A Critical Analysis of the Circus Show Staged by the OPDOs

A Critical Analysis of the Circus Show Staged by the OPDOs

By Bedassa Tadesse (PhD), October 3, 2019

The movie directed by Jawar Mohammed using Lamma Magarsa and Abiy Ahmed as the main actors, and several Oromo political party leadership, Dawud Ibsa of the OLF and Dr. Merera Gudina of the OFC included, as the cast and crew members, produced and released by the OPDOs yesterday for consumption by the Oromo public was, at best disappointing. They have fooled us once, and they can’t do that for the second time for we are better than that.

A number of questions, such as how did it come into being, who was behind it, why now and most of all, why did the OLF and OFC leadership participate in the making of a movie the ending of which is already in the public domain, therefore, remain pertinent points to address.

I will try to answer the most important question first. That is, why did the OLF and the OFC leadership take part in this movie?

Well, what else do you expect them to do? I know you might say, they should emphatically say NO. I have no qualms with you on that; however, you should know that doing so would give the OPDOs the excuse to present them as the guilty party who always refuses to bring peace and stability to the country. They are not naive to take this blame; hence, why they probably showed up at the ceremony. Well, if you do not agree with me, just take your time and have a look at the “happy and smiley faces.”

Talking about smiley and happy faces, there was one person who was so elated that he could not manage to hide his excitement for a second: Jawar Mohammed. Do you know why?

As you probably guessed it, he loves being the limelight and at the center of everything that looks big and significant. Remember the role he played in returning the Oromo Liberation army (OLA)? How hard he worked? How the movie ended and it caused him an embarrassment? Ever since he has been working on ways to save face. Yesterday, it was not being the limelight that excited him so much. It was something else.

Recently, Jawar’s fortunes have changed significantly. Beyond the debacle his failure to lure the OLA back to the barracks has caused him among the OPDOs and the Oromo public, credible sources indicate that the Abiy government has caught him red handed in Money Laundering. Thus, they were about to lock him up on such charges; however, given the uproar throwing him into prison may cause, sources indicate that Shimelis chose to advise him to plead guilty and go free on one condition: that he refrains from speaking against the government and the OPDOs going forward. Orchestrating a show like yesterday particularly at a critical time like this would not only give him the opportunity to face save among the Oromo public, but also supply oxygen to the OPDO leadership that is being suffocated by Abiy Ahmed’s alignment with Amharas.

This brings me to question, why now?

One of the two underlying reasons for the release of the movie is straightforward, and you might have guessed it correctly: given the number of innocent people who are being mercilessly killed in various parts of Oromia, especially in Guji, Borana and Wallaga, the OPDOs are afraid the Oromo public and Qeerroos may overrun them at the upcoming Irreechaa celebration. Thus, they have to do something. Yes, you guessed it correctly, there is nothing that has a more calming effect than having Dawud Ibsa and Dr. Merera Gudina line up next to Lama Magarsa and the cast of OPDO leadership (even if Dawud Ibsa is not holding hands with Abiy) and declare the formation of an Oromo leadership coalition (umbrella).

The second reason is more complicated than what an outsider may understand. A HUGE RIFT has been created between Abiy Ahmed and Lamma Magarsa. Do not get me wrong, both are OPDOs and their hands are tainted with the blood of uncountable number of Oromos that can’t be easily cleansed. Given Abiy’s dream to reign as a king of kings created in the images of Menilik and Haile Sellasie, and Lamma’s desire to build Ethiopia while keeping regional autonomy, credible sources indicate that the two have come to a level where they are not even communicating in good faith.

The publication of the  book titled “The Hijacked Revolution” has made things worse. The fact that the author of the book (who now lives in exile) hails from the same village as Lamma Magarsa has added fuel to the fire between them forcing Abiy’s wife to tell her husband ” You can’t be a king under a shadow of Lammaa Magarsa. Take matters to your hand and act as a leader.” Some even go to the extent of telling us that just because if that Lamma’s life is at risk. The belief us that Abiy may do what he has done to leadership in the Amhara region last July.

Where are we heading? What should we do?

Time permitting I will return to these questions. For now though, I will close by saying these words: Where there is a real democracy, ordinary citizens have preferences about what the government ought to do; they elect leaders who will carry out those preferences and vote against those who will not; in the end, they are left with a government that more or less serves the MAJORITY. Under those situations, even voters who pay close attention to politics are prone — in fact, more prone — to biased or blinkered decision-making. The reason is simple: Most people make political decisions on the basis of social identities and partisan loyalties, not an honest examination of reality.

The reality in Oromia is more complicated than what us on the surface. Abiy is incapable of let alone solving but addressing the problems. He is immature and has no desire to learn. Since he moved to the Menilk Palace, he has lost contacts with not only his close friends but also the relatively more experienced OPDOs such as Lamma Magarsa. He is down to his bare bone. It is, therefore, important for the more mature Oromo leaders such as Dawud Ibsa and Dr. Merera Gudina, to do what they can to bring this guy and his crew to their senses. Doing so may require being a cast in the likes of a movie we saw yesterday even if it may depict Jawar Mohamed as a king maker even if he is definitely not.


  1. Lots of arguments (some legitimate) are made but not supported with solid info or facts. There is a lot of hearsay and he-said/she-said used to support the point.

    In the end, I don’t think any politician or activist in Ethiopia is clean and/or honorable. They are all fighting to either keep or get power, not to serve the people.

  2. Dr Bedassa,

    Your points are true. They fear Oromo in this Irreecha festivals. They are holding another meeting simply to save OPDO. Jawar likely involved in corruption to disarm Oromo.

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