The Second Cycle of Minilik EPP (PP): The Makers and Unmakers
By Jenberu Feyyisa (Ph.D.), February 14, 2020
When things happen again and again it becomes a cycle. Extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, flooding, draught, and wildfires happens over and over outside the normal range of conditions. For example; drought in Ethiopia happens on average between 3 to 5 years, desert locust (grasshopper) every 10-15 years. This pattern of coming and going is known as a cycle.
It is quite a while since the Oromo people identified its common cause and stood up together. No religion, geographical boundary, living status, sex, age can influence this core value. We also identified that, it is the lack of understanding this fundamental principle that made us to live under atrocious monarchy, oligarchy, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism for a century and a half in our home land. Today, on the contrary the Oromo people stood up high to defend their ancestor’s core value and resist aggression and dominance never to happen again on the father land. That is why it becomes customary to see a swift and proportional response across Oromiya if the value of Oromummaa is at stake at any corner of the region. It is not my intention or any Oromo person to wish something bad happens to anybody or institution. But such a response is just an instinct. An instinct and natural like the law of physics, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Following his power assumption, the current PM’s made a speech that was so blunt and well designed to hoodwink the nation, in particular the Oromo and southern nations. On day one he promised unconditionally and enthusiastically to re-instate the old empire. At the same time, he phrased a little on the right of nation and nationality. The two contradicting ideology. Many did not perceive his speech at a time however some in particular from Oromo and southern elites listen suspiciously yet reserved to comment on. But a very few and highly concerned individuals never hold back their concern and indicated openly relating the speech with a time bomb waiting its season to explode; like today. It was hard to blame the majority because the event was filled with hope as it was just happened in the morning of the three years bloodshed paid to bring an end to the brutal regime. Above all the nation and nationality of the empire had hope to move forward and never doubted whether some key elements of the constitution will be at risk because of the change. Indeed, since the change that empower Abyi comes by the people the possibility that he betrays the agents of change was not worry some; rather the expectation that the change works in favor of the people was high. For example, the current federal and regional administrative region believed to have saved the country from disintegration like the previous USSR and Yugoslavia. Such a binding and cornerstone articles have never been doubted being compromised, in particular the right to self-determination if we all want the country survive from falling apart. In other words, the regional administrative structure in which every nation and nationality of the empire start to exercise its right (partial) for about three decades is considered to be a default and unalterable foundation for Ethiopia to move forward.
Unfortunately; the familiar elite was behind-the-scenes and it is this group that had crafted the speech. This group sneaked for the past three decades to snatch the power they lost in 1991 in a very systematic and clandestine way. When the new PM delivers the speech it was like a dream for their supporters and enable them to awake from a three decades of hibernation. This group cheered the initiative and cannot wait, not to fill the void of emerging equality, rather to further empty and re-gain their dominance over the southern. Their ultimate goal is to impose again their one language and flag policy similar to their ancestor’s smash-conquest policy. Their intention is just an idea of re-building the empire. They believe that the ethnic based identity “brought by TPLF” is a problem to the country. They never recognize that the current federal arrangement comes through a century long fight and blood shed of Oromo, Somali, Sidama, Afar, Ogaden, Walayita, Kambata, Gamo…, including the Tigray people. However, we all know the way we got here and do not try any more to explain and argue about such a faux pas. Because “…isa beekaa rafe…” jedhama mitiree. They just want one thing and only that, dominance over the others! Their doctrine never recognizes group identity. To enforce their narrow tailoring, having a different opinion or anything short of their philosophy is a crime politically and a curse Orthodoxically. Any request of self-rule or right should be labelled as terrorist or chauvinist. That is why they try to divert the current Oromo disobedience in any way they want; they call it religious conflict when it happens in the east and south-east and ethnic hatred if it in the west and central Oromia. They speak loudly about the unity of the country but never give a way to discuss with the main stream and elites of the Oromo and southern as a stakeholder that may potentially bring a long lasting solution for the empire. Rather they prefer to go on side and look for puppets from other group and feed them what they have to preach among their communities. Such a hypocritical behavior has never been saved the country they say “love!?”and will not. As an example; the so called Oromara (Oromo-Amahara coalition) has been molded during the critical transition time (while TPLF is being ejected by the popular Oromo uprising) to fit the interest of this group. The Oro- wing has been organized to represent oromo but majority suffering from identity crises, marriage or family background. It also includes members of OPDO who involved in torturing, killing, and corruption for about three decades. This wing does not understand about the oromo struggle or do not care about it. The group has no connection with the main stream Oromo and most of them are even detached from their family and community for a long time. They never considered the Oromo question is a legitimate issue to be addressed. Such a group has long served and considered a perfect instrument for the Amahara elites and that is why they reach them out today. The ‘–Mara’ wing, on the contrary is elite organized to re instate its monarchy rule style and never want to negotiate anything short. That is why they look for ideologically handicapped people so that they can fit them in to their mold. Sadly, we are so unfortunate and tragedy that this transition period should have been a blessing for all groups and their respective political parties because the past three decades have provided everybody with a good lesson how this country able to move forward, given that this is a common denominator for every stakeholder. In particular, it is a fiasco for the main stream Amharas (other than the elite/nafxanyas) that their will is overshadowed and twisted; as a result unable to formulate their future relationship with the main stream Oromo and Southern people.
In summary; the first day of Abyi’s speech, as of today, has created two major competing camps; the pro-Minilik and federalists. The former is nothing more than trying to kick off the second cycle of Minilik, after the first cycle ended in 1991. The plan of the second cycle monarchy rule should look like this: Abyi lays the ground, Daniel Kibret or Andargachew Tsige take over, Nigusu Tilahun follows, and then to Daniel Kibret’s Child,…, another 150 years operation. It is these two extreme understandings of the empire that makes the current situation more tense and dark. Subsequently the empire is on the verge of falling apart not because the vast majority wanted to; but the familiar group/elite that the PM indulge and become part continue pressing hard towards full filling their lust to marginalize the majority and crave to own the empire at the expense of the majority and committed to begin the second cycle of empire building. In such an environment where the PM takes a discriminatory approach a citizen with different opinion means risking your education, business, and life. That is why today mass killing and intimidation has never been happened the way it is in Oromia, in particular western and southern region. As a result the love for the empire is at a low time in history among the Oromo and southern nations. The federalists on the other side require more freedom towards self-rule beyond the existing system. For example, at least 10 zones of southern regional state do not want to remain being called in a direction name (Southern). They prefer to be called by their true name like Oromo-Oromia region and Tigre-Tigray region. Similarly, Qimant, Agaw, and Rayya want to appear out of the big basket and exercise to self-ruling than being called Amhara because they are not. Having self-rule make you fell yourself. That is why we all well-come the ethnic based regional boundaries which allows the right to recognize others, exercise full right while plummeting totalitarianism and unilateralism ideology. This new order (after 1991) should not have been condemned because it at least kept the falling empire together avoiding subsequent devastating effects. However, for those who used to live at the expense of others identity to accept the simple basic principle of human right is simply unbearable. They do not care or understand what others for example; the Oromos and southern feel when the name Minilik is mentioned. They did not and do not understand what Minilik’s flag mean for the people of the empire other than PM. Hence; the commitment from PM to re instate the dead philosophy of Monarchy finally left him baseless.
Unfortunately; instead of keeping the promise of the people and following the interest of the nation the PM keep on pressing to materialize his day one speech systematically. The struggle that demise TPLF and empower Abyi was to restore the hijacked federal arrangement as stated in the constitution (self-determination) so that every nation and nationality of the empire able to exercise its full right. Nothing to do with what the PM is talking about today. He is trying hard to re-building the old empire imitating the strategy used in the first cycle. Minilik first destroyed the Gada system and conducted psychological warfare through mass killing (for example the Anole massacre) when he builds the empire (…successive Ethiopian colonial elites have effectively destroyed Oromo cultural foundations and political institutions, created subservient Oromo leaders, replaced Oromummaa…by Ethiopianism…and dehumanized the Oromo society [Asaffa Jallata, 2010]). Abyi destroyed OPDO (let’s forget this time liberation fronts, parties, and institutions that represent Oromo) so that PP party will be free of oromo nationalists in OPDO. At the same time Abyi is conducting an intensive psychological warfare through indiscriminate killing in western and southern Oromia. Then his security releases a photo on social media in which troops stepping on civilian body they massacred. During Minilik’s invasion the nafxanyas have the right to exercise anything against the indigenous people. Similarly, Abyi’s command post has the right not only to torture and kill innocent Oromo but also expanded right to expel university students without consulting the senate. No rule of law and restriction to the then Nafxanyas and equally to today’s command post; absolute power.
Hence; the current unrest in particular the ongoing killing is not just out of unintentional or random hate. It is well-planned and systematically underway by the government towards re-building the empire. Abyi has simply trashed his responsibility as a leader and continue believing his way or highway. Due to this the nation and nationality of the empire has lost confidence in the government and felling the sense of betrayal. People lost their hope and taking desperate measure against an irresponsible behavior of the government. That is why today death is ubiquitous in the country since government fail to restore law and order. Unfortunately; yet the government is not considering the issue seriously and continue being reckless. We watch in many occasions the so called Advisors to the PM but blood trusty individuals continue advocating for further bloodshed instead of changing the course to peace and reconciliation. The rightest have already pressed hard and stretched to far extreme. They may call EPP, or PP, Qi-Qi or Ci-Ci, all are towards resurrecting the old Monarchy. Now time comes when Oromo and the southern people who share same principle, interest, and goal should raise high and defend themselves. No turning back to yesterday’s empire building, never to let it happens and fights for another century, need freedom and only freedom! That should be now!