By Worku Gadissa
The abstract of this paper was submitted to OSA under the title of “Negotiation Politically Correct Lunacy” for presentation at the Conference of July 29-31, 2016, but has not been accepted.
It must be noted that in August 2015, OSA Annual Conference I gave analytical report on the history of land robbing “The Territories Surrounding Finfine and Evil Master Plan.” It is not coincident I presented that paper and what has happened then and the event that led to the Oromo up rising. Now I see new major danger that our rulers are trying to use negotiation/mediation deception tactics as new weapon to stop Oromo struggle. With tens of thousands in prison and hundreds being killed the Woyane regime is ready to hijack our struggle by negotiation. As a two way process the use of force and mediation is their new tactics as a prelude to the next phase land robbing and ethnic cleansing. It is important that we wake up and reject any negotiation with the dangerous consequence for Oromo people.
There are hundreds of failed negotiations and mediations made by Oromos with Habesha rulings classes, but I have included only a handful of examples that will help you as you read them.
*The Revision History of Negotiation with Habesha Rulers.
The purpose of this paper is to learn and refresh ourselves from past negotiation the Oromos have made with Habesha rulers. It tells how prominent Oromo leaders were cheated and fooled many times in their attempt to negotiate with the Habesha rulers.
We live in a time when people can instantly search for answers to their problems, how to make peace and unite through negotiation and reconciliation. Negotiation or reconciliation is a means of building consensus through dialogue and compromise.
Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion on public media about negotiation and reconciliation among various Ethiopian political groups, including the Oromos.
We are also facing the worst racism, hate, and war of genocide in our history. I want to make sure you were aware of the negotiation or mediation scam that is circulating in Ethiopia and abroad. As part of this scam you may attend conference calls from various political groups abroad and even with the Ethiopian Government. These scammers will often try to coerce you into negotiation engagement and signing up a deal with the oppressive regime in Ethiopia. Their goal is get you out of the present Oromo struggle.
Historically the Oromos pride themselves in solving their common disputes and quarrels or wider conflicts with their tribal neighbors through “jarsuma” a tradition of mediation and arbitration. To settle their differences, the opposing sides select wise and pious elderly figures [adage] for mediation and reconciliation. Any peace agreement reached is concluded by oath or kakuu and it is binding.
Over a period of 130 years there are ample historical records and evidences where Oromo were engaged in political peace negotiations and treaties with feudal kings and other rulers and where all ended up in betrayal and double-crossings. It simply means it is difficult to negotiate in fairness, openness and truth with our governing classes.
To learn how the Habesha rulers cheated and fooled the Oromos, let us travel to the late 1870s from Atse Yohannes IV. And work our ways through the event that lead up to the short lived OLF. partnership with TPLF.
Atse Yohannes IV.
Yohannes concurred Wollo and forced Oromo Muslims to accept Christianity or be killed. Wollo was conquered and more than 40,000 Oromos died at the Battle of Boru- Medaa.
Kubee the Rayaa Azeboo ruler was converted to Christianity with Yohannes as his godfather. Kubee revolted against Yohannes but surrendered without fight and after peace negotiation and reconciliation. Once he surrendered and gave himself up, vengeance begins. All of his fighting force of 2,000 men were lined up in a narrow passage and were mercilessly beheaded one – by- one while Yohannes watching the execution with pride. Kubee was beheaded and his head was carried around as a victory trophy.
Here is a poem of Yohannes cruelty:-
“Atmenew Tigren bemil begezete”
Kiristina ansitew Kuben gedelut
“Yabelutal enge yatetutal enge”
“Endet yigedelal lehonulet lije”
A short translation; never trust the Tigreans even if under oath.
Workit, The Wollo Ruler
Workit (balabat) of Wollo Oromo played a prominent role in helping Menelik to escape from Mekdela prison. Workit and Gobena Dache helped Menelik to fight and defeated Bezabih who was then ruler of Showa. Menelik then took control of Showa and become king.
Despite her great contribution in helping Menelik gain back his Showa kingdom and establishment of empire building, Workit was betrayed and at last thrown into prison and her kingdom given to Ras Ali the father of Lij Eyassu.
Even Gobana Dache who played the major role in the conquest of Oromia was at last poisoned to his death. Gobena was given a sub- kingship as a ruler with Menelik. Without Gobena it was unlikely that Menelik would have conquered Oromia.
Despite the central role the Oromos have played in shaping present Ethiopia, Oromos history has been neglected, ignored, twisted and even actively suppressed.
Gobena , because of his role in the conquest of Oromia is greatly respected in Habeshas circles, while because of his selfish ambition and vain glory, the Oromos recognize him as a traitor.
The genocide Of Anolee
A clear example how negotiation works is the Anole Genocide.
After his victory in Arsi, one of Menelik’s war lord, Ras Darge invited the Arseans for peace talk and reconciliation at a place called Anolee. Darge put people march into narrow passage and the mutilation began of men’s right arms and women’s right breast chopped off one- by-one. Many hundreds of men and women were mutilated. The most heinous and most cruel crime of which Oromo history has recorded have been committed by Menelik.
Menelik committed ethnic cleansing in Oromia and all other nationalities in the South. In the face of such a horrific tragedy, instead of asking full responsibility and remorse, the Habesha rulers deny the massacre in Anolee and justified the massacre without shame and regret. In the event of such horrific tragedy, even the pop star singer Teddy Afro, in his glorification of Menelik recently commented that, the war of conquest of Oromia was a “ holy war of unity” ( jihad war)
The Ethiopian leaders deny the crime of shame committed and when you feel shame, you start to lie.
This is one of the many examples where mediation or reconciliation (erqe, deredir or shimgelina) does not serve at all. It only prolonged our sufferings and enslavement.
The Wollo Ras Ali also known as Negus Michael, the father of Iyasu was one of those Oromos who played a prominent role keeping Ethiopia united during Atse Yohannes and Menelik’s era. Ali marched to Showa with a large Wollo Oromo army to fight Haile Selassie who was then a crown prince. The Showeans had no knowledge of the surprise advance and were not prepared for war. Before the war began, Haile Selassie sent his wise man F. Habte Georges, a skilled master of Habesha intrigue for a peace treaty with Ras Ali. While negotiations was going on Haile Selassie was secretly receiving more arms from abroad and getting ready for war.
The Wollo army had a devastating defeat at the Battle of Sagaale. Lij Iyassu was captured and deported to Gara- Mulata, Hararge. The battle of Sagalle was not only a catastrophic defeat to Ras Ali but also the end of Wara -Himenu and Yeju Oromo dynasty as rulers. We should also to remember that the battle of Sagale changed the course of history as it was the launching platform for Haile Selassie to rise to power as Emperor of Ethiopia.
The Bale Oromo Revolts
One quick example of how mediation was used as traps is the Bale Oromo revolts
The Bale people who suffered under feudal rules had many armed revolts and uprisings during Haile Selassie’s rule. Small groups of revolutionary freedom fighters like General Wako Gutuu often fought against Ethiopian Government forces and Neftegna land owners. All of the revolts were put down under dubious peace treaty and reconciliations. Once they surrendered and gave themselves up, vengeance began. Those who had risen up in rebellion, were expelled from their land or killed
Many Oromos are lied to, deceived and fell into the trap of clever scam of mediation. After the peace treaty and surrender, people were falsely accused, tried and thrown into prison or even killed.
Gen. Tadesse Biru
Even the legendary G. Tadesse Birru who earned admiration and respects for being a hero for Oromo cause was cheated by negotiation tactics. G. Tadesse was the champion of Literacy Campaign, active supporter of Metch Tulama and bold fighter of Oromos cause.
Quite often when the Ethiopian leaders wanted negotiation scam and vicious mediation with the Oromo’s, regular method was to deploy popular Oromo leaders. However incase of G.Tadesse, their tactics was to use the church. The Orthodox Church is historically in holy alliance with the government and work in tandem to rule over Oromia.
After failed coup d’état attempt and accusation for treason the General fled to Meta Robi. Quite often Ethiopian rulers deploy God’s concept to accomplish their political tactics. Abune Tewoflos and Aba Habte Mariam (present Abune Melketsedik of California) went after him for the arbitration and mediation. They made him change his mind and he return to Finfine with them.
They gave him assurance that no criminal charges be made against him by the emperor. Tadesse from his strong religious believe and faith obeyed the two religious leaders and followed them back to Finfine and asked the king for apology.
As usual mediation is a ploy, with double standard and betrayal and criminal charges loaded against the General and he was thrown into prison. Well the rest is history.
Many Oromos leaders have been lied to and deceived in similar manner after entering mediation deal with the Abyssinians.
Do we Oromo’s learn from past mistakes? The wise learn from the mistakes of others, while fools repeat them. Remember that those who enter into negotiation signed their own death warrant! The historian, Edo Boru said “ woorii harkaa kenne Harkaa dhaabe.”
After the Land Policy of 1974 the Derg regime introduced the huge Villagaiztion Program for development of rural inhabitants. The government forcibly moved rural farmers to new location under its false policy of Villagaiztion scheme.
Tens of millions to abandon their homes move to new locations with their cattle, promising the basic services, roads, electricity, water health centers etc. Massive eviction by force was carried under the pretext of better services and improvement of the life style of rural farmers.
Villagiztion was a deliberate plan specially targeted Oromia for the destruction of socio economical and cultural structure of Oromos. It was also a wicked and deliberate scheme by neftegnas to permanently removing the Oromos from their land and impoverishing them.
1968 TPLF. invited Amhar political party EHEDN. to peace and unity meeting at a place called Zegebla in Tigray where all the participants were killed.
Do you want negotiate with regime that carries AK- 47 in one hand and peace treaty on the other? They will stab you from the back !
The famous constitution of ethnic federalism and self-determination, Article 39 was immediately scrapped, tossed out and nullified by TPLF. Everybody knows that Article 39 is an empty phrase, a scam and mean nothing. Why it is so hard for the Oromo’s to learn from history?
The Algiers Agreement
Here is another dubious negotiation scam example
I have no time, but we all remember the Algiers agreement between EPRDF and Eretria that was voided and nullified by EPRDF.
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
There is other case in which the lesson of the past negotiation is sadly ignored and unlearned by Oromo leaders and political groups.
We all have witnessed how the short lived partnership of OLF with the EPRDF ended. While OLF leaders were engaged into peaceful negotiation, with Shabia being intermediary, TPLF was plotting, surrounding and attacking OLF forces. The ABO army was tricked, voluntarily disarmed and put into camp and at last systematically eliminated. Having said that, I do not want to pass judgment to those martyrs and fallen heroes who paid heavy price in their lives for the cause of freedom. I do not want to say how it happened and why it happened into the politically correct lunacy negotiation, but the fact that 20,000 fighters laid down their arms and surrendered is shocking and mind boggling! How could such a terrible mistake happen?
The Woyane regime is forcing new war on the Oromo people, harsher and more evil. And today, more than ever, there are some specific Oromo political groups
and individuals who like to negotiate with TPLF. The TPLF puffed up with their victory, greed, pride, fear and hatred will never treat us with dignity or equals. In an attempt to buy time or for their strategy and tactics they may embark to negotiate but do not expect any rational thinking from negotiations with the TPLF. Negotiation from your weakness, you can only decrease your potential, increase their appetite for more aggression and suppression. It is better people understand that Ethiopian rulers socio-political system have no mentality or common sense of negotiation with Oromo’s. There is political, economical and cultural divide between us.
Guess what I am afraid of? I am afraid of those specific groups at home who were handpicked by Woyane regime and opposition political factions abroad who are trying to make negotiation engagement with Woyane. There are also some self appointed individuals who directly or indirectly are trying to negotiate at any price, ruining and throwing down the drain the sacrifices gained by QERROO.
I hope you will remember when one of the political faction group delegates last year went to Finfine to negotiate with the TPLF. They were kicked out of Ethiopia same day with first available flight before even the negotiation began. Why are the lessons from history so easily forgotten?
No one should be under the illusion that constructive engagement to promote peace negotiation with Woyane is hard if not impossible. If something is going on and on, we must stop and ask ourselve, why would anyone enter into discussion with the Woyane regime? The regime that loots our land , deliberately killing and torturing peaceful unarmed civilians.
What Do 0ur Rulers Want?
That is one question, but the better question is what do the Oromos want? How do we get there the way our rulers wants us to be. We tried for more than a century but, we can’t be good enough to achieve equality and respect. So then, you may ask me, the terror regime is killing our people daily, every day hundreds are going to prison, thousands are disappearing and millions are dying of hunger, what sense does it make to refuse not to negotiate? To which I answer, there can be no compromise to our freedom! Freedom is not for negotiation. In the first place how can you negotiate with those who do not even accept your values as Oromos?
Oromia is always in crises but today may be more serious suffering, more racial hatred than ever. It is a period of unparallel land-grabbing, death, terror and a period of sheer cruelty manifested against the Oromo people. We gave them our land, culture, adopted their language even our identity as an Oromo. They have taken away everything they wanted and they did everything in their power. They leave no stone unturned until they destroy Oromuma. They are never satisfied. They do not settle for anything.!
In 1939, Mussolini asked Hitler “what do you want”? “You want land corridor”? Hitler replied “I want war! war!, Douches umber ales”! (Germans above all)
That is exactly what Woyane regime wants.
Make no mistake, even if you are really going to try to meet all their demands, it will not have enough left over to live on, the more you obey and accept their terms it will not help you at all.
WHY DO THE OROMOS INTER INTO NEGOTIATION?
Throughout history the Oromos were cheated so much that we must continue to ask ourselves, why do we enter into negotiation?
There are no easy answers but, although the issues are many, for simplicity, can be categorized as follows:-
Many do not know or understand the history of political peace negotiation with Habesha rulers and have fallen into traps. So often we do not understand what they are up to. We do not understand how certain events could have resulted after negotiation. It is only after terrible results we start to see how mediation might works.
There are those opportunists who have got responsibility without authority who enter into negotiation from their selfish ambitions and vain glory. They exchange Oromuma for glory and getting high rank and serving their slave masters as an instrument of suppression. In some cases our self-inflicted problems and wounds are worse than by our enemies
In many cases ignorance and an attitude of slave mentality lead them to accept “gabruma.” So they do not believe in themselves, they sell their Oromouma to resemble Ethiopiawent or Amharanet. They are forged Amharas or call them counter -fit Amharas.
An old adage, a friend Obo Dissasa Bitma from Ambo who was put into prison by the Derg regime told me that “ I have never bowed down , bend my knee and beg for pardon from Derg. If you do, they will stand on your neck and knock you to the ground.” You are trying to find better ways to explain it and you are begging and pleading and doing your best to convince them but you will achieve nothing!
Thanks to Woyane; the Oromos are more united and stronger today than before the “ Oromo Spring”[ Arab Spring]. There is a great mystery in the reality, the one in which we are strong when we are weak. It was Charles Dickens who said “ It was the best of time and the worst of time”
We are strong in our patriotism, solidarity and resilience among us is even stronger today than any time.
Look, from what is going on in Oromia today. I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take Oromia in a new direction. We will never go back to slavery! This Kerroo movement will convey a powerful history that will inspire all of us to build a better Oromia. There is a better tomorrow for us! KEERROO KEEP OUR HOPE AND ASPIRATION HIGH!
NEGOTIATION AN OLD HABESHA GAME
But you may say that, it is not easy when you are defeated and weak and it feels like there is little chance for success? We do not have a choice. Negotiation or no negotiation is the lesser of two evils! But know this, even if you give all they demand and surrender, you find yourself in far worse danger. You keep on trying to submit to their demands forgetting all their evil deeds to you and get nothing. There is no shame or sorrow to their actions. Look what the Agazi is doing to innocent empty handed peace demonstrators? The TPLF regime is leading state sponsored terrorism. They are purposely and systematically carrying out war of ethnic cleansing against Oromo people. They are killers and corrupt from top to bottom. Make no mistake that our rulers are very clever people, that when they call for reconciliation and peace engagement, they just have very different ideas in mind than true and honest reconciliation. Their strategies is one in which they sweet talk, while cooking up a scheme to destroy you. Those who inter into negotiation with Woyane are those who do not understand the Woyane DNA. The Woyane DNA. is quite different from any other human being. I am sick and tired hearing the rhetoric of illusive idea of negotiation with our rulers! Some of you might say, “let old wounds must be healed and let us forgive and forget the past”. My friend, there are new constant wounds added every day and no time to heal. Notice in the entire list of names given above not only did negotiation failed but all the participants were punished, either thrown into jail or killed. Negotiation is designed to punish those who surrendered. I want make clear that not one among many mediations or negotiations were accepted and honored.
There is a saying in Afaan Oromo “gufuun dhagaa yoo ganama manaa batu yoo sirukutee, galgala moo yoo debitu yoo sirukute, si tuu dhagaadaa! [”If you hit a stone at your door step in the morning and you hit the same stone in the evening, then you are a stone.]
Generation comes and goes, rulers rise and fall, the feudal kings Menelik and Haile Selassie, or the military junta Derg, and the Woyane terror regime comes, Ethiopian leaders never change their attitude towards Oromo. If there were changes, it is only in style. There is a metaphor in Amharic : “Nebir zengurgurnatun aylewitem”.
CAN WE GO INTO NEGOTIAION ?
Negotiation is an old tactics often used by Ethiopian ruling classes when they are treated. We want no evolution or transformation, no cosmetic change, no time buying change, we want real change. We want freedom, justice and equality.
For more than a century we were cheated so much that we continue to ask ourselves if we can get into any negotiation? The answer is yes you engage into negotiation but you have to be very conscious that negotiation past and present is a scam. That is why I said above “ negotiation is politically correct lunacy” If you want to engage in negotiation be aware and vigilant. You ought to take heed of making foolish agreements. In your negotiation with the Habesha leaders think trice not twice. It may be necessary to enter into negotiation, but, never pin your whole faith in any of their leaders!
Negotiation can be like “ opening the Pandora box” [the first mortal women, she opened a box letting all human ills into the world]
There are lots of nice things you can do with sands. But do not try building a house on it. That is what negotiation is like with Woyane junta regime.
Negotiation is like a double-edged sword to Oromo’s. If you handle it improperly, it will cut you. It is not something to be handled carelessly and like being cut by a razor blade, you won’t even know you are bleeding until you got a mess on your hand.
Notice in all of the above examples, not only did negotiation fail but the participants were punished. They all met the same fate, imprisonment or death. They pronounced their own death warrant. Make no mistake, we are seized by force and they do not want sharing political power with us.
Where there is no liberty, freedom, equality or justice, negotiation or any agreement has no meaning at all. The TPLF has been intoxicated with greed,
corruption, ethnic hatred, cruelty, deception, lies, you name it. They will never negotiate even on basic human right issues.
Remember that you are trying to negotiate peace in an honest manner but from experiences and observations it is difficult, if not impossible to even seat and discuss in honesty, fairness and truth with our rulers. That is why I say to you, negotiation is politically correct lunacy.
There is a saying “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”
Say to a person seating next to you, if you not learn from history, you will live and die like – Kube, like- Gobena, like Iyassu etc.
Here is a poem by the writer Kebede Mikael
“ Yalefew siresagne mechewn salawkew”
“Ene meche yihon yemitanekekew”?
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Remember what Nelson Mandela said “Never make deal under defeat. Only free man can negotiate.”
Freedom is achieved, never given!
THERE IS BRIGHT TOMORROW FOR US.!
KERROO IS OUR HOPE AND ASPIRATION!
Dr. Merera Gudina is one those Oromo leaders who wants to engage in negotiation with our ruling classes and Woyane regime. After his keynote speech at OSA. Annual Conference Aug 2016, he concluded his speech by quoting Kuwame Nikruma “divided we fall, united we stand”.
We met after the speech and I told him of Nelson Mandela`s speech “Never make deal under defeat and only free man can negotiate”.
He was quick to respond by saying “Yes we are ANC ,we like to negotiate”!
To which I asked him if he is ready to go to Ziway [Robin Island] prison for 26 years like Mandela and then negotiate with Woyane regime?
Dr. Merera, your negotiation or mediation with Woyane is similar to those mentioned above and I hope it will help you as you read them. Please remember the lesson of history of negotiation with Habesha rulers. Anyone who enter into negotiation and compromise with TPLFon Oromo cause, could destroy the hard fought battle in life and blood by the heroic Kerroo martyrs . I pray and hope this warning will follows you while negotiating.
But negotiation for what?
Of course the Woyans loves negotiation, because after robbing our land, using terror killing innocent peaceful demonstrators, their next frontier is the deception tactics of negotiation. With tens of thousands of innocent people put into prison and hundreds being killed, negotiation engagement with tyrant regime is just like saying ” Thank you for killing us”!
Atse Yohannes: – Tabor Wami, yewogena disetochina, yemaninet tiyake
Workit: – Paul Henthy and Tabor Wami
Lij Iyassu: – Tabor Wami,
Zegbela : – Ethiomedia Aug. 2016
Gen. Tadesse Biru:- Olana zogaa, gizitina gizot