The return of 'land to the tillers'-A brief reflection on Oromo Ethiopian Students' uprising

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Biri Yaya, Ph.D.
abebe GelawThe uprising in Oromo region has continued unabated despite the TPLF-EPRDF’s shoot to kill action of peaceful students and farmers. Many have written about the causes and implications.
The regime continues to react in the usual predictable manners while detaining hundreds of thousandths, organizing show case public meetings and denouncing the same groups that are unfortunate to be in the country and those who had no options, but to opt for an ‘ armed struggle’ from outside.
What are the causes?
The official explanation is the Addis Ababa and environs’ expansion master plan that the regime has been using to evict farmers from their lands using false pretexts.
The regime was quick to state that the master plan meant nothing other than a figment of its thinking which did not make to an actual policy for ready implementation and could be discarded if people reject it.
However, this handy declaration could not tame the anger or help to stop the ongoing effective demonstration for at least two reasons: TPLF’s security massacred the innocents including minors and pregnant women in its usual fashion of guns guarantee supremacy and the fact that the master plan is the symptom of the illness rather than the sickness that gave birth to the uprising.
The students’ slogans clearly indicated the real reason for the uprising-” Students’ demands are farmers demand: land to the tillers is our motto!”. Further, the demands are for meaningful engagements on equal footing, respect for basic rights and equal access to the nation’s wealth and assets.
This, in effect, is a challenge to the principle and operational working of democracy in name and the meaningless provisions of the so called the federal dispensations under the TPLF guarantorship and custodianship. To the ruling minority, the challenges are too unpalatable to contemplate especially as they are too comfortable in their jackpot world of casinos of the winner take all.
The TPLF gangsters with their DDOS at their tails convinced themselves of the aura of super-natural being that there is no time to read the signs changing times, depth of anger, universal sufferings and the shifting sands of politics.
Where are we heading?
The uprising in Oromo region is a part and parcel of other mass actions over several years. The demands are for equitable access and respect for basic rights which in a sense are demands for democratic accountability and citizenship rights. Hence, the cosmetic phrases of the regime are a poor match for the quest for basic rights.
It is a telling of the time that the Ethiopian students’ motto of ”land to the tillers ‘ has come back. The Ethiopian oromo students have demonstrated courage in peaceful defiance in the face of barbaric actions. It is likely that the struggle would continue and everyday passing day would cement the resolve and determination to continue.
Ethiopians are pulling together under the rallying call of ”we are all Oromo’!’.  Oromo students and activists responded by holding high cards that they are Ethiopians and their quest is for democracy, but not to destroy Ethiopia! Democrats should build on this coming together of that majority across Ethiopia who is the victims of the ethnocentric minority of the TPLF-EPRDF regime.
We have to lobby the world powers to see the genocidal actions of the unaccountable regime. We need to do this swiftly to prevent a scenario of western direct intervention which in the long term is not in Ethiopia’s interests.
We must also remember that   the regime that fails to reform goes down leaving a power vacuum, rendering us at the mercy of another gangster regime in the making,
We must make sure that our people continue to see each other as brothers and sisters with similar destiny. TPLF agents are trying their best to divide our people, but have been failing!
Finally, it is well to remember that the TPLF is not TIGRAY   despite its external banners. We have to decouple the TPLF from our   Tigrean brothers and sisters.
The struggle is against the TPLF’s tyranny!
 
Biri Yaya, Ph.D.
London, UK
12 January 2016