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Can Oromia as a Country be a Better North East African Ally to the World with Security Concern?
February 18, 2013
By Daniel T.Dibaba
To many people in our world the word Oromia is pretty new and sounds odd. Since I am a nationalist Oromo and one of those who feel national responsibility to tell the world first hand and real story about this occupied country whose history had been told distorted to foreigners for over a century, I will try to describe about Oromia in order to shed light on it.
Horn of Africa;
in what is today
As one can see from the title, I argue that Oromia is located in geographically important part of the world for the fact that it is close to both Europe, and Arab countries, and as well it shares borders with unstable countries which might be safe haven to groups which might pose security problems to the region as well as to the whole world. Oromia is also closer to the East African seas, even though it does not border them.
· In North : Abyssinia -Amhara, Tigrai
· South: SNNPR,Kenya, Somalia
· East: Ogaden, Afar
· West:Gambella, Gumuz,Sudan
Miles, or, 600,000 square kilometers; Larger than
Over 40 million;
3rd largest nationality in Africa; single largest nationality in
Now, once Oromia becomes independent and this population gets up and begins advancement, it is needless to mention what a great Nation and Power it would turn out to be. Right now, there is a report indicating that the minority Tigrean ruled government of Ethiopia is following a policy of biologically causing infertility in Oromia so as to make the Oromo population decline over time, to make Oromia lose the majority status in the empire, a problem which can also be compounded partly by a TPLF engineered poverty in some parts of Oromia. 2**
It is quite obvious that a lot of developed and developing world countries have less population but stand as country.
Islam, Christian. Waaqeffataa was the original religion. As this is
peculiar to Oromia I will explain it as much as I know. Generally,
Oromos believed that the world is created by sky God; they refer to
the sky as residence of God. They usually call their God as ‘Waqa
Guracha’ literally translated as Black God meaning holy
God. In Oromos the term black is often used to mean pure, as in ‘bishaan
guraacha’ literally black water, meaning pure water. The Oromos
worshiped their God at home and at some specific places like at
river sides, lakes, under Sycamore, and on mountain tops. These
places are most often green and lively. Oromos do not worship these
places but believe they are holy places and prefer them as their
sanctuary. One nationally well known such place is Hora Arsadi (
However, today the majority of the Oromo people are followers of Islam and Christianity, while the remaining few are still followers of the original Oromo religion.
Oromo people have been in constant contact with other religions like Islam and Christianity for almost the last 1000 years. For instance, the Islamic religion was reported to have been in eastern Shawa about 900 A.D. and Christianity even before that. However, in favor and defense of their own traditional religion, the Oromo have resisted these religions for quite a long time. It is said that the Islamic religion spread in Oromia as a reaction to the Ethiopian colonization. The Oromo accepted Islam and non-Orthodox Christianity en-mass because they identified Abyssinian Orthodox Christianity with the oppressor and also to assert their identity vis-a-vis Abyssinians.
The two other religious beliefs, Christianity and Islam, started in Oromia about a century ago by their respective missionaries. Orthodox Christianity was initially imposed by Abyssinians, while Protestant Christianity started by European missionaries and Islam by Arabian missionaries by nonviolent teaching.3
What is special about Oromo is that there is no religious extremism. The followers of all the three religions denounce religious or any form of extremism. And in fact, as there is no idolatry, peoples are followers of either of the three religions. This will make sure that there is no place for religious based violence whether at home or abroad. Oromos are peace loving and law abiding. They wish peace and prosperity for everyone. I believe this unity in diversity among Oromo will foster peace at home, in the troubled North East Africa as well as wherever Oromos live. It my strong believe that world powers, especially those who have interests in North East Africa would achieve more with less expenses working with independent Oromia to address regional affairs.
Breadbasket of the Horn of Africa -cereals including wheat, barley, sorghum, maize, tafi; exports includes coffee, oil seeds, hides and skins; it has the largest livestock holding in Africa; forestry – houses all the forest and wildlife reserves of the Horn including unique species like Nyala-lbex, Colobus monkey and the red fox. Minerals – two of three mineral belts of the region including gold, silver, platinum, uranium, marble, other varieties of rocks, Nickel, and natural gas. Oromia also has heavy deposits of other metal ores and charcoal. Recently Oromo geologists mention that there are enormous deposits of precious stones like sapphires in extended locations.
In addition to these, Oromia has a lot of exquisite natural scenic sites like lakes, zoos, green mountain chains with plenty of wild animals which are said to be rare outside Oromia and people with a natural beauty and tradition.
The fact that Oromo owns enormous natural resources implies that Oromo would not need to follow a policy of exploitation in its minorities and neighbors. This strongly promises peace inside and around Oromia.
Oromo has a very rich and original culture. Oromia has a lot of original cultures which include Dhanga (variety of highly nutritious foods with specific ingredients and recipe), Gada system, defense system,and rituals. Oromo have variety of music styles few of which coincide with the modern world music.The music styles include shaggooyye, Iyyaasee, Ragada, Raphisa, Tirrii, Shubbisa, Hurruubsa , Dhiichisa, Geerarsa, and etc. In Oromia culture the Gada system is a very prominent democratic system that resembles the current day real democracy. In the Oromo Gada system every person passes through stages every eight years and sets of specific activities, responsibilities and duties are prescribed to each stage. Everyone enters to the first Gada stage at birth and enters the next ones every eight years. Gada system is an effective democratic administrative system whereby the leaders of Oromia are elected by democratic voting system. According to Gada system the president is called Aba Bokku (Aba Gada). Aba Bokku can only preside one term of nonrenewable eight years. The stage that can preside is the Gada stage (40-48 years old). Gada system is highly democratic and ensures the human rights are respected at all stages. In Gada system individual conflicts are first resolved by arbitrating elders and if elders fail to reconcile the two sides the court is the final option.
Administrative and Leadership system
When we look at the Oromo leadership system a lot of things come to mind. Leadership begins at home and ends with the government. What makes Oromo leadership system special is that it is totally democratic at all stages. Given the intention of my article, I will focus on leadership at government level. The administrative and leadership system requires those in Oromia government to be fully democratic and to play a leadership role than a master role. Those in offices are required to serve the society genuinely and fairly. The system is meant to serve the public and is not meant to serve only a specific circle of people or a specific clan. It ensures Oromos values, norms and mores are observed and respected. There is nothing like oppression, exploitation, and imprisonment without trial, kidnapping or extra judicial killing. Everything is democratic. The state ensures the rights of citizens are respected.
representatives promise that the leadership will once again be
totally democratic, once independent. The government will do a lot
to change the life of citizens. It is my hope that Oromo government
will promote urbanization and mechanization. For over a century the
Abyssinian rulers followed a policy of denying Oromos the right to
modern education; deprived Oromos the right to own wealth and
properties, and blocked urbanization in Oromia. In major Oromia
towns they disowned the Oromos and transferred the properties to
themselves or to their citizens and levied heavy taxes to
systematically impoverish the Oromos. All these will once and for
all stop in Oromia only when Oromia becomes independent. The Oromo
government will make sure the society keeps pace with
world’s technological advancement and modernization. So
it means that the world will have a democratic, promising and
reliable partner with a population of over 40 million, which is more
or less similar to the population of
Past and current
Here again, it
is worth mentioning the fact that historically Oromos were led by
regional kings like Bakare Godana (…. 1871), Moroda Bakare(1871 –
1888), Kumsa Moroda(1889 – 1924), Jote Tulu (…1870), Sacho Nechocho(1750?),
Firisa (‘Aba Fogi’:1899 – 1902),Aba Jifar(1932), Abba Gadas and
sultanates. These were some of the Oromia states’ kings (rulers) who
were leading States of Oromia until they were finally one by one
broken by the Abyssinian invasion and incorporated into Abyssinian
Empire which was later called
The main political representatives of Oromia that struggle for independence include Oromo Liberation Front(OLF), United Liberation Forces of Oromia (ULFO),Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia (IFLO),Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement(OFDM), Oromo People’s Congress(OPC). The last two organizations are unarmed and were established in recent decades and participated in two shame elections in 2005 and 2010 ,(OPC was established earlier and had participated in more than two sham elections), while the rest are armed and as a whole are the ones Oromos hope will liberate Oromia.
Out of the armed Oromo organizations OLF is stronger and has the majority Oromo public support and is currently active in Oromia. After it was established in 1973, it had participated in toppling Derg regime (previous Ethiopian regime) and had participated in transitional government of Ethiopia that was established in 1991 with Tigrean Liberation Front (TPLF-current ruling party) until it was ousted in 1992 by TPLF fearing the popularity of OLF as a potential threat to its party. OLF has few factions, which merely differ in how to achieve the goal of independence, while all believe in independence of Oromia. Currently, the factions are getting unified under the original OLF and there is open call for all the independent Oromo political organizations for unity. Since its establishment OLF has paid tens of thousands lives, money and material sacrifices for the cause of Oromia. Since OLF’s policy ensures religious freedom, there won’t be fear for religious extremism. ** The promising fact about OLF is that all the factions are more than ever uniting and have recognized the dire need for unity of organization and the Oromo Nation as a whole. This would have significant effect in effectively mobilizing resources for the liberation struggle. In addition it shows the level of national awareness in the society has grown and at its highest levels. In my understanding currently we can categorize the political organizations struggling for Oromia’s self-determination into three categories based on their strategies to achieve the end result.
· Oromo Liberation Front (OLF): A conglomerate faction of the main and original OLF (Shanee) with OLF-Transitional Authority.
· ULFO: An Oromo faction with similar agenda as in number 1.
· Oromo Parliamentarians Council: Former Oromo Parliamentarians, work on building unity in Oromo Nationality, and Diplomacy, and Protection of Oromo Refuges. Oromo Parliamentarians Council is currently working on reaching Oromia.
· Oromo People’s Congress: A merger of OFDM and ONC (Oromo National Congress) based in Oromia.
Both OLF and
ULFO are armed political organizations that differ only in some of
their strategies of struggle. OLF’s initial goal was to give Oromo
the right to self-determination in form of referendum which they are
denied by EPDRF (TPLF, OPDO and their allied non Oromo parties) even
though it was included in the empire’s constitution during the
transitional period of 1991 to 1992 when OLF was in the transitional
government, while ULFO’s goal was creation of independent Oromia as
a country and believes there is no need for referendum to achieve
the goal. Currently OLF has reached an agreement the goal of
Oromia’s National Struggle and unequivocally declared its end goal
is restoration of Oromia as a sovereign country. Oromo
Parliamentarians Council was established by former elected Oromo
Parliamentarians who left the empire after a number of elected OFDM
candidates were either imprisoned or killed by Ethiopian regime
immediately after the 2005 Ethiopian election. A notable among the
founder of Oromo Parliamentarians Council is Dr. Getachew Jigi.
Oromo Parliamentarians Council has been working on building unity
among independent Oromo Political Organizations; raising awareness
of international community about Oromos’ human right violation by
EPRDF; diplomacy and on making the Oromo Nation the owner of its
struggle. The fourth
category is, as mentioned above, unarmed and registered by EPDRF as
opposition party having offices in
Out of all the Oromo Political Organizations, OLF led by Comrade Dawud Ibsa (the first of the three mentioned above) is the main OLF, which is stable and has wide acceptance. It has hundreds of thousands of strong supporters, members of political and armed wings in addition to the general Oromo population that believe in it as the Christ of Christians and Mohammed of Islam for protection and independence.
None of these Oromo political organizations believe in terrorism as a means to achieve Liberation of Oromia. They even consider it as an act of desperation and strongly excommunicate it though EPDRF had tried a lot of times to accuse all of them at different times for an act of terrorism. In all of the cases these political organizations have denied the act and have not taken responsibilities therein. Most of the time EPDRF itself is implicated for carrying out a fake drama to kill civilians to accuse the rebels and opposition parties as terrorist. EPDRF’s act of terHYPERLINK "http://www1.oromo.org/enocide-against-the-oromo-people-of-thiopia.html"rHYPERLINK "http://www1.oromo.org/enocide-against-the-oromo-people-of-thiopia.html"orism. (Provocation of violence between Oromo and other nationalities4.
Mainly these Oromo political organizations strive to work with other nations’ opposition organizations in the empire on the struggle for liberation of the respective nations from the undemocratic and brutal rule by the Tigrean minority government. They have strong ties and understand each others’ goal. OLF and ULFO have ties with Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), Gibot 7, Sidama Liberation Front (SLF), Afar* , Beneshangul Gumuz Liberation Front, while OPC is a member of Ethiopian Fedral Democratic Unity Forum a coalition of six opposition parties.
Prospects for Regional and World Security
of Oromia has tremendous outcome first for its citizens, second for
the region, and for the whole world with security, economic, and
human right concern. It would mean Oromos will, for the first time
in a century, be the first citizen in their own country. It will
bring radical economic change into the lives of millions of Oromos,
as the natural resources of Oromia will be fairly used for its
development. I believe this will put an end to poverty for good in
Oromia, which will ease the burden on donor organizations. Oromia’s
independence will also have significant regional impact as formation
of a true democratic and stable country in the region will end
One might ask what does the world benefit from this. Millions are suffering the result of oppression, thousands are killed at gun point, tens of thousands are in Ethiopian prison just due to asking for freedom of Oromia, millions are starving to death in the Empire while most often you cannot get any environmental but political explanation for the situation-people starving in green neighborhoods. This time around, farmers are evicted and tons of hectares of farmlands are leased by Tigrean government to foreign countries and foreign nationals against the will of citizens. Injustice somewhere is justice nowhere!
Ethiopian Empire, North East African countries including Kenya,
Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Egypt, Uganda;
and western powers like USA, UK and EU, Canada; Asia Pacific
countries like Japan, China ,Australia etc. It runs in Oromia’s
histories that Oromos have ever been fighting to get back
independence and sovereignty it lost after heavy bloodshed. Needless
to mention the role of
As a matter of
this historical fact of involvement of the West and world powers in
the subjugation and continuation of status quo of Oromia, they must
also participate in the struggle of Oromia for independence. It is
widely known that US, UN and the West have responded with support to
public uprisings in North Africa taking place since middle of
which are meant
to bring end to dictatorial rules and public miseries.
This lump sum of
money is spent on building modern defense army, in an empire where
millions starve to death merely due to poor leadership. The fact
that direct military support and trainings, rendered to TPLF led
EPRDF by the West for the purpose of guarding regional security
against terrorists, end in squashing internal freedom fighters like
OLF & ONLF should not be overlooked. If US, UN and EU support the
The Role of World Powers on the Oromia’s Liberation Struggle
It is obvious
that the world is interconnected and prevailing condition in one
community or country most often affects others in the surrounding or
in any part of the world. Due to this and other reasons the world
powers and International Organizations are observed involving in the
politics of nations throughout the world. Such include the mega
powers like North America (US & Canada), Europe, Asia Pacific
Countries like Japan, China, Australia and Koreas; UN, AU and EGAD.
This involvement though usually meant to be positive can have both
positive and negative outcomes when looked at from different
perspectives. To mention few of interventions of my interest: UN is
involved in assisting East Timor gain Independence, US has assisted
Kosovo get independence, US has assisted SPLM financially, and
recently US, EU, UN and NATO have expressed their concerns for the
Civilians on protest in North Africa including in Tunisia, Egypt,
and Libya. In many of these cases they have even called the
dictators to step down and give power to the public and in the case
Having said that about the role of external powers and forces on internal affairs of communities, countries and empires, let me express the expectation of Oromia and Oromo’s politicians from these powers. Due to the historical involvement of external forces for the initial failure of Oromia as a sovereign country at the end of 19th C and beginning of 20th C and due to the continued involvement in the current political equation of the region by these forces, Oromos and Oromo political organizations expect these powerful institutions and countries to be on the side of the liberation struggle of Oromia, which is home to more than 40 million Oromo population in Ethiopian empire of about 85 million population and over 72 ethnic groups. They can side with the liberation struggle in many ways including through: direct financial and military support, pushing for the realization of meaningful democracy and respect for human right including self determination of nations, freedom of political prisoners and indirect ones like stopping the military and financial support to ERDF in any form, holding Ethiopian government human right criminals accountable for the crimes they commit against humanity, and pushing for meaningful negotiations in presence of third parties including UNPF for the realization thereof. Giving recognition to OLF as a freedom fighter by the world powers will also affect how it is seen by countries in the region and will have positive impact on the nation’s struggle. Since freedom and human right are the fundamental rights and extremely crucial for the development of any nation, Oromia desperately needs the assistance of the world in realization of this goal that has cost it millions of human lives and billions of properties since the inclusion in the Abyssinian empire (Ethiopia).
By Daniel T. Dibaba
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