Gumii Paarlaamaa Oromoo (GPO)
Oromo Parliamentarians Council (OPC)
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Dr. Negasso Gidada Response to Ato Girma Kassa
Apr 6 at 2:06 PM
Point 1 – On “Trying to have back the dead Kinijit is an illusion?”
Yes, I am sure that we are speaking of the same Kanjit as the organization which was a coalition of four parties which was legally registered and participated in the 2005 election but which disintegrated latter. As an organization, it was born then and has died since.
For some Ethiopians Kinijit may be a symbol of a movement, as you
say, “the movement of democracy, justice and Ethiopiawinet. It was a
symbol of the ever growing thirst and hunger of the people to have
its dignity, respect and freedom.” But I cannot exclude other
Ethiopian organizations and movements which do have similar aims and
goals. The Ethiopian people have been struggling for democracy,
justice, to have their dignity and freedom respected. Different
movements and organizations have taken up this aim and have
struggled in their own way and are continuing to do so. I do
recognize that there may be differences on the term “ETHIOPIAWINET”
a term which is perceived differently as we observe in the current
political debate.(I shiver and fear for the future of Ethiopia when
observing the heated propaganda war now raging between the
“ETHIOPIAWINET” and “OROMUMMAA” nationalists in the Diaspora and the
social media)For some “ETHIOPIAWINET” means simply being an
Ethiopian citizen enjoying the rights endowed to him/her by the
constitution and obeying the laws and regulations of the country.
For some however it means being born and living in the territory
under the control of the Ethiopian state. (Some may live outside but
still having some kind of emotional attachment to
Thus, I am not sure if all the supporters for Kinijit included “ETHIOPIAWINET” as their motto. Yet I know that UDJ, Semayawi, Arana, Mebers of Medrek and Tibibir, AEUP and other democratic parties struggle for democracy, justice, for the dignity and respect of freedom of the people. This aim is the moving spirit which behind the aborted success of the Kinijit of 2005. As I said in my last e-mail I hoped that the merger negotiation between AEUP and UDJ was near and it was my hope that some of the spirit of Kinijit would revive. Unfortunately this did not happen.
Whatever the case, it seems that it would be good if the term
“ETHIOPIAWINET” (and “Oromummaa” for that matter) is
clarified and explained in a way which would be acceptable to all
As for the coming together of AEUP, EDP, Semay awi, and UDJ, I am
not opposed to their coming together. However, from my knowledge of
these organizations and my very recent experience (I have had
contacts with at least two leaders last week) and from what I read
in few issues of “Negere
You say “The merger with AEUP is 95% complete.” Dear Ato Girma, I do not know from whom you get your information. I am very sorry that there are people who, for some reason or another, do not give you the whole picture. I can assure you that the merger question between AEUP and UDJ is dead at the moment formally. What I do not know exactly, but what I suspect is that both parties, particularly UDJ, is trying to woo members of the Lailay Mikirbet, the members of the General Assembly and other members and supporters of AEUP to its side. Are people telling you that this kind of work has progressed 95%?
As for UDJ and Semayawi, I know that there are “excellent relationships between Semayawi and UDJ young leaders.” even while I was in UDJ beginning from the time of Andualem. I know who these “young leaders” are too. I am however very sorry that these “young leaders” are not daring to bring the issue of ending the war between the two parties, formal cooperation and the question of reconciliation and merger to open discussion at the levels of the General Assemblies, National Councils and the Executive Committee of UDJ and Semayaqwi parties.
Yes, that Semayveawi is featuring UDJ’s millions of vices movement
and news of other activities of UDJ in Negere
As for the merger between Arena and UDJ, it is true that there is
good cooperation at the grass root level in Tigray since the time
when we went to Mekele to open UDJ office. I also know that there is
frequent communication between some leaders of UDJ and Arena. I also
read articles by some leaders and members of Arena in the private
media. But these communications and statements do not depict the
official line. My information (the last information I have is from
last Sunday and Tuesday). According to my reliable information Arena
has clearly told UDJ officials who have contact with Arena officials
that UDJ must first clear its relation with AEUP and complete the
merger negotiation with AEUP. Besides, there seem to be some
programmatic points on which there are differences which demand
serious discussion and compromise from the two organizations. If
compromise is impossible, one of them may have to give up its stand.
If this is impossible the question of merger is out of the question.
I would not give that 50% to the possibility. Like Ato Abrha Desta,
I and all Ethiopian Citizens have
I agree with your view about EDP which you expressed as follows: “Though we have heard from EDP officials the willingness to work with other oppositions, I believe in view of the unfortunate negative politics and misunderstandings of the past 4, 5 years, it may be challenging to accomplish any merger with EDP in the next 2,3, 4 months. If parties put aside the past, focus on the future and start talking in good faith, I believe it might be possible to narrow the gap with EDP as well. Though I would encourage it, I think it may be a long shot. Though not merged, if EDP and others at least find common grounds and work together on items they can agree with, it would be a good thing...” But when I observe some leaders who even shun greeting Ato Lidetu Ayalew whenever there is opportunity of meetings and receptions, I am afraid point of even agreeing to tolerate each other will take much more than 5 months. But events may prove me wrong as one cannot judge the time span of political events basing one on what observes on the attitudes and activities some individuals.
Whatever differences I may have with AEUP, EDP, UDJ and Semayawi and
as a neutral person I am not opposed to their merger to become one
of the strong parties in
Point 2: - On “Oromia only for Oromos?”
My fear on this point is that you overlook the base of the Oromia
constitution. The base is the Constitution of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia. If one is not against the constitution of FDRE
it would then be easy to understand the constitution of Oromia.
Article 8/1 reads “All sovereign power resides in the Nations,
Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia”.
Article 5/3 reads: “Members of the Federation may by law
determine their respective working language”. Article 39/3 adds :
Every Nation, Nationality and
The non-Oromo living in Oromia are minorities who should have full social, economic and political rights equal to Oromos and no less. Their human rights must fully be respected. Of course everyone, Oromo or non-Oromo, should abide by the laws and regulations stipulated by the government of that region which should conform to the constitutions.
The recent incident in Ambo area reminds me of two occasions when I was member of OPDO and President of FDRE which I would touch upon in number 3 below.
· The 1989 (Eth. Calander) “Gimgama” of OPDO
The conflict between the Amhara settlers and the Oromo of
Your view and statement which say “This is due to the “Oromia only for the Oromos” radical, racist, medieval and backward politics that is embedded in the Oromia constitution.” does not give any chance to come to understanding each other at all and may even be dangerous for Ethiopia, I am afraid.
Point 3 – On “Right of “Non Oromos” in Oromia”
First of all it would be good if do not quarrel on data. The fact is that the majority of the people in Oromia are the Oromo people. I do know that the Oromo who had the chance to go to school and who live in towns and the neighboring do understand Amharic. The other fact is that there are many non-Oromo who live in the towns in Oromia. They went there as servants of the state. (Administrative, army, scurrility and police).Others went for employment and trade. All these people have brought their relatives and have reproduced by establishing families. Another fact is that thousands from other regions have been resettled in Oromia in rural areas through government (previous governments and EPRDF). Still others have by their own initiatives in “forest and fertile land” in Oromia. All in all many non-Oromo live in Oromia although we are not sure how many millions.
I have dealt with the constitution of Oromia and for me; it is based on the constitution of FDRE which guarantees the right to self determination. The Oromia constitution does not say, “ non-Oromos or those who do not speak Afan Oromo, have no rights. They are second citizens.” This is your interpretation, I fear, and is based, may be on your not accepting the constitution of FDRE, particularly Article 39. On the other hand, I do know that there are Oromo individuals who do say “ non-Oromos or those who do not speak Afan Oromo, have no rights. They are second citizens.” I have expressed already that I am against such people. This brings me back to the OPDO “Gimgama” of 1989. OPDO was then confronted with serious problems of human rights violation, corruption and anti-democratic Oromo nationalism. We evaluated the leadership, the cadres and members of OPDO under the motto “Clean OPDO from OLF attitude (anti-democratic/narrow) and Naftagna (please note that Naftagna is not equal to Amhara) practices (violation of democratic and human rights including corruption). The result of the “Gimgama” was that thousands were found out to have anti-democratic attitudes and carried out Naftagna practices. 189 cadres were imprisoned so that they are brought to justice because of high corruption and serious human rights violation. Thousands were expelled because of their bad attitudes and bad practices. Only about 300 were kept after receiving warnings. Among these were Alemayehu Atomsa and Muktar Kadir. Anyway, what was going on then was really very sad. Non-Oromo Ethiopian investors and traders were not welcome. Documents for bids for land were leaked out to Oromos so that they could win against non Oromo (for example against the 7 rich Gurage in Jimma). Shops were closed down. Boards to guide people were written only Qube (no Amharic and English translation). Appeal documents written in Amharic were rejected. Schools refused to give lessons in Amharic. (With silly arguments “we were formally forced to learn in Amharic, now it is their turn to be forced to learn in Afan Oromo.) We will not pay money for Amharic teachers and books”). Unfortunately, I hear that the attitude and practice still lingers. But this is not because of he constitution.
Arround 1990/1991 (Eth. Calander), there was serious conflict in
Dear Ato Girma. I think such attitudinal and practical problems would live with us for some time. The root causes are complicated and need patient, wise, correct administrative and democratic solutions. The expansion of investment, the need of land for industry and residence around the towns, the need of land by the landless, the need for water and grassland, the problem of erosion and lose of fertility of land may aggravate the problem of which we witness in recent days.
From my line of argument, you can see that I support that the
majority of the people living in a kabala, a Woreda, a zone or a
region should be able to use their language for administration,
judiciary, legislative and social service such as school. But the
right of the minority (political, social, economic, linguistic, and
cultural) must be respected and protected. We can learn much from
the experience in
Please do not misquote me. I did not say Oromia is homogeneous. But the fact that the Oromo are the majority in Oromia is undeniable. I do not know why you bring “Kelem Wellga” into the picture again? I think you want to know more about me and the area. Yes, I am from an Oromo family of Dembi Dollo town, of Sayyo/Dembi Dollo Woreda, of Kellem Wallagga Zone, of Oromia and of Ethiopia If you want to know deeper, my mother is from Kure clan and my father is from Halaqaa-Damota clan of Dhae group of Sayyo tribe of Macha-Oromo group of Western Oromia.The area was subdued by Meneliks Neftagna, conquered and was for first time integrated into the state of Ethiopia in 1886.The neighbors of the Sayyo were then the Mao, Busaasee, Majanjir, Anyuak, in the west and the Leeqaa and Tum’ee branches of Macha Oromo groups south of Abayya and west of Ambo who were also subdued, conquered by Menelik and integrated ). In Dembi Dollo, there are Gurags; Anuaks; Majanjirs; Mao, Busase; Tigre; (including Eritreans); Amhara from Gondar, Wallo, and Gojjam; Sudanese, Grees, Italians and Americans. The administrative, judiciary, education language is Oromo. Oromo is Lingua Franka. Non-Oromo use Afan Oromo and the Oromo can speak Amharic, and some speak English, Arabic and Italian.
Point 4 – ON “Teaching Amharic in Oromia”
When did I oppose the teaching of Amharic in Oromia? If you could
refer to our last communications I was oppssed to your idea that
Amharic becomes the working language in Oromia. I agree with you
100% that “Afan Oromo, Amharic, English are all
languages, communication tools. There is no problem if people learn
as many languages as possible.” I hope you would not doubt that. Yes
Amharic is the dominant language as Afan Oromo is the second
dominant languge in
Your examples about the judge, OPDO/OLF leaders and Aba Dulla are reminder of the fact that the ruling class do not care about the masses. Yet I think that your suggestion and my reply to it must be subject for open public discussion and final amendment of the constitution and its approval or rejection by the people. In this way, a regulation would be on the ground which all should abide by. It is because of such matters that we need to struggle for the establishment of a democratic atmosphere. Not only the rich and the ruling class which should enjoy what is advantageous for the well being of all our citizens.
Point 5 – On “Amharic working languages in Oromia”
As I repeatedly indicated the FDRE constitution respects and
guarantees the right of all Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of
Point 6 – On “Amharic as a foreign language ?”
I thought you said that we should not fight on the past. But you are
forcing me to go back into the past to make myself clear. The fact,
whether some accept it or not, is that the modern Ethiopian state
was born at the end of the 19th Century during the
colonial expansion (direct and indirect) of the imperial powers. It
was at this time that areas south of the
Your mention of the refusal of Negassa Dilbo ( I think you are talking of Galaasaa Dilboo), Issayas Afeworki and Lencho to use Amharic when, for you, the “Shameful Charter” was being discussed, may look funny/silly to the “Ethiopian Nationalists” who consider only Amharic as the only Ethiopian language. (This may be one of the reasons why some people attach camouflaged Amhara nationalism to the call of “Unity” under “ETIOPIAWINET” and consider some Ethiopian parties as nothing else than Amhara parties.). On the other hand, I myself many negative experiences with some Oromos who although they knew Amharic would not read Amharic press, would not listen or see to Amharic broadcasts and who even would not greet people in Amharic. They considered Oromos who did this as traitors and excommunicated them. Even then I try to understand why people act this way. I think it is a matter of self awareness and self assertion, which, if it is democratically and wisely handled is something acceptable until all side accept each other on fair and equal bases. Lencho’s interviews in Amharic is for me positive and wise as it shows that it is important to convey your massage in as many languages as possible to the Ethiopian and international public.
I think I have said enough on the language policy for future
Point 7 – On “The right of cessation”
I repeat what I said the last time and stick to my stand even if you may be trying to say that I have OLF attitude, as even some top officials of ANDM think.
‘If I meet the OLF people in Minnesota or elsewhere, I would advise them to abandon the armed struggle, come and work peacefully, legally, democratically accepting the laws and the constitution of the country. But I would not call on them to abandon the secession question. Unfortunately, this is what all Ethiopian Nationalists are demanding from OLF. The secession question is a question which could and should be answered by the Oromo people through a referendum, and not by EPRDF, OLF, ODF, OFC, Blue Party, UDJ, AEUP, EDP, and Ginbot 7 and so on’
You say “With all due respect, Dr Negasso, I suggest you look
around. The position you have now is the position of the old OLF. It
did not work. It failed.” First of all, which is the old OLF? Is it
the OLF of 1974/1976 OLF or the OLF of 2004? If it is the 1974/
1976, its political objective says “The fundamental objective of the
struggle the realization self-determination for the Oromo people and
the liberation from oppression and exploitation in all their forms.
This can only be realized through consummation of the new democratic
revolution by waging anti-feudal, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist
struggle, and by the establishment of the people’s democratic
My friend Ato Girma, where and how is the position I now have
becomes the position of the old OLF? OLF speaks about the
establishment of people’s democratic
I know that the OLF of 2004 has a somewhat different stand from its earlier position. It says that the question of future status of Oromia would be decided by the people. It does not clearly say whether it stands for unity or secession. For which position would it argue if there is going to be a referendum and if parties and individuals would be free to democratically teach their position to the people before the referendum? This is where I make my position clear and call on the OLF to clear its position. Of course I would be very happy if the OLF would take up my position.
I also know that “Many of the OLF folks have abandoned this
Lencho and Dima, the founders of the OLF have abandoned the
old position. This is good. You ask : “Why are you trying to bring
up this degenerate politics ?” But I am not the one who is trying to
bring up “this degenerate politics”. It is rather some followers of
the nationalist ideology of “ETHIOPIAWINET” who want to deny the
right of peoples to self determination and resurrect the dead empire
by any means (“anideraderm”)
which I smell in the programs of some “democratic” parties,
who have brought up the “this degenerate politics”. Has the
UDJ not change the article 3.1.5 of its program? What about
the negative attitude some people have against Medrek? Is the
question of the right to self-determination behind all these? Is the
right to self-determination a democratic issue? Is it not one of the
political questions which are not yet answered? Is not the National
Question one of the hot issues at the moment? Look at the
discussions going on now around Jawar Mohammed, Lencho/ODF, the 100th
anniversary of the death of Menelik, Anole Statue case, Bedele Bier
case, the statement of Ato Alemnew Mekonin and Prof. Getachew Haile.
What about the displacement of peoples in different parts of
Point 8 – On “The Latin alphabet”
Yes, I am not a linguist. I respect the views of linguists such as
Dr. Fikre Tolessa. But I still think that Geez Alphabet as it stands
today does not fit for the Oromo language. By the way, did you by
chance follow a program on ESAT last week? The program was
politicians and artists from Wallagga. There were some poems written
in Geez and the program presenter was trying to read the poems.
Oh!!! It was terrible listening to the reading of the presenter. I
sat there and asked myself why he should bother himself. Why didn’t
he leave it? I asked myself, because the way he was reading sounded
as if he was reading another language and not Afan Oromo. What can I
say? Was it insulting, teasing or embarrassing? But I appreciate the
effort of the presenters to try to reach the Oromo also. The problem
is not that some people can say “Le”. They say “Re” instead. When
they are told to say “Re”, they say “Le” instead. In the same way
some people “Le” instead of “Ne” and “Ne” instead of “Le”. I have
experienced this in a district in
By the way, Latin was used
by the Austrian missionary named Krapf in the 1840s when he traveled
in Shawa. Haile Fida and his group used Latin alphabet when they
wrote the first Oromo grammar in
Point 9 –On “ the politics of Oromization”
I mean what I mean and I do not support those who want to Oromize
others. But I still respect and defend the constitution of Oromia
and the FDRE. I am aware that they need some amendments, but
according to the procedures set in the constitution. That is why I
cry that the issue at steak at present in
On your “Conclusion”
You concluded by writing: “
It is clear that there are huge differences between our views and
attitudes. Why not?
“Long Live Differences” It is through discussing on differences that
positive ideas and ways as to how we solve problems can be found. I
respect your views and stands. But I doubt that your position is
better of the Oromos. The attitude itself (“I am better”, “My
position is better”) is very dangerous and this kind of attitude is
what has and is hindering us from being able to solve the many
Good bye for now,
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