By Garee Mo’uu | July 03, 2018
A few years before the downfall of the former Ethiopian military regime, holding back its objective to establish the Tigray republic, the TPLF caved into EPLF’s advice and vowed to work for one Ethiopia. Accordingly, the TPLF was accorded with total political and military support from the EPLF that later became critical to its victory. Then the TPLF promised to work with other Ethiopian opposition groups such as Oromos, Sidamas, Amharas, and Afars and becoming a unifying force in Ethiopia. However, the TPLF’s vision for one Ethiopia was not what the others wanted.
For the last 27 years, instead of working with the other opposition groups for better future for all, the TPLF wanted to establish Ethiopia controlled by no one other than itself. It is this erroneous vision that is making the people of Tigray a victim of TPLF and the enemy of other people in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. Contrary to the very principle of it foundation on 8 February 1975 (i.e., liberating the Tigray people from oppression and abuse of human and democratic rights); it morphed into a replica of its predecessor in a relatively short period. It has demonstrated its fascist characteristic, for example, by brutally murdering a mother who was merely protecting her son from harm as any mother would do.
To satisfy its ravenous greed, the TPLF did not waste time to sprinkle Tigreans in critical Federal government positions and sensitive government departments in Ethiopia. The system used Tigreans as primarily trusted messengers to extinguish any fire that the system thought was a threat to its power. They were willing supporters and beneficiaries of the system.
In 2015- 2016, we witnessed a human tragedy of biblical proportions in Oromia, Ethiopia. At the center of the disaster is the peaceful protests by the Oromo civilians against the so-called Addis Ababa Integrated Master Plan that incorporates dozens of cities, towns and rural farm villages from the neighboring Oromia Region into the federal capital, Addis Ababa. If implemented, the plan would have inevitably displaced millions of indigenous Oromo farmers from their ancestral lands jeopardizing their livelihoods and security, and plunging them into poverty and destitution. Using the rights enshrined in the constitution of the country, Oromo civilians (elementary, high school and university students, farmers, civil servants, etc) from all lifestyles staged peaceful rallies across the vast Oromia region demanding an immediate halt in the implementation of the Master Plan. The government response to the peaceful demands of Oromo civilians was barbaric and brutal, to say the least. Instead of listening to the people who have echoed their legitimate grievances, the TPLF/EPRDF regime unleashed armed military and federal police forces on children, elders, unarmed men and women killing, maiming, torturing, and imprisoning thousands. The atrocities committed by the TPLF on the people of Oromia, Gambela, Ogaden and Somalia regions is a naked act of genocide that should be left to history.
The brutalization of Oromo civilians continues to this date in defiance of a massive human tragedy. The Oromo people, particularly the youth (Qeerroo) have said enough to slavery and dehumanization by the minority TPLF regime. We are at a turning point in the history of the country. A determination calling for total emancipation of the Oromo people who are the majority in the country is in the making. The Oromo engaged and collaborative social consciousness has reached a critical level making a revolution inevitable. In particular, the Qeerroo generation of the 21st century have shown that they will not submit to the barbaric dehumanization of the Oromo society anymore.
In theory, the regime has adopted a liberal constitution that recognizes the rights of nations, nationalities, and peoples to self-determination including secession. In practice, however, it brutally stifles the God-given human rights, including freedom of speech, and democratic rights for self-rule.
The recent Sheraton conference organized by the regime, its supports and most of all Tigrean elites makes this effort of the TPLF self-evident. Under the title of national identity is the new front attacking the very fabric of Oromo, Oromo language and to a subtle design to dismantle the federal administration a new attempt putting the country in reverse gear. This political line also aligns well with Colonel Abbiy’s philosophy (the newly nominated head of TPLF/EPRDF) who vowed on his inaugural address to restore ‘glorious old Ethiopia’. It is clear what glorious old Ethiopia means to the Oromo community. Indeed, it should not come as a surprise that this is being done to mask or evade, the substantive and genuinely political tensions facing the country. It is a diversionary tactic and must be condemned as such. It should be clear that the current regime will resort to various desperate acts as it cares only to prolong their its power an structure; the most likely scenario is to implant Amhara – Oromo conflict and intensify border dispute among the various nation and nationalities.
In their recent cross-country speaking tours, Lamma and Abiy Ahmed adopted a different tone from their predecessors. However seemingly interesting it might look, none of the rhetoric of the PM, for example, is backed up by concrete measures. Neither will it lead to transition to democracy as it is being strongly opposed by the TPLF and Tigrean Nationals. It looks like Abiy’s is offering humanitarian gestures and rhetoric of compassion (or of charity and charitability) as a solution to intense political questions. As the two are incommensurate, it should be clear to all of us that the outcome is, surprisingly, inconsequential. Most of his gestures of compassion were constitutionally supposed to be the work of the ceremonial President of the Republic. The puzzle as to why he is doing what is not strictly within the domain of his primary constitutional duties?
On their tours, both Abiy and Lemma faced tough questions from the audience, for example, at Dembi Dollo. A brilliant young person eloquently presented his question regarding the pervasive corruption, the case of Finfinnee, and the absence of democratic process among the coalition of ethnic parties forming the EPRDF. Abiy answered none of his questions as they were beyond his capacity, or at least as they touched upon stuff he would not dare to address. He did not even pretend, as doing so would expose his political ineptness. He said nothing about the Finfine issue; beating around the bush on the subject of making Afaan Oromo a Federal language. Even then, the question yet to follow regarding making Afan Oromo a Federal language is, where have Abiy and Lammaa’s party been for the last 27 years while the Oromo people have been echoing this question relentlessly? The fact and the matter is that the Oromo questions had neither been an issue for Lemma and Abiy nor for the party they have been working day-in and day-out.
The recent uprising in Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia shows that the TPLF vison of ruling forever is wishful, misguided and unattainable. History tells us that while governments are temporary, the relationships between people are permanent. Hence, it is high time for the people of Tigray to ask the TPLF to stop making them partners of their crime against the Ethiopian people and neighboring countries.
The revolution has started. The Oromos are foraging ahead with their legitimate demand for freedom and dignity. The other oppressed nations will soon stop procrastinating and join the tide for change. It is time we rise and stand by the Oromo people before it is too late. The Oromo people can liberate themselves alone at whatever cost. Standing in unison, we can mitigate the impending catastrophe and minimize the loss of to all. We can also choose to be bystanders at our own peril.
By Garee Mo’u
You can contact Garee Mo’uu at firstname.lastname@example.org