Personal Ambition the source of our weakness, part 2

Personal Ambition the source of our weakness, part 2

By Rundassa Asheetee Hundee

Personal Ambition the source of our weakness

For decades, the OLF had tried to engage individual Oromians in the liberation struggle so that they can be stakeholders in the liberation movement and tackle the political challenges of the Oromo people. Nevertheless, some of the individuals who joined failed because they brought their Individual Ambition ahead of Collective Ambition.

Every time they had disagreements, they authored compelling stories and told it to their kinship groups and tried to build a narrowly defined task. In such situation, the process of integration collapsed and localism flourished.  Although central in many Oromo organizational disputes are the Ambition that individuals have for power, and the attempt others make to build Collective Ambition, there is an underlining problem that no one had ever talked about.

When an individual denies any wrong doings or deem what others say to be irrelevant, and when his friends and family members accept this view, they all deny the existence of moral absolutes. In the process, they maintain that right and wrong are relative concepts, and morality is merely a matter of personal choice or expediency.

The dilemma here is that we as Oromians say that we have great moral value which we obtained from our SAFUU norms stipulated in Waaqeffannaa religion.  We even say that we are principled people because of the tradition of the Gadaa system. Nonetheless, we don’t realize the negative impact that modern education system, the expansion of urban living, the influence of western media and the confusion that communist system had upon our attitudes toward morality. What we think of ourselves, how we relate to what others think of us, and the value of what we accomplish is judged by western countries cultural standards not by our own traditional norms.  The consequences of falling in love with this new self measurement has pulled us away from our true senses.

As a result, most of us think that common sense is a knowledge so we make decisions based on such understanding. When we do, we confuse between right or wrong, good or bad.  In that view, even the most fundamental moral questions loses ground and every assertion of right or wrong gets confused.   As such, we measure our self-esteem by the political power, the economic and social status we have and our personal growth and accomplishments are viewed through this microscope.  The degrees, the certificates and the religious titles we obtained after completing the training we are given by clever global institutions are considered as the bases of our self-reliance, our self-approval or disapproval, and kept all our self-defense mechanisms secure. But at the end, these things built the excessive self-deception, self-distrust, self-reproach, and plain old-fashion selfishness we are suffering from today.

The tragedy that followed this process prevented us from acting collectively and implement the vision that our liberation organizations have written back in the days. In fact, we rather focused on minor issues that the TPLF intelligence network carefully plants for us and fight  instead of developing our own strategic priorities and strive to fulfill our obligations as citizens of Oromia. This happens not because the goal, the mission and the vision of our organizations wasn’t clearly defined, but Personal Ambition produced so many misalignments and the widening disconnect inspired fake division.

But is it possible to produce collective ambition?

PURPOSE is the center of all the efforts we make when our behavior is the outermost ring that enables progress. That means, vision, goal, promise, strategic and operational priorities, and values lie in between every effort we make, along with the targets and milestones that will measure our progress.

In the Ethiopianists FUZZY-VISON case, the targets of achieving Oromians first-choice lacks sustainable value, hence it has no ability to produce collective ambition.  Yes, such group may argue that they are trying to shape collective ambition among the groups with dissimilar interest but the opportunity they may grab from such alliance will hurt the Oromo people.   It is true that it might give the Ethiopianists a chance to launch wide range initiatives against the main enemy, the TPLF, but such wide range project requires even more disciplined execution of Collective Ambition processes in parallel. It is exactly why it is impossible for the ODF to keep the promise it made to the Amharic speaking people because the two nations do not have Collective Ambition.

One may say that this is a cynicism that accompanies my effort to unglue the pro Ethiopian unity groups but I would argue that because the disconnect that exists between the Oromo and the Amharic speaking people was largely there from the beginning, it is impossible to create common ambition between them.   After all, the Oromo people know very well that in Ethiopia’s political world, promise is nothing but a mere word.

To the contrary, it is possible to generate Collective Ambition between those who have similar intentions, purposes and vision than between those with dissimilar core values.   Although it is difficult to separate sub culture from localism, religious culture from tribalism, Individual ambition may aid Collective Ambition in case of the Oromo nationalism, especially if shared sense of purpose is used as organizational glue.  Hence,  finding  a more tangible framework, consistent with the purpose and the value for which the Oromo Organizations are fighting is very important.  For that reason, the Oromo Liberation Organizations leaders need to get up every morning thinking about how to lure one more Oromo back to his Oromo value with purpose at the heart.

Previous Article:
Personal Ambition the source of our weakness, part 1

4 Responses to Personal Ambition the source of our weakness, part 2

  1. Ture Hirbe January 5, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    With all due respect I differ with the author of the article regarding the weakness of OLF. It is true that compared to EPLF and TPLF, OLF has failed to achieve its goal, that is, the right of Oromo people to self-determination. As to my understanding, personal ambition is not the main reason for why the OLF failed to achieve its goal. The success or failure of these ethno-national movements depended on various factors including:
    1) Unity of purpose of the ethno-national movement;
    2) A degree of ethnic-group cohesion;
    3) Organizational strength and leadership capacity;
    4) Timing, or taking advantage of political momentum;
    5) Availability of external support; and
    6) The capability of repressive regime.
    Personal ambition is not bad thing, and it is not unique to OLF. EPLF and TPLF succeeded not because their leaders lacked personal ambition. We know that Issias and Meles have dealt with their internal rivals before they established themselves as true leaders. EPLF and TPLF were successful because they were better organized, and above all, they had better unity of purpose. EPLF and TPLF also had a very disciplined and capable leadership. OLF from the very beginning lacked unity of purpose and is still suffering of lack of it. The OLF leaders had and have different views about what they intend to achieve. Are they for Oromo independence, or for democratization of Ethiopia to solve the Oromo problem within Ethiopian polity? Thus,I think, lack of unity of purpose is the major obstacle of OLF.

  2. Rundassa Eshete January 6, 2017 at 2:15 am #

    The diversity of idea among the Oromians is a notable characteristic of humanity in general. Looking at the Oromo universal grievances, the unity of purpose they have transcends every tactical arguments that the pro-Ethiopian unity and those who are against it make. As one race, we share common grievances, we all believe that we are Oromian by nationality, we share the same language and Culture. Most importantly, we are not divided economically because no part of us gets better economic advantage over the other because of geographical location as seen in Nigeria for example.

    The 2014-2016 anti Tigre colonialism have showed that all Oromians are united in the knowledge that they are equally colonized. This knowledge is what built the feeling of hate that all Oromians have for empire Ethiopia and this feeling exists ever since Amharic speaking people started dominating the Oromo people. Therefore, the Unity of Purpose was built in each Oromo by similar dream of wanting to be free from colonialism they have. True, the composition of the Oromo society had been changing but the feeling of being marginalized remained unchanged throughout these past 150 years.

    Look back into the Wallo Oromo Liberation Movement as well as the Gojaam Oromos defiance against the Hailesilase rule. Especially pay attention to the Oromo anti colonialism movement in Bale, eastern Oromia and including the western Oromians appeal to the Italian rulers to grant them independence from the Abyssinian rule. In other words, although time continued to change, Oromians quest for freedom hasn’t changed nor the movement was limited to Yejjuu, Warra Iluu or Raayyaa of Walloo, Liban(Bahir Dar) of Gojam. Looking at this situation, it is not possible to say that the Oromo Liberation Front lacked the unity of purpose. What can be true is, it’s inability to eliminate individual Ambition the same way the TPLF did. The OLF failed in that regard because the Oromo society don’t have the culture where one eliminates the other and becomes a king unlike the Abyssinians who murdered one another and took power away from each other. Let’s remember how Yohanis, Zawuditu, Iyaasuu, Alula, Tewodiros etc died. They all were killed in such vicious way. When it comes to the Oromo political tradition, power was transferred every 8 years peacefully up until the Abyssinians introduced feudalism to Oromia. For sure that didn’t bring beauty to purpose nor did it gave us good experience or strength. This said, I agree that individual ambition alone can’t be the source of our weakness. I have explained some of them in part 2 of my article.

  3. Whitestar January 6, 2017 at 4:19 am #

    The title and the content of the article is a mismatch. Even though the issue is very much a complex one but difference between tplf and olf is not only leadership and unity of goals. It is political experience of the habasha that tipped the balance in their favor. Plus the awareness of the population of oromo. Recently the oromo diaspora have gained much ground diplomatically by exposing the false narrative of the government and because of that the struggle have moved abroad. Tplf government is making counteroffensive measures to stop that development. Ironically the removal and persecution of oromo from their ancestral land have had unexpected negative consequence for tplf. Now they have to fight internally as well as externally.

  4. Jirabdin H. January 6, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    I difere from the comment above and the auther himself. Here is the way I see it. Yes, we have a huge problem. We are fighting not only the Ethiopian regimes. We are fighting the International system that suport the fascist wuyane regime. It is asymmetrical war. We lack arms. We are under undeclared arms embargo. We are fighters. But we don’t have arms. This is our SINGLE problem at this moment. I am optimist. Things will change soon. Suport from the International community is possible. Just stick to our cause !!#

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