By Admasu Belay
In recent days, we have been hearing a lot about the Scottish referendum to secede from the UK. Particularly, some of our Oromo politician friends in the diaspora have made it the hot topic of the month. Knowing how ridiculous it is to compare “Oromia” to Scotland, many Ethiopians ignore the matter. But sometimes it is better to address it. We need to set some basic facts straight. The idea of “Oromia” state recently created by TPLF/OPDO is completely different from the scottish state. Below are five of the reasons.
First of all, the “Kingdom of Scotland” existed many centuries ago as an independent state. In contrast, there never existed before a “Kingdom of Oromo.” In fact, there never existed a kingdom of Amara or even a country called Amara, Afar, Oromo, Gurage etc. None of these ever existed in history. TPLF was the first to manufacture this ideo of “Oromia state.” Even 400 years ago, the Oromo speaking people lived side by side with other Ethiopians. Some Oromos lived in isolated Gibe settlements but most northern Oromos were citizens of the former multi-ethnic Abyssinia state since the 1600s & 1700s. So even before Menelik expanded his rule, there was never one united Oromo country.
Secondly, economically and socially scotland is completely different from the TPLF made Oromia state. Thanks to the past emperors giving priority to Shewa province, the center or Oromia (now Shoa zone) is also the economic center of the whole country. Most of the Ethiopian state’s infrastructure and federal institutions are located in central Oromia. In contrast, Scotland is not the economic center of the UK.
Thirdly, Oromia and Scotland are very different geographically. Due to scotland’s long independent state history, it has clear boundaries and borders. Another benefit is the UK being an island, the secession of scotland does not create much border dispute with any third party states. In contrast, “Oromia state” would have borders with half dozen other states. And most of Oromia’s territories and borders are disputed with the ogadeni/somalis, sidamas and many neighboring states. Some wild Oromo politicians even claim that north Kenya, Gambella and south Tigray are part of Oromia. Nobody really knows the real boundaries.
Fourth difference is the historical land of “Oromia” itself. Who are the original inhabitants of Oromia? The old sidama communities, the Gurage sultanates of shoa, original Damot people of western welega and others would see Oromos as invaders who immigrated there in the 1500s and 1600s. So the question would arise, how can Oromo settlers claim the land previously owned by other people?
The fifth and the last difference between the scottish claim and Oromo claim is regarding Addis Ababa vs scotland’s capital city Edinburgh. Just like most of central Oromia, its capital city Addis Ababa is also the capital city of Ethiopia. In contrast, the Scottish capital city Edinburgh is not the political center of the UK. Edinburgh can request separation from London, but how can London separate from London? Thats what it would appear if Oromia attempts to secede. So even the mere thought of Oromia secession is ridiculous. It defies common sense. Just like the wise Oromo politician Bulcha Demeksa once said, branches can fall off the tree first, but the stem can not fall off the branches nor can the stem fall off the tree. Oromia is the stem of Ethiopia. This is another reason why many people say the whole Oromo secession ideology is an insult to the intelligence of Oromo people. It was created to distract Oromos. Our politicians should stop weakening Oromo people with these nonsense and unrealistic dreams of secession.
It is high time for all Oromos to direct their energy and unite their forces together with other Ethiopians and fight for democracy together. The minority and tribal TPLF dictatorship will not be defeated if we are always divided.
Every moment that passes with Oromos wasting their time on socialist and backward tribal ideologies is another day and another year wasted. How many more years will Oromos waste? Many generations have been wasted already. Look at Ghana and other African countries that have many more ethnicities than Ethiopia but they succeeded because they put individual liberty and democracy ahead over tribe. There is no reason why we Ethiopians can not do the same. Let us transfer peace and democracy to the next generation.
By Admasu Belay