Fayyis Oromia:- The End is Either an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia; But an Efficient Means Leading to Tulluu Daalatti?
By Fayyis Oromia*
“As far as the Oromo is concerned, and putting it metaphorically, a Union Gross Oromia is the same as a gross salary, while an Independent Net Oromia is similar to a net salary of a certain professional. In case the other nations reject the offer of a Union Gross Oromia from the Oromo and go their way to be our neighboring states, we will have an Independent Net Oromia with its capital city Finfinne, just like Russia and Moscow left behind as the other states of the Soviet Union decided for their independence as well as like Serbia and Belgrade had the same fate during the disintegration of Yugoslavia.”
We all have followed the sad news of Oromians (Ethiopians) suffering in different countries in exile. Some Oromo nationalists reacted to the assaults on the immigrants: “we must take back our homeland to end the Oromo national homelessness.” The conservative Abyssinian forces, on the other hand, tried to capitalize on this situation, as usual, and started their pro-Ethiopianism propaganda – of course, again, attacking the Oromo nationalists. Such events persuaded us to shortly formulate the Oromo people’s goal and look at it, especially, if it contradicts with the genuine unity of nations and peoples. The Oromo people’s political objective, regarding the type of Oromia’s sovereignty we want to have after achieving our national freedom from any sort of alien rule, can be summarized in short as ‘an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia.’ This is the goal of the people in general, but Oromo individuals and organizations can specify their aim by taking one of these post-freedom sovereignty of Oromia. For instance, the ODF wants to realize the ‘Union Gross Oromia using the name Ethiopia, whereas some nationals suggest a change of the name Ethiopia toOromia‘ and the OLF strives to achieve the ‘Independent Net Oromia within a United Nations.’ The two goals are not as such disadvantageous for the Oromo, as long as the future rule of political game will be freedom and democracy. That is why Oromo organizations can confidently forge any sort of alliance against the tormenting TPLF regime. The whole move of the Oromo organizations should be with a purpose to corner the regime at Tulluu Daalatti Palace (TD), i.e. the power center at the present PM (Prime Minister) Office, so that it will never have a peaceful life. In short, regarding the post-freedom sovereignty, there are the following possible two types:
– the Independent Net Oromia (in a form of Gadaa republic of the Oromo state) – the Union Gross Oromia (transformation of the present fake ethnic federation to a genuine union)
Given the public will or popular sovereignty is the highest value, the Oromo nation can have a right to choose one of the alternatives during exercising our right to self-determination. The common denominator for the two positions is the struggle for freedom from the Abyssinian system of domination and capture state power in TD (i.e. the Tulluu Daalatti Palace). That is why the pro “Independent Net Oromia” fronts and the pro “Union Gross Oromia” forces can now work together against the Woyane’s system of domination and struggle for freedom in unison in order to capture TD by any means necessary. But, the question yet to be answered is: how can we achieve this ambition? How can we capture TD, so that we can have the right to self-determination? By mere means of being part of the ritual “election”? By means of only nonviolent resistance or only armed struggle? Of course, the best means, which can lead us to TD, is the combination of both armed and nonviolent struggle – just forgetting the ritual. On the process of preparation to chart the way to freedom, we did observe that Ethiopia’s repeated fraudulent “elections” did confirm the necessity of decolonization before democratization – the goal which we can never achieve per ballot under the rule of the present oppressive regime.
Few years ago, there was a discussion going on regarding Gross Oromian democratization vs. Net Oromian decolonization, which was firstly initiated by Addis Neger Online. The author of the article demanded that a certain “Oromo Obama or Oromo Mandela” take the responsibility to democratize the Empire and give a lasting solution to the problems of that cursed region. What a nice wish and a good demand! But is this the main objective of the Oromo? The author wrote his piece few days before the “election” 2010. He seemed to be optimistic about the “ongoing democratization and repeated elections in the Empire.” Can such game of “election” lead us to ‘an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia?’ To answer such questions, let me leave the oppression history in the Empire for historians and talk about the present situation under the Woyane rule. No question that the Woyane is ruling all nations in the Empire with an iron fist since 1991.
What a pity for the Tigirinya speakers, who died for the cause of freedom and democracy during their rebellion and struggled against the fascist Derg! Who of them thought that their organization would be transformed into such a worse organization than the regime they had fought against? Unfortunately, the TPLF is not only transformed from a liberation front into such a hegemonist force, but it also used to be an instrument for the only one dictatorial psychopath till the day of his death. He was as brutal as Hitler and Stalin, who ruled the citizens and nations in the Empire with a brute force and malicious manipulation. The tyrannt gathered very submissive individuals with slave mentality from each nation in the Empire to use them as “representatives” of their respective nations. Now, the current puppet PM is doing the bidding, while the junior TPLF leaders are manipulating him behind the screen. Is this a better condition for the Oromo to capture TD and achieve our mentioned objective – ‘an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia’? Is taking part in the coming “election” of 2015 the way to accomplish this objective?
The election in May 2010 was one of the situations where the TPLF could show two bad methods (force and manipulation) for the sake of perpetuating its rule further. Individual citizens and national groups in the Empire have been intimidated by force, and manipulated by fraud in order to make the dictator and his followers “win” the election. It could “win” almost 100% of the federal and regional parliamentary seats. This election was similar to the elections which took place under dictators like Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Mengistu Haile-Mariam and so on. So, there was no surprise about the result. Elections in multinational countries like the Abyssinian Empire are the competitions not only among political parties, but also among nations in the country for power and domination. In this Empire, the contest for power takes place particularly between the two Habesha nations (i.e. Amharinya speakers and Tigirinya speakers), and the other oppressed nations – specifically the Oromo. The relationship between the Habesha ruling class and the Oromo nation is that of the colonizers and the colonized, whereas the relationship between the two Habesha nations is a competition between two colonizers, which is similar to the fight between Britain and France over Africa during their Scramble.
The Abyssinian Empire is a conglomerate of different neighboring nations, which actually deserve their own independence, and it is only after freedom of nations from alien rulers that democratization of nation-states can be easier and possible as already practically seen in Europe. The question we need to answer is why do European regimes want us to do, what they actually don’t do for themselves and their nations? How can they repeatedly come to observe such almost an impossible election in the Empire or the futile attempt of democratization of the colonized nations? Why is the Oromo nation, in particular, and the other oppressed nations, in general, suffering under the looting, subjugation and lording of Tigrean oligarchs be expected to get our right per sham election orchestrated under the colonizers? The independent and democratic nation-states, with their own self-rule, are today part and parcel of the European union. If this method of achieving a national freedom and multinational democracy is right for Europe, why do the European regimes want us Africans move another way which didn’t work for them? The legacy of colonialism in the Horn of Africa, in particular, and in Africa, in general, is the artificial division of nations by colonial borders. The colonialists either divided one nation to be included into more than two countries or clamped many nations together into one state (country). For instance, the only one nation Somalia was divided to be included into five countries as well as many nations in the Horn like Agaw, Oromo, Afar, Sidama, etc. are put together in only one Abyssinian Empire under the protection of the Western regimes.
Almost all African countries are suffering under the consequences of such arrangement, and yet Africans are accused and blamed for the lack of democracy. For African nations to be really democratic, they should first get rid of these artificial colonial borders; nation-states based on free will must be established. Only such relatively monolithic nation-states can vote freely during elections in a possible multiparty democracy of the respective nations free from unhealthy competitions among different nations for domination. Otherwise, in the multinational countries, where nations are put together by force like in the Abyssinian Empire, there will always be a unhealthy rivality of nations for dominance, not the necessary struggle of political parties for power. There can be certain arguments against such suggestion to have nation-states as a prerequisite for genuine democratization, because of the presence of many small nationalities in Africa, which may not be in a position to foster a viable independent state. For such smaller nations, a federal arrangement like that of a genuine ethnic federalism, which is formally tried in the present Ethiopia, is a good arrangement. It needs only to be genuine, not so fake as it is now. Each nationality can have its own autonomous province (state), zone, district or county within a voluntarily formed multi-nation-country, based on its size.
Coming back to the circumstances in the Abyssinian Empire, it is just a pipe dream to expect democratization of the Empire as long as the Abyssinian colonial system of domination is intact. This system of domination is now under absolute control of the Tigrinya speaking elites from the minority nation. Genuine and free democratization means a loss of power at TD for them, which further means a lose of economical advantage they do enjoy now. It is simply a naivety to expect these elites allow genuine democratization of the Empire, while they do know what the consequence of losing this power is for them. Taking part in elections under such regime is good only in order to use the process as one means of the struggle against tyranny. The participation of OFC and others in the 2010 “election” has got only this purpose. If there was anyone who expected the Woyane to give up power per ballot, that was unrealistic. I personally have expected that a sort of peaceful public uprising had to follow the already programmed vote rigging. Unfortunately, neither OFC nor any other political organization, be it “legal” or “illegal,” was ready to call for such an uprising. This made me to ask, what is then the purpose of taking part in the election? Was boycotting not better? Some would say, “it was better to expose the undemocratic nature of the Woyane.” Didn’t we do this during the elections in 1992 and 2005? Is this anti-democratic nature of the Woyane not known? Can it be different in the coming 2015 “election”? If not different, then how can the Oromo materalize our objective – ‘an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia‘?
Actually, the best approach against such dictators is only to fight them without any compromise. Beside the “legal parties,” which are accompanying the regime in sham elections, there should be stronger underground organizations and armed forces, which are ready to force such a regime to give up the grip of power it has at TD. I had an expectation that the underground movements and the rebel forces could make the public uprising possible following the already known vote rigging. Now it seems, this was just a wishful thinking of the few, including me. Where we know that the Woyane oligarchs never allow the democratization of the Empire and even the reactionary unitarists are not ready to see the domination system of the Empire destroyed, what should be the future approach? Even the few Habeshademocrats should be determined to make an alliance covertly or overtly with the liberation forces in order to dismantle the domination system in the Empire. Let me hope that the conservative parties also follow the same procedure. Now, it is not the time for the opposition forces to talk about democratization, but time to struggle for decolonization of the oppressed nations together. Interestingly, someAmharinya speaking nationals are starting to sense what a life under national oppression means. Most Tigrinya speaking elites actually know it very well, that is why they fought against it until their struggle has been hijacked by the Woyane junta. Now, it is the time for such forces of decolonization from all nations in the Empire to come together and fight for freedom in unison.
What can be the common ground for the freedom fighters from these different nations in the Empire to forge a sort of alliance by default against the Woyane oligarchs? The common ground can not be either the “unconditional independence without union,” which is propagated by liberation fronts or the “unconditional unitary state without national independence,” which is always preached by the unitarist forces. The way forward as a common purpose can be a sort of consensus on the necessary Union of free nations in Gross Oromia, which is the goal of democratic forces like the ODF and OFC. Hopefully, many of those from the liberation fronts and the unitarist forces will give up their ultra-left and ultra-right positions, respectively, and come together in this middle position of a Union Gross Oromia. Unfortunately, the Woyane is still instrumentalizing both the left and right poles to persuade them fight and neutralize each other. This reduces their capacity not to be a challenge for the Woyane, so that it could balance the power in the Empire for its own benefit. I hope, at the end of the day, when these forces agree on the mentioned middle position, it will be very easy for such cooperation of opposition forces to challenge the Woyane with the appropriate methods to compel it to give up power, without unrealistically expecting that it may give up power per ballot box. In case such consensus on the middle ground is impossible, then to pursue one’s program and leave the final decision for the public verdict of each nation is an alternative. For the Oromo, it is better to agree on a Union Gross Oromia; the other nations can decide to join this union or choose their own independence. An Independent Net Oromia can be a rule out result, when all other neighbouring nations reject and leave the union, so that our two alternative goals continue to be ‘an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia’.
Such cooperated forces can easily start a coordinated struggle using three best methods against the regime – civil disobedience, armed struggle and public uprising. Combining these three ways of struggle can be taken as an efficient means leading the Oromo freedom fighters to TD. Taking part in the election should only be for the sake of facilitating these methods, not necessarily as effective way by itself. It can not be otherwise in the coming 2015 “election.” Democratization of an Empire with colonized nations is practically impossible; democratizing a union of free nations is very possible. Let’s first decolonize the nations, which are still suffering under the system of domination and then we can talk about democratization of each nation in a Union Gross Oromia, if all voluntarily name the union as Oromia. Trying to persuade us now to talk again about the democratization process is simply one of the ways used by the Woyaneoligarchs just in their attempt to divert our attention. So, we had enough election processes to expose the Woyane in front of the international community. The OLF already exposed the undemocratic nature of the Woyane in 1992, just a year after Woyane’s takeover of power at TD. ONC & OFDM did the same job of exposing the Woyane in 2005; OFC repeated it in 2010. From now on, we do not need this job of exposing the Woyane any more. This can not be the purpose of taking part in the “election” 2015. What we need is to come together, forge a necessary unity of purpose based on the above mentioned common ground, and then fight against the regime specially by using the above mentioned effective three methods.
Let’s first decolonize the oppressed nations and then democratize all national areas of Gross Oromia in the form of multiparty competition. Yes, democratization of the Empire is impossible, decolonization should precede democratization, i.e. citizens’ and nations’ freedom should be achieved in order to exercise democracy. After decolonization, we can democratize all the decolonized nations in the region, which can have a possibility to foster a Union Gross Oromia on the grave of the already existing Abyssinian Empire. Even if it is necessary, trying to democratize an Empire is only a means to dismantle the system, but not the end by itself. As a summary, the fact on the ground shows us that there are two lines of the Oromo national liberation movement against the regime in the Empire: 1. the line of an Independent Net Oromia, who persue an armed fighting and 2. the line of a Union Gross Oromia, which opted for a non-violent struggle. If the two lines fail to foster a consensus in order to pursue one common line, they can agree to complement each other and push for freedom from the Woyane and for democracy after the Woyane. Both routes and their results are not as such disadvantageous for the Oromo people. A common denominator for both lines is to capture state power at TD, after which we can decide on the possible end: an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia. Can the two camps agree on these common factor and cooperate to remove the worst evil we ever faced in the Empire? Time will show us, but the Oromo polity must do every thing under the sun to coordinate the necessary cooperation of the two lines for there is nothing the Oromo people will lose if we follow both lines of the freedom movements. At the end of the day, after achieving freedom, one of our objectives regarding the type of sovereignty – ‘an Independent Net Oromia or a Union Gross Oromia‘ – can be fulfilled.
May Rabbi/Waaqa help us accept and respect these two alternative possibilities equally!