Gumii Paarlaamaa Oromoo (GPO)
Oromo Parliamentarians Council (OPC)
Page 2 home
Addis Ababa Unconstitutionally expand the city’s territorial boundaries
OPride) — The
Over the last week and half, hundreds of Oromo students at all
universities in Oromia expressed their opposition. While the
protests have largely been nonviolent, local reports show that at
least three students were injured in confrontations with police at
Roots of the conflict
Finfinne being an Oromo land, the Constitution also acknowledges the ‘special interest’ of Oromia regional state under Art 49(5). Although the constitution leaves the specifics to be determined by law, which's so far been absent, it is possible to discern the nature of these ‘special interests’ of Oromia from the provision of Art 49(5). These interests include provision of social services, utilization of natural resources of the city and other similar matters, including those pertaining to joint administration.
One of the main purposes of the Constitution is to rectify the
historical injustices committed against the nation, nationalities
and peoples of
Informal power play
The first provision of the Constitution is dedicated to proclaiming the form of government, i.e. Federalism, which in reality translates into a rarely applied pseudo structure that ensures the Tigrean-led government's continued grip on power. On paper, the constitution reorganized the country into nine regional states ‘largely’ defined on ethnic basis under its Art 47(1).
While its actual size and boundaries are contested or purposely
reduced, the creation of Oromia state has greatly helped in the
revival of Oromummaa, the Oromo national identity. Pursuant to Art
50(8) of the Constitution, the federal government is obliged to
respect state power. In accordance with the underlying principles of
federalism neither the federal government nor the
But the government's decision to implement the 'integration plan'
without any consultation or input from Oromo public is not entirely
surprising. Time and again, Oromo farmers were removed from their
land under the guise of development without adequate compensation.
The process by which the current plan was developed is yet another
affirmation of the pseudo nature of
The rhetoric of decentralization notwithstanding, real state power still remains highly centralized in the hands of elite from the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF), the main actors in the five-party ruling EPRDF coalition. Decisions are made at the center and regional state governments are only there to implement them. In Oromia, the OPDO, a presumably Oromo-based political party, has been loyal in serving this mission.
In the last two decades, OPDO officials oversaw extensive land grab across Oromia and gross human rights violations committed against the Oromo. The Oromia state parliament (Chaffee Oromia) along with the state's executive branch is constitutionally empowered to curb the implementation of this ill-purposed 'integration project.'
Individual human rights violations
The current integration plan project is clearly not in line with those special interests enshrined in the Constitution. It is no wonder then the plan has drawn the ire of Oromo students and an unusual opposition from members of the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO). In addition to this flagrant contradiction, the plan also neglects a series of individual and collective human rights.
The prime victims of
Both under its constitution and several international human rights
instruments it ratified,
Linguistic and cultural rights
Art 39(2) of the Constitution guarantees the right of every nation, nationalities and peoples to develop their language, culture and preserve their history. The fact that Oromo language has been used as the working language in Oromia has greatly helped in the revival of Oromo culture and history.
But Finfinne, which the Oromo refer to as ‘handhuura Oromiyaa' — meaning the Center of Oromia — is the pillar reminder of past injustices committed against the Oromo people and their continued marginalization. Today, there is little meaningful trace of Oromo identity in the city (no museums dedicated to the preservation of Oromo history, official street names, landmarks, statues, etc.) Instead, Finfinne continues to pose a threat as the nuclei of a mission to reverse the revival of Oromummaa over the last two decades. The implementation of the new ‘integration plan’ without due consideration of its impacts will undoubtedly serve as a continuation of this purpose.
Finfinne was once a land that exclusively belonged to the Oromo people. After conquest, Oromo clans, who settled on this land, were evicted — their culture was destroyed and replaced by an identity that's alien to the Oromo. Those who remained in the city adopted a new identity, language and religion — fully assimilating to a different social structure. Those who managed to keep their identity as Oromos faced social, economic and political marginalization and discrimination.
The new plan is part of this persistent need of oppression by Ethiopian authorities to keep the Oromo people in the shadows by violating their linguistic and cultural rights. In the long run, it is not far-fetched to say that the implementation of the new integration plan will threaten the viability of Oromia as an autonomous state.
The right to self-determination
In theory, the current constitution is billed as the vanguard of the
right to self-determination of nations, nationalities and peoples in
However, the highly stringent requirements of Art 39(1) cum Art
39(5) of the Constitution and the EPRDF regime's practice over the
last two decades show that this statements are meant only as shields
for the central state. Still, the Oromo people’s fundamental right
to self-determination and the right to freely pursue their economic,
social and cultural development are protected under the common Art 1
of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights. Hence, expanding the
Finally, it is obvious that the TPLF government has no intention of
upholding its own constitution. It only resorts to constitutional
provisions as a defense for the transgressions it commits. The
regime's claims that the integration plan aims to fulfill the
‘special interests’ of Oromia as provided under Art 49 of the
Constitution is misleading and a face-saving attempt. There is no
doubt that the Oromo people will be the prime beneficiaries any
genuine development. However, TPLF's ‘development’ fails that test
as it is premised merely on snatching the source of livelihood from
defenseless Oromo farmers without adequate compensation and
destruction of the Oromo identity. It must be interrogated, opposed
and scrutinized until due attention is given to the rights of Oromo
people and their constitutionally protected interests in Finfinne.
Furthermore, if genuine development was envisioned, cities in Oromia
can develop without requiring "integration" into
|Copyright ©2008 GPO/OPC Allrights Reserved|