In the liberation struggle against the oppressive Abyssinian empire’s system, we had passed through different phases and we had formed till now different alliances against the tyrant rulers. The struggle has almost always been done by two ideologically opposite political camps, i.e. by the unionist liberators, who want to liberate oppressed nations in the empire and build, where possible, a union of autonomous nations, and by the unitarist patriots, who do disregard the autonomy of nations but want to liberate individual citizens from any sort of oppression. In other words, it has been the struggle by those emphasizing group (national) liberty and by those stressing individual (citizens’) freedom. Despite their similarity in socialist ideology, one of the major differences between Me’ison and Ihapa was their tendency towards being a unionist and a unitarist, respectively. Me’ison, being dominated and led by Oromo intellectuals, had been for self-determination of nations in a sense of having their own national autonomy within Ethiopian union, whereas Ihapa, being dominated and led by Tigrean intellectuals, had been for self-determination of nations in a sense of exercising their cultures within a unitary Ethiopia/Great Oromia without national autonomy.
In a further political process, both Me’ison and Ihapa, after being brutally beaten by the Derg, opted to join their kins in the OLF and the TPLF, respectively. Now, Ihapa with its unitarist view had taken power in a form of the TPLF, and the unionist Me’ison in a form of the OLF is still the main opposition/rebel group against this Ihapa-dominated regime. Simply put, the struggle between the unionist Me’ison and the unitarist Ihapa is still going on indirectly. After coming to power, the unitarist TPLF was compelled to accept and respect certain elements of the unionist OLF, so that it signed the 1991 Charter, which formally accepted the right of all nations and nationalities in the empire to have their own self-rule (autonomy) within Great Oromia. But in practice, the Woyane has chosen to implement more unitarist elements of its own, neglecting that of the unionists. That is why Great Oromia is today de jure a union, but de facto a unitary state. Leaving the pre-1974-revolution history for the academicians/historians and just looking at the alliances forged by the polity in the empire since the revolution, we can notice the rise and fall of the following ten alliances:
“- IMALEDIH: after the inability of Me’ison and Ihapa to forge an alliance against the military dictator, the first attempt of building the alliance was between the legally operating unionists at that time (Me’ison and Ici’at) with the contemporary unitarist forces (Seded, Wez-lig and Malerid). Later, the two unionists were pushed out of the alliance and persecuted by the unitarists who had power, so that the two unionists left the alliance. Soon after they left the alliance, the two unionists were considered illegal, which was followed by the persecution of their activists who lastly joined the OLF in the battlefield against the Derg.
“- IHADEG: was the asymmetrical alliance between the powerful TPLF and its subordinates (EPDM, later called ANDM and OPDO, being followed by the formation of SEPDM). Simply put, this alliance of the four unequal parties is a mask for TPLF in order to get a legitimacy to rule over Great Oromia, instead of only “liberating” Tigrai. As long as the Woyanes are in power, the other three ‘PDOs will serve them as slaves. By the way, TPLF has never been a liberation front, but an economic front which tries to overcome the economical crisis in Tigrai, and now it has achieved to control almost all sectors in the empire and to help Tigrai be free from destitute life.
“- COEDF: was an alliance formed in April 1991 at a meeting held in Washington by the unitarist Ihapa, the unionist Me’ison and other two parties, including some civic groups, human rights and community organizations and associations. This alliance couldn’t take part in fostering the charter of the transitional Ethiopian government in 1991. It then lost its importance and was then disband and dismantled.
“- CAFPDE: was an alliance set up in the aftermath of the opposition conference held in Finfinne in December 1993. The conference was headed by the president of the unionist Hadiya National Democratic Organization, and the alliance included the unitarist parties like the EDU. This alliance failed mainly for it didn’t include major unionists from the Oromo nation.
“- ULFO: was an exclusive alliance of only the Oromo unionist liberators in order to forge a strong Oromo liberation force against the fascist and hegemonist de facto unitarist Woyane regime, which still denies the true autonomy/self-rule of nations and nationalities in the empire. This alliance didn’t dare to approach the unitarists and the current merger form of the alliance still abhor any sort of alliance with unitarists. That is why Woyane cadres nowadays poise as if they support ULFO (as if they prefer Golden Oromian independence) and curse the Amhara unitarists just to hinder a possible alliance of the Oromo unionists with the Amhara unitarists against their hegemonist regime.
“- UEDF: an alliance composed of both unionists and unitarists, but excluded the main unionist liberation forces like the OLF and the ONLF, so that it was ineffective and couldn’t live long. It was also weakened for the two major unitarist parties (AEUP and EDP) left the alliance within few months after its formation.
“- CUD: an alliance of only the die-hard unitarist forces, which tried their best to reverse the move of nations and nationalities towards a genuine autonomy in a form of a true killil-federation. One of the reasons for the demise of UEDF was that the two main unitarist parties left the alliance with the contemporary unionists and formed their own alliance of pure unitarists in the form of CUD. But this move at last led to the demise of CUD itself, because of the opposition it faced from almost all unionists in the empire.
“- AFD: the first alliance, which included the seemingly diametrically opposite major unionist forces like the OLF and main unitarist forces like the CUD. It was the hitherto best alliance which made the Woyane tremble for the first time. That is why it was not surprising when we did observe that Woyane cadres made a campaign against the AFD being camouflaged as the unitarist Amhara cursing the unionist Oromo, and vice versa, so that the AFD couldn’t survive this polarizing action.
“- MEDREK: the still existing, but not yet effective alliance, which seems to be a continuation of the AFD in a legal form, also included the unionists like the OFC and the unitarists like the UDJ. Here also, the Woyane is trying to polarize the Oromo unionists against the Amhara unitarists. We will see how far this alliance can survive this divide-and-rule machination of the fascist regime. The current move of this alliance towards forming a front, instead of continuing as only a coalition, needs a meticulous scrutiny. Is it a front towards being a pure unionist or a pure unitarist? Time will tell. At least, the rhetoric we heard during the conference this alliance had with its supporters in Washington DC before the 2010 election suggests that it is moving towards being pure unitarist. I hope the OFC and the other unionists have registered that rhetoric from some of the leaders. Otherwise, the call made by this alliance for the preparation of the upcoming future “election” under the Woyane is like “ye moony zefen/leqsoo melliso melaalso”. This fixation on only election as a method of struggle is a program for the quick death of this alliance.
“- Ximiret: the once suggested all-inclusive AFD-like alliance of both the unionists like the OLF and the unitarists like Ginbot-7, which are now moving underground in the empire and which are active as rebels in the battlefield as well as in exile, ended in forging the pseudo-alliance between Ximiret and one faction of the OLF. In the last few years, after the formation of certain cooperation between the OLF faction lead by General Kemal Gelchu and the Ginbot-7, we surprisingly did read different articles and heard in different media certain opinions which are trying to polarize the Oromo unionists and the Amhara unitarists. The Woyane cadres are again busy acting like the Amhara unitarist patriots and cry for unitary Ethiopia in order to curse the Oromo unionists. On the vice versa, they are hyperactive to camouflage as the Oromo unionist liberators and sing about Golden Oromian independence without a possibility for Great Oromian union just to insult the Amhara unitarists. Their main mission is to hinder any sort of a strong AFD-like alliance against their own fascist regime.
The question yet to be answered is: can both the camp of the unionist liberators and the camp of the unitarist patriots overcome this divisive move of the Woyane and yet forge an all-inclusive alliance? I think, it would be better if both camps first consolidate their respective bloc by building a coalition of unitarists as CUD was and by forging a unity of unionists like ULFO was, but including the unionists of other oppressed nations like the ONLF. Then, secondarily the two blocs can have an effective alliance against the fascists. What is necessary here is that the democratic unitarists need to distance themselves from the colonial position of both the Amhara dictators (who want to bring back the French-style of colonization, i.e. assimilation of the subjugated nations into Amharinya speakers) and the Tigrai hegemonists (who want to keep their British-type of colonization, allowing subjugated nations to dance their cultures and use their languages at lower level, but compel them live further under the domination of Tigrean elites).
At the time the democratic unitarist patriots distance themselves from the past oriented nostalgic colonialist Amhara dictators and join the future oriented unionist liberators and start to fight against the myopic (only present oriented) fascist Tigrai regime, both camps of the opposition are not far from forging a common ground for the necessary stable alliance. With such stable alliance, it is possible to resist the attempt of the Woyane in using controversial personalities, controversial issues like the right of nations up to secession, and controversial topics like the right on the usage of Nile water in order to polarize the opposition camps of the democratic unionists and the democratic unitarists. The hitherto and the current cry of the Woyane cadres in Paltalks and websites accusing unionists as gooxenya and cursing unitarists as nefxenya will then be a futile exercise. The common ground can only be to agree on the two-phase struggle against the Weyane: the liberation phase and the democratization phase.
Liberation from fascism and tyranny is with no doubt a common ground for both the unionists and the unitarists, then establishing democratic institutions, promoting democratization process and living according to the public verdict are what the democrats in both the unionist liberators’ camp and the unitarist patriots’ camp should accept and respect. The future common political community in the region/empire will be at least a union of autonomous nations, and at best a union of independent nations in the Ethiopian/Kas/the Horn/Kush/the Great Oromian Union. This suggests that they all should try to struggle for both the national autonomy of each nationality and the regional union to keep the territorial integrity of the Horn, despite the move of the unitarists against any sort of national autonomy. Coming to such agreement by the two opposition/rebel camps means taking away the worst instrument of the Woyane, i.e. taking away its notorious divide-and-rule method.
After agreeing on the common purpose or common ground, then taking appropriate route to the goal is what the new all-inclusive alliance needs to have. I think “election” under the Woyane is a road with dead end. Preaching about only non-violent methods and moralizing/cursing any sort of cooperation with Eritrea, for example, are not expected from the genuine opposition/rebel groups, but they are part and parcel of the “good” rhetoric from the Woyane cadres camouflaged as the unitarist or the unionist opposition. I personally believe that a coordinated civil disobedience, armed struggle and public uprising is the best route. It is only if the two opposition/rebel camps have such a common purpose and a common route that the suggested all-inclusive alliance can be different and can make a difference.
For all partakers of the alliance to accept the future public verdict during the democratization phase, they must be now bold enough to take risk of losing to their opponent in a true democratic way during the public decision. Only this boldness towards such risk can help the seemingly diametrically opposite democratic unionist liberators and democratic unitarist patriots to forge an alliance against the fascists. Particularly, the democratic unitarists who tend to disregard the right of nations to self-determination should come to their sense and face the fact that without liberation or self-determination of the Oromo people from the hitherto domination, the realization of peace and prosperity they are longing for will never happen. Also they should by now have registered that any alliance of only the unitarists, excluding the major unionist forces like the OLF, will never lead them to victory over the fascist regime.
On the other hand, the unionist forces in general, and the Oromo unionist liberators in particular should be able to broaden their view and struggle for the liberation of all nations and nationalities in the region/empire from any sort of domination. Such view includes liberation of the two Habesha nations, despite the domination/colonization of other nations by their elites. Such move from the unionists will help the democratic unitarists (let’s forget the dictatorial die-hard unitarists) to move towards forging the very necessary all-inclusive alliance. This is the only mechanism to help the apparently impossible alliance between the seemingly diametrically opposite unionists and unitarists be possible.
That is why I dare to say that we should still suggest an all-inclusive alliance based on such matured understandings from both the democratic unionists and the democratic unitarists, which can be different and will make a difference. So specially, the Amhara democratic unitarist patriots and the Oromo democratic unionist liberators should try to help the impossible be possible and forge the all-inclusive alliance to get rid of the Tigrean fascists; otherwise, we should be ready to be ruled for the coming at least one century and see our Amharaland and Oromoland being sold by the Tigrean hegemonists to foreign capitalists, so that we, the two BIG nations, will live under slavery and leave this slavery further to our coming generation. I hope we do have reasonable minds to choose the first option of alliance against the fascists, which can lead us to liberation, not the second option of our subjugation for a century. To move in the direction of liberation together, let Waaqa/Igzi’abiher give us knowledge, understanding and wisdom to help this suggested all-inclusive alliance be different and make a difference!