By: Mulata Gudata
In life nothing comes to us unless we go for it. And the best way of going for anything and everything in life especially in political sense is when we are able to calculate our advantage wisely, since sometimes a lot can possibly mean nothing and a little can mean everything depending on the circumstances, though it takes a great deal of wisdom and analytical capability to know the difference.
Our political thinking can be compared to eye sight on one hand and a foot path on the other. Eye sight is just fleeting by nature that can have everything to itself up to the horizon in a split second and that is where the crowd belongs in terms of political thinking with more of sentiment and less of reason.
Whereas foot path is a very realistic approach for it takes us through the valleys, up the hills and down the slope all through the contours of the landscape with its streams and the pristine forest, its wild life, its hot and cold or breezy weather. Oh! How fantastic, how tiresome but above all how realistic! Here is where leaders belong for they should stand taller than the crowd to be able to see through all the political landscape, the pros and cons of any issue they deal with, with less of sentiment but full of reason. As they say, leaders are for their judgement and pragmatism not for their sentiment.
Leaders who have the combination of ‘eye-sight’, and ‘foot-path’ in one are the ones one may consider as the best leaders for they qualify as human beings with emotion who can sense and feel the pain that could be associated with their political decision, realistic with their thought and pragmatic with their approach and reasoning. As human beings we are not just animals, thank God we are reasonable animals who live by reason and for reason. Reason can either be against us or for us, unfortunately or fortunately for us, we cannot choose and pick as we have to be governed by reason either way.
I know that in my previous paper I came out as very harsh against something closer to the heart of many Oromos, which is Oromiya and that can easily make me appear as anti-Oromo in the eyes of many but far from that I want us to be damn realistic in our approach to our politics if we have to move forward and help our self out of the trap we have fallen in. This dodgy tactic of let’s wait until the cows return home, from all sides of the divide, will keep us on the way to our doom. We got to change that approach and do something tangible by working with all stakeholders towards bringing change in our country and improving our lot.
To see how crushingly effective our unity can be, one only needs to look at how Ethiopians are successfully frustrating and humiliating Woyane tugs by disrupting their fundraising attempts across the world as Ethiopians come to all those venues from all communities waving their respective flags. Who does not enjoy those spectacular sights except the Woyanes themselves? This is a simple example of the outstanding victory we are going to score against the Woyanes in order to restore dignity to our people when we overcome our difference and be able to stand together. Folks, we are better together!!!
No one can fault the legitimacy of Oromo issues as it pertains to the significant majority in our country and it is really a big shame that this issue had not only been overlooked by our founding fathers at the very beginning but also took this long unrecognised and unresolved to an acceptable level. And our shame is made more painful when we consider the fact that Melese Zenawi was probably the only non-Affaan Oromo speaker our country had as a leader, making their insensitivity towards the Oromo issues appear to be a big puzzle.
In spite of all this we cannot deny the fact that Oromos have significantly played a key role and still continue to do so be it at local levels or in international arenas by remarkably contributing to our countries well being be it in terms of material resource or man power including our elite athletes that are hoisting our flag at international platforms year after year since 1960 when Abebe Bikila made the whole black race proud by winning the Rome marathon contest bare foot – such a remarkable feat for the first time in the history of the entire black race after which the gate of victory was left wide open to us and the rest of black people.
In all that makes us proud such as our athletes’ outstanding achievements, our victory at the battle of Adwa and the victory we had against Somalia’s invasion of our country in 1970s and in all that we regret as a society in our history including the failure to recognise Oromo issues at the very foundation of our nation and for so long thereafter; Oromos have played a very significant role either individually or as a group, virtually in all of it without any exaggeration. Oromos have not only founded as well as built and defended Ethiopia but also sadly stayed with our cultural assets marginalized in Ethiopia, in equal measures. This is a sad fact all Ethiopians have to acknowledge and work towards redressing satisfactorily.
Folks, just in a nutshell, we Oromos are who made our country what it is, for which we deserve a proper recognition not an exit. And this is why I consider it as another round of shame when some of our leaders cannot budge from the option of bolting out of the union surrendering the legacy of our ancestors, only God knows to who, instead of reforming the whole system and fixing the weak side of it as we cherish and take pride in what makes us stand tall in the world as the only black nation that defeated European powers to remain independent in which we played a decisive role as history bears us out on record.
The gallant Oromo fighters who were martyred in those battles would consider this as cowardice and turn in their graves with disbelief and indignation. Oromos should not run, rather anyone who cannot live with the shining Oromo identity that we should work hard to bring in our country should be shown the door. Ethiopia belongs to us and we are proud Ethiopians, period.
It is in our tradition that our people lived and even today live in houses with satched grass roofing which is prone to leakages regularly when winter sets in after the usually long summer season in which case our strong men often have to mount to the top of the house with a fresh sheaf of grass and fix the leakage without ever thinking of exiting the house for good, which would be absurd and even costly to consider. They simply reason: why surrender to leakages and exit the house you built with all that labour and resource when you can fix it with a few sheaf of grass?
Similarly, why opt for dismantling our country that we built and defended with the sacrifices of all those heroes and heroines only to plunge our people into endless turmoil when we can easily fix the system to take our deserved place as the significant majority who should work towards ruling Ethiopia until we get tired of it instead of pointlessly labouring to dismantle our country with no predictable outcome.
I mean it, literally, we should and will be able to rule Ethiopia. Here is where to begin: start consciously working on promoting our natural image of responsible, decent, peace loving and above all friendly people by staying away from any path that takes us on collision course with other communities. Then call upon the Dr. Haile Fidas and Senaiy Leikes of today to step forward and take charge of our politics with the view of setting our self for the task ahead. And then move forward with our eyes set on ruling Ethiopia, nothing less nothing more. I mean it, take it from me!
Here is how: first we all decide and agree to work to address our issues within the Ethiopian union and avoid any division among our self. Second, we go ahead and join hands with the rest of Ethiopians to reach an understanding through civilised negotiations based on a give-and-take principled compromise and agree to restructure our country in a way similar to the suggestion I put forward in my previous paper. We are within our right to use any politically acceptable tactic and strategy to help us achieve this.
Third, stand together with all Ethiopians including patriotic Tigre brothers and sisters to remove the Woyane regime and clear the way or force them to give into the will of the people. Fourth, put in place the structure and make Ethiopia a real democracy far from the usual dodgy one. It looks highly likely that no part of our society will ever accept a dodgy government anymore after the current one.
I strongly believe that the TPLF/EPRDF government will be the last bloody dictator our country will ever have as all Ethiopians have come to realise the benefit of having a stable democratic government by experiencing the pain associated with lack of it for so long. Unfortunately we had to learn the hard way thanks to the Derg regime that took our country for a bloody ride before it handed us over to the bush men.
With exceptions to the ruling class who had remained reluctant towards reform and stood to benefit out of it, we should also be fair to the Amhara mass by stating their contribution in our long standing effort to democratise our system of government both before and even after our politics took the course of tribalism. They stood up with all Ethiopians to bring down the rule of the monarchy in the 1974 revolution and continued fighting the Derge regime like all other communities. At no time in our recent history did the Amharas as a community on their own stood up in arms against anybody who opposed the government claiming ownership of it. This is a statement of hard fact.
The government in our country came to have special owners under the TPLF/EPRDF rule and they are taking us not only for a free ride but also they are recklessly ‘riding our country down the slope.’ That is what we have to stop sooner than later by standing up together with all patriotic Ethiopians including the significant majority of the Tigres over whom the TPLF is lording by force like all other Ethiopians. Nobody should have any doubt that the majority of Tigres are victims of TPLF tyranny. There is no so much as a tribe in charge of our country, as it is a gang of greedy, unpatriotic men and women from all communities standing for their bullies against the people and the country.
Fifth, we stick together by avoiding division (this is very important because if we cannot stand together in united Ethiopia we cannot stand together in separated Oromiya – a very big test that can easily make us the laughing stock of our jealous friends) and then form alliance with a good number of non-Oromo Ethiopians who will be more than willing to stand together with Oromos to contest elections. Sixth, we win election after election with landslide and rule Ethiopia as the responsible and decent people as we are unlike the irresponsibly greedy and myopic bush men.
Seventh, here is power in our hand having come home to stay (are you reading this Game abbaa Gamachu? Maaf barbaacha danqarraa keessa joora wan manati nuuf dhufu, kan huccun nurraa dhumachuu teessu laffa duwwaa, waan manatti nuuf dhufuu taa’ou barbbaacha. Yaa Oromo oldhageegnee deemne hafudhanu waan keegna. Waayaaneeni maqaa duwwaa nuufkentee waan hunda nuraa fudhate, o’urifnee, dadafnnee deemnee issee achii habuqifnu. Saba keegna dhiiga dhudee lafarraa dhabamsiissuf deemti haa arriifanu. Waan kunni waan borriif jedhan mitti. Sabba hundaan waldhageegne, tokummaan deemne farroo fannifna, hubadhaa).
The concept of permanent enemy in politics is fools’ business, for they say there is no permanent enemy in politics but permanent interest. Yes, we have suffered marginalisation yesterday which has continued in its worst form under the Apartheid Ethiopia of today. However, if we can work towards making a notable difference with a better deal for our people, we go for it as we also remain open to understanding the concerns of others for we cannot have it all our way in politics.
Ethiopians should not doubt the fact that the future security and stability of our country lies not in having a big government but in empowered citizens. Yet the government that fears its citizens cannot give into empowering them. And the only way the government gets its freedom from the fear of the citizens and joyfully go about empowering them is by addressing the outstanding socio-political issues to acceptable level. This is what our leaders should accept and lead us towards achieving it.
Before the finishing line, I want to mention an example of how our country’s present leaders are irresponsibly deceptive towards the people they lead before I leave here a piece of message for them. It is about what happened in my home region, Nagale Borana after our government forces went into Somalia in 2007. Soon after arriving there they run into trouble in working with Somalis because of communication problems. Then with the hope of overcoming that they came to Nagale Town where people speak Affaan Oromo, Amaharic and Somali languages, all of them more or less fluently, saying that due to a shortage of nurses in our country the government wanted to give scholarship to students who can qualify from grade 10 and above.
In response to that youngsters fell over each other to get registered including myself as I nearly jumped into it before I held myself back because of age. Then about 50 – 100 students, though some take the number to over 200, were handpicked and taken away to unidentified ‘college,’ only to end up in Mogadishu about a few weeks later. Some of those guys are not heard from to date.
Finally, the message from Ethiopians to the people in charge of our country should always be this: since you are fellow citizens we do not hate you rather we always wish to love you if only you show the will and courage to work towards making yourself attractive and loveable by acting responsibly. All Ethiopians including the whole world like to believe that you are human beings with heart and mind. Please try to listen to what people are asking for from all over the country though it may not be what you like.
It is well known to the world that you are all filthy rich just richer than rich itself, please offer to retire and enjoy your wealth in retirement no matter how ill-gotten it is. All of us are sure of going out of this world the way we came into it – without taking anything with us. What a better example than your late boss who managed to amass such a staggering amount of wealth in such a short period of time but had to leave this world without a coin of it.
Anybody would like to believe that if he were to be given a second chance in life as a human being he would choose to do things differently. As decent human beings we only need enough to live on with clean conscience and sense of pride. In life obsession for more and more wealth free of toil and sweat is unhealthy in itself as ay wealth of questionable origin should be seen for making us less human since there is no moral about it.
Although nobody ever thought that there would be anything positive to learn from the Derge regime, there seems to be a lot for you to learn when seen in comparison. Very much unlike you, Derge never ever tried to set communities against each other to remain in power at any cost for they knew full well that the people would remain together even long after the Derge regime. Derge openly said no to anything and everything they would never tolerate unlike you who appear to be synonymous with equivocation for you are often seen saying yes and no at the same time which is not only abnormal and unnatural but also immoral.
The irony surrounding you is that you are seen building military forces on the scale never seen before in our history, even under the highly militarised Dergee regime, at the same time you are busy selling out all the best the country has to offer. What is left to defend except you and your loot? Though you were partly the reason for Derge’s inability to act meaningfully, whatever attempt it made Derge did with remarkable patriotism unlike you who stand accused from all sides for lack of sense of patriotism. These are the simple lessons you should draw from those people you over threw and claim to be better than them. Albeit with or without these key factors of human decency whoever should come out as better or worse will only be left to history for judgement.
Never forget that kings rise and fall, empires come and go but the people and the truth will remain there until eternity. So long as there is a government there will always be opposition. In this time and age opposing or supporting the government is a basic right of citizens not a privilege afforded to them by their leaders as you want us to believe. The only way of avoiding opposition is by not being in government. The government that tries to manage or control the course of being opposed is not a healthy one for the opposition should reserve the entire right of opposing in the fashion they deem fit so long as it excludes violence.
Such lame excuses as today is too rainy or tomorrow is too windy for people to go out to hold such simple thing as peaceful demonstration does not only show you in bad light but also leads to accumulated anger from citizens whose result can simply be unpredictably dangerous. Always remember that the entire deception tactic is not sustainable as it will come to an end one day when the people rise and say we cannot take it anymore.