By | March 27, 2019


Targeting the Oromo: ETHSAT’s Terrorism, Ginbot-7’s Anarchism, Dawit Wolde Giorgis’s Dergist-Marxist call for Authoritarianism and Andargatchew Tisge’s Threat of Genocide

በኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ላይ ማነጣጠር: የእሳት አሸባርነት፤ የግንቦት-7 ስርዓተ አልበኝነት፤ የዳዊት ወልደ ጊዮርጊስ ለደርጋዊ ማርክሳዊ ጉልበተኝነት ጥሪና የአንዳርጋቸው ፅጌ የጅምላ ፍጅት ማስፈራሪያ

By Tulluu Ayira (PhD),  March 27, 2019

The advent of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power in March 2018 ushered in a new era of optimism among Ethiopians with differing political persuasions. The Oromo expected him to end a century and a half domination of Amhara-Tigriyan rule and facilitate a new political arrangement that is fair to all. Or, most importantly, they wanted him to implement the federal system that was initiated in 1991 but faced obstacles from two major groups: the Tigre and the Amhara. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) controlled the federal process altering the basic tenets in the arrangements causing a wide-spread uproar from the Oromo. The Amhara, especially the proponents of the ancien régime sabotaged the process to declare it a failure. Their objective is to restore the imperial system (overthrown by the military in 1974), or the highly centralized unitary government toppled by the TPLF in 1991.

More than any other group, supporters of the ancien régime celebrated the rise of Abiy Ahmed because they believed they could use him to attain their political objectives. His skin-deep theory of Ethiopianism and indifference to Oromo concerns also raised their confidence that he could be played into their political machinations. In fact, history is on their side in this respect. Ethiopian rulers from Menilek to the TPLF have effectively used Oromo individuals (from Quse Gobana to Kuma Abba Dula) to control the larger Oromo population. In the last years of TPLF rule, the Qeerroo movement (supported by all walks of the Oromo population) waged a fierce struggle and broke over a century old pattern of Amhara-Tigayan oppression. However, the disgruntled members of the Amhara still resorted to old tactics to subdue the increasingly resilient Oromo nation. They found Abiy Ahmed as an ideal accomplice to attain this. In the first place, they largely stayed away when tens of thousands of Oromo were killed in the struggle to remove the TPLF. When they realized that the Oromo would never give up their victory any more, they tried to turn the Oromo against one another. In this, they found an ideal target, the OLF, and they fiercely lobbied[1] the prime minister to attack the organization. For instance, Dawit Wolde Giorgis’s speech at the Conference of a group called “Vision Ethiopia” in December 2018 was a direct appeal to the prime minister to attack the OLF and make political reforms that his group was advancing.[2] They succeeded in this. Yes, the prime minister attacked the OLF and also announced the phasing out of the ruling coalition (the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front) to give place to a new “non-ethnic multinational” party.

These anti-Oromo groups wanted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to immediately dissolve the federal system and all the rights that it granted to nations and nationalities. Having abolished the federal system, their immediate strategies are a return to the fourteen administrative provinces of the imperial era, imposition of Amharic as the national language on all Ethiopians, and instantly halt by a decree the use of native languages and the Latin alphabet in most federal states. Obviously, Oromiya is the main target in the plot. They also wanted him to suppress Oromo political movements, and especially crush the Qeeroo, which was instrumental in toppling the TPLF. Nevertheless, they were unable to break the unity of the Oromo people, their conviction to defend the hard-won victory and, above all, to dismantle the Qeerroo movement. They failed in all this.

As a result, they turned against the Oromo and everything Oromo. To the disappointment of the disgruntled Amhara groups, the Oromo continued to fight for their right that federalism granted them. As events continued to unfold in the last twelve months, three groups came to the forefront and unleashed incessant propaganda campaigns calling their followers for violence against the Oromo. These include the group that calls itself Ginbot-7 (G-7), its mouthpiece, the Ethiopian Satellite TV and Radio (ETHSAT) and, an individual, a former Dergist-Marxist-authoritarian official, Dawit Wolde Giorgis. Members and leaders of the first two groups were also members of the former Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP), an anarchist group that was responsible for the late 1970s Red Terror that led to the decimation of over a hundred thousand youngsters in Finfinnee, Gondar, Jimma, Adama, Harar and several towns in the country. In order to neutralize Oromo aspirations and impose their will on the people, these groups are engaged in acts of terrorism and anarchism on the Oromo. Dawit called for the imposition of Dergist-Marxist style authoritarian rule and the routing out of the Qeerroo in similar ways his boss, Mengistu Haile Mariam and members of today’s G-7, did to youngsters during the Red Terror. In short, these groups have accumulated experiences of violent political activities (terrorism, anarchism and authoritarianism) against civilians. Here the irony is the marriage between the EPRP and Dawit Wolde Giorgis who were mortal enemies and pointed their guns at each other’s head and killed each other’s comrades during the Red Terror.

ETHSAT is persistently engaged in spreading terrorist propaganda by inciting violence against the Oromo all over the empire. When the Amhara people completely rejected G-7[3] because of its shameless and incessant lies,[4] its leader Berhanu Nega called them hooligans (ወሮበሎች). Yet, it continued to actively engage in inciting violence against the Oromo in Finfinnee and other areas. An anti-Oromo terrorist, Eskender Nega is engaged in similar acts in Finfinnee to cause anarchy and create a conducive condition for G-7 and Dawit to unleash a second round of Red Terror of a genocide proportion against the Oromo. Meanwhile, Dawit Wolde Giorgis is calling on the prime minister to use brute force on the Oromo, a situation that would turn the premier into authoritarianism and engulf the country into anarchism then opening the way for G-7 and Dawit to grab power. ETHSAT’s role is critical in all these equations, spread propaganda to turn all ethnic groups against the Oromo and then put the blame on the latter for the consequences. On the record, more than the TPLF in its seventeen-year rule, it was ETHSAT, G-7 and Dawit Wolde Giorgis in the last one year that caused more deaths and displacements to the Oromo and their neighbors by spreading fear of terrorism and anarchism. An ETHSAT-affiliated self-declared aid group[5] jumped into the situation and have been busy collecting money from the Amhara diaspora in the name of helping people apparently displaced by the Oromo.[6] The coordination of the trio with a subsidiary aid group is a carefully crafted political calculation. Another pretentious self-declared academic gathering of academics behind the anti-Oromo groups is Vision Ethiopia. It is a collection of former hardcore EPRP members who want to gain under Abiy in Finfinnee what they lost at Assimba under Meles. For them, it is a reincarnation after 45 years of hibernation and a near total disappearance. Its members are extremely hostile to the Oromo and every time they talk, they speak soft but spit a venom that strengthens Oromo determination to fight for their right. If this group is allowed to come to power, there will be an earthly Armageddon in Ethiopia.

Cases from Burayu and Gedeo are typical examples. G-7 unleashed the violent attacks on the Oromo of Burayu while ETHSAT was live streaming through its media outlets and the aid group was there the next morning. By turning the Oromo and the Gedeo against each other, the trio jumped to support the Gedeo implying that the “secessionist Oromos displaced you, we unity-loving Amharas are here to help you.” In this deceptive project, the trio and their subsidiaries failed utterly. First, the Oromo and the Gedeo (and all others in the region for that matter) have been living together for centuries. They were rivals and competitors and they have overcome their differences amicably without Amhara opportunists and hypocrites getting between them. Second, as the ancestors of these hypocrites colonized them, the Oromo, the Gedeo and all the peoples of southern Ethiopia have the memories of loss of their lands and dignities in the hands of the colonizers. Third, regardless of what happened between them recently, the Oromo and the Gedeo have never forgotten that the Amhara killed millions and enslaved hundreds of thousands of their ancestors.[7] To make their false cases against the Oromo, ETHSAT journalists from Washington, D.C., made fake interviews of apparently dislocated individuals. A youtibe.com outlet shows three screens: the interviewer from Washington, D.C., pictures of destitute people (may be picked up from those of 1974 or 1985 Ethiopian famine) and then a fake interviewee, very likely from the next room of ETHSAT studio in Washington, D.C.; anything happens any time, that is what ETHSAT does.[8] When everything failed to go their way, the trio and its subsidiaries embarked on a genocide campaign against the Oromo.

The Threat of Genocide

In an interview with Deustche Welle Amharic radio Amharic program on March 13, 2019, Andargachew Tsige, the Secretary General of G-7, publicly uttered that they (apparently his party and supporters) can produce twenty million bodies in Ethiopia.[9] People without an inside knowledge of current affairs in Ethiopia do not understand the hidden dangers and potential consequences of his statement. His projected casualty (body count) figure is 19,200,000 over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, or a third of the total casualty of World War II, which was about 60 million, or the equivalence of Russia’s casualty in the war. Put in another context, Andargachew’s figure is fourteen million higher than Jewish death in Hitler’s concentration camps and gas chambers. For historians and people affected by violent deaths in the modern era, Andargachew and his party represent Hitlerian fascists in an Ethiopian skin. Every soul in Ethiopia should be scared to death and an urgent appeal to the international community to avert Andargachew’s plan from happening is in order. His supporters may offer contexts to defend him. But no matter what the contexts are, the statement is too overwhelming to be overlooked. It has a power to sway his followers into action without reflection. If the world community does not stop him and his party G-7 now Ethiopia, a country of currently 100 million population could easily slid to 80 million. Not counting the trauma it will leave behind, the social, economic and political consequences of Andargachew’s genocide on the country could not be measured by any scale. Most of all, no one can imagine if Ethiopia survives as a nation from the impending catastrophe. On the other hand, Andargachew defies the authority of government and calls on his followers to revolt on their own government thus preaching lawlessness.[10] What is interesting is that this man, Andargatchew, who calls for violence against the Oromo is not an Ethiopian national: he is a British. Ironically, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who never hesitated to declare war on the Oromo, did not take any action against a foreigner who destabilizes Ethiopia.

Ginbot-7’s engagement in anarchism in Finfinnee appears to be the first towards realizing Andargachew’s project. In a city that never had any problem with the surrounding Oromo population or the state of Oromiya, Ginbot-7 has been engaged in inciting violence against the city’s Oromo residents. Using its member, Eskender Nega, Ginbot-7 created what it called the “Baldaras Addis Ababa Council” an illegal body that is meant to defy the legal city administration under Mayor Takele Uma. With instructions from Ginbot-7, Eskender gathered a few like-minded individuals who intimidated Oromo residents of the city. On March 18, 2019, these hooligans attacked Oromo businesses and residential houses in Bole Mikael. Oromo residents of the area clearly understood the motive of the attackers under Eskender’s command and avoided confrontation even as they were being stoned and bludgeoned in a daylight.

Propaganda against the Oromo and the campaign to drive them from their ancestral land continued unabated since Prime Minister Abiy came to power. For instance, Ylikal Getinet (a serial political loser) said there is no state by the name Oromiya or a city called Finfinnee.[11] Yilikal who always tries to stretch himself beyond his height, gave an open interview that accused the prime minister of appointing and surrounding himself with officials who are followers of Protestant Christianity. In so doing, Yilikal joined the call for genocide along religious lines. Another political loser, Girma Seifu flatly declared that the Oromo should not be allowed to have control over a single square meter of land forgetting that the very land he was sitting on while saying this belongs to the Oromo.[12] The message is clear, however,: the Oromo should not be allowed to own land at all.

While anti-Oromo groups are engaging to deny the Oromo what they gained in the long and bitter struggle, what they failed to understand is that the Oromo are united more than ever in their recent history. They have become masters of their destiny, stronger morally and practically to avert any disaster that their enemies are planning for them. The Oromo will ultimately prevail any showdown with the terrorists, anarchists and Dergist-Marxist authoritarians. The restlessness of G-7, ETHSAT and Dawit is not a sign of strength but of hopelessness and frustration in the face of unflinching Oromo stride to defend themselves.

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[1] “ESAT Special Program Major Dawit Wolde-Giorgis Speech On The 7th Vision Ethiopia Conference Dec 2018,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArjgcrpsT5k (accessed 03/25/2019).

[2] “ESAT Special Program Major Dawit Wolde-Giorgis “Speech on The 7th Vision Ethiopia Conference Dec 2018,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArjgcrpsT5k (accessed 03/25/2019).

[3] “የግንቦት 7 የባሕር ዳር ውይይት ተቃውሞ ገጥሞታል”, https://mereja.com/amharic/v2/103406 (accessed 03/25/2019); “የአርበኞች ግንቦት 7 የባሕር ዳር ውይይት ለሌላ ጊዜ ተራዘመ”, https://www.zehabesha.com/amharic/archives/94449 (accessed 03/25/2019).

[4] “ከአርበኞች ግንቦት 7  ዘመቻ ነፃ ትውልድ የተሰጠ መግለጫ”, https://www.zehabesha.com/amharic/archives/94400, March 20, 2019 claims that G-7 was the leader of Amhara resistance against the TPLF regime and the state of emergence that was proclaimed twice in 2017 and 2018 were to contain its activities.  In reality, however, both states of emergency were declared to stop the Oromo uprising.

[5] For instance, see “ESAT Special: Activist Tamagne Beyene visits people displaced from Burayo”
https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=UyCZXN76IIyCjwThpJzgBQ&q=tamagne+beyene&oq=tamagn&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0l10.1808.3360..6192…0.0..0.63.396.7……0….1..gws-wiz…..0..35i39j0i131.1NVrm-eVHhA (assessed 03/25/2019).

[6] “Dawit is the ideologue behind falsely accusing the Oromo for the displacement. Forced Eviction and Resettlement, the Jawar Factor and the Absence of International Scrutiny”, https://www.zehabesha.com/forced-eviction-and-resettlement-the-jawar-factor-and-the-absence-of-international-scrutiny/ (accessed 03/25.2019).

[7] By the way, Menilek himself was involved in slave trade captured during his brutal conquest.

[8] Even some well-established Media advance anti-Oromo agenda. In a recent interview with Jawar Mohammed, a journalist of a well-respected radio program was acting like an ETHSAT journalist and agent of G-7. It looks the questions and talking points were given to the interviewer by anti-Oromo elements. The interviewer never uttered a singled point about the rights of the Oromo to their interests. She pressed Jawar to do what she does not do herself as a journalist.

[9] “Andargachew Tsige, “ሃያ ሚሊዮን ሬሣ የሚታይበት ሀገር መፍጠር እንችላለን::”, “በኢትዮጵያ የፖለቲካ ምህዳሩ ሙሉ ለሙሉ መዘጋቱን አቶ አንዳርጋቸው ጽጌ ገለጹ,” dw.com (13.03.2019)

[10] Listen for example https://mereja.com/index/270327 (accessed 03/20/2019)

[11] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M_cmV9lKd4 (accessed 03/20/2019)

[12]“ኦሮሞ የበላይ የሚሆንበት አንድ ካሬ መሬት ሊኖር አይገባም,” LTV WORLD: SEFEW MEHEDAR, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN6Lxm9-9iA&t=394s (accessed 03/20/2019).

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