Isn’t Oromia a creation of OLF ? Reply to Lencho Letta – Naomi Begashaw

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Wikileaks on Lencho Leta (TOP Secret) – Must ListenIn its latest article entitled, “The origin of ethnic politics in Ethiopia”, Lencho Letta, a former OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) now ODF (Oromo Democratic Front), warned of any efforts to undo the current ethnic federalism, imposed on the people, two decades ago by TPLF and OLF.
“Those aspiring to undo the extant multinational federation need to carefully re-examine their project for its success does not look likely without horrendous bloodshed. Despite its undeniable practical shortcomings, no national community would willingly give up the right to self-government enshrined in the present Constitution” Lencho wrote.
To those who argued that the current ethnic constitution is imposed by TPLF and the OLF, the message of Lencho is unrepentant and dismissive. “Political groups are merely wasting their time and energy by arguing to the contrary” he wrote, arguing that the ethnic federation that is believed to be the root cause of many ethnic tensions in the country, as the natural outcome of the “circumstance existing already”, rather than the “noble or ignoble intentions of the incoming ruling group (TPLF and OLF).
Allow me to share few points that show some serious weaknesses of Lencho’s argument.

  1. Is the current federalism a multi-national federalism?

Lencho is referring the federalism we have now in Ethiopia as a “multinational federalism”, a federalism of “nations”.
First we have to define what we mean by “nation”. The words “Nations Nationalities and Peoples”  are mentioned numerous time in the Ethiopian constitution. The interpretation of these words though, depends often on who you ask.
Article 39 sub article 5 of the Ethiopian constitution gave a definition for “Nation Nationality and People”.
“The term “nation, nationality and people” shall mean a community having the following characteristics: People having a common culture reflecting considerable uniformity or similarity of custom, a common language, belief in a common bond and identity, and a common consciousness the majority of whom live within a common territory.”
The same definition is given for the words “nation”, “nationality” and “people”. Therefore a “multinational federation” can also be equated as a “multi-nationality” or a “multi-people federation”.
For Lencho Letta, Ethiopia is a country of many “nations”. There is the Oromo nation, Amhara nation, Tigre nation, Gurage nation, Welayta nation, Gumuz nation, and Hamer ation …etc.
Therefore if we agree to Lencho’s characterization of the federalism we have in Ethiopia as multinational federation, then we should have more than 80 federal states,  for we have that much “nations” in Ethiopia. But we do not have that many states.
– In Amhara region there are the Agews, the Oromos(Kemisse) which by themselves are also “nations”.
– “Gonderes” and “Weloyes” that may be considered by Lencho as “Amharas” are incorporated in Tigray.
– In the southern region, a huge number of “nations” were bundled together in one new state called “Debub”.
– Within Oromia, there are people who have a common culture reflecting considerable uniformity or similarity of custom, a common language, belief in a common bond and identity that may be different from those who consider themselves “oromos”. For instance we can consider population hubs like Addis Ababa, Diredawa, Adama and Jimma as “nations”. Tough Addis Ababa and Diredawa are chartered cities, still they are not recognized as states and officially lumped up within Oromia.
So in Ethiopia we do not have a “multinational” federation. What we have is a federation that is created to strengthen the grip of power of TPLF, appease the OLF and intentionally diminish the power base of what they called “Naftagnas”. It is a federation imposed by the few, the victorious of a war, on the majority, purposefully aimed at creating wedges and division among different ethnic groups of Ethiopia.

  1. Language politics

Lencho mentioned the 1933, “only Amharic” proposal of the then Minister of Education, Sahlu Tsedalu, to justify the ethnicization of the backward ethnic politics.
“Unity is the strength of a country, and the sources of unity are language, custom and religion …. It is thus necessary to legally preserve in the whole of Ethiopia only Amharic and Ge’ez” said Minister Sahlu back then.
That was 82 years ago. The problem with the current few Oromo radicals like Lencho Letta, is their “sahlu Tsedale” like attitude; this time with their  “Afan Oromo only” policy. That is why, when they call for Afan Oromo to be a working language of the federal government, they resist making Amharic a working language of Oromia. That is why they do not allow Ethiopians in Oromia to learn Amharic in their schools. (Per the opposition of the people, only in Adama area, Amharic is given as a subject, which is an exception). In Adama where 75% of residents are non-Oromos, residents have to file papers, forms and get services in the Adama municipality and the courts only in Afan Oromo. Unless you speak Afan Oromo, you cannot work in Oromia government offices and run for election. Their politics is not really a pro-oromo politics but an anti-amhara politics.
Languages cannot be source of divisions, hate and war. Languages are communication tools. Instead of the 1933 “Amharic only” or the current “Afan Oromo only” policies, why not have a pro Afan-Oromo and pro-Amharic policies? Why not teach our children both languages? Why go back to the past and grow when we should look forward? Why not look for the common good of all?

  1. Yes to Federalism

Lencho and others like the infamous Jawaar Mohamed, often confuse the public, equating those who oppose the current ethnic federalism as advocating a unitary, non-federal system. The truth the matter is almost all major opposition groups (UDJ, Semayawi, AEUP, EDP, Medrek ….) advocate for a federal system. Ethiopians must be a federal country. Power needs to be decentralized; and the best way to achieve that is to have a true federal arrangement.
However the federal system must be a system that reflects the will of “nations”, not only the Tigray and Oromo “nations”. It needs to be a system where the right of people to govern themselves is respected. It must be a federal arrangement that give priority to human rights, that can sustain itself independently economically and convenient to the people.
I believe it is time to be free from the past and focus on humanity and citizenship rather than ethnicity. What brings us together is more powerful that what divides us. Oromo elites like Lencho, instead of bringing up all wounds, instead of advocating the building of monuments of hate like Anole and Chelenko, ought to critically think about how they can achieve freedom, equality, and economic progress within the Oromo community as well as elsewhere in Ethiopia in an equitable and fair manner.


  1. Are you from outer space sending us an article for publication? I was tempted to respond in kind, but that would be dignifying your lies.

  2. Do we really have to listen to these worthless EPLF/TPLF mercinaries who have never had their own principle other than hate to Ethiopia?

  3. while mr. lencho and his cohorts are worrying day and night about “amhara” and “Amhara”‘s misdeed on the people of oromo, woyane is killing us, imprisoning and uprooting us from our own land. Do you know who said people call the prisons now as “smelling”oromos? it is seye abraha whom you know from his days as defense minister of the woyane army. you Mr. lencho and your cohorts are stuck in the 16th century attitude as that of the ruling woyane’s officials. let us see what kind of credibility you and your group have regarding the struggle of the people of oromia region. OLF took part in the transitional government and refused to be a junior member of the coalition in the earliest woyane government. it was an admirable stand but you blew everything when you agreed to disarm OLF’s army and let it housed in a camp that was guarded by none other than TPLF army. This was the silliest and ridiculous way one army has ever taken over anther one without firing a single shot.
    Now you are begging woyane to let you back in so you can salvage what ever reputation you have as some sort of pitful “oppostion” group. it is high time that you Lencho and your cohorts should stay home with your history books while the real oromo patriots lead the way to freedom from woyane occupation. it is time for young leaders of the people oromo to join the Ethiopian oppostion forces to liberate the country from the jaws of woyane and return it to its rightful owners who are Ethiopians.

  4. My good ness,who is behind ethiopian muslim,juhar mohamed right? Whom wanted to cut christian neck,if they said any thing in oromiya,who also said oromo and muslim go jawahar of ethiopia ,stop punishing muslim by telling to them to collect and pretending peacefull upperising! If muslim is peaceful just why for God sake,biladen attack a,ericans,why isis,why alshabab,why bokuharam killing People.just stop pretending,mr johaar.

  5. If possible who will be ethiopian Isis?eslamic oromo libration front we already know what ru thinking mr getting old,your old party dismantle by shabiya,now you half three branch of olf.1 general kamal gelchu 2,mr dedefo ,3 mr lench,youself in different name,did you know about ginbot 7,how about arbegnoch ginbar,how about a,hara democratic force,lastly,you forgot the well educated gibot 7is going after you,just watch.

  6. Mr lencho except olf and you,did not listen shabiya wanted eritrea back to ethiopia,secretly,don’t just be happy becouse most oromo are muslim,if most oromo are muslim,the chance to creat Isis in ethiopia predicted.but again i know oromo specialy the eastern part do not know how to fight,that is funny.

  7. Provincial autonomy was already institude during the late years of the Monarchy, please check Ethiopian history.
    Oromifa is local dialect mixed with many other dialects that the Oromo absorbed during their invasion from the south to the north after the defeat of Mohamed gragn. They have no written language they had to adopt the Latin alphabet a few years ago.
    Anyway the kilil state governments it seemed are the most mishandled and corrupt administration.

  8. @naomi
    Sometimes individuals either don’t want to seem understood what they don’t want to accept. Sometimes they read lines according to their own view instead of reading the mind of the writer. Your response to Leenco’s writing is not different from this two.
    The first sentence in your reply tells who you are and how you see Obbo Leenco. You don’t even see him as a human being. Here is the starting sentence of your reply” In its latest article entitled, “The origin of ethnic politics in Ethiopia”, Lencho Letta”.If Leenco is not “it” he is a human being. Not only a human being, but he is a dynamic person who looks in the future and knows what he talks or writes about.
    Yes, the nations’ federation is imposed on the Oromo and others by the policy of the former governments to wipe out languages and culture of other people. The only guarantee for those nations and nationalities is the current federal system. Any attempt to reverse that by the unitary group of one language ( Amharic), one religion (Orthodox), one country with one single culture ( Abyssinian culture) representing the country within the country in the abroad. These and others can be done as far as the majority of the peoples who achieved their right to exercise their language and culture.

  9. I Partially concur with Hunde that the Obbo Leenco is a matured politician with presentation of his article in a logical and well articulated manner.
    The comments of many show clearly that they are shallow in their thinking, or have not understood his messages or have not read it fully taking time or too emotional and immature or all together. Why are we still running from such marvelous debates with strong contents?
    I have many differences in the views of Mr Leenco but admire his genuine presentation putting the realistic side of our history.
    Well done Mr Leenco and wish to hear more from you.

  10. Oh My God, how can I read this garbage after reading such articulate article written by one of the best my minds of 21st century (Leenco Lata)!

  11. Mr writter,
    Let me assure you that Afaan Oromoo will became the working language for Finfinne and dire dawa at least if not for other areas.Finfinnee is not the island of Oromia , it is the heartland of Oromia. In those two cities no reason the Oromo people use translator in his own land.

  12. I am really surprised at those emotional persons,internet lions speaking mean thongs. please leave derogatory words believe in free flow of ideas

  13. if you couldn’t speak you do nothing in here. please don’t insult, belittle one another. every one has the right to circulate his/her own ideas. but apart from free expression of ideas, insulting, undermining others’ identity(ethnicity religion) etc is similar to insulting, undermining one’s identity(ethnicity religion,) as we all Ethiopians share the same psychological background: with no one is superior or inferior to another.

  14. I concur with much of Mr. Lencoo’s comments. There would’t be a perfect ethinic-based federal state in Ethiopia, where more than 80 different nations and nationalities live. But the present structure is much better than what we experienced during the previous regimes. At least it recognizes some collective rights of the peoples of Ethiopia. But a lot is to be done in areas of Decentralization of power, Democracy and Human rights, which the TPLF regime is against. If the Amaras are serious to preserve Ethiopia and the unity of peoples, they need to respect others, recognize what their fore fathers did to other peoples of the country and think forward. The days of Amharic only is gone forever.

  15. I don’t understand in the 21st century language rather than ideology has more place in politics. Of course I agree both Oromigna and Amharic need to be the Federal Government work languages.

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