Oromo: Students Write Appeal Letter to University Administration
March 3, 2015
The Oromo Students of Jimma University wrote an appeal letter to the university administration, as a reaction not only to harassment they face at the university, but also to widespread repression, political marginalization, economic exploitation, and killings of the Oromo people by the current Ethiopian government. They list demands for the government and appeal to the United Nations and human rights and governmental organizations to provide support for their struggle by putting pressure on the Ethiopian regime.
We, the Oromo students of Jimma University, are deeply disturbed by the multifaceted repression, subjugation, political marginalization, economic exploitation, and mass and indiscriminate killings that the Oromo people are subjected to by the current TPLF/EPRDF government and profoundly distressed by the endless insults, harassment and humiliations we are facing from the remnants of the old and neo-nafxanyas (gun carriers who settled on our land by force) here in our university and in the Ethiopian empire at large. To add insult to our injury, Abay Tsehaye, one of the prominent leaders of the Ethiopian regime and one of the founders of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), has demonstrated his contempt of the Oromo people by his current provocative and inflammatory remark. It has been exposed on several independent media outlets that Abay Tsehaye arrogantly stated that, the so-called Addis Ababa Master Plan, which was met with fierce opposition from the Oromo public, “will be realized whether you like it or not” and bragged that anyone who opposes the Master Plan “will face severe punishment.” Basically, this Tigrean chief, who is currently serving as the “advisor” of the TPLF-led government, undermining the power of the people, arrogantly stated that the Oromo people have no right to oppose the evil plan that the Tigrean led Ethiopian regime has put forward.
Abay Tsehaye’s contemptuous and disrespectful remark is a clear testimony of the attitude of the entire TPLF gang who has been using the so called OPDO “Oromo organization” as a tool to subjugate the Oromo nation and not in any measure an equal partner in the EPRDF coalition as they try to mislead the public. We consider his disdainful and condescending remark as remorseless and callous act of ridiculing of the blood and graves of our fallen brothers and sisters who he and his cohorts have murdered in broad day light for no crime other than showing opposition to this so called “Master Plan” they have designed in order to loot Oromo land and subjugate the great Oromo nation.
We recall that, last year, on April 11, 2014, we have submitted an appeal letter containing questions about our democratic rights and the rights of the Oromo nation for self-governance of their country Oromia. At the time, since we did not get any response for our appeal, we were forced to stage a peaceful Revolt Against Subjugation (Fincila Diddaa Gabrummaa).
Following the protests the government unleashed its Federal and Agazi armed forces and fired live ammunition on peaceful protesters and students who have nothing on their hand other than their pens and notebooks. Hundreds of our peers have been brutally murdered; tens of thousands others have been jailed and tortured. Those who have been jailed still languish in different prisons in the empire. The response to our peaceful questions has been mass killing which amounts to genocide, widespread arrest, severe injury and death as a result of brutal beating and inhuman treatment in prison cells. Those members of the regime who ordered and/or committed those crimes have never been accountable for their actions. To the contrary, many who committed those crimes, including Abay Tsehaye, have been rewarded and promoted. The Oromo people and other peoples of the country agree that it is the Agazi, Federal Police, and other mercenaries of the regime who are responsible for all loss of lives and the damaged property in Ambo and some other Oromian towns during the 2014 Oromo student protests. However, the regime is currently forcing the people of those areas to pay money for the damaged property. Overall, the government of Ethiopia monopolizes every aspect of political and economic power of the country.
It has denied our basic human rights and democratic rights, denied the right of the Oromo people as a nation, exploits the natural resources of our country Oromia. We, the Oromo students are subjected to unlawful and indiscriminate killing, massive arrest, and inhuman torture simply because we have asked the above legitimate questions. Therefore, we are hereby submitting our grievances regarding our current situation to all concerned bodies and we ask all national and international organizations who promote human and democratic rights, human rights organizations and the United Nations to put the necessary pressure on the government for it to give appropriate response to our questions. We hereby declare that we have decided to continue our peaceful struggle for our rights and the right of the Oromo people and that we are determined to pay any sacrifice until the following demands are met.
1. We demand that Abbaay Tsahaayyee, the high level official of the TPLF/EPRDF regime, be removed from his position, arrested, and be accountable for the act of genocide he committed on Oromo students who were peacefully protesting in 2014 and for his contemptuous and inflammatory remarks he arrogantly thrown at the Oromo people in general.
2. We demand that all officials of the TPLF/EPRDF/OPDO regime who ordered and committed the mass arrests, inhuman beatings and tortures, and brutal killings of hundreds of innocent Oromo civilians, including an 80-year-old man and a 7-year-old child by live bullet be arrested and brought to justice.
3. We demand that the TPLF/EPRDF government unconditionally stop the implementation of the so-called “Addis Ababa Master Plan” and that the Finfinne (Addis Ababa) city administration and all the wealth and resources of Finfinne city be put under the complete control and management of the Oromia Regional State.
4. We demand that all attempts and secret plans that are underway by the EPRDF government to put several Oromian cities such as Bishoftu, Dukam, Akaki, Kaliti, Sendafa, Laga Tafo, Laga Dadhi, Sululta, Burayyu, Holota, Sabata and many others under the Finfinne Adiministration and other Oromo towns such as Adama, Shashemene, Jimma, Nekemte, and Ambo under the control of the Federal government be stopped.
5. We demand that selling of land by the name of development and investment by evicting Oromo farmers from their ancestral land be stopped. We also demand that appropriate compensation be given to thousands of Oromo farmers evicted from Finfinne area and other towns and that their land be given, be resettled back on their land.
6. We demand that all Oromo nationals who have been massively taken to jail in connection with the April/May, 2014 Oromo student protest be released unconditionally. We also demand that appropriate compensation be given to the families of Oromos who have been brutally killed by government forces.
7. We demand that the all the human right and democratic right of the Oromo people be respected.
8. We demand that the distribution of political power in the EPRDF government be given to the Oromo people in proportion to population of the Oromo people. We emphasize that the Oromo people have the right to control and manage their wealth and resources without any interference.
9. In a country where there is no democratic right and rule of law, free and fair election is unthinkable and is a mockery. Therefore, we demand that spreading confusion in the public by the name of free and democratic election be stopped. In particular, we demand that the fake so called 2015 Ethiopian election be cancelled and favorable situations necessary for true democratic election be established.
10. We demand that a transitional period which is all-inclusive of all political parties in the country and in exile be erected, a new neutral election board be established by the people, and a true free and fair democratic election in which all Oromo liberation organizations at home and abroad participate be organized.
11. It is known that the police, military, and security forces of the TPLF led regime are established to impose and dictate the interest of the ruling party and not to protect the will of the people. We demand that the current military, police and security of the regime be dismantled and neutral forces which are free from any political group be established.
12. We demand that all political prisoners of the country be released without any precondition.
13. The current government is known for concocting conflict between different ethnic and national groups of the country in order to get a cheap political benefit to stay in power by diverting attention from the opposition it is facing against its own rule. Especially, it has fabricated conflict between the Oromo people and other nations and nationalities which resulted in bloody losses of lives and destruction of property. In eastern Oromia, the government has armed the so called Liyu Police of the Ogaden regional state and attacked the neighboring Harage, Bale, Borana, and Guji Oromo zones. Moreover, the government has invented conflict between various Oromo clans such as Borana and Guji, Borana and Gabra, Borana and Garri, and so on and this resulted in losses of lives, destruction of property, and injected animosity between various Oromo cousins. We demand that the government stop such evil act of creating animosity among peoples of the empire take responsibility for all the damage occurred as a direct result of its actions over the past 23 years.
14. We demand that land arable land in the empire be the property of the farmers and that eviction of Oromo farmers and that of the farmers of other oppressed nations and nationalities for any reason be stopped.
In conclusion, we the Oromo students of Jimma University, appeal that the demands listed above be met by the current Ethiopian government. We hereby declare that we have decided to wage a bitter struggle until our demands are fulfilled. We are cognizant of the brutal nature of the regime, and that in deciding to lit and carry a torch of freedom for our people we are putting our lives and the lives of hundreds perhaps thousands of Oromo youth in danger and on fire. We reiterate that we are determined to pay any sacrifice to end slavery at our generation. We earnestly ask that all Oromo political organizations, community associations, youth organizations, women organizations, scholarly, professional, and religious associations across the globe stand with us and fight for their right. We have to unite for a common purpose.
The Oromo question is now beyond a political question. It has become whether we should survive as a nation or be eradicated and exterminated from the face of the earth. Stand up and fight for your right and wage a national liberation revolution! We also ask all organizations and associations of oppressed nations and nationalities oppressed by the TPLF/EPRDF regime to stand with us and struggle for their own freedom. We have been subjugated together; we should stand shoulder to shoulder to get our God given right and freedom together. We appeal to all human rights and governmental organizations and the United Nations who are committed for respect of human rights and democratic rights to support our just struggle by putting sanctions on the regime that terrorizes its own people by their own verified reports and for them to put the necessary political, diplomatic, military and economic pressure on the Ethiopian regime.
Oromo Students of Jimma University
Oromo People all over the world
Oromia Regional Government
Oromia Police and Security Commission
Administration of Jimma Zone
Police Commission of Jimma Zone
National and International human rights organizations.