We all have followed the current sad news of Ethiopians/Oromians suffering in Saud Arabia. Jawar Mohammed reacted to these assaults on the immigrants in the Gulf states: “we must take back our homeland to end the Oromo national homelessness.” The concervative Abyssinian forces on the other hand tried to capitalize on this situation as usual and started their pro-Ethiopianism/pro-unity propaganda, of course again attacking the Oromo nationalists, including Jawar himself. This event may persuade us to shortly formulate Oromo people’s goal and look at it, especially if it contradicts with the genuine unity of nations and peoples. Oromo people’s political objective (Kaayyoo Oromoo) regarding a type of Oromia’s sovereignty we want to have after achieving national freedom/bilisummaa from any sort of alien rule can be summarized in short as ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared-rule of Great Oromia’. This is the goal of the people in general, but Oromo individuals and organizations can specify their aim by taking one of the three post-bilisummaa sovereingty of Golden Oromia and/or Great Oromia. For instance, the ODF wants to realize ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and shared-rule of Great Oromia’ (multi-national federation); the OLF wants to achieve ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia within a United Nations’ (independent republic of Oromia); whereas the theoretical OPF (Oromo Patriotic Front), which is active in the so called multi-national organizations, strives to foster shared-rule of Great Oromia’ by making sure the transformation and change of the name Ethiopia to Oromia (multi-regional federation).
The three kaayyoo’s are not as such disadvantageous for the Oromo, as long as the future rule of political game will be freedom and democracy. That is why the Oromo organizations can confidently forge any sort of alliance against the tormenting TPLF regime. The whole move of the Oromo organizations should be with a purpose to corner the fascist and racist regime in Finfinne palace, so that it will never have a peaceful life in Golden Oromia and Great Oromia. Regarding the post-bilisummaa sovereignty, we can look at six theoretical types of Oromian sovereignty. In the political spectrum of the Oromo Liberation Struggle (Qabsoo Bilisummaa Oromoo = QBO), there are the following theoretical post-bilisummaa types of Oromia’s sovereinty:
4) Multi-regional federation of Great Oromia (formation of regional states based on many criteria, not only on languge)
6) An Integrated Great Oromia (a unitary state without a self-rule of states or disticts)
Given the public will or popular sovereignty is the highest value, the Oromo nation can have full right to choose one of the alternatives in the spectrum during a process of excercising our self-determination. But, from these theoretical possibilities, only three positions are entertained practically: the 1st, 3rd and 4th. Regarding the practical positions, there are organizations struggling in the name of the Oromo, who are persuing only the 1st and the 3rd possibilities. The 4th position is entertained by certain Oromo individuals, who are organized under the name of Ethiopia within the so called multi-national (hibre-biher) parties. The classical examples are: for the 1st model, the OLF; for the 3rd position, the ODF and for the 4th style, Dr Nagaaso in the UDJ. The common denominator for all the three positions is the struggle for freedom from the Abyssinian system of domination. Their political difference on the type of post-bilisummaa sovereignty can be solved per public verdict in a possible future referendum after liberation. That is why the pro-independence OLF, the pro-federation ODF and the pro-unity UDJ can now work together against the Woyane’s system of domination and struggle for freedom in unison.
But in short, we can actually put all the later 5 positions, from 2 – 6, as a goal for “an integrative Great Oromia.” That means in short, there are only two main types of post-bilisummaa sovereignty: an independent Golden Oromia chosen by the OLF and an integrative Great Oromia opted by the ODF; the third possibility being the combination of the two – i.e self-rule of Golden Oromia and shared-rule of Great Oromia. Anyways the question yet to be answered is: how can we achieve either of these types of sovereignty? By mere means of being part of the ritual “election”? On the process of preparation to chart the way to freedom, we did observe that Ethiopia’s repeated fraudulent “elections” did confirm the necessity of decolonization before democratization, the goal which we can never achieve per ballot under the rule of the present fascist and racist regime. Few years ago, there was a discussion going on regarding Great Oromian democratization (struggle for democracy) vs. Golden Oromian decolonization (national freedom of the Oromo from any sytem of domination), which was firstly initiated by Addis Neger Online. The author of the article demanded that a certain Oromo Obama or Oromo Mandela take the responsibility to democratize the empire and give a lasting solution to the problems of that cursed region. What a nice wish and good demand! But is this the main objective of the Oromo? The author wrote his piece few days before the “election” 2010. He seemed to be optimistic of the ongoing “democratization and election in the empire”.
Can such game of “election” lead us to ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared-rule of Great Oromia? To answer such questions, let me leave the oppression history in the Empire for historians and talk about the present situation under the Woyane rule. No question that the Woyane, the hegemonist caricature of the TPLF, is ruling all nations in the empire with iron fist since 1991. What a pity for the Tigreans who died for the cause of freedom and democracy during their rebellion and struggle against the fascist Derg! Who of them thought that their organization, the TPLF, would be transformed into such a worse fascist and racist organization than the regime they had fought against? Unfortunately, the TPLF is not only transformed from a liberation front into such a fascist hegemonist force, but it also used to be the instrument for the only one dictatorial psychopath till the day of his death. Now there is no more TPLF or any organization from Tigrai ruling the empire, but there was only one psychopath as brutal as Hitler and Stalin ruling the citizens and nations in the Empire with brute force and malicious manipulation. He gathered the very submissive individuals with slave mentality from each nation in the empire to use them as “representatives” of their respective nations. So, he got servants from the Amhara, Oromo, Tegaru, Afar, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gamballa, Harari and all the Southern nations. Now, the current puppet PM is doing the bidding, while the junior TPLF leaders are manipulating him behind the screen. Is this a better condition for the Oromo to achieve our above mentioned objective – ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared-rule of Great Oromia? Is taking part in the coming “election” of 2015 the way to accomplish this objective?
The election in May 2010 was one of the situations where the TPLF could show the two bad methods (force and manipulation) for the sake of perpetuating its rule further. Individual citizens and national groups in the empire have been intimidated by force and manipulated by fraud in order to make the dictator and his followers “win” the election. It could “win” almost 100% of the federal and regional parliamentary seats. This election was similar to the elections which took place under dictators like Stalin, Sadam Hussen, Mengistu H/Mariam and so on. So,there was no surprise about the result. Why was the result like this? Why could not the empire experience till now any sort of genuine democratic election? The answer may be as described below, in the following examples. Specially, elections in multinational countries like the Ethiopian empire are the competitions not only among political parties, but also among nations in the country for power and domination. In the empire, the contest for power takes place particularly between the two Habesha nations (Amhara, Tegaru) and the other oppressed nations, specifically the Oromo. The relationship between the Abyssinian ruling class and the Oromo nation is a relationship between colonizers and the colonized, whereas the relationship between the two Habesha nations is a competition between two colonizers, which is similar to the fight between England and France over Africa during their scramble for Africa.
The present situation or the status quo in the Ethiopian empire is comparable, for instance, with a scenario that a smaller nation Denmark would occupy Germany, France and other nations in West Europe, make Paris its capital city, choose German language as a working language of the “federation” it formed, call the whole federation as the Federal Democratic Republic of Europe and foster a government, where only individuals from Denmark take the key positions in the government, military, civil service and security. Is this not absurd? Unfortunately, this is what the Tigreans (our Denmark) are doing today in the region called Ethiopia. They came to Golden Oromia (our France), made their capital city Finfinne (our Paris), their working language Amharinya (our German language) and tell us that the country they do now rule dictatorially is called Ethiopia (our Europe). Then, let’s imagine the Denmark people, the Germans, the French people and all other nations in the “European empire” are going to the election under the government of the fascist dictator from Denmark. Can any one imagine that the Germans, the French citizens and other nations of Western Europe under such a dictator vote for the fascist regime dominated by oligarchs from Denmark? Can anyone think that such a fascist dictator from Denmark can allow the election be fair and free? Can we really believe that democratization of such “European empire” dominated and ruled by a minority group from Denmark be possible?
The Ethiopian empire is such a conglomerate of different neighboring nations, which actually deserve their independence and it is only after such freedom of nations from alien rulers that democratization of nation-states can be easier and possible as already practically seen in Europe. The question we need to answer is why do European regimes want us to do, what they actually don’t do for themselves and their nations? How can they repeatedly come to observe such almost an impossible election in the empire or the futile attempt of democratization in the colonized (occupied, subjugated and oppressed) nations? To use another example to describe the Ethiopian empire, such an empire with a system of domination is almost similar to the Apartheid of the ex-South Africa. Was it expected that such South Africa can be democratic before dismantling the system? Why then is the Oromo nation, in particular, and other oppressed nations, in general, suffering under the looting, subjugation and lording of Tigrean oligarchs be expected to get our right per sham election orchestrated under the colonizers? The only difference between South Africa and Ethiopian empire is that, nations in South Africa were not colonized (dominated) by other nation from the same region, but by the white minority from Europe. That is why the answer to the Apartheid was not necessarily a decolonization in a form of autonomy for each nation in the region. Being free from the system of Apartheid used by the white minority regime was the sort of decolonization all nations together wanted to achieve. Can Oromo’s objective be the same to that of South Africans, which is devoid of national self-rule? Does opting for only shared-rule of Great Oromia be the same to the South African model?
We can see that the first example of “European empire” is more appropriate to describe the situation in the Ethiopian empire. If the “Europe under the Denmark oligarchs” needs to be democratized, no question that the subjugated nations like Germany and France should be liberated first. Then after, the liberated nation-states can have their fair and free democratic election. Of course, after that, the free and democratic nation-states can build a union of free nations as they did in the form of European Union (EU). I think this is the reason for the fact that they supported the “disintegration” of Yugoslavia into free nation states, including the very small nations like Kosovo. These independent and democratic nation-states, with their own self-rule, are today part and parcel of the European union. If this method of achieving national freedom and multinational democracy is right for Europe, why do the European regimes want us Africans move another way which didn’t work for them? The legacy of colonialism in the Horn of Africa, in particular, and in Africa, in general, is the artificial division of nations (ethnies), which they like to call “African tribes” per colonial borders. The colonialists either divided one nation to be included into more than two countries or clamped many nations together into one state (country). For instance, the only one nation (Somalia) was divided to be included into five countries (in Djibouti, Ethiopian empire, Kenya, British Somaliland and Italian Somalia) as well as many nations in the Horn like Tegaru, Amhara, Oromo, Afar, Sidama, etc. are put together in only one Ethiopian empire ruled by the Abyssinian elites under the protection of the Western regimes.
Almost all African countries are suffering under the consequences of such arrangement, and yet Africans are accused and blamed by these same self-righteous Western regimes for the lack of democracy. For African nations to be really democratic, they should first get rid of these artificial colonial borders; nation-states based on free will must be established. Only such relatively monolithic nation-states can vote freely during elections in a possible multiparty democracy of the respective nations free from unhealthy competitions among different nations for domination. Otherwise, in the multinational countries, where nations are put together by force like in the Ethiopian empire, there will always be a competition of nations for dominance, not the necessary competition of political parties for power. There can be certain arguments against such suggestion to have nation-states as a prerequisite for genuine democratization, because of the presence of many small nationalities in Africa, which may not be in a position to foster a viable independent state. For such smaller nations, a federal arrangement like that of a genuine Killil-federation (ethnic federalism), which is formally tried in the present Ethiopia, is a good arrangement. It needs only to be genuine, not so fake as it is now. Each nationality can have its own autonomous province (state), zone, district or county within a voluntarily formed multi-nation-country (state), based on its size.
Coming back to the circumstances in the Ethiopian empire, it is just a pipe dream to expect democratization of the empire as long as the Abyssinian colonial system of domination is intact. This system of domination is now under absolute control of the Tigrean elites from the minority nation. Genuine and free democratization means a loss of power for them, which further means a lose of economical advantage they individually, as a group of oligarchs and as a minority nation do enjoy now. It is simply a naivety to expect these individuals and the group allow genuine democratization of the empire, while they do know what the consequence of losing this power is for them. Taking part in elections under such regime is good only in order to use the process as one means of the struggle against tyranny. The participation of MEDREK and others in the 2010 “election” has got only this purpose. If there was anyone who expected the Woyane to give up power per ballot, that was unrealistic. I personally have expected that a sort of FDG = Fincilaa Diddaa Garbummaa (peaceful public uprising) had to follow the already programmed vote rigging. Unfortunately, neither MEDREK nor any other political organization, be it “legal” or “illegal” was ready to call for such an uprising. This made me to ask, what is then the purpose of taking part in the election? Was boycotting not better? Some would say, “it was better to expose the undemocratic nature of the Woyane.” Didn’t we do this during the elections in 1992 and 2005? Is this anti-democratic nature of the Woyane not known? Can it be different in the coming 2015 “election”? If not different, then how can the Oromo materalize our objective – ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared-rule of Great Oromia’?
Actually, the best approach against such fascist dictators is only to fight against them without any compromise. Beside the “legal parties,” which are accompanying the regime in sham elections, there should be underground organizations and armed forces, which are ready to force such a regime to give up the grip of power it has in Finfinne palace. I had an expectation that the underground movement of Ginbot-7 and the likes in addition to the rebel forces like the OLF and the ONLF could make the public uprising possible following the already known vote rigging. Now it seems, this was just a wishful thinking of the few including me. Where we know that Woyane oligarchs never allow the democratization of the empire and even the reactionary unitarists are not ready to see the domination system of the empire destroyed, what should be the future approach? The few Habesha democrats like those in the UDJ and Ginbot-7 should be determined to make an alliance covertly or overtly with the liberation forces like the OLF and the ONLF in order to dismantle the domination system in the empire (i.e. decolonization of all suffering nations in the empire, including the Amhara and the Tegaru oppressed mass). Let me hope that very few from the conservative parties like the AEUP and the EPRP also follow the same procedure. Now, it is not the time for the opposition forces to talk about democratization, but for all to struggle for decolonization of the oppressed nations together. Interestingly, some Amhara nationals are starting to sense what it means to live under national oppression. Most Tegaru elites actually know it very well, that is why they fought against it until their struggle has been hijacked by the Woyane junta. Now, it is the time for such forces of decolonization from all nations in the empire to come together and figtht for freedom in unison.
What can be the common ground for the decolonization forces from these different nations in the empire to forge a sort of alliance against the Woyane oligarchs? The common ground can not be either the “unconditional independence without union,” which is propagated by certain liberation fronts or the “unconditional unitary state without national independence,” the mantra which is always prayed by some patriotic forces. The way forward as a common purpose can be a sort of consensus on the necessary union of free nations in the Horn/Ethiopia/Great Oromia, which is the goal of some democratic forces like the ODF and the MEDREK. Hopefully, many of those from the liberation fronts and the patriotic fronts will give up their ultra left and ultra right positions, respectively, and come together in this middle position of some democratic forces. Unfortunately, the Woyane is still instrumentalizing both the left and right poles to make them fight each other and neutralize each other. This makes them not to be a challenge for the Woyane, so that the cunning Woyane could balance the power in the empire for its own benefit. That is why we do hear, see and read the Woyane cadres being camouflaged as either of the two ultra forces to attack the other side so that it could seem as if the main struggle in the empire is between these two, instead of the fighting of all against the evil Woyane. I hope, at the end of the day, when these three forces (pro-independence, pro-federtion and pro-unity) agree on the above mentioned middle position, it will be very easy for such an alliance of all oppositions to engage the Woyane with the appropriate methods to compel it to give up power, without unrealistically expecting that it may give up power per ballot box. In case such consensus on the middle ground is impossible, then to persue one’s program and leave the final decision for the public verdict is an alternative, so that one of the three alternative goals in the Oromo’s summary objective – ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared-rule of Great Oromia – can be realized. For the Oromo, even shared-rule of Great Oromia without self-rule of Golden Oromia, but with self-rule of the six traditional regions (Boorana, Baarentu, Arsi, Macca, Tullama and Wallo) is not a lose, as long as it will be decided based on the principle of respecting the popular sovereignty of the Oromo nation.
Such allied and united opposition can easily start the coordinated struggle using three best methods against the fascists: civil disobedience, armed struggle and public uprising. Taking part in the election should only be for the sake of facilitating these methods, not for the sake of taking power per ballot box as if the election is going on in a democratic nation-states. It can not be otherwise in the coming 2015 “election”. Democratization of an empire with colonized nations is practically impossible. Let’s first decolonize such nations, which are still suffering under the system of domination and, then we can talk about democratization of each nation in a possible union of free nations. Trying to persuade us now to talk again about the democratization process is simply one of the ways used by the Woyane oligarchs just in their attempt to fool us. So, we had enough election processes to expose the Woyane in front of the “gullible” international community, which has either naively or deliberately accepted the Woyane led empire as one of “African nations, which is on the noble road of democratization.” The OLF already exposed the undemocratic nature of the Woyane in 1992, just a year after Woyane’s takeover of power in the Finfinne palace. CUD and UEDF did the same job of exposing the Woyane in 2005; MEDREK and AEUP repeated it in 2010. From now on, we do not need this job of exposing the Woyane any more. This can not be the purpose of taking part in the “election” 2015. What we need is to come together, forge a necessary alliance based on the above mentioned common ground and then fight against the fascists specially by using the above mentioned effective three methods.
Let’s first decolonize the oppressed nations, i.e get our freedom from Woyane, and then democratize all national areas of Great Oromia in the form of multiparty competition. Yes, democratization of the empire is impossible, decolonization should precede democratization, i.e. citizens’ and nations’ freedom should be achieved in order to exercise democracy. After decolonization (after achieving freedom from the system of domination), we can democratize all the decolonized nations in the region, which can have a possibility to foster a Great Oromian union on the grave of the already existing Ethiopian empire, based on the genuine free will of all the concerned nations. Even if it is necessary, trying to democratize an empire is only a means to disintegrate it, but not the end by itself. As a summary, in this struggle for freedom and democracy, the fact on the ground shows us that there are two lines of the opposition movement against the fascist and racist regime in the empire: the line of multi-national federation as a prelude to an independent Golden Oromia (the ODF-OLF line) and the line of multi-regional federation as a prelude to an integrated Great Oromia (the UDG-G7 line). If the two lines fail to foster a consensus in order to presue one common line, they can agree on a struggle for freedom from the Woyane and for democracy (including referendum on the two lines) after the Woyane. Both routes and their results are not as such disadvantageous for the Oromo people. Can the two camps agree on these common factors (freedom and democracy) and cooperate to remove the worst evil we ever faced in the empire? Time will show us, but the Oromo polity must do every thing under the sun to coordinate the necessary cooperation of the two lines for there is nothing the Oromo people will lose if we follow both lines of the freedom movements. At the end of the day, one of the three components of the Oromo’s summarized objective – ‘self-rule of Golden Oromia and/or shared-rule of Great Oromia’ – can be fulfilled. May Rabbi/Waaqa help us see these three alternative possibilites!