By Yared Gizaw | July 10th, 2017
The Oromo extremist elites have repeatedly told us that their vision for Ethiopia is as follows:
Option 1: Recreate/restructure Ethiopia under the domination of Oromos’ in which:
– Oromo language and culture to be dominant with “Wake Fatah” as dominant religion.
– New name and flag for Ethiopia
– Addis Ababa (Finfine) the center for Oromia
– Every Ethiopian to be under their dominion
Option 2: Free/independent Oromia (including Finfine) after disintegrating Ethiopia -this is a fall back scenario, if they could not achieve Option 1
As they know very well that Option 2 is impractical and not feasible, they are working very hard to realize Option 1 in an incremental manner. More than 20 years ago, they secured the “Oromo land” with Latin alphabet written language and they have been busy to create a unique non-Ethiopian identity for themselves. Their next move is to strengthen their foothold on Addis Ababa, wait for an opportune time when the Federal Government is destabilized/weak, and declare their dominance. They have been asking for our arms and legs so far but they will not be satisfied until they fully swallowed all of our body. Actually, the Oromo extremist elites are never satisfied until they “Oromize” the whole Ethiopia.
The Oromo extremist elites have the following myths and false concepts in their mindset, which have shaped their vision of their future role/position in Ethiopia.
They perceive themselves as a majority ethnic group( that is not true they need at least 51% share among the Ethiopian population to be majority even in that case it is unconstitutional to claim dominance )
They contribute higher share to the GDP( that is true but they are also getting the biggest share of the Federal Government Budget support and Foreign Direct Investment and the Oromo population have been enjoying better economic dividend than other regions as most of investments and job creation are around Addis Ababa). However, as industrialization and economic development expands throughout the country and natural resources(such as oil and gas) start to be exploited in various regions, the GDP variation among the regions will narrow
They claim that they have been marginalized economically, socially and politically( that may have been true until Emperor Haile Selassie time but after that it is not true, actually EPRDF allowed them to have their own territory ( 1st time in their history, under unified Oromia) and they were allowed to freely develop their language, culture and religious practices over the last 26 years(including the recent registration of Irrecha annual anniversary by UNESCO as intangible asset)
They feel that they have higher negotiation power than other regions on the Federal government and they should use that to arm-twist the Federal government to achieve their Option 1 vision (They have the myth that Ethiopia cannot survive without Oromia or if Oromos’ revolt Ethiopia will be paralyzed). However, the fact is that even though they have tried to paralyze Ethiopia over the last two years, they have failed and they shall continue fail.
They have the victim mindset claiming that Emperor Menelik had killed huge number of Oromos’ who resisted his expansion agenda, however they tend to forget the atrocities committed by their nomadic ancestors on the original citizens of today Oromia, some 400 and 500 years ago. It is recorded in history that the nomadic Oromos’ expanded their ‘territories to the northern part of Ethiopia through war and domination but failed to fully dominate it ( actually they were ultimately swallowed and melted into the Ethiopian time tested and sophisticated governance system). It looks the Oromo extremist elites are again trying to fulfill the unrealized dream of their ancestors to dominate Ethiopia.
For those Ethiopians who may feel my views, I reflected above on Oromo extremists are too exaggerated or not true, below is the front picture of the Oromia Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, which was inaugurated about two years ago, as proof. See how the widely spoken and constitutionally recognized working language of Ethiopia is written intentionally below both the Oromifa and English and with very small letters. This is the reflection of what they intend to do to anything non-Oromia Ethiopian assets and heritages. For your information if you write Amharic name of your business over/prior to the Oromifa name in the Oromia State, you will be immediately forced to change it. Why did the Addis Ababa city administration and the Federal Government have given blind eye to this gross violation of the constitution on the naming of the Oromo Cultural Center? Could it be to appease the Oromo extremist elites?
As a conclusion I strongly oppose most of the Council of Ministers approved draft legislation on Oromos rights on Addis Ababa, as summarized below
Provision in Draft Law Reason for Rejection/Opposing
Culture, language and arts:
● To ensure that Oromo residents in the city can benefit from the “special interest” provisions stipulated in this proclamation, Afaan Oromo shall serve as a working language of the City Administration.
● To reflect Oromo people’s identity and to commemorate historical events relevant to the region’s people, the original names of public squares, roads and neighborhoods.
● The city administration will facilitate conditions for the construction and promotion of theaters, entertainment venues, and cultural and art centers that reflect Oromo culture and history in the city.
● The city administration will work with Oromia state authorities to make sure that museums in the city carry books and other artifacts on Oromo history and culture.
● With relation to Oromia state, the city’s previous Oromo name, Finfine, will have equal legal recognition as the name Addis Ababa. The particulars on the usage of the two names will be determined by a regulation
● The Oromia state will be given land on which it can erect buildings for government activities and public services free of lease payment.
● Youth residents of Oromia towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa will be made beneficiaries of the job opportunities in the city.
● Youth residents of Oromia towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa will be made beneficiaries of the job opportunities that arise from water development, waste disposal, recycling, basin development, transport services and the likes.
● Health care: Oromo residents of towns and rural areas surrounding Addis Ababa shall be entitled to access health care services at government hospitals and medical facilities like any resident of the city.
Provision of Market places:
● The city administration shall establish market places, covering the cost, where farmers’ cooperatives from Oromia can sell their produce.
Condominium housing provision:
● Officials and employees of Oromia will be included, having a certain quota, in the lottery drawings of government-owned condominium housing in Addis Ababa.
Compensation and permanent rehabilitation
● Farmers in the city administration, who are displaced due to development activities, shall be entitled to compensation adequate for “permanent rehabilitation”.
– What if other citizens in Addis Ababa ask to be served in their languages, we need to minimize issues that divide us rather than expand them. What about the rights of non-Oromo speaking but majority population in Adama (Nathret), Bishoftu (Debre Zeit) etc?
– It is clear that this provision has no any historical merit, as there were no squares, roads and other sites in Addis Ababa during Minilik time. This decision will further bring division and conflict.
– We have only 20% of the population in Addis Ababa as Oromo. What about the history, heritage and culture of the remaining 80% population who have worked hard to bring Addis Ababa where it is today?
– Same as above
– Using two legal names for Addis Ababa (Addis Ababa is a unifying melting pot for all Ethiopians and an anchor for the Federal government) will be confusing and no need to give it two names/brands. Imposed change of name/brand will be the source of perpetual conflict. If required, Oromia state could issue a law to recognize Finfine equal to Addis Ababa in it own territory.
– As of today, Oromia has no constitutional right to use Addis Ababa as its base.
– Unless the Ethiopian government is unknowingly facilitating the creation of an apartheid system, job opportunities anywhere in Ethiopia should be available equally to all Ethiopians based on competency. This provision is against the Constitution.
– Does that mean Ethiopians form other than Addis Ababa & its surrounding will be discriminated?
– What about Farmers Cooperatives from other parts of Ethiopia (Southern Ethiopia, Gojjam, Afar, Debre Berhan etc). This will create an apartheid system where one Ethnic group having undue comparative/competitive advantage. A potential for conflict!
– Officials in Oromia have been acquiring and selling lands in different parts of Oromia. This is an additional gateway for corruption.(The practice have been an Oromia official from Bishoftu/Dukem will swap land with an Oromo official in Shashemene or Adama and through that arrangement so many of the Oromia officials are now investors).
By Yared Gizaw | July 10th, 2017