Monday, August 17, 2015

Dire Consequences of Denying Federal Status to Afaan Oromo in Ethiopia. - Dr. Solomon Ungashe

Refusal to make Afaan Oromo a federal language in Ethiopia has dire consequences for the country. One only needs to observe what is happening on the ground in order to understand my point. Here are some facts to consider:
1 - The vast majority of Oromos (I would estimate at least 70%) do not speak a word of Amharic.  
2 - Educated Oromos younger than 35 years attended school in Afaan Oromo and are only barely literate in Amaric. Oromos in this age group constitute more than 70% of Oromo population.
3 - Highly qualified Oromo college graduates are being denied employment in federal institutions and in Finfinnee Administration because they are not fluent in Amharic. As a result the number of unemployed Oromo college graduates is disproportionately larger than college graduates of any other national group in the country. In other words, the jobless in Oromia today are highly educated young men and women denied job for lack of fluency in Amharic. This situation is not good for the country and is unsustainable long run. 
Here I would like to mention the case of a young law school graduate I met when I was in Ethiopia in 2013-14. She graduated from a law school at one of the universities with a cumulative GPA of 3.7. She applied for job at many federal agencies and Addis Ababa Administration but could not find a job for over a year. At some of the places she interviewed, she was told she could not qualify because of her poor conversational Amharic. Luckily, somebody introduced me to her and I was able to find her a job at an international NGO. There are thousands of Oromo college graduates that are not as lucky as her. The only way to reverse the mass unemployment of Oromo college graduates resulting from lack of fluency in Amharic is to make Afaan Oromo a federal language of Ethiopia

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