The OROMO Dilemma
Healing Process Takes Long
By Addisalem D (Email [email protected])
Hello readers. Since I published part one of this article, I was in a state of confusion, as the political wheel of the country was rolling in unpredicted way. The public resistance, which was dominantly peaceful, forced the current government leaders, to sit for prolonged meetings and to make a reform within their parties. The state of emergency was lifted and similar public uprisings like last year began to erupt in different regions of the country, like small volcanoes within wider potential zone.
Unlike the Arab spring, Ethiopian form of public peaceful resistance is fragmented and not led by an identified group or party. It is simply based on social consensus or possibly monitored and encouraged by invisible hands. The issue here is not lack of identified leadership only, but also lack of united voice between the Ethiopians who are in need of changing the political platform with a democratic and just system.
I wish this was possible quickly and the country enters in to a stable path to build its economy and to become prosperous. The scary and grey shed of the struggle is that everything seems to roll on purely ethnic agenda, which practically is against developing common agenda for people who live and share the same land, values and share some part of history. Not only the unity between different ethnic groups is based on different views, but also people who believe a single tribe is benefitting are also singing different songs, with the same topic.
As my concern is about the Oromo people, I want to state some differences between the two or more groups of people who are working for the benefit of the Oromo people. One group has no doubt about the advantage of Federalism in Ethiopia. This group needs to secure equity and proportional representation of the Oromo people in the political stage of the country. This group seems to have logical stand and pragmatic remedy to solve the oppression of the Oromo people. The second group claims that Oromia should become independent state, which is practically difficult to implement, because of the geopolitics of Ethiopia. The view of such people does not have a clean and long lasting remedy. It may lead the whole country in to a nonstop disintegration and nonstop inter-tribal clashes. It is believed that such group have implanted hate in the heart of some innocent members of the ethnic group, against others which was born from an overreaction to history. The third and huge group seems confused, unable to have clear stand on how to approach the future.
What is in common is that the Oromo people and other Ethnic groups are sick and tired of the deep rooted corruption, in the country. Every voice calls for change. All Ethiopians are wishing to have a system, with a good governance and democratic platforms. Any voice that rises out of Oromia or any other region in the country believe that there must be a change that releases Ethiopian people out of the existing lack of democracy and justice, which is acknowledged by the current government too.
The writer of this article is proud for having such far sighted society, with a capability to endure challenge and bring a government in to a situation that accepts to deal with change.
The current government, along with its four parties had never been heard promising to the public, in a manner that is seen in this year. The government seems to understand that the public is extremely frustrated and the methods of calming or silencing peaceful resistance that were imposed by the same government in the past are not going to work, at this time.
Let us give the benefit of the doubt by saying that the government has learned about the ongoing lack of democracy and justice and let’s assume that the government is going to change, from inside out. It is unlikely to happen without peaceful and intensive resistance that the upcoming election will be made fertile and accessible to all parties and stakeholders. Such protests of small scale were taking place during almost all past elections. However, the government never allowed opposition parties to feel free, educate the public about their motto and have a chance to be part of the election process. If there was a small loophole to make a difference in the past, such social anger wouldn’t burst spontaneously, to shake the country from border to border.
In reality, any political stage looks like the people who act on it. The people who are on the stage are not also aliens, who were brought from somewhere else. All the character and habit of the political players’ is fetched from the larger ocean, which is the society. There could be modification of character, but the whole drama is rooted in heart of the public. Character development depends on many side factors, but no character can be a strange and new, with in the same society. In simple English, the people on power cannot have their own original character, but they receive it from the public and may modify such character, to some extent.
When we come back to evaluate the effect of the Oromo protest, upon the nature of the government, we can say many things. For that matter, there are peaceful resistances in non-Oromo areas too. The government is being forced to hold long meetings, with a promise of deep rehabilitation within the front, which is EPRDF. The public is still waiting to see real change and to become part of the upcoming events. However, the parties, despite making small changes, they don’t show any progress in bringing the actual change expected by the public. There are some demotions and firing of prominent party members, but the public was not lucky enough to know the reason for the demotion or dismissal of such party leaders.
Usually, things that are not cleared by the owner or the source stay blurred and are open to different speculations. There are conspiracy theories in the public that are dominantly circulating and becoming closer to become or look like a truth, due to lack of verification and transparency from the government. The public believe that the parties constituting EPRDF are internally divided by factions and groups of corrupt networks. When some members are also suspended or removed, people have the right to believe that the reason is related to the factional networks within the parties and not related to the deep rehabilitation. Because the reason for any public official’s removal, demotion or floating should have been made clear to the public, to get rid of such rumors.
I hope the government will consider such suggestions and make things clear to the public, not only for the sake of showing transparency, but also for the sake of building public trust. The gap between the public and the government is based on lack of trust. The government needs to keep its promises and build trust, in order to bring visible change to the ailing political life of Ethiopia.
In the same manner the members of the opposition group should come together and have a unified view on how to go forward with the politics of the country. The acts and deeds of the oppositions is also equally scary like that of the government. Members of the opposition, who are blaming the government for non-tolerance for different views have no room for tolerance to listen to a different view. I saw and heard many people with their own view, being alienated, labeled and intimidated by the opposition, at home and in the diaspora. It is scary for me to think about people who do not have a room for tolerance, at their stage of unrecognized, minority opposition. Imagine, what could happen to the country, when such dangerously antidemocratic people come to power.
The main ailment of Ethiopian politics is lack of genuine opposition, which can allow the participation of all, despite their view. In almost all cases the members of the opposition want to inspire people, not on solid political science but on gossips and intangible information, which makes the holder of the view a target in the future. Most of the people who are sophists and who were forced to believe that they know the science of politics try to make their case and they become aggressive and violent when they become unable to fit to their imagination. This is extremely dangerous, when power enters in to the hand of such people, due to some phenomenal spontaneity. The only way to heal Ethiopian politics is by having strong and well tamed parties with strong members. The politics of hate which is dividing the country will never bring any positive change in to the country. No Ethiopia can be saved and exist by alienating a particular social or Ethnic group, by thinking that the group is going to keep silent, when inappropriately approached. Any social group may get the patience to play underdog, until all peaceful options are exhausted, but when the decisive time comes, it will say NO, to resist, including by using violent options.
The politics of intimidation and undermining other Ethnic groups had been practiced on the Oromo people in late 19th century and in the twentieth century. The exact replica of the invasion against my people is being propagated against some ethnic groups of Ethiopia at this time. Such a tactic is the tactic of invaders and oppressors. The question of my people is the right for equity and impartiality. What we need is equal distribution of wealth and the right to practice our God given rights, without looking for the generosity of others. We don’t believe that by hating and attacking some social group will bring long lasting peace to the country. This is a mix up of the question for right and the need for satisfying the thirst of people possessed by the bloody spirit of the past.
We are in the twenty first century, where people can discuss their difference and solve them by using so many natural and man-made laws. The question of the Oromo people is clear and it cannot be realized by imposing pain and suffering in others. The Oromo people is asking for proportional participation in the political and economic forum of the country. To realize such objective, raising questions and showing peaceful resistance to bring change is enough. By the way, no one has superiority, over the other. Such a philosophy is an idea of oppressors that have turned the path of my people down, for more than a century. Such aggression and undermining was the key ingredient for the establishment of the Oromo struggle. We don’t want to repeat the reincarnation of such brutal part of history, when we blame it for affecting our generations.
Finally, I’d like to call for the Oromo people to have a clear and identified questions of freedom democracy and justice. We must stop those who mix up the clear and defined movement by using messages of attack against other Ethnic groups, which will never take us anywhere and may reverse our struggle in to unwanted direction. Some people, mainly those who are educated and who dream to have power, in the emerging system may need to halt their delirium and work for the betterment of their people. I see many people, trying everything in order to get power, though truth will prevail, they are impacting the clean path of the Oromo struggle, negatively, for the time being.
Despite time, those who stick with truth are going to succeed.
To be continued