Oromo Republican Party (ORP) vs the ODP is to Emerge!
It is imperative for the genuine Oromo opposition forces like OFC, the two OLF factions and ONP to come together and form ORP (Oromo Republican Party) to challenge the ruling ODP in the coming possible fair and free election of 2020. As we all know, there were a lot of Oromo organizations formed to struggle for national freedom since many decades ago. Their hitherto ideologies and visions can be categorized into three: multi-national federation (shared-rule of Ethiopia with self-rule of Oromia); an independent state (Gadaa republic of Oromia); and multi-regional federation (shared-rule of Ethiopia without self-rule of Oromia, but with self-rule of Oromo’s six or more traditional regions). The first generation of our national liberation movement took only one of the goals as their vision (that is why they claim to be arrab-tokkee = single-tongued = “principled”); the second generation used two of the visions as alternative goals (thus called arrab-lamee = double-tongued); but, there is not yet one organization, which tries to accommodate or entertain the three objectives (to be arrab-sadee = triple-tongued = accommodative and inclusive). The Oromo liberation struggle is part and parcel of the liberation movement of Cushitic nations in the Horn of Africa against the alien forces of colonization, exploitation and domination in the last about 3000 years. These Cushitic nations are actually called Oromota in Macaafa Qulqullu (Holy Bible), the word which describes the non-Semitics who did influence the ancient Egypt and ancient Israel. Oromota were known as people of Cush by the Jews and lately renamed by Greeks as people of Ethiopia (land of burnt faces). As some part of Cushland later became under Semitic influence, the Cushites adobted culture and language of these alien forces and became Abyssinia (land of the mixed), the name given by the Portuguese. Actually, Cushitic nations are neither “mixed” nor burnt, but they are brave Cushitic Oromota.
Just leaving ancient history of Cushites for the interested historians, let’s look at their recent liberation struggle since 14th century, at which time the Europeans came to Cushland and tried to manipulate one Cushitic group against the other. They described the Abyssinized part of Cushland as “superior Semitic Christians”,, and the other Cushitic nations, including major part of the Oromo, as “inferior pagans.” There was an attempt to subjugate free Cushitic nations of the area by using the Habeshanized part as an instrument. The so-called ‘16th century Oromo migration’ was in reality a successful Oromo liberation movement, which defended national sovereignty of Oromo people from Europeans, who tried to instrumentalize the Habeshanized nations in the north, and from Ottoman Turks, who tried to use Arabinized nations in the east. Since then, there is a struggle between the Oromo and Habesha (Habeshanized Cushites, who denied their own Cushitic base and identified themselves with the Semitic Solomonic dynasty). The Habesha are actually Cushitic ABASO (Afar, Beja, Agew, Saho and Oromo), who lost their own culture and language to become, firstly, speakers of Ge’ez, and now speakers of Tigre, Amharinya and Tigrinya. They are also known or named as Abyssinians.
Worst part of the struggle between the Abaso and the Oromo was during 19th century’s movement of colonization, which was coordinated and led by Europeans during their Scramble for Africa, after decision of the notorious Berlin conference. Abyssinian King Menilik managed to get help from Europeans so that he could subjugate the gallant Cushitic (non-Abyssinized) Oromo warriors. After this defeat, the non-Habeshanized Oromo and other Cushites fell under brutal political influence of the Habeshanized elites with authoritarian culture and mentality. Since then, the Oromo nation, in particular, is in a liberation struggle against the Abaso domination – the struggle consolidated itself later in the form of freedom fighting led by Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which – started in 1960′s parallel to the famous Students Movement. First name of the Oromo liberation movement was ENLF (Ethiopian National Liberation Movement), showing the inclusive nature of Oromo movement, lately changed to OLF, in order to emphasize the necessity of liberation of the people, who are oppressed and exploited just for being Oromo. The OLF has got popularity among Oromo people, and it evolves according to objective reality of Oromo nation. Based on this evolution, in short, there is, nowadays, liberation movement of three generations, which are conflicting as well as cooperating with each other. Unfortunately, sometimes their conflict was stronger than their cooperation, so that the Oromo national liberation struggle seemed to be in a sort of gridlock.
We know that the first-generation started the struggle in 1960s as Oromo’s national existence was in danger, thus the only one original goal was ‘freedom of the Oromo with an independent Gadaa Oromia,’ the goal which was raised out of necessity, and which is still mandatory; or freedom of the Oromo within an integrative Ethiopia (Great Oromia), which was usually known as Ethiopian democratization. Then came the second-generation in 1990s, after securing the existence of Oromo and Oromia, suggesting to accommodate both the independence goal and an additional alternative goal – ‘freedom of the Oromo with a possible union of free peoples in form of Oromia‘s self-rule with Ethiopia‘s shared-rule.’ This generation was ready to work with Tigrinyaa-speaking Abaso elites, for they, at least formally, accepted this concept – ‘union of free peoples.’ Unfortunately, Tigrinyaa-speaking Abaso elites denied us this right of free peoples, after consolidating their power in Finfinne palace. The third-generation was to emerge with a full confidence to use the three alternatives and liberate, not only Oromo people, but also other oppressed Cushites and non-Cushites in the region; the additional third alternative being an integrative Ethiopia with self-rule of Oromia’s traditional regions (Odaa-Bisil, -Bulluqi, -Bultum, -Gaarres, -Makodi, -Nabee and -Roobaa), not necessarily self-rule of Gadaa Oromia as a unified state.
The third-generation also had to believe in Oromia, which includes all Oromo people living in the area from northern tip of Lake Hashange to southern tip of the seaport Lamu near Indian Ocean. It should habe considered this Oromoland as a core of Cushland extending from southern Egypt to Tanzania. To be more pragmatic, inclusive and smart, the latest generation needed to be even ready to break the hitherto taboo of Oromo nationalists and try to work with Amharinya-speaking Abaso elites, who were traditionally against right of nations to self-determination because of the fact that every pro-democracy and pro-freedom movement was de facto an alliance for Oromo national liberation struggle. Even though we did see different generations of Oromo national liberation movement with different approaches in Oromo uprising, reality on the ground was that, for the struggle to move forwards, an imperative unity of purpose among all the three generations was very necessary. From the three visions, the multinational federation is most likely feasible; an independent Oromia is conditionally feasible (if other peoples want to vote for their own independence and leave us); and multi-regional federation is most unlikely feasible, because it seems that the structure of currently existing pseudo-federation is almost irreversible. Despite this irreversibility, we needef to support the most vocal advocates of multi-regional federation as long as they fought against TPLF, for their move promoted liberation struggle of Oromo people. The accommodative three visions of the third generation Oromo individuals and organizations can be summarized as self-rule of Oromia and/or shared-rule of Ethiopia.
If the future rule of political game in the region will be freedom and democracy, considering Ethiopia as Oromia is not against an interest of Oromo people, who can have upper-hand in an integrated future Ethiopia, where Afan Oromo will be federal working language. Thus, a move of this third-generation, having three alternative goals in mind, seems to be pragmatic, inclusive and smart. Therefore, the Qeerroo movement against TPLF (the current oppressive Abaso elites), which was inclusive of all oppressed nations is really commendable. Common denominator for all the three generations was ‘freedom of the Oromo,’ even if the three movements were different in their vision regarding the type of Oromia’s sovereignty which we, as a nation, can decide in the future. Which type will prevail can be decided per referendum on the three options. That is why, as long as anyone is not against the concept of ‘freedom of the Oromo,’ his/her move to democratize Ethiopia using Gadaa principle is not bad. This can be a nice move towards position of the third-generation with its additional goal of transforming the Habeshanized Ethiopia, which, up to now, oppressed Oromummaa (Oromo nationalism), to an emancipated Ethiopia, where Oromummaa will flourish unrestrictedly.
Being a citizen of such Ethiopia is not against the concept of Oromummaa, but, surely, it is against the notion of Abyssiniyawinet or Hbeshanet. Oromummaa is a symbol for equality (egalitarian society), democracy (Gadaa), freedom, and justice. It is an antidote against Abyssinianism (usually masked as Ethiopiawinnet), which is characterized by authoritarianism, dictatorship (hegemony), oppression and injustice. That is why any political group struggling for the above mentioned values of Oromummaa can be considered as part of Oromo liberation movement. Then, we can see why the move of third-generation, which is also active within the so called “multinational” parties and even in the notoriously anti-OLF parties, is pragmatic and beneficial. Oromo liberation movement has already compelled the Habeshanized elites in such organizations to believe in freedom and democracy (both being main elements of Gadaa principle), thus persuaded them to do a bidding of Oromo liberation movement. That is why the inclusive approach of third-generation in forging an all-inclusive alliance against the oppressive TPLF needs to be commended. Only TPLF and the very few nostalgic Abaso feudal warlords, who still salivate for the comeback to rule over the Oromo and other oppressed nations, are against this smart move of third-generation. I personally appreciate such common struggle of all Cushites and non-Cushitic nations in the region in order to realize a new common home – Oromia. To realize this, an Oromo opposition party, i.e Oromo Republican Party (ORP) is now needed as a competitor to Dr. Abiy’s ODP.
I think, Oromo nationals need to support all the three generations and persuade them to coordinate their move. The first-generation has done its best till 1991, at the time, when the ‘unconditional independence of Oromia’ was very mandatory. The second-generation used the opportunity to cooperate with other oppressed nations of the region, including with the Tigirinya-speaking Abaso, who were under the oppression of the Amharinya-speaking Abaso, so that we achieved cultural autonomy for Oromo people. Now, the third-generation has emerged and broke the taboo in order to work with the old archenemy, i.e. with Amharinyaa-speaking Abaso, who were also suffering themselves under subjugation of the Tigrinyaa-speaking Abaso elites. The move of these Amharinya-speaking Abaso elites to struggle for ‘freedom and democracy’ was in harmony with the approach of the third-generation. This generation has to understood the fact that, if rule of the game in political community of the region will really be ‘freedom and democracy,’ Oromo people have nothing to lose, be it the type of future sovereignty we choose per referendum will be ‘an integrative Ethiopia devoid of Oromia’ or ‘free Oromia within an integrated Ethiopia’ or ‘an independent Gadaa Oromia without Ethiopia – i.e. Gadaa Republic of Oromia.’ Thus, I do just encourage the first- and second-generation to have genuine insight about this emerging move of the third-generation and try not to oppose the pragmatic and smart move, even if they can not support it. Long live Oromo movement with only one goal of freedom, but with three possible outcomes of the objective regarding type of Oromia’s sovereignty after consolidating our freedom. May Waaqa help the OLF, OFC and ONP come together and forge a strong Oromo Republican Party (ORP), which can compete against the ODP in the coming election 2020!