Hachalu Hundessa’s Death is Politically Motivated (Hachalu Dies but his Legitimacy Forever Resonates)
Worku Burayu (PhD), July 12, 2020
Summary: Falsehood devised, fake news fabricated, distortion followed, and propaganda churned to divert attention from the burning issue the country is facing related to election and Nile dam, and to maintain Abiy’s political power in Ethiopia. The experience is painful, the intention is evil, the danger is real, the consequence is turmoil, the peace and safety of the peoples is nil. Unprecedently, disinformation and misinformation are used by Ethiopian government as tools to hide the perpetrators of killing innocent Hachalu Hundessa. Hachalu dies but his legitimacy resonates: Nafxxanyaan- Kaleessaas, Har’aas, Boorus Nafxxanyaadha!
Ethiopian history is widespread with conspiracy especially when it comes to the Oromo struggle for justice and freedom from political and governmental tyranny. Successive Ethiopian governments lie about everything concerning the Oromo people from their historical origin to the history of their relationship with the Ethiopian empire. Abiy’s government is not an exception. Politically motivated assassinations are certainly nothing new for Ethiopia, but the murder of Hachalu Hundessa has touched the biggest nerve in decades, after the 1996 murder of Eebbisaa Addunyaa. Hachalu was perceived to be a man of the Oromo people. He was a spirited and extremely active, genuine and inspirable artist. Eebbisaa Addunyaa and Hachalu Hundessa were among the popular inspirable young Oromo singers and musicians who were gunned down by the Ethiopian security forces.
The killing and arresting men of intellect, wisdom, visionary, revolutionary, and ideological figure who are deeply involved in Oromo struggle movement are common and persistent in Ethiopia. The arrest and assassination of Mamo Mezemer in 1962, who was born in Guder just 15 km away from Hachalu’s birthplace, Ambo, was the hateful fruit of a deceptive and deceitful plot devised by Aklilu Habte-Wold, the then PM of Ethiopia. Politically motivated murder of Hachalu Hundessa, the political violence thereafter, and the use of force by security forces which results in the deaths and arrest of civilians were perpetrated by Abiy Ahmed, the present PM Ethiopia. This has shown the continuation of tyranny by Ethiopian system to achieve the political goals: to divert attention from real issues and to maintain political power. Although his earthly remains are buried, Mamo’s life and unforgettable spirit inspires us to courageous deeds of Oromo nationalism. Likewise, people loved Hachalu because he didn’t let risk keep him quiet although he always considered himself to be at risk. Hachalu’s spirit is not dead because Qeerroo keeps the fire burning. The millions of Qeerroo of today are a promising of those heroic legacy. As Hachalu sacrificed his life for our cause, so did Mamo Mezemer and we are proud of and grateful to them.
Politically motivated decision was approved, even before any investigation started, to Hachalu Hundessa’s death and investigation to determine his killer. The pre-planned, but not well-organized fabrications of disinformation in relation to Hachalu’s death already targeted the opposition parties. A day after musician death, many government leaders including President of Oromia Regional State, Shimelis Abdissa, disinformed the public that Hachalu was killed by ABO Shane (fake name given to nonexistent organization but simply created by government to develop a fear of imaginary things). Other government leaders misinformed that Hachalu was assassinated by Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF) and stressed that they have enough evidence on who killed the popular star. Two days after the killing of Hachalu, the executive committee of the ruling party, Prosperity Part (PP), made an emergence meeting and took political decision where they framed ABO-Shene as the killer of Hachalu. Immediately, a statement from the office of the prime minister misleading the public that Hachalu was assassinated by OLF-Shene and stated a woman and a man arrested in relation to the death. In a televised statement aired on Friday (07/10/2020), Attorney General Adanech Abeebe continued the orchestrated drama by saying the attacker (Tilahun Wami) was acting on the orders of Tigrinya speaking anti-government group, the OLF-Shene indicating the continuation of disinformation by highest official of the government. Incredible information indicated that Tilahun Wami is a member of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (EZEMA) Party. Attorney General Abeebe, unbelievably, is disseminating the same misinformation and disinformed the Ethiopian people and the world that killers are related to the OLF-Shene. In a televised air, Oromia Regional State Governor Shimelis Abdissa a PP executive committee, also accused OLF-Shene. Distortion and propaganda are continued based on pre-perpetuated unfounded rumors, prejudices, labels and fear as an instrument of persuasion, deception and manipulation. Government affiliated medias such as Ethiopian Satellite Television and Radio (ESAT), Walta Information, Ethiopia TV News (ETV), Ethio 360 Media in coexistence with the Ethiopian government, power elites and business groups, and the mushrooming social networks have considerably complicated, confused and obscured the situation in Ethiopia. Government used this deception to maintain power in Ethiopia.
The Oromo people in Oromia and abroad described Hachalu’s killing as an evil act of Abiy’s government. A week before his death Hachalu conveyed his concern on OMN interview he made where he hinted that government and allies always followed and warned him wherever he goes. His killing tapped into grievances heightened by decades of government repression and what the Oromo describe as their long exclusion from real political power, the self-rule. The assassination of Haacaaluu, a musician widely esteemed among his Oromo people, ignited protests in Oromia including Finfinnee. At least 500 people died after Hachalu’s death, when government troops and other security forces shot demonstrators who took to the streets claiming the murder was committed by government forces. According to eyewitness, security forces shot into crowds, killing people during mass protest, and torturing detained protesters. So far, more than 7000 people have been arrested in connection with the wave of protest seen in the country. Many opposition leaders were jailed even before protest started in connection with the killing. Security forces arrested dozens of people at each protest, and in many locations’ security forces went door-to door-at night arresting individuals and those accommodating youngsters in their homes. Security forces also specifically targeted for arrest those perceived to be influential members of the Oromo community, pro-democracy activists, musicians, teachers, journalists, high level opposition leaders, members, sympathizers and others thought to have the ability to mobilize the community for further protests.
A year-old girl and her mother Chaltu Takele Abetu is one of the custodies. Chaltu was in prison for more than 10 years by the same government, but in EPRDF era. She has been frequently arrested since Abiy came to power in Prosperity Party era. Internet services and social medias in the Horn of Africa country, which were suspended in the aftermath of Hundessa’s killing are continuing for 12 consecutive days while additional protests and road blockages are ongoing to curb further killings of civilians in many zones of Oromia. The Ethiopian government has also increased its efforts to restrict media freedom – already dire in Ethiopia – and block access to information in Oromia. Oromia Media Network (OMN), the media that is known to voice for the voiceless also been shut down by authorities. Their offices had been raided by federal security agents who ‘arrested’ all employees.
Conclusion: Oromo and all truth finders demand (1) a credible, an independent that include an international component and transparent investigation into the killings of Hachalu and the use of excessive force by government security forces, (2) Ethiopian government to drop charges and release all political prisoners and those who have been arbitrarily detained, (3) to prosecute as appropriate those responsible and (4) to provide victims of abuses with adequate compensation (4) a strong resolution condemning the evil act by the international community. The best solution is to implement fully and faithfully all the resolutions of the United Nations regarding the exercise of the right to self–determination and independence by peoples under colonial domination.