The triumphant and challenges of the Oromo Gadaa institution after the Oromo peace accord of the century
By Aba Orma (PhD), January 26, 2019
DAWUD IBSA AYANA THE GAME CHANGER!
The success or failure of the Oromo peace accord spearheaded by the Abba Gadaas is not only determines the fate of the Oromo people but also the future of the Gadaa institution. If it succeeds, the Gadaa institution will be coming of age and solidifies its place in modern Oromia. Its failure will be detrimental to the peace and the Gadaa institution altogether making it hard for the institution to survive as a relevant institution! No amount of finger pointing can exempt the institution from these fallouts. Therefore, the Abba Gadaas carry not only the burden of making peace for their people but also of preserving the institution. To do that they must think and work as truly independent arbiter, resist intimidation from inside the committee and outside and work diligently and transparently.
So far, the plan of action they unveiled at the Ambo summit is not encouraging to be honest. It is rushed. It has the appearance of an already made political decision. It raised many eyebrows by its speed and exclusiveness. Most importantly, I don’t think the commanders of WBO are consulted nor the Oromo people who took joint custody of WBO. The hastiness makes it look like conditions are dictated to them from Finfinnee, especially knowing some of the people who were publicly campaigning against WBO and the OLF are in the group as independent when they should have declared themselves as associated with the government. Also, my biggest concern is the framing of anyone found with weapon after the artificial 20 days deadline lapses as unlawful. This might be cleverly put there to further disarm the Oromo people. The Ambo agreement is fraud and must be revisited!
Obbo Dawud in his historical game changing speech said that the fate of WBO is in the hands of the Abbaa Gadaas and the Oromo people. The custody is given to the Abba Gadaas and the Oromo people! He did not say only in the hands of Abba Gadaas. Therefore, it is mandatory for the Abbaa Gadaas to consult with the Oromo people in cities and towns before drawing a plan. WBO belongs to the Oromo people and the Oromo people must be heard before any decision is taken.
Another equally important shadow is the presence of individuals openly hostile to the OLF and WBO as recently as a week prior to the peace accord. For example, the presence of Jowar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba in the technical committee is overshadowing the peace accord. Both of whom are activist/independent turned spokesperson for ODP and the government. So, their lack of independence and interest coupled with sharp tongue creating a great concern and will overshadow the peace accord and eventually torpedoes it. Either they should be counted as government representative or resign from the technical committee and give material and technical support from the outside. Should not be voting in the committee.
To be fair and independent the 71 Abba Gadaas must insist on the following points and may be more:
- Make both sides declare and observe cease fire until consultation is completed, and decision is made.
- Demand the government to stop arresting Oromos under the cover of law enforcement and release those unjustly jailed political prisoners in the name of OLF that includes high ranking officials.
- Make dates by when the defense army must go back to bases and return law enforcement to Oromia police.
- Outline terms and conditions for WBO to go to training camp and by when this training should be completed and decisions be made as who serves in Oromia police and reintegrate the rest as their choosing. Given the complaint regarding the 1300 WBO, it cannot be left to the government alone. People like Kamal Gelchu, Hailu Gonfa, Abebe Geresu should not be allowed near them. It should be handled by an independent body.
Finally, returning to the conference itself, in a dramatic way Dawud Ibsa has changed the story line in one sentence. Western countries call such act A GAME CHANGER. There are very few moments in history like this.
Dawud Ibsa was not the only headliner at this peace accord. The presiding Abbaa Gadaa, his excellence Dr. Bayana Sanbato was masterful in his stage management and earned the praise of Oromos and non-Oromos alike.
There are so many people who spoke eloquently and showed reverence for the Gadaa intuition and the Abbaa Gadaas. It is encouraging and uplifting to see such cooperation.
When faced with great challenges as a nation, the Oromo nation led by its Gadaa institution rises to the challenge and answer the call of its people. I hope this is one of those times again. This is the largest and most important gathering of Oromos in more than a century. If this fails I don’t know where we turn to.
IT IS BETTER TO BE CAUTOUS THAN REGRET!!