Look who is talking! TPLF is worried about “territorial integrity” of Ethiopia. Wow!
By Bayisa Wak-Woya
Following the events at the IOLA organized London Conference on National Consensus, where an individual participant of the event made a “damaging” statement about the emergence of “free Oromia” on that ashes of a “dismantled Ethiopia”, TPLF, and the tiny elite Amhara diaspora, made effective use of the freely provided “ammunition”, to convince their respective constituencies that Ethiopia’s territorial integrity is really in danger. While the statement quoted by the TPLF was authentic, the event was presented by TPLF and the elite Amhara diaspora as if the Oromos gathered in London to discuss how to disintegrate Ethiopia which was not the case. This “out of context” individual statement and the way it was construed by TPLF, compounded by the series of statements made by the tiny Amhara diaspora elite that have always been vocal and destructive, gave me the incentive to write this piece with the objective of clarifying not necessarily about the London Conference itself but the actual position of Oromos regarding territorial integrity of Ethiopia. The writing is not based on scientific research or empirical studies but on my personal experiences and judgments regarding the TPLF rule of the past 25 years.
“ከመስታወት የተሰራ ቤት ዉስጥ የሚኖር ሰዉ ድንጋይ ለመወርወር የመጀመርያዉ መሆን የለበትም”
- Following the London “Oromo Conference for National Consensus” which was organized by the International Oromo Lawyers Association – IOLA, from 22 – 23 October 2016, with the objective of bringing the numerous Oromo political organizations together, TPLF media outlets were seen airing extracts from a statement made by one participant to the Conference, in which the individual was caught “red-handed” declaring in public, inter alia, that “Free Oromia shall be built only if Ethiopia is dismantled”. TPLF, reopened the closed internet and social media outlets which were blocked following the declaration of state of emergency, to “reveal” to the Ethiopian people the “hidden agenda” of the OLF, i.e. the alleged “dismemberment” of Ethiopia. As some commentators said, TPLF got the “right ammunition” to discredit the agenda of the Oromo people’s uprising in general and that of the OLF in particular. Very surprising!
- I am equally surprised by the outcry of the usual crowd of that tiny minority but vocal Amhara elite in the diaspora who, for generations, could not get out of that hallucination about secession of Oromia from Ethiopia. They echoed TPLF, without leaving a room for doubts, immediately bent on convincing fellow Ethiopians that the Oromos are indeed working to dismantle Ethiopia. Unlike with TPLF, which is relatively a new comer to modern Ethiopia’s body politics in general and debates on national question in particular, the Oromos have been dealing with this tiny minority of Amhara elites in the diaspora for more nearly half a century. But no matter how my fellow Oromos, both as individuals and as political organizations tried to explain the root causes of our dissatisfaction with the current and previous Abyssinian ruling systems in Ethiopia and the true nature of our demands, this fundamentalist and destructive group never made an attempt to understand our concerns. They are either mentally unable to comprehend the contents of our demands or have some hidden agenda like TPLF, to discredit the genuine, right-based claims of the Oromo people. Not for purposes of convincing these stubborn and conscious sleepers but for the benefit of other genuine Ethiopians, I would like to reiterate our century old demand, it being the freedom to determine our own fate. A very simple agenda to understand – an agenda that is not against the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. But there must be a will in the first place to understand it!
- One quick question that may cross our mind though, is, why on earth TPLF and the die-hard Amhara elite in the diaspora made a big deal out of this individual statement at the conference which lasted less than one minute but did not want to quote from the numerous other issues participants of the Conference dealt with over two long days? And why both TPLF and the die-hard Amhara elite did not focus on or quote from what the Oromo people have been saying in public during the past twelve months of popular uprising? There must be something serious going on which must have scared TPLF to death. From the outset, I can say that, both TPLF and the die-hard Amhara elites were looking for a black cat in a dark room, not realizing that the cat was not there in the first place. ከብት ባልዋለበት ኩበት ለቀማ ማለት ነዉ!
- The answer is very simple: for one, it was crystal clear that the Oromos wanted the TPLF rule to end and be replaced by a democratic government so that the right of self-determination is fully implemented. And this, of course, is not what TPLF wanted to hear or see. Another reason is, I believe, the fact that different nations and nationalities of Ethiopia are taking serious steps towards forming coalitions of opposition. In my view, it is this combination of factors that has scared TPLF. Hence, it is very natural that it should react irrationally, resorting to all possible tools to keep the different Ethiopian nations and nationalities apart, i.e. divide and rule. It is the true nature of all minority repressive rulers in general, and for TPLF in particular, that they seek to hang on to power and continue exploiting human and material resources only for as long as they keep everyone apart. Otherwise, the Oromos never had an agenda to dismantle Ethiopia, and Ethiopia is not a pile of sand that can be dismantled simply because one individual made such a blunt statement. In any case, no one, even the ones who do not want to see Ethiopia intact, have the right to dismantle her without the consent of her more than one hundred million citizens.
- The socio-political situation in Ethiopia in general and the one in Oromia and Amhara regions in particular is becoming an issue of concern not only for Ethiopians but also for the international community. That being the case, different Ethiopian political organizations which previously were created along ethnic lines, and therefore were not on good terms with each other, decided lately, to form coalitions and act in unison to remove TPLF from power and to facilitate the process of creation of democratic Ethiopia. The process is at its nascent stage, and hence may take a while to mature and become effective, but the very fact that these formerly presumed adversaries (especially the Oromos and the Amharas) decided to come closer together, must have scared TPLF to death. The panic is understandable. Any repressive regime representing the interests of a tiny ethnic minority, would have behaved the same way. TPLF knows perfectly well that it cannot maintain the status quo unless it keeps the Oromos and Amharas apart. It is for that very reason that such a blunt and un-necessary statement by an individual participant of a Conference was chosen as ammunition to be used by TPLF as a proof to the people of Ethiopia that its regime is a guarantor of Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. It is also one way of “reminding” the Amharas about “the hidden agenda” of the Oromos.
- TPLF, from day one, were engaged in constantly reminding the elders and inculcating in the minds of the Oromo youth that the primary enemy of the Oromo nation is the neftegnas e. the Amharas, while posing as their “liberator” and “protector” of the Oromo nation from those “evil neftegnas”. To keep on reminding the Oromos about the past brutality of the Amhara system, they built monuments in Oromia region although the number of Oromos actually killed fighting the TPLF regime (both while they were in the bush and later on as a ruling regime) are by far more than the number of all Oromos killed during the successive Abyssinian ruling systems in the history of modern Ethiopia. Bad luck for TPLF, that these previously adversarial ethnic groups slowly started understanding that it is, in fact, the primary enemy to both.
- It is because of this legacy pre-dating the London conference, which now emerged as an issue of common concern both for TPLF and this vocal die-hard Amhara elites in the diaspora, that I wanted to use this golden opportunity to smash both of them in one go. ሁለት ወፎችን በአንድ ድንጋይ – as the saying goes! In doing so, I would like to underline that, I have nothing against the Amhara or Tigray people, and, as a matter of fact, against any people, because the issue we are dwelling upon is not the headache of the ordinary citizens of Ethiopia but of the so called literate group of our society. Otherwise, and as we speak, the Amhara people in Gonder and Gojam are saying it loud and clear during demonstrations, demanding the release of Beqele Gerba and other Oromo political prisoners and shouting that the blood of Oromo that is split by TPLF killing machine is their blood and that they take any offences committed against the Oromos as an offences against them as well. My profound belief is very simple: የመንግስት እንጂ የህዝብ ጥሩ ወይም መጥፎ የለም:: And as far as Oromos are concerned, the TPLF regime is one of the worst systems ever to reign over modern Ethiopia.
- Unfortunately, every time the Oromos, both at home and abroad raised issues surrounding their rights, as a nation, to self-determination, there has always been panic among the others, especially the Amhara elites in the diaspora. For some reasons unknown to me, this legitimate aspiration by the Oromos for self-determination has been construed as an attempt to secede from Ethiopia, in other words, interpreted as an attempt to dismantle Ethiopia. That is very unfortunate. The rights of nations to self-determination as a group right which is accorded to all nations and nationalities, including Tigray and Amhara people, has little or nothing to do with “የአገር ማፈራረስ” theory of TPLF. Self-determination, is an internationally recognized human rights norm. At the end of the day, in any case, the final word as to whether the Oromo people would prefer to remain within Ethiopia (as Oromo Ethiopians) or chose to have their own independent state of Oromia, lies with the Oromo people and not with the self-appointed Political organizations or lone wolf individuals making statements about her future. And the Oromo nation so far has not been given that opportunity for its demand to be heard let alone the chance to make an informed decision on how it would exercise its fundamental right to self-determination.
The Conference itself:
- To begin with, and contrary to TPLF’s distorted information, the London Conference was organized not by the OLF or another Oromo political organization, but by International Oromo Lawyers Association, (IOLA), an independent think-tank, and non-political and non-denominational professional association of Oromo lawyers from around the world. This London Conference was just another undertaking by IOLA, except that this time, its objective was about the ongoing Oromo mass uprising and the lack of a unified approach by the Oromo political organizations to deliver leadership.
- This is the Conference which TPLF “used” as a pretext to confuse the Ethiopian people as if it was organized by OLF and as if the objective was to discuss the dismantling Ethiopia. It used a statement made by an individual representing one of the seven political organizations present at the Conference (and for the record – not the OLF representative) where he was heard saying, inter alia, that “Oromia shall be built on the grave of a dismembered and dismantled Ethiopia”. The statement, although followed by applause from some of the participants, (I think that was the objective of the statement in the first place), surprised most of the participants. I believe the whole objective of making such a populist statement, was to gain some points and support through a mere applause from the much agitated and frustrated audience. The political organization which this individual represented at the Conference was the first among the Oromo political organizations to form alliance with ግንቦት-7/ አርበኞች, which de facto and de jure implies that his political organization was in coalition with a multi-national organization which is working to maintain the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. I was in that conference hall myself, when the statement was made, but like everyone else in the room, I did not find it necessary to react immediately because, it was the individual’s fundamental right to express his opinion about Ethiopia. Had he said, that “Oromia shall be built on the grave of Ethiopians” I am quite sure that most of us would have condemned him to death because it amounts to a hate speech which should not be entertained no matter when and where. So, making a statement about Ethiopia is different from making similar statement about Ethiopians. Above all, the individual has no mandate from the Oromo people, subsequently, he was only representing his party, if at all, and NOT the Oromo people. In any case, a personal comment of one Oromo individual should not be attributed to the cause of the Oromo people – period!
My take on TPLF
- Let me now address TPLF: Few years back, I wrote against attempts then being pursued by Ethiopian political organizations who were advocating to form alliances along ethnic lines to fight you – TPLF. I honestly believed that you were genuine in your dreams to eliminate that century’s old oppressive feudal system and to contribute to the efforts of other ethnic groups to create a democratic Ethiopia where all nations would be treated as equals. At that time, I refused to join that choir of Ethiopian nationalist groups, thinking that you were too new to the power seat and that you would definitely continue working hard to remove that ugly ruling system once you solidified your government in Finfinnee. Little did I know that you were actually not what I thought you would be. Now I realize that I was too naïve. But, be it! Luchshe pozna chem nikogda goes the Russian saying. (Better late than never). Now I understand you very well to the extent that I am not only capable of reading what you say or write but I can also read between the lines and locate where your evil and hidden thoughts are packed.
- With time passing, I began realizing that you are just like any other ethnic minority ruler known to human history (for example, the white minority in South Africa, Tutsis in Rwanda and Burundi, or the Sunni minority in Iraq or Bahrain). As you know, these minority entities not only enjoyed the absolute grasp on power but also a total monopoly over the national economy. One thing which differs these national minority rulers from the traditionally known occupying forces is that they did/do not have another “motherland” to which they would have taken what they had looted from the occupied land or that could serve as a fallback position to run to when they lost control over nationals of the occupied land. No matter what, when they lose political power (as it happened in South Africa), these national minority rulers remain in the country they ruled and face the consequences of not only their failed policies but also of all the crimes they had committed during their rule. An occupying force, to the contrary, loots the occupied country’s resources, to benefit the “motherland” and runs back to the “motherland” as and when it loses control over the ruled population of the occupied land (country).
- That being the case, and for some time now, I was not quite sure where to place you – as an occupying force (ወራሪ ሃይል）which is ruling Ethiopia against the will of its citizens, exploiting her resources to benefit a motherland (ታላቋ ትግራይ) while working hard against the territorial integrity of Ethiopia, OR, just as one of these historically known minority rulers which is bent to rule Ethiopia with an iron fist, grossly violating the rights of the citizens. Now, two decades later, with full confidence, at least with 99% conviction, I can say it loud and clear that you are indeed an occupying force. I reserved for myself a 1% probability as benefit of the doubt, and will use that portion at the end of this writing.
- You may wonder, how I reached this conclusion. I did not conduct any scientific research or empirical studies. And there was no need for it. There are stories narrated to us by survivors of Italian occupiers, like that of my dear mother, who from time to time, used to tell us stories about our “የሰሜን ወንድሞቻችን” (using laureate Tsegaye’s words), how they used to come to her village, deep in Western Oromia, arrest the young ones, beat them and humiliate them in front of the family, looting whatever is available in the village – all this with impunity, defending the interest of their master – the occupying Italian force. Although illiterate and not in a position to keep diaries of events, my mom still harbors vivid memories of the events during that five years of Italian occupation, that, the perpetrators were not Oromos for sure (although non-whites) and that they were too brutal. She told me numerous stories from that time how she as a little girl witnessed all the abuses committed by these “non-Oromos” and said that she sees similarities to the actions of the current rulers – in her words Waa hin Yaadnee (ዋንያድኔ)– the Afaan Oromo pronunciation for Woyane and its surrogates, with those “non-Oromos” behavior during the Italian occupation. My mom’s story served only as a pretext for my conclusion. The rationale for my above conclusion actually emanated from my own experience with you both when you were in the bush and then after you occupied Finfinnee. I was supporting your cause when you were fighting the Derg and continued supporting you after you took power in Addis until you decided to sever ties with OLF in 1992. OLF, as you know, went the extra mile to give up its secessionist agenda and joined you and other Ethiopians to lay the foundations for the creation of a democratic Ethiopia. It is from that moment on that I decided to take some time and to compare your actions with that of the Italian occupiers and surprisingly found that the specific characteristics of Italian occupying force, squarely fits with how you are now ruling Ethiopia. The similarities, in my view, include but are not limited to the following:
- Designing specific laws for the occupied people that are not applicable to the occupiers, (occupiers are always above the law). Businessmen and entrepreneurs of the occupying force are exempted from tax payment, enjoy preferential treatment in business – imports and exports;
- Creation of special armed force (in your case, the አግአዚ) which is loyal only to the occupiers and given carte blanche to arrest, torture and kill the natives with impunity, dealing with any native resistance, overt or covert with brutality – most of the time with summary executions and mass killings;
- Formation of pseudo-organizations comprising of collaborators (volunteers – ባንዳዎች) or through coercion (the civil service) to use them as the mouth-piece of the occupying force and implementers of the rules and regulations imposed on the occupied territory and people;
- Identification of loop holes in the social strata of the people in the occupied territory and use them against each other (Rayas in Wollo were assisted by Italians to fight the Ethiopian army because they (the Rayas) were badly treated by the Abyssinian ruling system then), and (for TPLF) granting preferential treatment to some minority groups that were badly treated by the successive Abyssinian regimes, and use them against other ethnic groups which it perceived as enemies;
- Controlling not only the population but also the nation’s economy to benefit the motherland (Italy and Tigray, respectively). Italian occupiers moved all what they thought was valuable, including, monuments from Ethiopia to Italy. TPLF is doing exactly the same thing – moving all what is movable to Tigray including major military armaments, air and ground forces armory and command posts as well as major telecommunications and electronic infrastructure and raw material to run the industry in Tigray.
- Never investing on long-term projects in the occupied territory. If invested, the product is designed to feed in to the economy and benefit of the “motherland”. TPLF hardly built factories in Oromia whereas dozens were built in Tigray running with raw materials from the Occupied Oromia. It closed ALL airports in Oromia (except the one in Jimma which is vital for transporting resources to Tigray) while building more in Tigray. It forbids Oromo entrepreneurs from buying or selling coffee in Oromia, for example, or the Afar businessmen from being involved in salt production in Afar, giving all these rights to EFFORT.
- The comparison can go on and on. But, Let me conclude the comparison here and continue with highlighting other recorded, concrete actions which made me believe that you are indeed an occupying force ruling Ethiopia not only to exploit her resources to achieve your goal of building grand Tigray but to also leave her as a destroyed nation (with possible civil war) after your departure.
- Let me start with your leader, who led your “victorious army” south to Ethiopia proper, who, even after his demise continued ruling you and by derivation, Ethiopia. This man by the name, Meles Zenawi is not an Ethiopian to begin with. I stand to be corrected if you prove me wrong but as far as my so far inconclusive investigation is concerned, there was no public record neither in Church files nor in the archives of civic statistics where a child by a name Meles Zenawi was ever born in Adwa, and as a matter of fact in Ethiopia. A school record in Adwa and later on at Wingate secondary school or Addis Ababa University never show a record of a student by name Meles Zenawi. I heard stories from TPLF propaganda section stating that indeed, Meles Zenawi was a name de guerre (የሜዳ ስም) and that his real name was Legesse Zenawi. Let me give you the benefit of the doubt that indeed it was Legesse who changed his name to Meles for whatever reason. Meles, if we assume that he was indeed born Ethiopian but changed his name when in the bush, he could have benefited from the grace and generosity of the civil code his party put into effect and restored back his real name, Legesse. But that is not the case here. Of course, Meles never bothered to go through that legal procedure to officially change his name from Meles to Legesse, as prescribed by the national law, because of one of the following two reasons: he either concluded that the Ethiopian law does not apply to him (he is head of an occupying force) or he indeed was never an Ethiopian from birth. In any case, both assumptions only confirm my doubts that Meles and his TPLF led ruling party, are alien to Ethiopia.
- Another very obvious fact that proves you are indeed an occupying force is that you are still in a liberating mode i.e. liberating Tigray from Ethiopia. After fully liberating Tigray in 1991, i.e. dismembering Ethiopia, which was why you were created in the first place, and on your way to occupy Ethiopia in the same year, you succeeded in creating surrogate entities allegedly representing all Ethiopian ethnic groups you baptized them with names ending with “Democratic Organizations – ዴድ” – (ኦህዴድ፣ ደህዴድ፣ ጉህዴድ፣ ሶህዴድ) and made them members of your Noah’s Arc (የኖህ መርከብ) – EPRDF. While you baptized the new family members of your so called “Front”, where de facto you are the only one owning it, you did not even bother to change your name from “Tigray Peoples Liberation Front – TPLF – ህወሃት” to “Tigray People’s Democratic Organization – ትህዴድ” but decided to maintain it even today, in 2016. It is understandable that you went to the bush to “liberate Tigray” from Ethiopia, but once you liberated Tigray from Ethiopia in 1991, the fact that you decided to advance South, to topple the government and occupy Ethiopia – the very country from which you wanted to secede in the first place; and, that you still consider yourself, after nearly three decades, a Liberation Front, qualifies you to be an occupying force.
- To fill the power vacuum in Addis and because of the pressure from the international community, you entered in to an agreement with OLF and other opposition groups (although many were excluded) to share power in the Transitional Government. OLF for one obvious reason that it believed in the creation of democratic Ethiopia where all outstanding national questions would be solved, left behind its secessionist agenda and joined you wholeheartedly to play a decisive role in drafting the national Charter. For reasons which are clearer to me now, you wanted OLF to be only a junior partner at best, and not an equal one at all. Hence when you realized that OLF, because of the undivided support it enjoyed from the Oromo people, was going to undermine you – representative of a tiny minority from the North, you used all possible behind the scene tactics and coercion to force the OLF out of the Transitional government. The objective was clear – as an occupying force, you did not want power sharing with an organization that was dedicated to contribute to the efforts of others to pave grounds for the emergence of democratic Ethiopian. You got rid of a rival Ethiopian political organization with its army comprising tens of thousands well trained fighters and declared the occupying TPLF fighters as the sole component of Ethiopian national army. You achieved your goal number one – occupying and ruling Ethiopia ALONE.
- As an occupying force, you created courts and prosecutors as well as the nation’s prison system exactly the way occupying forces organize in countries they occupy. The Italian court and prison system and the way they used Ethiopian collaborators (mainly from among our Northern brothers) to torture and humiliate Ethiopians who were defending her territorial integrity from the occupying Italian fascists is the exact replica of how you and your collaborators are treating Ethiopians today. The way you are treating Bekele Gerba and other decent Oromo Ethiopians who are advocating for the creation of democratic Ethiopia on your grave is not different from how the Italians treated for example, the legendary Oromo patriot and spiritual leader of Ethiopian Christians, Abuna Petros, (born Magarsa Badhasa), who declared እንኳን ህዝቧ አፈሯ ራሱ ለወራሪ እንዳይገብር ገዝቻለሁ ያሉት፡፡ Your kangaroo courts, the way the prosecutors provide false accusation and line up false witnesses to testify against the wrongly charged Oromo activists and the manner in which the judges’ rule on non-existing and not-proven evidences simply to silence those who advocate for strong and democratic Ethiopia, is exactly what you copied from the court system practiced during the Italian occupation. The way your judges sentenced hundreds and thousands of peacefully demonstrating Oromo youth to life imprisonment or even to death based on falsified allegations of bombing of hotels or looting of factories or other fabricated accusations, is an exact reminder of how the Italian courts dealt with Ethiopians who were presumed or perceived to have helped those who were openly protesting against the Italian occupation in defense of Ethiopia’s territorial integrity.
- You categorized every opposition group, national or multi-national movements (OLF, ONLF and Ginbot -7) as terrorists while declaring yourself, (TPLF) – also a “Liberation Front”, a ruling party. You produced two main justifications for the categorization of the above three Organizations as terrorists: a) they are waging war against territorial integrity of Ethiopia from their base in a foreign country; b) they are allegedly getting support from Issayas. These alleged “terrorist organizations” are known to have very few fighting forces in Asmara to the extent that they, at least in the near future, could not have posed any imminent threat to your rule. What is most surprising is that, TPLF, for “unknown” reasons, did NOT categorize the Tigray People Liberation Movement (TPDM) as a terrorist organization, although, similar to OLF and Ginbot 7, it is also based in Asmara, fighting against TPLF regime and supported by the same Issayas Afeworqi. TPDM, unlike OLF and Ginbot-7, has thousands of fighting forces i.e. “posing serious threat” to the TPLF regime. Hence, the categorization of certain opposition groups (in this case the OLF, ONLF and Ginbot-7) as terrorists is not actually based on facts of their objectives and activities, or the immediate threat they may pose on Ethiopia, but rather based on their ethnic roots. Of course, Tigray opposition fighters (TPDM) or the ruling party (TPLF), both representing Tigray, cannot be considered as terrorists, no matter what they do although both of them de facto and de jure, are fighting to dismantle Ethiopia.
- The most surprising of all is that, these organizations that you are telling us are fighting to dismember Ethiopia (although their respective programs state the opposite) are actually repeating exactly what you were doing for seventeen years before you came to Finfinnee. You were, a) against the territorial integrity of Ethiopia (because you fought for the secession of Tigray from Ethiopia); and, b) you were supported by Issayas who, not only provided you with everything you needed to achieve your objective of dismembering Ethiopia but who also escorted you to Finfinnee and stayed with you for a few years until you became strong enough to “rule” the occupied Ethiopia. For the record, and unlike TPDM, the political programs/agenda of both ግንቦት – 7 እና ኦነግ does not include secession from Ethiopia.
- I remember it as if it was yesterday, the year you, the first seven bandits went to Dedebit to start the so called “liberation of Tigray from Ethiopia”. To achieve that goal of dismemberment of Ethiopia, of course, you fought for seventeen years during which time you, not only damaged and destroyed Ethiopia’s infra-structure but also killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians, mainly soldiers. As you know, most of these soldiers were ethnic Oromos, who, as members of the national army of Ethiopia, were defending territorial integrity of Ethiopia. You killed them for one and ONLY one reason – to liberate Tigray from Ethiopia i.e. dismembering Ethiopia. When you succeeded with your plan of liberating Tigray from Ethiopia, you realized that, Tigray as an independent entity could never become a viable state for a simple reason that it has neither the manpower nor the natural resource for basic survival, you decided to occupy Ethiopia, by then a nation which was very much weakened due to combined internal and external factors. Nothing could have stopped you from marching south to Addis Ababa and fill the power vacuum and plant yourself as an occupying force.
- As a matter of fact, Ethiopia, constitutionally, ceased to be a unitary state from the day your parliament adopted the current Constitution in 1995. The rights of nations to self-determination was included in the Constitution not only as matter of principle but as a practical tool to be invoked and used by any nation or nationality as and when it desires to do so. Article 39 of the Constitution clearly stipulates the criteria and procedures to follow should one nation decide to leave Ethiopia. So dismantling Ethiopia, under the current Constitution, is not only constitutional but also legal as long as stipulated procedures are adhered to. I am for the rights of nations to self-determination and fully support that it is incorporated in the Constitution, reflecting Ethiopia’s commitment to the letters and sprits of Article 1 of the two UN Covenants of 1996, to which Ethiopia is a signatory. Although it is very clear that all Ethiopian nations and nationalities have the right to invoke Article 39, to-date Oromos have not been seen demanding this right. In my view, this is a proof that for Oromos, Ethiopia is their land built with their blood and bones, hence, they do not see it necessary to demand secession from Ethiopia. One should be a moron to demand dismemberment of its own body. So, your cry for territorial integrity of Ethiopia and accusation of the Oromos for fighting against it, while posing yourself as vanguard of that territorial unity is simply laughable. Of all the political originations in Ethiopia, you as TPLF, have neither the moral nor political authority to talk about territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
- From day one of your assumption of power, you did not hide your intentions to let part of Ethiopia given to neighboring countries like the Sudan and Eritrea, and cut part of neighboring Ethiopian regions (which you ethnically engineered, by the way) and paste them to Tigray to achieve your long-term goal of creation of ታላቋ ትግራይ. You did not even dare to hide your intentions of weakening Ethiopia to benefit “ታላቋ ትግራይ”. Within few weeks of your assumption to power, Tigray grew from one of the tiniest regions in Ethiopia to becime a big one with its new connecting border-lines with the Sudan and acquiring more territory from Gonder and Wollo. Without an expressed consent and proper mandate from the Ethiopian people or endorsement even from the puppet parliament, you gave chunks of Ethiopian territory to neighboring countries and made Ethiopia one of the few landlocked countries in the world. Your founders and spiritual leaders like Meles and Sibhat Nega very proudly said it in public that Assab never belonged to Ethiopia and that any attempt by Ethiopians to reclaim it will be crushed by TPLF. Over my dead body, said Meles in at least three occasions! Assab is sold for the second time in modern Ethiopian history, and this time, by the leader of the Occupying force. Never in modern human history is such a political blunder observed – voluntarily waiving a nation’s right to have access to sea. You may be ignorant of history of nation-state formations, but States have always seen using ALL available means to ensure that their country is not land-locked, because lacking access to sea is tantamount to death by suffocation. Peter the great moved his capital city from Moscow to Petersburg, not only to keep the Swedes at bay but also to have an un-hindered access to the Northern Sea. In my view, your action to make Ethiopia a landlocked state can be explained only in two ways;
- you are politically immature, because you failed to understand the importance of having access to sea; or,
- you have a hidden agenda –weakening Ethiopia in exchange for something which might be beneficial for ታላቋ ትግራይ later on. Either way, thanks to your stupidity or smart hidden agenda, Ethiopia today became a landlocked country finding itself totally at the mercy of Djibouti and Arab adversaries. The damage on our national economy kept aside! Only an outsider i.e. an occupying force can do that to another State. At least this is not what is expected from you – someone who is trying to convince us that it is concerned about territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
- One of the most effective tools used by you as an occupying force to maintain effective rule over the occupied territory and population, which you are now implementing, is the policy of divide and rule. We all know how in the past, when you orchestrated series of crimes – for example, killing of ethnic Amharas in Bedeno and Gura Farda and attributing that to OLF simply to proof to the Amharas that, Oromos are their enemies. A very similar tactic used by Italians to pose one against the other. It is a proven fact that there has never been part of Ethiopian history where Oromos killed the Amharas (save officially declared conflicts and wars that took place in the course of expansion) and vice versa. One should not dig archives to confirm my assertion about the past but suffice to observe how the Oromos have been protecting ethnic Amhara minorities in Oromia during the past twelve months of mass uprising. Not a single Amhara is affected during the year-long uprising although there are millions of ethnic Amharas living in Oromia region today.
- It was obvious that you came to Addis with vengeance – to hurt all those who, in the course of defending Ethiopia’s territorial integrity, fought against you and your secessionist theory. As I said above, the Ethiopian army, majority of which were ethnic Oromos, did what they were supposed to do as members of the national defense force i.e. defending territorial integrity of Ethiopia. But for you, of course after seizing Finfinnee, keeping such a patriotic army in place would have been suicidal, so you had to disband them as a whole, something which had never been heard of in human history. It is very normal to remove senior officers and key figures in the army and police following regime changes but disbanding the entire national defense force and civilian police is a recipe which only you as an occupying army, brought to our nation. You know it very well that these Ethiopian forces you disbanded in 1991 were fighting against you for 17 years, not for any reason other than defending Ethiopian territorial integrity. The fact that, nearly one hundred thousand of them came to defend the territorial integrity of Ethiopia from the invading Eritrean army in 1998 is a living proof of this. As you perfectly know, and a crime for which history will never forgive you, out of the nearly hundred thousand of these former Ethiopian soldiers you recalled following the invasion, 75,000 of them, most of whom were ethnic Oromos, sacrificed their dear lives to defend the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. They did not hold grudges against you for what you have done to them in 1991. They marched to Badme, a God forsaken piece of barren land in “ታላቋ ትግራይ” which has neither natural resource nor any strategic value whatsoever, to defend the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Looking back now, I am convinced that your agenda was different. You were not worried about territorial integrity of Ethiopia but of “ታላቋ ትግራይ”. It is an open secret that you sanctioned all Ethiopian soldiers and statesmen who, following the victory at Badme, suggested to use the opportunity and march to Assab to re-claim it, because of what we now believe, is your hidden agenda. For you, Badme was more important than Assab! Now, look at yourself – a liberation front, still maintaining a secessionist agenda, a liberation front which disbanded the Ethiopian national army that sacrificed its life for territorial integrity of Ethiopia – now telling us that the Oromos are plotting to dismember Ethiopia. What an audacity! ከጅብ ጅማት የተሰራ ክራር ቅኝቱ ልብላዉ ልብላዉ ብቻ ነዉ አሉ::
- You are using pretexts to punish the native population like all other occupying forces known in human history. When the patriots Abraham Deboch and Moges Asgedom threw bombs at the senior officer of the occupying army in Finfinnee, the Italians used it as a pretext to kill, imprison and torture hundreds and thousands of residents of Finfinnee overnight. This is exactly what you are practicing in Ethiopia in general and in Oromia in particular since you occupied Ethiopia in 1991. You used and continue using pretexts or producing false allegations against those who defy your rule, to imprison, torture or kill. Because of their expressed discontent with your rule and demand their right to self-determination (which is absolutely legal and constitutional) and subsequent defiance against your puppet local rulers – the so called OPDO, you imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Oromos to the extent that they now make more than 75% of all prisoners in Ethiopia. No wonder Ato Siye, after being released from prison, testified that Oromiffa is the language predominantly spoken in Ethiopian prisons! You imprisoned, tortured and killed hundreds of leaders of various Oromo political organizations who advocated for Democratic Ethiopia simply because it is against your final agenda – dismembering Ethiopia. You killed tens of thousands Oromos who peacefully demonstrated against your rule and you never brought to justice the killers of these innocent citizens who only demanded respect for their fundamental human rights as stipulated in the Constitution. Of course, the laws you introduced in your capacity as an occupying force, applies only to the citizens of the occupied territory and NOT to the occupiers. Your prosecutors apply stipulations of the nation’s criminal / penal code to imprison Oromos who were expressing dissenting views, but when the Agazi kills hundreds of peacefully demonstrating Oromo students and the youth, you assign the Human Rights Commission to investigate and report to the parliament ALL the killings that is carried out by the killing squad. Of course, Ethiopian prosecutors have no jurisdiction over them.
- Similar to what the Italian occupiers did, you spent time and energy and of course at the expense of other Ethiopian regions, to build in Meqele – capital city of the occupying force, colossal monuments for your ethnic kinsfolk secessionists, who fought and died for separation of Tigray from Ethiopia (dismemberment of Ethiopia). You did not, of course, for obvious reasons, build at least diminutive monuments for the few Tigray heroes who fought for Ethiopian territorial integrity against Italians. In your attempt to wipe out all memories of those who fought for Ethiopia’s territorial integrity during the five years of Italian occupation, you shamelessly renamed, for example, the Holeta military academy, named after an Oromo hero, General Mulugeta Buli who sacrificed his dear life while defending Ethiopia’s territorial integrity against Italian invaders, and renamed it the Hayelom Military academy. We all know that Hayelom fought and killed hundreds of Ethiopians, (mainly Oromo soldiers who constituted majority of Ethiopian army) who fought for territorial integrity of Ethiopia to achieve your goal of seceding Tigray from Ethiopia. He never, ever, fought for territorial integrity of Ethiopia. I wouldn’t have fallen into this trap and go to this level to talk about ethnicity at this age, and to join the choir of Ethiopians who were very doubtful of your sincerity from day one had I seen at least one major undertaking by you to recognize Oromos, and they are in thousands, who sacrificed their lives for Ethiopia. Naming just one street in Finfinnee in the honor of Abichu, the young Oromo warrior form Salale who made history at Adwa not only by destroying numerous Italian soldiers but also destroyed formations of numerous collaborator army from Tigray. Why not a monument for Abdissa Aaga or Abebe Bikila, Gebeyehu Gurmu or Gobana? The list is long but just to mention few.
- So, where did you get the audacity to talk about defending Ethiopia’s territorial integrity? What moral authority do you have to talk about Ethiopia’s future? I fully understand if you are worried about territorial integrity of Tigray, but Ethiopia – NO way! With your name as “Tigray Liberation Front” and yet ruling Ethiopia, there is no way that the Ethiopian people can trust you no matter what you say or pretend to be. Especially the Oromos, whom you despise even at a time when they peacefully demanded their fundamental rights, who have all the reasons to consider you as an occupying foreign power which is depleting their resources to benefit your long liberated motherland – Grand Tigray. And you dare to use the statement of one individual Oromo at the London conference as a proof that you care about Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. ጅብ የማያውቍት አገር ሄዶ ቍርበት አንጥፉልኝ አለ አሉ:: Bad luck for you, we know not only who the ጅብ is, but also where it came from and for what purpose. So please, don’t expect us to provide you with the “ቍርበት”::
Brief note on Oromos and the territorial integrity of Ethiopia:
- Before I come to the conclusion of my rather extended note, I want to drop just two paragraphs on Oromos and the territorial integrity of Ethiopia. I am not trying to bring new discoveries but rather to remind you, the conscious sleeper, that Oromos are indeed concerned about the territorial integrity of Ethiopian. In my view, any statement made by anyone, especially by you, regarding planned or possible “secession of Oromia from Ethiopia” is tantamount to an insult to the Oromo people. Oromos are THE root of Ethiopia and subsequently, it is the Oromo people who should be worried about the secession of the branches i.e. the Abyssinians and other minor nationalities from Ethiopia. Modern Ethiopia is built with blood and on the bones of Oromos who sacrificed their dear lives for her territorial integrity unlike the Abyssinians who had little or no role whatsoever in her creation. Modern Ethiopia, south of Abyssinia, was built only by Oromo warriors themselves – led by Gobana and his exclusively Oromo battalion – during his expedition to the South. Gobana superbly combined military and diplomacy as necessary and succeeded in creating the state called Ethiopia. The Abyssinians came to the South “አገር ለማቅናት” ONLY after Gobana completed the state-formation mission. It is up to the Oromos and history to judge whether Gobana was right or not, but fact remains fact – Abyssinians did not have any role whatsoever in the creation of modern Ethiopia, south of Finfinnee. Hence, it is up to the others, especially the Abyssinians, to proof that they too are Ethiopians, equal to the Oromos, and not the other way round. Ethiopia is not a “given” for the Oromos. They earned it with immense sacrifices. Hence, for Oromos, like every “earned valuables”, territorial integrity of Ethiopia is the dearest of all!
- I know the above statement may be irritating to some Abyssinians but so be it. In any case, that is our past history. What we are dealing with today is the negative outcome of that reality and perception combined. Let me go to the main point – is TPLF really worried about Ethiopia’s territorial integrity or it is trying to extend its rule using scare tactics so that other nations raise their voices and hands against the alleged plan of Oromos – to disintegrate Ethiopia? Above all, is TPLF really an Ethiopian entity or an occupying force which is created to extract Ethiopia’s wealth resources and influence which may culminate in dismantling Ethiopia? If the answer is the second one, yes, then what should be done by genuine Ethiopians, the Oromos and others, to remove this occupying force from power seat and jointly pave the way to create a democratic and all-inclusive Ethiopia – a comfortable home to all her people? The to-do list for the Ethiopians minus TPLF, I will come back to it next time, God willing, but now let me focus on what TPLF must-do if it’s claim to be Ethiopian holds some iota of truth.
What, you (TPLF) MUST do
- Let me use my 1% reserve of probability which I promised earlier to use it at the end of this writing, as part of my very faint doubt that you may NOT be an occupying force but a genuine native entity wishing to create a democratic Ethiopia. Let me try to convince myself that you were actually trying to create a democratic Ethiopia and were working hard to make Ethiopians happy, but some kind of devil got in to you to commit the political and economic crimes you have been bent on committing. Let me try to assume that, after all, you are just protecting Ethiopia from those who are trying to disintegrate her, in doing so you misunderstood their intention and legitimate demands for their freedom as though in posing threats to your absolute rule, and by derivation, this was against Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. I think this much credit is enough to “proof” that you are “genuine” in what you were doing for Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Right? Let me continue…
- Let me assume that, as you were trying to make Ethiopia a prosperous State and bringing the living standards of Ethiopians to the level of those citizens of developing states like Malaysia and Singapore, you were having difficulties to achieve that sacred goal because of the incompetence and corruption by some wicked members of your government. Let me also try to understand your theory that democracy is not that easy to be achieved overnight and that twenty-five years of your rule is indeed very short time to even finish laying its foundation. Of course, you are blaming us for not understanding that scientific and complicated reality which only you and your crony “PDOs” can understand. You also assert that Ethiopian people are ungrateful for what you have done for them, not only for the sacrifices you made while in the bush but also for your “dedication” to make Ethiopia a wealthy democratic nation, while in power for almost three decades now. These “ungrateful people” continue failing you even after you “taught” them how to “demand and fight for their rights” – which, according to you, they were not aware of previously. ለመብት መታገልን አስተማርቸው, you said it recently when commenting on uprising of the Oromo people! Thanks to you, the Ethiopian people, after your quarter-century-long dedicated and enlightened undertaking, now started putting into practice what you taught them – demanding their rights! And as a teacher, I am sure you are very proud of your success. That is how dedicated teachers feel when they see their students excel. But the tragedy of your effort is that, your students “learned” very well regarding how to implement what you “taught” them, but you, as a teacher, failed to catch up with them. You “taught” them how and when to demand their rights, but you seem not to know the basics of how to listen to their demands. Yeah, my dear, it appears that you are ruling a wrong nation who is not capable of synchronizing what they were taught with your thoughts and objectives! I am wondering if it is not the other way round though – actually people understood you and your objectives very well and actually it is you who do not understand them. In any case, and as long as this mutual misunderstanding prevails, there is no way you can continue ruling over this nation. It may also be tiring and frustrating for you to rule the people who cannot, or do not want to understand you, let alone love you. ህዝብን የማያዳምጥ መንግስት እና መንግስትን የማይሰማ ህዝብ – አሉ ዲን ዳንኤል ክብረት!
- No matter what justifications you may wish to produce to convince the citizens and the international community that you are indeed Ethiopian and not an occupying force, the reality is that – from now on – neither can you administer the nation with ease nor will the people embrace you with love. You can only rule by force and against the will of the people. And that you cannot do forever, for the following reasons:
- When people rise against their unpopular rulers, nothing can stop them short of toppling them. So far, the Oromos are winning and the declaration of a state of emergency is a proof that you cannot rule the country unless you involve the military which, by definition, is created to defend Ethiopia from external aggressors and NOT to defend the government from “its own, beloved people”. As things are now, yes indeed you are strong because you have the army and the police on your side. And your death squad, the Agazi, is out there to silence every single dissenting soul. No one can dispute that. But believe me, there is always an end to a regime. Keep in mind that the quarter a million strong army did not save Mengistu from its demise when the Ethiopian people stood against him. Yes you are strong but remember – you are ruling a nation which do not love you at all. You are a stranger in an enemy territory and that makes you vulnerable to resist the ever increasing citizens’ dissent and uprising. No matter what you chose, you will never be the same again. You will die like any other socio-political system in human history. The question is when and not if.
- You stay at the helm of national political echelon simply because you managed not only to exploit the existing animosities between the elites of the two major ethnic groups in the country, predating you, but also by perpetuating them. You spend time and energy to inculcate in the minds of the youth of Oromia that the Amhara ruling system (which, as a system, has been defunct since 1975) is still the enemy of the Oromo people. However, the Oromos and Amharas, save the few in the die-hard diaspora radical minority, are now having more or less the same understanding about your repressive regime, and they are getting closer than ever before to jointly work on the roadmap for the creation of a democratic Ethiopia after your demise.
- Your demise is imminent. But my main worry is that you, as you go down the drain of history’s sewerage, like all dictators and occupying forces, you will leave behind such a mess, which, if not addressed timely and properly, may lead the nation into a civil war. Analysis from the countries which are suffering from civil war nowadays (Syria, Iraq and Somalia) reveals that there is no need for a nation’s diversity to mean that its citizens should be bent on destroying each other. And Ethiopia, with its more than 80 different nation and nationalities, dozens of religious denominations and variety of cultural backgrounds, is one of the most diverse nation in the world, hence extremely vulnerable to go down that road. Unfortunately, your actions, as I see it now, is leading the nation only towards that direction.
- If my 1% benefit of the doubt that you really love Ethiopia and Ethiopians is correct, then, please think twice and see what is within your capacities to bring the desired peace and tranquility to the Ethiopian people. Even with this little portion of probability, I still prefer to think positive that you are not there to harm Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Even if the assumptions that you are an occupying force and that you have a fallback position (ታላቋ ትግራይ) prove to be true, I maintain a tiny dose of belief that you (TPLF) are better off in democratic Ethiopia than ruling that depleted part of our planet – called Tigray.
- My dear friends (you, TPLF), history provided you with golden opportunities for a dignified exit first in 1992 (when you excluded OLF form the TG) and then in 2007 when you refused to share power with the opposition following the first ever “democratic” But, again, assuming that my 1% doubt is valid, you still have a chance to mend that broken link. Of course, there must be an expressed will from your side. You must show at least remotely, that you are indeed working for the betterment of Ethiopia and Ethiopians and that you are ready to prove that in practice. A small gesture on your part suffice to convince the Ethiopians in general and the Oromos in particular for example, by making public statements followed by actions, that you are taking concrete measures to ensure that Ethiopians are the owners of the country and that they have all the right to be administered by the representatives they freely chose.
- You have to open your eyes. Not only Ethiopians, but the entire international community, especially the democratic ones, are distancing themselves from you. Stop this old-fashioned rhetoric that the Oromo and Amhara uprisings were directed by foreigners and ጸረ-ሰላም ሃይሎች from abroad. This is a home-grown expression of people’s dissatisfaction with your rule. With this outdated rhetoric, you are only fooling yourselves. Your acts of violence against citizens is known world-wide and condemned widely. You may be confused with the relative silence of major western countries but that is simply because you still maintain a tiny leverage in the so called “war on terror”. That is not a long term political strategy but time-bound. Your involvement in Somalia was one of the not-so-strong leverages you had and that is now an expired item with little value. The fact that those who paid for your intervention in the first place did not say a word when you moved the army out of Somalia to defend your government from Ethiopian people (as if the uprising Ethiopians are posing more threat to Ethiopian territorial integrity than what al Shabab would do), shows that you lost your leverage. On the other hand, with the help of the international community including the United Nations and European Union, your human rights record are exposed, making it impossible for you to continue pretending as if nothing is happening. Because of these prevailing facts, for most democratic states, it is becoming an embarrassing to even sit with your delegations in the same conference hall where human rights are discussed. (You know what I am referring to: the increasing number of States, who are walking out of Conference halls when your officials take the podium and the embarrassment your official delegations face while on official visits to Western capitals).
- If you indeed, after liberating Tigray from Ethiopia, i.e. dismembering Ethiopia, you marched South to Ethiopia proper to build a new democratic Ethiopia where all the nations that constitute her, live in peace and harmony in a prosperous democratic Ethiopia, (again, I am using my 1% benefit of the doubt at my disposal) then here are my friendly, non-exhaustive list of advice for you to consider to convince the Ethiopian people that you are indeed NOT an occupying force:
- You have to recognize the year-long Oromo popular uprising as a genuine manifestation of the people that they are not accepting your rule as it is. You know it very well that the uprising was not the work of foreigners but the last resort of the very people you were boasting of voting for you, expressing their dissatisfaction with your socio-economic and political arrangement;
- Stop the killings, the torture and the mass arrest of Oromo people who have risen against you. Accept the fact that protesting against you and demonstrating peacefully on the streets of Oromia is their constitutional right and that you are duty bound to listen to them. That is the core of what is known as the social contract. But don’t complain if they resort to other violent means when they are frustrated by your actions or omissions. It is a normal human reaction to show resistance when violation occurs. You don’t expect a woman to stay calm and be raped but to show resistance to the extent possible regardless of the physical strength of the rapist. This is a normal human reaction and you should accept that. The only way to avoid violence and further conflict is to listen to those who are complaining.
- You MUST release ALL political prisoners without any pre-condition. Political prisoners are not criminals but individuals who maintain dissenting views, which is absolutely legal and constitutes part of human rights. Don’t fool yourself by declaring that they violated norms stipulated in the anti-terrorist law or terms of the recently declared State of Emergency both of which are introduced by you and to protect you from the Ethiopian people, NOT the Ethiopian people from foreign aggression or terrorists.
- Bring those who killed innocent Oromo demonstrators to the court of justice, including top government officials who ordered the killings. Homicide is homicide regardless of the motives. No matter who the killer is and for what purpose, no one has the right to deprive a human being off the right to life. The nation has ONLY one penal code applicable to ALL Ethiopians. NO matter who the killer is and for what purpose, the law should be equally applicable to all citizens. There is no reason why you are above the law and why your authorized killers are not accountable for the crimes they have committed against Ethiopians. Stop the nonsense of involving the Ombudsman “to investigate and report to the Parliament” The Ombudsman is NOT mandated to investigate homicide. Instead, the prosecutors should investigate and charge those who committed the crimes of killing citizens even if that includes the Prime Minister or the Minister of Interior, the ones who are presumed to have given the orders to kill.
- Open the media for the public – the real owners, because they pay tax, part of which is used to run the written, audio and visual media. Media should be independently owned by the people and NOT the government. If you want to have a media as the mouth piece of the ruling party/government, then you can have your own media outlet funded by members of the ruling party. That is the way it works in democratic countries. It is illogical to deny the very people, taxpayers, who you say “voted for you” access to the media and then accuse them of reading or listening to foreign media – the only option they have to make sense of what is going on around them. You are simply suffocating the nation and you should realize that the pressure cooker is going to explode sooner or later. And as and when it explodes, you know, it is going to burn everyone around especially those who are sitting very close to the pressure cooker i.e. you and your surrogates. That, I believe, is not what you want to happen, if you truly wish Ethiopia and Ethiopians a success.
- Stop displacement of the Oromo people from their ancestral lands and making them rootless. You are committing crime of the century by uprooting native Oromos from their land and selling it to the so-called “foreign investors”. For Oromos, nothing is more valuable than the land which is considered a God given resource that is not for sale but use. You can’t imagine the wounds you are inflicting on the Oromos whose land you are selling to foreigners (or so called domestic investors) and then displace them to an unknown location and uncertain future. These are the seeds you were sowing and that is exactly what you are now harvesting in form of mass uprising. Uprooted, disposed and humiliated people have nothing to lose but fighting you peacefully while being ready to sacrifice their lives, which is already taken away from them the day you took away from them their ancestral lands.
- Start negotiation with the opposition (multi-national, and national) and plan for a Transitional Government. This is another chance history is providing you with for a dignified exit. Don’t lose the opportunity! You may even have a chance to negotiate for Constitutional immunity, i.e. not to be held responsible for political crimes you have committed while in power (although, there will be NO immunity for those who committed crimes against humanity). If you fail to do so, you are simply adding fuel to the fire and the so-far peacefully demonstrating people may become militant and remove you from power seat with disgrace. Wake-up! You are no more the government which had been ruling the country with relative ease as it used to be in the past two decades. People are expressing their dissatisfaction from all corners and the fact that you declared the state of emergency is a sign that the civilian police is no more in a position to maintain law and order. The fact that you have to bring in the army, which by definition, is an institution to defend Ethiopia from foreign aggressors and NOT the government from Ethiopians, is a clear indication that you are in deep problem. You still have another life-line left though, for a dignified exit. Please consider it!
- You MUST lift the State of Emergency. Ethiopia is NOT under any threat whatsoever, but your government is. Stop using the pretext that those who you are accusing of “destabilizing the nation” from abroad are terrorists and anti-Ethiopian. They are citizens who are dissatisfied with the policy of your regime, similar to what you did in late 70’s when you went to the bush being dissatisfied with the government of Ethiopia. And don’t try to cover yourself under the disguise of “defending the Constitution” because, overthrowing a government unconstitutionally, is not new to Ethiopia. You remember very well, that is exactly how you came to power – unconstitutionally! You have no moral authority whatsoever to complain that people are trying to seize power unconstitutionally i.e. with the help of guns because you yourself came to power exactly the same way – using guns to unconstitutionally topple the government, regardless of whether it was a democratic or authoritarian. So it is not only laughable but painful to listen when you are trying to convince us to show respect for Constitution and constitutional way of seizing power because these are acts aliens to you and as a matter of fact, to Ethiopian history. Don’t even try to convince us that the bullets coming out of your guns were “humanitarian” and spread gospel of peace and democracy, whereas the same bullets coming out of the guns of OLF, ONLF or Ginbot -7, only spread terrorism. Guns are all the same – they kill human beings and that is the ONLY purpose of guns regardless of who is pulling the trigger! In short, although not preferred, removing governments unconstitutionally with the help of guns is not alien to our nation and you are its latest beneficiary.
- I know you will perish, like any other regime known in history. No doubt about that. But I am afraid that you go down in history taking large numbers of people with you. History has recorded so many cases, and I witnessed many of them during the past thirty years of my professional career, where repressive minority regimes like you, when forced to leave, resorted to extreme violence and destroyed not only the infrastructure of the nation but also the lives of people. Please don’t take us down the Syria Avenue. I am not paranoid but I do have reasons to worry about it. You are more powerful and armed than any other institution in the country and with the combination of your arrogance and ignorance, (ዕብሪት እና ድንቊርና ተደምሮ) I am afraid you are capable of hurting people as you go down the drain. Please don’t do that!
- You are very much aware that NO one wants your regime to continue ruling, except for the tiny portion of your ethnic kinsfolk, the few but powerful thieves who amassed public wealth, supported by your strong military apparatchiks. I fully understand if they don’t want you to leave the power seat because you are the sole protector of their stolen property and prestige. They want you to stay in power because, they know it very well, that with your departure from power their political and economic domination will also come to end and for good.
- As a conclusion, I would like to say the following: please stop being worried about Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. She has millions of genuine children, like the Oromos, who as usual, are ready to die for her territorial integrity. As for you, and judging from what you are doing now, I am very doubtful that you will be there for her. If at all, you are actually the main cause of her disintegration. Your actions suggest nothing other than that! You were created in 1977 with sole objective of dismantling Ethiopia’s territorial integrity. The worst part is, today as we speak, you are not even pretending or making an attempt or giving remote promises to change the political agenda of TPLF, which is nothing other than seceding Tigray form Ethiopia. So, unless you officially change the agenda of your Liberation Front – from seceding Tigray form Ethiopia to building democratic Ethiopia -, and your name from TPLF to something similar to the names of your puppet PDOs, there is no way on earth we Ethiopians can trust you and accept you as an Ethiopian entity.
As for the Oromos, I want to conclude with two points:
- As clearly demonstrated during the past one year uprising, Oromos are NOT demanding secession of Oromia from Ethiopia but rather removal of TPLF from power seat and its replacement by democratic forces comprising of representatives of ALL peoples of Ethiopia. So, if you change your political agenda as suggested above, you are most welcome to become member of the democratic club. But please remember – the Tigray people, have equal share in a democratic Ethiopia with or without you. As a matter of fact, in 1977 when you went to the bush, they never gave you a mandate to represent them or to fight for the secession of Tigray form Ethiopia. That was the sole decision of the few individuals (founders of TPLF) although once you seized power, you may have managed, to “convince” them to follow you. Otherwise, the people of Tigray, one of the friendliest nation in Ethiopia, and core of Abyssinia, deserve someone better than you. A very unlucky nation to be “represented” by you!
- Because of the fact that you killed so many Oromos, peaceful demonstrators, students, farmers, youth, the elderly, pregnant women and little girls under age of ten, you are at gumma relationship with us – the Oromos. That means, even if you pay compensations for each and every Oromo life lost as a result of your criminal acts, (although Oromos prefer to pay “gumma” and not to receive compensations) our tradition does not allow us to be seen with you at the same dining table or under one ኦዳ That will NEVER happen! As per the tradition, we should attach a short metal chain on your left wrist and send you to exile for life – to another village where no one knows you. Because of that un-removable chain on your wrist, every person that you encounter for the rest of your life will immediately recognize that you killed someone innocent. There are, however, exceptions to the rules depending on the circumstances under which you committed the crimes and your show of remorse for what you have done. You may be allowed to remain in the community, but always carrying the chain on your left wrist so that others learn the lessons from your evil past. In any case, there will never, I repeat, never, be a friendly relationship between you – TPLF and the Oromo nation. This however does not apply to Tigray people, who, like all other peoples of Ethiopia deserve a better government after your demise.
- Above all, keep in mind – your demise is imminent although we don’t know when that happens. The choice regarding how to die is yours – you can “die” peacefully and with dignity or “get killed” brutally and violently. በመሞት እና መገደል መካከል ትልቅ ልዩነት አለ: I personally want to see you dying peacefully so that I can come and be part of the mourning crowd to place the last nail on the coffin and spread soil on your coffin as they send it down to the bottom of the grave to make sure that you never come back again.
Ethiopia shall be free from Tyranny!
Democrtic Ethiopia shall rise from the ashes of TPLF-run secessionist regime!
 The author is a former Senior Official of the United Nations. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Global Refugee and Migration Council – GRMC, based in Geneva.
 In this writing I prefer to use TPLF instead of EPRDF for a simple reason that is TPLF which is de facto ruling Ethiopia and the remaining members of the “Front” are just entourage. Further, I will use the word “You” instead of TPLF, as an entity that is ruling Ethiopia although an effective and known leading figure of the Front is missing.
 IOLA was established in 2014 in the USA and since then, it organized couple of seminars and workshops where different Ethiopian and non-Ethiopian experts from home and abroad took part and discussed current political situations in Ethiopia in general and that of serious concern to Oromos in particular.
 Although Italians were colonizers , in this writing, I decided to use the term “occupiers” just for the sake of convenience and to make it easier for the audience to compare them with TPLF, knowing that the latter is not developed enough to be considered as a colonizing nation.
 A TPLF Company with its base in Tigray. EFFORT, although holding unquestioned monopoly over almost ALL imports and exports (especially of raw materials) to and from the occupied Ethiopia in general and Oromia in particular in a very similar fashion with what the British or French occupiers did in the countries they colonized, does not fall under Ethiopia’s jurisdiction, hence, is free from being auditing or scrutiny by any Ethiopian institution.
 I can understand why the OLF and ONLF still call themselves “Liberations Fronts” (because they haven’t “liberated” their respective lands from Ethiopia) but it is absurd to see you continue considering yourself as a “Liberation Front” after achieving your objective -liberating Tigray, which you achieved in 1991.
 Gobana may be considered a hero or an enemy of the Oromo people depending on who you talk to. That is very normal in history of state formation and what is a hero for one, is a terrorist/butcher/opportunist for the others. Jelavic is considered a hero by Croats and a butcher of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the Serbs.
 I am referring to your own statement that bad governance is the root cause of the recent and ongoing uprisings in Oromia and Amhara regions.
 Land, as the major means of production which the Amhara ruling system used to oppress the Oromos had been taken away from them with the Land Proclamation in 1975. The 17 years of Derg’s regime, literally dissolved the Amhara ruling system for good.