OPDO is the problem.
By Tamirat Biri, December 29, 2018
The ongoing clashes between the Ethiopian army and OLF is claiming more Oromo lives, many of whom are peaceful civilians. For instance, eleven civilians were killed on December 27 in Fincha’a city and in Guji zone by the Ethiopian army including a seventy-year-old grandmother. Elsewhere, execution style killings and arbitrary detentions are rampant. The atrocities that are being perpetrated by the army are not much different from those carried out by the army under the TPLF just a year ago.
The ruling party, the ODP (OPDO), which hails from the Oromia State, has shown a strange obsession with cracking down on its own people. All other states including the Amhara, Tigray and Somali states had no problems in integrating their opposition armies into their own defense forces. There are also forces that have not laid down their weapons in those states and their states are not even demanding to disarm them.
The double-standard that the government has towards OLF is therefore obvious. The same kind of treatment has been a common constant in the Ethiopian system – the expectation that you are supposed crack down on anything Oromo that conditions even Oromo leaders in the Ethiopian power structure to respond harshly to their own people.
ODP, formerly known as OPDO, is the only party to disarm even its own civilians during the last few years. Led by anti-Oromo but yet Oromo party officials like Alemu Sime, the disarming of the farmers in border regions, especially with Somali region, had a catastrophic effect on the security of these Oromo communities that resulted in displacements of hundreds of thousands of Oromos from their homes. OPDO watched silently as the people it was supposed to protect were ravaged by well-armed Somalis.
The same massacre played out in the Western part of Oromia as the Oromos were rendered defenseless by the incompetent OPDO. Up to three hundred thousand Oromo were displaced and to this day more people are being driven out of their homes.
OPDO’s obsession with disarming the OLF when it cannot provide basic security to its own people is proof that the people’s security is not at all important to them. If that had been the case, those killings would have stopped a long time ago and they would have armed the people as a deterrent for future attacks. OPDO, however, has done none of that.
OPDO either doesn’t want to solve these problems or doesn’t know the problems exist. In a visit to a school in Ambo on December 25, Abiy, asserted that the freedom for which the students of Ambo (and others) had fought had been achieved. He further said that all that the students needed to do then was to go back to their studies (and stay out of politics). Wrong! To suggest that everything is hunky-dory when millions of Oromo are living in the wild having fled from their own homes and dying by the day from bullets and darts, is not just wrong but it is also wicked.
To understand OPDO, one has to understand their roots. This party was created by TPLF to serve it as agents of oppression. To do this they filled it with hostile, anti-Oromo agents. Whenever they could they preferred to install Afan Oromo speaking non-Oromo.
With this strategy, TPLF created an effective lever that allowed them to subjugate Oromo and plunder the state.
After TPLF was forced out of power by Qeerroo, the same anti-Oromo agents were not removed from OPDO. That created a convenient condition for Gimbot 7, a group hellbent on destroying Oromummaa, to influence OPDO significantly. One has to just see the people the Prime Minister is surrounding himself with, including Daniel Kibret, to understand what is going on. Also, the September massacre by Gimbot 7 operatives of Oromo in Finfinne and Burayu for which nobody was brought to justice is another proof OPDO is their lackey. Furthermore, the unilateral appointment of the election commission chair Birtukan Midhekssa, a former pre-Gimbot 7 party member, that Abiy made after consulting with only Gimbot 7 is proof that OPDO is being manipulated by them.
The current war between OLF and the Ethiopian government is no different. The war was started for Gimbot 7 and it is waged by its proxy that never gets tired of selling out Oromo – OPDO. The massive support that OLF received in Finfinne in September of 2018 scared Gimbot 7 out of their minds and drove them like crazy animals towards trying to disrupt the rally by throwing stones at the supporters, destroying Oromo properties and even killing and raping the some of the supporters.
OPDO’s mission is to sow discord and division among Oromo and weaken our unity. Abiy Ahmed made this abundantly clear when he made the premeditated and divisive statement for not visiting Wollega: he said they would kill him and, he argued, that would create deep rifts between Wollega Oromo, who he says hate him, and Shewa or Jimma Oromo, who he thinks love him. One does not need to be sophisticated to understand what he wants to do with these words. He was sowing seeds of division while looking like someone who wants to maintain unity. This is a dog-whistle incitement to pit, first,Wollega Oromo against other Oromo, then go against Guji, then Borena, then Harrege, and so on until our unity is completely broken.
Oromo must not be driven any of OPDO’s lies and know who our true enemies are. We should all agree to abide by this principle that anyone who divides Oromo is the enemy. We must strengthen our unity and we must demand that OPDO purge some of its divisive leaders like Addis Arega, Dr Alemu Simeneh, Taye Dendea, Dr Milkessa to mention a few. If these people are removed, the other problems will be easy to fix including integrating the OLF army into Oromia defense forces.
Of course, the permanent solution to the OPDO problem is to vote them out in the next election and have those who committed human rights violations and corruptions to stand trial. This traitor party should then be shutdown for good.