa. He was simply an Oromo national liberation leader, who could successfully incorporate, in his own person, both the non-violent struggle and the armed fighting as complementary meanses in the Oromo national liberation movement. It is now pity, when we observe different Oromo organizations alienating one another and regarding each other as enemies just because of choosing one of these two meanses and leaving the other for practical reasons. It is sickening to hear certain members and supporters of one organization regarding the other Oromo nationalists as enemy (or the vice versa), just because of one’s preference of one means to the other.

It seems that Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa spoke to the Oromo youth about 40 years ago to solve this problem in the contemporary context. We know at what level of consciousness the Oromo people were at that time regarding the raised five points: 1) disseminate the spirit of Oromo nationalism; 2) be tolerant to one another and reestablish Oromo national unity; 3) build a strong organization; 4) capture state power; 5) take actions that facilitate fundamental social transformations. Is our level of conciousness and practice now different from that time? Do we still need to work on the five points, as we did 40 years ago? A lot has been changed in this time span: now the spirit of Oromo nationalism is already disseminated in the whole Oromo nation; at least we know that without tolerance and national unity, our success is not so near; we do give lip service for  a strong organization, even though we lag behind practically; we have recognized that capturing the state
power at Tulluu Daalatti palace (TD) is a key, be it we democratize Ethiopia (Gross Oromia) or decolonize Net Oromia; and we have seen how easy it is to take any action of transformation (after having that key) from the TPLF since 1991. We like it or not, the essence of the struggle in that country is a triangular struggle of the Amharinya-speaking elites, the Tigrinya-speaking warlords and the Oromo nationalists for that key at TD. Till 1991, that key was on the hand of the Amharinya-speakers; now it is the turn of the Tigirinya-speakers; for the Oromo freedom fighters to have the key next, Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa’s prescription is still mandatory. To be successful, I think both the Gross Oromianists and the Net Oromianists have to agree on this common denominator: just capture the state power at TD. Then the decision is on our hand (realizing either an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia). So we have to just repeatedly remind the Oromo
nationalists the importance of pushing together for TD. State power there means for the Oromo automatically the realization of bilisummaa (freedom), abbaa-biyyumma (decision on once country), hiree-murteefanna (self-determination), aangoo siyaasa (political power) & walabummaa (sovereignty).

Both looking at the status quo and assessing the validity of the five points are now important in order to move forward and efficiently fulfill the mission of the message from Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa: the spirit of Oromo nationalism is still the best element, which can help us to mobilize the Oromo people; unfortunatelly, we do still observe that RR-factor (region and religion) is influencing the move of certain Oromo elites and negating the necessary coordinated mobilization, this factor need to be effectively tackled; tolerance among activists of different Oromo organization is yet inadequate, it is sad that we still listen some cadres and leaders of our organizations fighting each other, instead of focusing on the real enemy; even though we know the importance of strong organization to achieve our freedom, we still are neither organized adequately nor united for the common purpose of capturing the state power at TD; the fifth point can be implemented, only
if the fourth is accomplished; it is in the last phase of the procedure that we will decide to either decolonize Net Oromia or democratize Gross Oromia; that is why, it doesn’t make sense to quarrel now on these two post-freedom types of sovereignty. Be it we want to democratize Ethiopia (Gross Oromia) or decolonize Net Oromia, the key common step for both is to capture state power at TD.

The only importance of opting for either of the two sovereignty now is just to instrumentalize them for the sake of mobilizing the people. And yet the mobilized people and the leading parties firstly need to come to TD and then take action to implement their version of sovereignty; or else, the two Oromo camps can now synthesize a common post-freedom agenda, i.e a Union State of Oromia (U.S.O) as an optimal solution for the biggest nation, who is present almost all over the whole country and allow the other nations to decide on their fate (on independence vs union). In addition to this presence of the Oromo all over, here are some other reasons why we can claim the whole country and rename it as Oromia:

*The Tigrai elites reduced both the size of Net Oromia and the number of Oromo people almost to half, just as planned by their leader Meles Zenawi (change the majority to minority), so it is better for the Oromo to reclaim the whole country than accept the presently less than half Oromia. Oromo is Cush and Cush is Oromo, implying that the other Cushitic nations (including the Amharinya- and Tigrinya-speaking nations, who denied their Cushitic base) in the country are the offshots or the progenies of the Oromo, so that they can be part and parcel of Oromia. According to some scholars, “the whole country belongs to the Oromo and all the hitherto kings and leaders were from the Oromo; the Amhara being only soldiers of the governments”. The brain and heart of the whole country (the capital city – Finfinne) is the very center of the Oromo nation, so that any country governed or ruled from that center can be called Oromia. The Oromo is a single majority (60%)
and the Net Oromia covers more than 60% of the whole country. All economical, specially export, base of the whole country (coffee, gold, hide & skin, flower, caat) are from the Oromia proper (from the Net Oromia). Most of the arbenyoch (heros), who did build and kept the country as it is now, are Oromo and most of the athlets, who contributed for the fame of the country, are also Oromo. Even the whole Gojjam, part of Gondar and southern Tigrai are Oromo and belongs to Oromia. The original Cushitic language in Meroe was highly related to Afaan Oromo and the other Cushitic languages are branched from it. Waaqeffannaa, the indigeneous religion of the Cushites, which was also Abraham’s own religion before the emergence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is still preserved among the Oromo people and it needs to be revived as unique religion of the Cushitic country. The holy tree (as mentioned in the Bible), under which the pre-Judaism religious peoples on
the earth worshiped their Waaqa, is still revered in the Oromo society. The known verse in the Holy book “Oromia stretches his hand to Waaqa” is named as Cush by the Jew and as Ethiopia by the Greeks. Abraham Ashine of Akkasuma, who was Cushite, is said to be more with Oromo characters and told to have Oromo fighters during his invasion of Asia. The Oromo are told to be the indigeneous people on which the others were grafted. The study of Egypt showed more Afaan Oromo than Amharinya in relation with the old Egypt inscriptions. The present whole country is built at cost of the Oromo, actually with life and limb of the Oromo people as well as with Oromo’s property.*

Theoretically, if we get rid of the existing system of domination and take back our freedom, we can choose one of the possible following five models of sovereignty:

Ethiopian model: just as the Abeshas did concerning Amharinya, we can make Afaan Oromo, the Cushitic black-red-white and Oromummaa be main components of Ethiopiawinet, which is devoid of their system of domination and then we can live as Ethiopians in Oromo terms.

– Anglican model: the English people liberated themselves from the 700-years rule of the Roman empire, forged England as an autonomous region and united it with the neighboring others to form the British United Kingdom; they also made English the working language of the Kingdom. So can the Net Oromia, being autonomous and free from alien forces, be united with the neighboring autonomous regions to forge an Ethiopian Union and promote Afan Oromo to the working language of the union.

– Russian model: the Russian elites dismantled the Soviet Union and established the Russian federation, which uses the Russian national language and has an influence on its neighboring nations, because of its economic and military strength. This way of dismantling the Ethiopian Empire and fostering the highly wished independent Gadaa republic of Oromia to have a further influence over the other liberated neighboring countries can be one alternative type of sovereignty.

– Oromian model: it is possible to have Oromo national area as an autonomous “Oromo Regional State” within the future Union State of Oromia (Gross Oromia). That is why the concept Union State of Oromia is said to be a modified form of an Indian model sovereignty. This model is a new approach not yet digested adequately as one option.

– Indian model: the Hindi people struggled for their liberation together with all nations and nationalities in their region, and named the whole country as India, made Hindi the working language of the Indian federation and, of course, they divided the national area of Hindi into multiple federal regions. The Oromo people also can fight for our freedom in unison with the whole nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian Empire, call the whole country after liberation as ‘Oromia’ and promote Afan Oromo to the working language of the federation, with the historical regions (Odaa-Bisil, -Bultum, -Gaarres, -Makodi, -Nabee and -Roobaa) being the future separate federal states of the country.

I personally do advocate the Oromian model, for it can be a good solution for the ongoing conflict among the Oromo elites: “Ethiopian democratization vs Oromian liberation”. Regarding this conflict, there are five possible options of solving it: 1) all Oromo nationals agree on accepting a Union State of Ethiopia; 2) all agree on trying to achieve an Independent State of Oromia; 3) all try to make a consensus on the Union State of Oromia 4) just agree to go our respectively chosen way, be it Ethiopia or Oromia, and concentrate on the common denominator – capture TD; 5) strive to defeat each other, as our enemy wish us (fight one another). Which one is a practical solution? 1 & 2 are almost impossible; 3 is a new approach and we will see if it works; 4 is more pragmatic; 5 is good only for the enemy, but unfortunately we are implementing it. In order to bring the optimal solution, it is good to look at the unique aspect of the Oromo situation. Our
condition is not the same to the other colonized Africans, whose colonizers came from Europe and had no territorial continuity with the colonized, so that the solution was independence without even having a referendum. It is also different from the situations of the colonized minorites at periphery with a territorial continuity to that of the colonizer mother country like what Eritrea and South Sudan had, both of whom needed liberation and independence based on referendum. The Oromo are neither colonized by Europeans nor we are the minority at the periphery. We are the colonized demographical majority, being mainly at the geographical center, where the political brain and heart of the country (Finfinne) is found. So, political logic dictates that the optimal solution for our situation is just to occupy the brain and heart of the Empire as well as allow other nations at the geographical periphery to decide on their own fate: either to leave us or live
with us.

Oromo’s colonial situation is really unique; actually the country belongs to the Oromo more than to any other nation. We can claim the whole country and take over the state power at federal level. Oromia asking for only an autonomy, as our Ethiopian federalists do, is insufficient to solve our situation; only the minority nations at the center, who can never dominate the central power can be satisfied with such half national liberation. Trying to foster a unitary country as the Amharinya-speaking elites dream is also unfair, which the Gadaa people can’t emulate. That means independence without referendum, independence per referendum, autonomy within Ethiopia & unitary state are not optimal for the majority in the whole country – for the Oromo. A nice move for the Oromo is to claim the whole country, take the state power at Finfinne palace, forge a genuine multi-national federation and change the name of the union to Oromia; the other nations can
accept such a union voluntarily. If Oromo nationalists agree on such common move, the struggle will be crystal clear: all civic and political organizations, who are against the TPLF, will be considered as freedom fighters. They just need to stop any sort of side kick against each other and fight in unison against the tormentors on power. All of them should surround the TPLF at TD hill 360° from all sides and take the state power by any means necessary. In such sense, all the freedom fighters will build an alliance at least by default, if not by design. Let’s do it; Oromians deserve our freedom from the killer TPLF now.

Regarding the controversial renaming, what ever others call that country, I continue to suggest that the Oromo people be determined to call it as Oromia and reclaim it with all necessary determination. For that purpose, we need to develop a common mindset of ODLF (Oromo Democratic Liberation Front), which was the mentality of Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa, who successfully could accomodate both armed and non-violent struggles. This mindset is the synthesis from the approaches of the ODF and the OLF with a synthetic principle from the two fronts: – goal (kaayyoo) of the mindset is freedom and sovereignty in form of the Union State of Oromia (the U.S.O); – Map of the U.S.O as shown here http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2014/12/fayyis-oromia-why-not-the-union-state-of-oromia-as-an-optimal-solution-for-the-majority-at-the-center/ ; – flag of the U.S.O being http://www.gadaa.com/OromiaFlag2011_50.JPG ; – federal structure of the U.S.O as illustrated here
http://finfinnetribune.com/Gadaa/2015/01/fayyis-oromia-can-the-two-biggest-nations-the-oromo-and-the-agaw-cooperate-against-the-system-of-domination-in-oromia-aka-formerly-ethiopia/ ; the main parts of the federation are Biyya-Oromo (Net Oromia) at the center, Agaw-Midir and Benishangul-Gumuz in north-western Gross Oromia, Afar-Saho in north-eastern Gross Oromia, Sidama-et-al and the Gambella peoples in south-western Gross Oromia, as well as Somali-Ogaden in south-eastern Gross Oromia; – methods of the struggle being all inclusive (both non-violent and armed struggle), the mindset cooperates with and works actively in all the anti-TPLF freedom fighters; – the main five points in the principle of the mindset can be (1) freedom of citizens and nations in the union, (2) Afan Oromo as a primary language of the union, (3) democracy as the rule of the game in the union, (4) Oromia instead of Ethiopia as the name of the union, and (5) the Cushitic
black-red-white as the flag of the union.

Oromia without Raayyaa, Yejjuu, Wambara, Wallo, Hankobar, Asosa, Wolqixxe, Liban, Garrii, Jijjiga, Awash, Diredhawa, Harar, Finfinne, etc can be called Oromo region, but not necessarily Oromia – thus it is better to call the whole country as Oromia and let the other nations, who are far away from Finfinne exclude themselves if they refuse to be part of the Gross Oromia. Biyya-Oromoo, which was divided into 11 regions under the old-Nafxanya regimes, is yet partitioned into the existing 9 regions and 2 federal cities. Parts of Oromia are now to be seen in all the 11 adminstrative areas of the whole country, not only in the “little Oromia now under the rule of the OPDO”. Thus we better claim the whole country as Oromia and to realize this vision, we have to apply both ways of struggles (non-violent and armed) and capture TD. Even if conditions compel us to choose one of the two meanses, every Oromo nationalist must have Baaroo Tumsaa’s mindset of ODLF, i.e.
accomodate both methods of struggle, as long as we are under colony or domination. I think that is why he said “capture state pwer BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY”. Of course, any sort of terror against civil society must be excluded from the chosen methods of struggle.

In conclusion, the Oromo can take over the existing state at TD, instead of only striving to foster a new state as minority nations at the periphery usually do; let other nations far away from the political center worry about forming their own new state. For the Oromo nationalists to capture the state power at TD, all who are active in the OLF, ODF, OFC, ULFO and even in the OPDO should cooperate and coordinate our move. Such unity of purpose among the Oromo nationalists is bad only for the Amharinya-speaking-Nafxanyas, who are nostalgic to their past glory and for the Tigirinya-speaking-Nafxanyas now enjoying power and profit; that is what we do still observe as Jawar Mohammed wrote recently. TD must be home for Oromummaa, not for Abeshanet; thus we need to forge a country where the egalitarian Oromummaa will flourish on the grave of the autoritative Abeshanet. The Tigirinya-speaking neo-Nafxanyas now having TD’s key must be challenged and cornered from
every direction. If we agree on the validity of Ob. Baaroo Tumsaa’s five points procedure and work on it accordingly, take it how long it may, at the end of the day, we will capture the state power at TD and then take the necessary actions needed to realize either ‘an Independent Net Oromia’ or ‘a Union Gross Oromia’. Anyways, the future fate of Ethiopia is either to give birth to Net Oromia or be transformed to Gross Oromia. May Waaqa help us, march together to TD and leave the decision on the two types of sovereignty for the Oromo people!


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  1. Very dangerous article clearly orchestrated by Oromo Ethiopianists to weaken and destroy true Oromo nationalists who are fighting to liberate and form an independent free Oromia. Under the guise of unity and taking political power, these people have been using such tactics since the 1970’s and beyond. All Oromo member of Meison used the same exact tactic and propaganda in the 1970’s. They are trying to feed us candies as if we are little children. Say no to such dirty people. If you talk to an Amhara and Tigre, they will tell you the same thing. They used to lecture us that Oromo is majority and can’t fight for independence from minority. We know better, and we should know better now.

  2. Beekaa Namoo
    I carefully read Albasa’s comment regarding Jawar Mohammed and his group and was very scared and took time to think. If Jawar is truly an Ethiopianist and works clandestinely with the OPDO, then we are truly in a big trouble. We are allowing another Ethiopianist to highjack our struggle after we financed Lencho Lata and his today’s ODF group for 40 years. Some of us knew that Lencho Lata and several OLF leaders were Ethiopianists and yet we kept quiet for decades thinking this will divide our people. During those long years, we lost thousands of true Oromo nationalists some of whom were victims from disagreement with Lencho Lata and his insider group. Not surprising, the OLF was eventually divided into fiefdoms and we are in the worst situation now than we were 25 years ago. Now, we are repeating the same blunder and the Oromo Diaspora is financing OMN it thought belonged to the voice of Oromo Diaspora; whereas most of the management of OMN either work for OPDO (Jawar) and others are ardent Ethiopianists. There are obviously some great Oromo reporters such as Abdi Fite who challenged OPDO chief. OMN is our media, and belongs to us. We, the Oromo Diaspora have every right and obligation to hire and fire those who do not represent our aspiration and the Oromo cause as we see it. For example, we can’t allow Dr. Hamza to be fired from OMN and let Jawar control OMN. From everything we now know about Dr. Hamza, he represents our voice and the Oromo aspiration, whereas Jawar is at best an ardent Ethiopianist or even worse, a phony imposter and an enemy- implant representing the known Oromo enemy and TPLF dogs–the OPDO. Please read very carefully Albasa’s comment in response Jawar’s “Gilgil Neftegnoch” posted on Gada.com. We can’t be silent again and let our people suffer for another 40 years. Beekaa
    to attached below:

    “Gilgil Neftegnoch” ?
    Jawar Mohammed: who are these so called “Gilgil Neftegnoch” ?
    I will answer that for you. The number one “Gilgil Neftegnoch” ? is you and your cohorts ,Jawar. You were sponsored and financed by OPDO/TPLF to infiltrate Oromo Diaspora under the guise of study abroad. You joined the Oromo youth in Minneapolis and started to plant seeds there acting as if you were an Oromo nationalist and recruited number of youth there including your current wife. Once you completed your undergraduate study from California, you took time to branch your wings and concentrated on more recruitment concentrating mainly among your clan. Your bosses rewarded your new recruits with land in Oromia and the first reward was paid. Then you were sent to infiltrate Abyssinian groups where you joined their study circle reborn as an Ethiopianist. Amharas were very happy to find young idealist they thought they can mold and use as their tool. What Amharas did not know about you was that you were not the lone wolf they thought you were. Little did they know that instructions were coming to you from TPLF via the OPDO. Nevertheless, Amharas are not fools; they caught you in due course and made you run for your life. Then you went back to your Oromo youth study circle and back to your OPDO recruits. An opportunity opened for you on Al Jazzira, when you said you are “Oromo first” and Amharas overreacted and made their biggest political gaffe by making it bigger issue than it actually was for Oromo nationalists have been saying they are Oromo first and African second. This opened up an opportunity for you to start what is now known as the “I am Oromo first campaign”. You cynically told your small-minded followers that “you were coming home, and running away from Neftegnoch”. Overnight, you were ululated and anointed as a new Arsi prince who came down to save Oromo struggle. Overnight, little unknown spy for OPDO who has done absolutely next to nothing in his entire life that is of benefit to Oromo liberation became the one and the only liberator and redeemer. Even some veteran Oromo nationalists were hoodwinked into joining your con-society and started to drumbeat for you. As the drumbeat now grows louder, you felt so bloated and started to command several Oromo institution leaders to surrender their positions for the newbie’s. Some actually did, including OSA, the premier Oromo research and publication society that used to be the forum for intellectuals and scholars until about a decade ago, and was high jacked by political cadres of different political groups. You even felt more confident enough to tell OLF leadership to vacate their leadership positions and pass the torch on to the Jawar generation. That was your first big blooper and the beginning of y our current pathetic position. Then, you moved on and high jacked OMN. That was a major coup since that gave you a free forum paid fully by gullible but well -meaning Oromo. We have to painfully listen to political neophytes seemingly lecturing Oromo Diaspora as opposed to learning from and growing from veteran experts. You anointed yourself as political analyst, when you do not have the credential; the experience necessary or the training. This was particularly painful and embarrassing for there are so many true veterans of Oromo struggle with the necessary academic and long and wealth of work history and life experience and actually know what to say. Instead, the Diaspora Oromo is forced to listening to immature screaming and screeching youth more fit for peasant mobilization than for enlightened and experienced exile community; granted the presence of our peasantry in exile. Unfortunately, Jawar Mohammed, this last venture of yours has led you to the end of your seemingly long dance routine choreographed by TPLF and OPDO, for the walls of your venture and evil work had started to tumbling down as if blown up by a hurricane wind. You and your evil sponsors are now bare- naked and I don’t know if you can be rescued again by home boys back at ranch. You probably will lick your wounds for a jiffy, and reappear somehow under some other guise. Until then, I wish you bad fortune, and still, counsel you to go back fulltime schooling and evaluate your deranged behavior and the consequences of spying for the enemy for temporary benefits. adious