(Melbourne, Irreechaa, September 30, 2021)-The Oromia Irreechaa Organising Committee in Victoria is preparing to celebrate Irreecha Birraa in Melbourne on 3rd October.
Irreechaa is the annual Oromo people Thanksgiving Day that is celebrated every year in Birraa near the river bank or water and tree.
Head of the Committee, Ob Abdeta Homa, said the celebration marks the end of the rainy season (June to September and the beginning of the spring season for planting (September to June).
Irreechaa is celebrated every year in the end of September or beginning of October in various part of the globe where the Oromo community resides.
The organisers states that this year celebration in Melbourne will be held in the context of the country at family level due to COVID-19 lockdown while cultural values of the Irreechaa celebration are maintained. The celebration still helps to strengthen and promote the Oromo tradition of respect for nature and gratefulness for life in Melbourne.
Head of Cultural Education Committee, Danye Dafarsha, also said the Irreecha festivity celebrated in Birraa (in September and October) is the cultural expression of thankfulness to Waaqaa for providing life necessities to human beings and other living things.
This is because the Oromo believe Waaqaa is the sole creator of everything and source of all life. It is also regarded as pure, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible and intolerant to injustice, crime, sin and all falsehood. It can do and undo anything.
On this day, family come to gather at their best place (near the river bank or water) depending on their states lockdown restrictions, to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa(God) for all the blessings throughout the past dry season and ask for Araaraa (Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the present and the future.
Australian Oromo formally celebrated this Irreecha every year in Birraa near the river bank or water and tree.
According to the Irreechaa Organising Committee, all Oromos in Victoria are expected to take part in the celebration at the family level.
“What a wonderful time we had on a cooler than typical spring day in 2021 enjoying all that the Irreechaa Festival presented,” Ob Abdeta Homa added.
Accordning to Ob Oluma Qubee, the Oromo elder who has been involved in nurturing Oromo culture for many years, Irreechaa is the celebration of peace, unity and cooperation where the celebrants carrying bunch of straw and daisies in their hands praising, blessing and praying Waaqa in their songs.
“The Oromo people celebrate Irreechaa not only to thank Waaqaa (God) but also to welcome the new season of plentiful harvests after the dark and rainy winter season associated with nature and creature,” Ob Oluma added.
In the traditional religion of the Oromos, the spirit is the power through which Waaqaa (The Almighty God) governs all over the world. Thus, Oromos believe that every creation of Waaqaa has its own spirit.
The ceremony honors elders’ blessings and wisdom, preserves the heritage and assesses the progress of humanity.
“Here in Australia, Melbourne, we continue this fabulous event every year for since 2007.
“The celebrations are unique in that the Melbourne celebration has come again and that contributes to the development of Oromummaa in the Diaspora,” Ob Abdeta said.
There is also a ceremony of thanking all forebears for their endurance and determination to survive their culture and history – paving the way for further social victory.
In the Oromo tradition river banks, the tops of mountains, the hills and other elevated grounds are respected landscapes because they believe that these landscapes represent the value of life and nature.
It is a unique Oromo cultural, historical and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season.
The auspicious day on which this last Mormor Day of Gadaa Belbaa-the Dark Time of starvation and hunger- was established on the 1st Sunday of last week of September or the 1stSunday of the 1st week of October according to the Gadaa lunar calendar ‐‐ has been designated as our National Thanksgiving Day by modern‐day Oromo people. Oromo communities both at home and abroad celebrate this National Thanksgiving Day every year.
Irreechaa as a medium for bringing all Oromias together
The Oromian Irreechaa Festival will not only serve as a medium for bringing all Oromias together, from all its diasporas, as one voice, but will also focus on promoting and enhancing Oromummaa in freedom struggle, tourism, arts and crafts, business, restaurants and hospitality, and entertainment.
Moreover as a moving and flourishing heritage, Irreechaa also connects our Oromo identity with the global civilization in which the industrial and manufacturing sectors of heavy and light machinery of natural resources and raw materials.
During the event, we will be serving with Oromo foods and featuring with traditional dances by Oromo children, youth and dance troupes. Irreechaa is about a lot more than just putting on shows, it encourages engagement and participation from everyone in the greater community across our great city, country and the globe.
On Irreechaa festivals, friends, family, and relatives gather together and celebrate with joy and happiness. Irreechaa festivals bring people closer to each other and make social bonds.
Irreecha is one of the previous Cushitic religious traditions of praying to God (Waaqa). It has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years.
 Rainy season symbolized as a dark, disunity and challenging time in Oromia.
 Gadaa Melbaa was established before 6400 years ago at Odaa Mormor, North-west Oromia.
 Mormor in Oromo means division, disunity, chaos.
 Gadaa Belbaa is the end time of starvation.
(A4O, 29 May 2021) Advocacy for Oromo request to the international community expressing concern over the safety of Chairman of Oromo Liberation Front, Dawud Ibsa.
Advocacy for Oromia called on the international community “to pressure the Abiy government to ensure the safety of Mr. Dawud Ibsa, the Chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front, and his family who are under PM Abiy’s security siege during this volatile time.”
Find full statement
(Melbourne, Irreechaa, September 20, 2021)-The Oromia Irreechaa Organising Committee in Victoria is preparing to celebrate Irreecha Arfaasaa in Melbourne on 30th May.
Head of the Committee, Ob Abdeta Homa, said the celebration marks the end of the dry season (October to April) and the beginning of the rainy season for planting (May to September).
The organisers states that the celebration helps to strengthen and promote the Oromo tradition of respect for nature and gratefulness for life in Melbourne.
Australian Oromo celebrated this Irreecha on the Mount Dandenong which is found in the South Eastern region of Melbourne.
On this day, people come to gather on mountain tops to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa(God) for all the blessings throughout the past dry season and ask for Araaraa (Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the present and the future.
Irreecha Arfaasaa is another annual Oromo Thanksgiving Day that repeats once in a year to mark the end of the dry season and beginning of the rainy and planting season.
The ceremony honors elders’ blessings and wisdom, preserves the heritage and assesses the progress of humanity.
There is also a ceremony of thanking all forebears for their endurance and determination to survive their culture and history – paving the way for further social victory.
In the Oromo tradition the tops of mountains, the hills and other elevated grounds are respected landscapes because they believe that these landscapes represent the value of life and nature.
It is a unique Oromo cultural, historical and natural beautification (planting) in their full glory at the height of the season.
Irreecha Arfaasaa is one of the previous Cushitic religious traditions of praying to God (Waaqa). It has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years.
(Advocacy for Oromia, 15 May 2021) Advocacy for Oromia condemns the illegal, brutal, barbaric killing of Amanuel Wandimu.
On its press release, Advocacy for Oromia calls all concerned bodies to exert the maximum possible pressure on the Ethiopian government
- to immediately give appropriate political space to the Ethiopian people,
- to address their long-term grievances and demands,
- to allow all-inclusive National Dialogues among political organizations, and
- to extend the election time to include all political parties in the upcoming national poll.
(A4O, 12/01/2021) OMRHO reports documents extrajudicial killings of civilians & other violence perpetrated by Ethiopian govt forces in the year 2020.
“Human Rights Abuses Committed by the Ethiopian Army and the so called ‘’Oromia Special
Forces’’ in Different Parts of Oromia and Ethiopia,” says OMRHO.
The atrocity encompasses extra-judicial killings, mass detentions, torture, arrest of members and supporters of Oromo political parties, without court warrants and etc.
OMRHO e.V. Presents the state of Human Rights violations in Ethiopia since the incumbent group
came to power.
This Report claims by no means a complete coverage of Human Rights abuses in the Empire as:
• people are detained in military camps and in hidden places as opposed to official prisons,
• arrests and detentions are arbitrary and without court warrants,
• the relatives of the imprisoned get no information where the victims are.
• Those who who ask whereabout of prisoner face dangers of arbitrary arrests, abuses etc.
• Lack of access and capacity to cover comprehensively.
Here below is the full report:
OSG Report 54: The Ethiopian government is using extreme violence to force a unitary state on an unwilling population.
Empire strikes back: catastrophic consequences
There seems to be a pattern to all this. It is very worrying.
Teshale Abera, former President of Oromia Region Supreme Court, November 2020.
Despite severe restrictions on the flow of information from Ethiopia OSG continues to record a relentless rise in the death toll as the government stifles all aspirations for selfdetermination for the peoples of Ethiopia.
Particularly large numbers have been killed in Western Oromia, especially in Wallega, where another 92 killings of Oromo have been added to the 350 recorded previously since October 2018. Of these 92, 54 died before mid-2019 and 38 in 2020. An additional 60 Amhara settlers died by government hands in Guliso on 1 November. Government forces have been responsible for at least 442 civilian deaths in Western Oromia, 340 in 2020 alone.
The names of another 42 killed within days of Hachalu Hundessa’s assassination on 29 June are recorded (all except 6 in Central Oromia) and added to the 42 already named as being killed in Report 53.
OSG has now documented 505 killings in 2019, including 100 Qimant in Amhara Region and 150 Sidama in SNNPR. Up to publication, OSG has recorded 777 killings in 2020, including 58 Walaita in SNNPR and 60 Amhara in Oromia Region. Those civilians killed in the war in Tigray have not been included in this total or in this report.
A most worrying development is the increase in reports of detainees being taken from police custody and summarily executed. At least ten of the killings by security forces recorded in this report occurred in custody or when detainees were removed from custody by soldiers.
Another significant development is the arrest of Oromo who are prominent in development, finance, the Oromo Relief Association and the Human Rights League for the Horn of Africa.
No longer are government forces restricting arrests to political activists and journalists. Just as in 1992/3, any prominent Oromo in any sphere is at risk of arrest or killing.
In this report, another 208 killings by government forces are recorded, making the total, despite poor access to information, of over 1,342 killings of civilians by Ethiopian government forces since October 2018.
“Independence is a natural way of being!”, says, the apologetic younger generation of Oromia.
The energetic, highly educated, self-respecting, self-confident, very assertive, young and smart Oromo generation is fully determined to be independent by destroying all shackles of colonialism, and the psychology of bondage to Abyssinian/Ethiopian Empire.
Their weekly program, a podcast aims to educate the inferior Oromos, who internalized colonial oppression, and enlighten the world public at large.
We are very much proud of the new generation, and thank the parents who brought them up, teaching them “Independence is a natural way of being” – the way we are created – free from any external subjugation.
Here, please, listen to the weekly podcasts, from ‘Free Oromia Team’: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1447450
In a new report 53, OSG documents how security forces committed grave human rights violations in the country.
The most significant human rights issues included: arbitrary deprivation of life, disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention by security forces; denial of a fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, internet, assembly, association, and movement; and lack of accountability.
The government generally did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed human rights abuses.
OSG has now recorded 1134 extra-judicial killings of civilians by government forces since three students were shot dead in Jimma Agaro in October 2018.
Read the full report from the bottom link!
OHRG, a recently set Human Rights group, has organised a two-days public conference to be held on October 24 & 25, 2020.
The theme of the Forum will be “Human Right Crisis in Transition”.
October 15, 2020
Human Rights Organizations and Civic Institute
Contact email: Globaloag@gmail.com
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson – 52, rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
Western Region P.O. Box 673 Banjul, The Gambia
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ,
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 170
International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la paix
1202 Geneva, Switzerland
Committee to Protect Journalists
P.O. Box 2675
New York, NY 10108
Amnesty International, East Africa
Riverside Studios, PO Box 1527, 00606 Sarit
Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
The Genocide Watch
S-CAR, George Mason University. 3351
North Fairfax Drive, MS4D3
Arlington, VA 22201
We, the undersigned Human Rights Organizations and civic institutes, write this letter to you out of grave concern with the current political and constitutional crises in Ethiopia and the foreseen human catastrophe. International human rights organizations like Amnesty International and various National and International media outlets have reported that the Ethiopian government has continuously engaged in massive human rights violations*.
some of which may, in fact, amount to genocide. The rule of law has never shone in Ethiopia both in its literary meaning as well as the politico-legal context. Arbitrarily arresting citizens and dictatorial rule have remained the hallmarks of the Ethiopian rulers for more than one hundred and fifty years. The people of Ethiopia, particularly the Oromo people and people of the Southern Nations and Nationalities, however, continue to yearn for democratic governance.
The fall of the barbaric feudal system in 1974 that was in place since the 1940s gave way to the military junta that ruled Ethiopia with a brute force for 17 long years. The death of the military regime in 1991 paved a chance for a multi-ethnic coalition transitional government and a new federal structure meant to ease a century-long conflict and hegemony of a single ethnic culture. However, the bright light quickly dimmed when the TPLF acted to purge the OLF (a major Political Organization representing the Oromo people) out of the transitional government, paving a way for a protracted war and continued marginalization of the Oromo people. The resistance waged by the OLF against the TPLF via armed struggle, clandestine resistance, and mass uprising eventually forced the EPRDF to kneel down, ending the hegemony of the TPLF in 2018. It also gave a golden opportunity for the emergence of individuals like the current Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, to usurp the movement from within under the guise of reform.
In the beginning, the PM presented himself as someone who has the will to chart a new path for the country. Internally, however, he was making pacts with those who adore old Ethiopia and vowing to restore the glory of the imperial system known for its racist and hegemonic strata – the single source of all evils stirring Ethiopia to this date. Given his public gesture and the desire of the mass in Ethiopia for change, many opposition political parties including the OLF consented to work with the regime on building a new path for the country and they showed their commitments by taking bold steps: declaring unilateral ceasefire, agreeing to demobilize their armed forces, and relocating their leadership from exile back to Ethiopia.
However, it did not take the Abiy government more than a few months to abrogate on these concessions and embark on the usual culture of intimidation of the leaders of the OLF, rounding up of their supporters, and subsequently, declaring a war of annihilation on the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) that were in the process of demobilizing. Ever since, the supporters of the OLF and the Oromo people have been living under a constant threat of military command, abductions from their homes and workplaces, and being hoarded into premises with little or no facilities to house human beings. Numerous representatives of the OLF, prominent elders, intellectuals, and entrepreneurs have, therefore, fallen prey to Abiy Ahmed’s police state inherited from his time working for the TPLF.
The official tenure of Abiy Ahmed’s regime has also ended on October 5, 2020. Given the precarious state of affairs facing the country, the OLF has called for the establishment of a transitional government in Oromia. And this OLF call has gained popular support from the Oromo people both within and outside of the country.
However, it appears that the call has served as a de facto reason for the ire of the Abiy Ahmed government to be directed against the OLF and the Oromo people. The October 12, 2020, blatant attack by the Armed forces dispatched with the direct order of Abiy Ahmed on the OLF chairman, Mr. Dawud Ibsa is one such example and an alarming recipe for disaster in the country. When Mr. Ibsa’s home was raided, renowned Oromo elders, political figures, and community leaders along with some non-government affiliated media Journalists were also rounded up by Ethiopia’s federal police and security personnel with no court order.
Besides interrupting Mr. Ibsa’s media briefing related to the current political and constitutional crises in the country, particularly in Oromia, the Federal Police has arrested several of the participants including the Oromo elders and journalists and more than dozens of the Audiences of the media briefing were ordered to remain in house arrest. The same day, the Federal Police have also rounded up a fundraising event organized by the Oromo Relief Association (ORA) for humanitarian aid in Sebeta, a city located on the South West of Finfinne. There too, the Federal Police has arrested serval people, including Mr. Dechasa Nuguse, chairman of the Association, Mrs. Yerosan Takele, and Mr. Jaleta Abdissa, who were facilitators of the event. Three Journalists who were reporting the event have also been arrested.
We feel that the October 12, 2020 incidence on a peaceful gathering of people at a private residence of a major leader of a political organization constitutes state terrorism and is the making of a fascist act targeted at the Oromo people. We note that the attack on Mr. Dawud Ibsaa, a symbol of the Oromo political capital and an icon of endurance, resilience, principle, and resistance, is the last bell to ring before the canon goes loose in the country. Putting the very fact that Ethiopia (a country of over 110 million out of which the Oromo alone roughly constitute 50 million) cannot afford armed civil strife, therefore, we call upon;
1) all peace-loving countries, representatives, and the international community to help avert the looming crisis in Ethiopia by intervening as outlined in OLF’s press statement of September 13, 2020, that called for international arbitration of Ethiopia’s complex constellation of conflicts;
2) the UN, AU, EU, and major donor governments to the regime in Ethiopia to exert maximum pressure as they have the leverage to stop Abiy Ahmed’ killing spree and a mass crackdown from going awry;
3) the International community that has the leverage to help the call for a peaceful transition to succeed by providing the necessary material, financial, diplomatic, and security assistance to the national stakeholders as needed;
4) the international community to understand that inaction to this call may lead to the repeat of the carnage in the Balkans and the tragedy in Rwanda that occurred during the first half of the 1990s in both instances.
5) the international Human Rights Organizations to diligently follow the situation in Ethiopia, particularly in Oromia, and expose the human rights violations perpetrated by the Abiy government’s military and security forces.
1. Advocacy for Oromia
2. Global Oromo Advocacy Group
3. Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
4. International Oromo Women’s Organization
5. International Qeerroo Support Group
6. Oromo Parliamentarians Council
7. Oromo Political Prisoners Association
8. Oromia Support Group – Australia
9. United Oromo Christian Church of Australia
Here is the PDF format of the Appeal Letter: Appeal letter_GOAG_2020_4_10-16-20
* Ethiopia: “Beyond law enforcement” human rights violations by Ethiopian security forces in Amhara and Oromia
[VOL – October 08,2020] The current political crisis in Ethiopia, specially, that of Oromia, are not only meant to make Oromia war and insecure zone; rather, driving Ethiopia to irreversible misery. Oromia Regional State is under the State of Emergency. Because of the failure to timely solve political crisis, the former government structure is already broken down. Currently, there is no elected administrative organ expected to solve problems of the people. There is nowhere the people go and complains for solution even when: killed, robbed and their property are destructed. If this continues, the worse would follow. In addition, we hope that operation of various forces contributed for Dissolution of Oromia, and further aggravated not to come out of those chaos. Finally, this will inevitably mislead our way.
It is crystal clear that the dissolution of Oromia will not only bring troubles to the Oromo people, besides, it will bring continuous sufferings to the Citizens of Oromia. No one could deny the fact that massive troubles are coming towards every individual, family and Ethiopia as a country. Thus, in order to bring about a sustainable peace and security, looking for an immediate resolution and systematic way out is very much needed.
Oromos and the Citizens of Oromia have many things in common. They share same country, lifestyle, political problems, culture as well economic system, for so long period of time. Specially, it is known that we have struggled and have been struggling the with the problems brought by the political culture of Ethiopia, from generation to generation. This also shows the strong relationships the Oromo people has with other Peoples of Ethiopia.
As we have went through many struggles, again these days, we believe that it is time for Oromos and Citizens of Oromia to Unite and establish our Transitional Government in common; and thereby alienate from our problems, and fulfill our common and personal interests.
Ethiopian People in general should bear your responsibilities in stabilizing the Oromia region. By doing so, you wouldn’t only rescue your citizens residing in Oromia; rather, it would help us in fundametalizing what we have, as a country.
Dissolution of Oromia brings enormous happenings. It shall not only be problems of the Oromos and Citizens of Oromia, rather, we should consider that it will be problem of Ethiopia and that of the Horn of Africa in general. Therefore, immediately establishing Oromia National Transitional Government, is found decisive. What we have to understand here is that: The objective of establishing a Transitional Government is not to dissolve the country; besides, we would like to confirm to the Peoples of Ethiopia, Countries of the Horn of Africa and African Countries, as well, the United Nations, that it is aimed at solving the challenges to dissolve the country, and rescue the Country and Horn of Africa from the potential threats.
In history, Oromo has never dissolved, rather, it has built the Country. Oromo has never thought only for himself, and it has been shade for the other Nations and Nationalities. This shall be evident that the Nations and Nationalities settled in Oromia than other regions of the County. As a result, we shall confidently say that Oromia is Model of Ethiopia, where Nations and Nationalities reside. Establishment of the Transitional Government shall be important in securing those nations and nationalities residing in Oromia; and thereby strengthen their Unity and Cohabitation.
We again affirm that this Transitional Government, has an intent of strengthening the history and culture of the People which were already built. Besides, has no aim to dissolve the country. We want to drive the relationship of the Oromos and Citizens of Oromia to better level, and let it based on love and mutually building the country. We hope that this will be base for the sustainable peace of the rest regions of Ethiopia.
In this journey, OLF hereby send its message to Oromo and Citizens of Oromia, solve their daily problems together. This message of ours for the wider Oromo and Citizens of Oromia, and the planned Transitional Government shall be the first in history, and it is a stage in which government of the people, by the people and for the people shall be built and facilitate conditions for the same.
We are striving to make sure our future bright, in which every person shall have a determinant vote. Our objective and intent is to change the Partisan Political Culture of Ethiopia, and substituting the same, by the inclusive government made up of the entire citizens of Oromia, elected by the People and for the People.
OLF has no interest to make its political policy be burden on others, however, tries its best to hearing various entities and building common administration, in such a way that shall be good for the entire citizens. For the attainment of the same, we hereby express that: with the Citizens of Oromia, we will create a basic environment conducive from the very beginning to final. We hope this will bring about sustainable peace and stability.
If we change the political culture of Ethiopia, and build a stabilized, inclusive, impartial and all serving government in Oromia, every one shall predict what our country will looks like in a short period. If a government based on the equality of the citizens and interest of the people; if there shall be a clear interest and foreign relations of the country; if independency of the judiciary ensured; ìf the Peace keeping and the National Defense shall not loose own stand under the order of the ruling party; if the government shall be held responsible for their wrong doings; if human rights (individually and collectively) respected; we believe that our country shall be a place where its citizens lead a respectful and happy life.
When there shall be peace and stability, and if the Nations and Nationalities show their sense of belongingness about their country and government, it will not be difficult to bring development and prosperity. Our country is full of resources and attracts global investment. However, when the country lacks peace and stability, even operating investors leave. In order to enable domestic and foreign investors, to invest in the country without any threat and alienate our country from begging; if and only if, there is peace and stabilized government.
Youths and Skilled labour shall get employment opportunity and engage in building the country, only if there shall be peace and stabilized government. Citizens shall move from place to place and administer their families. Individual and collective properties shall get secured. Our children will learn or work peacefully. Love and Cooperation flourishes in our people, than hate and fighting. Using this, we will again build our culture of helping and encouraging each other.
Finally, the current political crisis of our country is very complex. Solving the complex problems under the rotten and outdated political culture became impossible. Although it was repeatedly tried, many lives were lost and enormous properties were destructed; it was unsuccessful. We shall only overcome these problems if and only if we come together, discuss and pace the way.
For time being, we should together build a Transitional Government of Oromia, that shall be basis of peace for other governments and regions. This shall also be a stage where we contribute our share and express our interest. On top of this, we shall solve the current problems related with peace and stability, if we come together and discuss, and establish the Transitional Government of Oromia interpret and succeed with the said Transitional Government, OLF again ensures that it has been working having deployed with full force. We also affirm that we are ready than ever to receive opinion of the public and concerned bodies, and make it for the best interest of the people. OLF reassures to you that, it will openly work with you, on the process of establishment and implementation of the National Transitional Government of Oromia.
Eventually, I would like to extend my Esteems Respect for the Citizens of Oromia and other Nations and Nationalities lost their lives in the last fifty years, for Democracy, Human Rights and Equality of the Nations and Nationalities. Specially, I hereby bestow our Eternal Respect for our Freedom Fighters who have helped us, to see this.
As well, I would like to extend my respect to Peace Keepers, who fought and lost their lives in protecting the people, standing with the people and bringing about peace.
In addition, I admire and respect the Addis Ababa Peace Keeping Police Forces (shortly: Addis Ababa Police), those who have kept human rights and dignities, as well, carried out their responsibilities lawfully, in a difficult political situation, leaving their family and life aside, and keeping peace day and night. Again, I bestow my deepest thank to those who stood with us individually, collectively and as institution, that you have encouraged us to further developour commitment and reach this level.
Since our statement of invitation for the establishment of the National Transitional Government of Oromia, those of the following, who stood with us, lined up with us and striving for the attainment of the same, are bestowed with esteemed thanks:
1. Honorable Citizens of Oromia who have accepted the invitation and stood with us
2. Political parties, specially, our partner OFC
3. Leaders of the OLF in and outside countries
4. Officials of OLF in and outside countries
5. Qeerro National Youth Movement for Freedom and Liberation 6. Oromo Supporters and Community
7. The Oromo Scholars and Professional Group
8. Oromo Global Forum
9. Leaders of different religions, who became voice of our people and transferred the invitation
10. Global Oromia Journalist Association
11. Global 39 Movement Support Group
12. Committee of Members and Supporters of OLF, working on getting Political Prisoners of Citizens of Oromia released
13. Those who were not mentioned
Thanks for listening.
Victory to the Mass
Dawud Ibsa Chairperson of the Oromo Liberation Front
October 8, 2020
Finfinne (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
Global Oromia Journalists Association
8 October 2020
(A4O, 8 October 2020) Global Oromia Journalists Association, GOJA, is a non-profit organization that provides a networking and resource forum for journalists of Oromia and Diaspora would like support the call of the major Oromo political parties, OLF and OFC, who have a majority number of supporters, for a transitional government in Oromia.
At this critical time the Global Oromia Journalists Association is observing five major contradictory processes have started to emerge in Ethiopia and Oromia.
Firstly, the decomposition of the Ethiopian colonial system and its institutional infrastructures such as the nafxanya government and other institutions.
Secondly, the emergence of progressive forces that are determined to establish a true multinational democracy in the context of federation or confederation, which guarantees national self-determination.
Thirdly, Oromia has become the hotspot of the emerging political contestation between the old and dying forces on one hand and the new and energized political and social movements on the other.
Fourthly, Abiy’s security infrastructure has detained most of the known OLF leadership to make it a marionette of PP or to simply destroy it.
Lastly, working to avoid the looming state collapse and the possible emergence of an empire-wide conflict and war will lead to a peaceful transition. Failure to wrap up this chapter of our struggle in a way it ensures our freedom and liberty will have huge consequences for our future.
The Global Oromia Journalists Association believe that mass media are regarded as one of the key democratic institutions vital in facilitating the process of democratisation, and peace-building. At this critical time, media can play an instrumental role in preventing the danger of state collapse and the total breakdown of the empire resulting in unimaginable human tragedy. At this critical time, journalists can play a vital role in supporting peaceful transition through critical reporting issues that matter.
The global powers should learn from the consequences of ignoring the national crises in Somalia, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Ruanda, etc. Early intervention in the impending crisis in Ethiopia can save millions of human lives, and can avert enormous refugee crisis and human misery of the local populations, and can also save humanitarian aid costs to international organizations and governments.
Therefore, Global Oromia Journalists Association calls upon all Oromo media residing in different parts of the world to support the call for a transitional government in Oromia. Our collaboration and support at this crucial time will lead to a peaceful transition paving the way to our nation freedom.
We believe that any political crisis can only be resolved through a political process. Thus, the proposal of establishing an all-inclusive transitional government is crucial, and it will require the support of all peace-loving entities.
With best regards,
Global Oromia Journalists Association
8 October 2020
A collective effort and responsibility of Oromummaa: Oromo’s role in executing the Oromia Transitional Government
October 4, 2020
It has been over two years since Dr. Abiy Ahmed became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Abiy came to power after the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that has dominated the Ethiopian politics for almost three decades, was toppled by the struggle of the Oromo people, visibly by the Oromo Youth Movement also known as Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromo. When TPLF was forced to give up power and Dr. Abiy Ahmed took over the premiership, many, including the Oromo people, were optimistic that the Ethiopian Government will transition into a democratic state where citizens of all nations and nationalities will eventually be treated equally and with respect and dignity. Most welcomed this change with open arms, for they believed this would bring the much-needed changes including ending inequality, injustice, and human rights violations. Therefore, Abiy’s premiership position was to transition the country into an all-inclusive democratic political system. With believes, multiple opposition parties have also participated in the nation’s political realm.
Unfortunately, Abiy’s Government has been doing quite the contrary to his assignment and took an unexpected turn transitioning the country towards lawlessness, turmoil and complete lack of peace and stability. Abiy’s failure to uphold his promise and responsibilities led the country to where we are today, unstable and on the verge of collapsing. The political, economic and social crises in the country, particularly in Oromia, is at its worst juncture. Although Oromia has been under tight military command post rule for over two years, since the death of the prominent Oromo singer Hacaaluu Hundeessaa, the grip of the military and security forces and the extents of oppression on the Oromo people worsened. Military and security forces indiscriminately crackdown on innocent civilians, political dissent, activities, journalist and prominent Oromo community and religious leaders have intensified like never before. As we speak, hundreds of thousands of Oromo prisoners, including Oromo opposition party leaders, executive members, Oromo journalists, and civilians are suffering behind bars. Most of these detainees, especially the civilians, have not been brought to court or charged with any crime. Though the Abiy Government publicly condemned his predecessor, the TPLF, for terrorizing the Oromo people, he has been doing exactly the same since he became the Prime Minister.
A country should only be governed by a civilian government elected through fair and free election, not by a fully armed military. Command post should only be implemented temporarily in a valid state of emergency circumstances or during a time of war to ensure the safety and wellbeing of civilians. Therefore, in the current situation, the citizens of Oromia and other nations and nationalities do have a sovereign right to request and facilitate a transitional government in Oromia as well as at Federal level.
According to the Ethiopian constitution, Abiy’s Government was supposed to hold a national election in May 2020. However, with a pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national election was postponed indefinitely. Using COVID-19 as a reason, when in fact the number was not significantly high, to postpone an election is not a valid reason. According to the constitution, the legal term of Mr. Abiy government ends on October 5, 2020 and as of today, no announcement is made about the next steps. As a result, while we get closer to the end date of the term, uncertainty and anxiety are particularly rising in Oromia. At the same time, the government continues its propaganda and exclusion of Oromo political opponents, such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which have a significant number of supporters, from key political dialogues.
Regardless of the political exclusion, intimidation and imprisonment of its high-ranking officials, the OLF has released a press statement detailing what should be done to thwart the current constitutional crises in the country. In this press statement (click here to read the details), released on September 13, 2020, OLF laid out solutions focused approach for the current crises and called for the international communities, governments, AU, EU and the UN to put utmost pressure on the Abiy’s government to implement the resolution. We, the undersigned Human Rights Advocates, human rights organizations, and civic institutes also genuinely believe that the political solution OLF puts forward, which is also supported by Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), would resolve the current political crises in the country.
Since, for the past two years, the Oromo people were illegally deprived of their rights to elect their leaders democratically. We believe, as also stated in the Charter of the United Nations, the Oromo people have the right to self-determination. Therefore, to form a transitional government for Oromia is a matter of human rights, to stabilize the country and facilitate proper policies, institutions and to ultimately provide the citizens the rights to elect their own government and provide a better run nation.
We, the undersigned human rights organizations, support the call of the major Oromo political parties, OLF and OFC, who have a majority number of supporters, for a transitional government in Oromia. A political crisis can only be resolved through a political process. Therefore, to ensure peace, security and order in the region, we believe that establishing an all-inclusive transitional government is crucial, and it will require the support of all peace-loving entities. A government attempts to quash the formation of this transitional government in Oromia will be unproductive, and therefore, we call for the Abiy government to refrain from such endeavors.
We would also like to call for all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia to support the OLF’s call to peacefully resolve these crises in Oromia and beyond. A peace in Oromia ensures peace in our neighbor’s state, and the vice versa. We are currently at a very critical juncture. Failure to wrap up this chapter of our struggle in a way it ensures our freedom and liberty will have huge consequences for our future. Therefore, we, the undersigned Oromo human rights organizations and civic institutes call upon the Oromo people residing in different parts of the world to support the call for a transitional government in Oromia. Your collaboration and support at this crucial time will lead to a peaceful transition paving the way to our freedom.
With these notions that all Oromos should play our part (Oromummaa), we invite and encourage everyone who is concerned about the well-being and safety of the Oromo people and the stability of Oromia to participate according to their capabilities and interest. When the current government becomes void or illegitimate as of October 5th, 2020, we should understand the fact that there will not be an official government in Oromia. Therefore, we the Oromo communities, civic and Oromo human rights organizations and elites in the diaspora should not simply sit back and watch when Oromia falls in disarray and becomes a lawless country. It is our moral and Oromummaa obligation to step up and play our roles in assisting the establishment of a peaceful transitional government called by OLF and OFC paving the way to a democratic, fair and free election. This will be realized only through our collective efforts and assuming our due responsibilities of Oromummaa.
Thus, we pledge to contribute our part according to our own mandate, and we also call for all Oromo organizations, whether political or non-political, to do the same.
Justice for All
- Advocacy for Oromia
- Global Oromo Advocacy Group
- Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
- International Oromo Women’s Organization
- International Qeerroo Support Group
- Oromo Parliamentarians Council
- Oromo Political Prisoners Association
- Oromia Support Group – Australia
- United Oromo Christian Church of Australia
The Oromo Scholars and Professional Group
Realizing the fact that the effort of transitioning the Ethiopian Empire to democracy has been derailed primarily because of the incompetency and ill will of the Abiy Ahmed government, which emerged in 2018 from the EPRDF and later formed the Prosperity Party (PP) to gain political legitimacy without shedding the authoritarian and colonial essence of the former party, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) issued a declaration on September 13, 2020. In this declaration the front proposed the formation of an inclusive “national” convention in which all political parties and fronts in the empire as stakeholders would participate in developing a political road map, which would be acceptable to a broad majority of them, to avoid the looming state collapse and the possible emergence of an empire-wide conflict and war, and to ensure the transition to a genuine multinational democracy. Furthermore, the OLF invites international bodies such as the United Nations and its Security Council, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and regional organizations such as the African Union and the European Union to be actively involved in the process of preventing the danger of state collapse and the total breakdown of the empire resulting in unimaginable human tragedy.
More importantly, the front calls upon all citizens of Oromia in general and independent Oromo political organizations, civic institutions, and professional associations in particular, to initiate the process of forming an Oromia transitional government to protect their society from the emerging political and security crises in Oromia and beyond. The Oromo Scholars and Professionals group believes that two major contradictory processes have started to emerge in Ethiopia and Oromia: 1) the decomposition of the Ethiopian colonial system and its institutional infrastructures such as the nafxanya government and other institutions, and 2) the emergence of progressive forces that are determined to establish a true multinational democracy in the context of federation or confederation, which guarantees national self-determination. Consequently, the Oromo Scholars and Professionals Group concurs with the explanations of the OLF and endorses its declaration.
Because of its abundant economic resources and geographical landmass, the size of its population, and the recent development of the Qeerroo/Qarree movement, which has mobilized the entire Oromo nation to fight against injustices and gross human rights violations, Oromia has become the hotspot of the emerging political contestation between the old and dying forces on one hand and the new and energized political and social movements on the other. Despite facing monumental challenges from its external and internal enemies, the Oromo national movement appears to have embarked on the final phase of its journey toward the long sought national self-determination. Particularly, the OLF, which mapped out the ideological and political roadmap of the Oromo nation in the 1970s by introducing an ideological innovation and the knowledge for liberation to Oromo society has challenged the underpinnings of Ethiopianism and nafxanyaa philosophy that have provided the justification for the abuse of Oromo humanity and identity, liberated the minds of millions of Oromos, and mobilized them to struggle for their freedom and liberate their country from Abyssinian/Habasha domination.
Consequently, the flourishing of national Oromummaa (Oromo national history, culture, and nationalism) and the consolidation of Oromo unity as demonstrated by the recent Qeerro/Qarree movement have revealed the potential of Oromo society to bring about fundamental transformations in Oromia, the Ethiopian Empire, and the Horn of Africa. In disapproval and objection to the development of Oromo political consciousness and national Oromummaa, the neo-nafxanya government of Abiy Ahmed and all external and internal enemies of the Oromo national struggle are currently attacking Oromo nationalists in general and independent Oromo political organizations such as the OLF and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and their key leaders, members and sympathizers in particular in order to deny the people the institutional and organizational capacity, which is absolutely necessary to empower the Oromo nation. The main objectives of the neo-nafxanayaa government and its collaborators are to continue disempowering the Oromo people by dispossessing their lands and other resources and by keeping them in the status of colonial subjects, who are disorganized and easily terrorized and dominated.
The recent ideological and intellectual victories of the Oromo national movement have disturbed the neo-nafxanyaas and their government. They are worried that they cannot successfully implement their grand plans for dismantling Oromia and Oromo nationhood/peoplehood. Their strategies are to fragment the Oromo nation into local and religious identities, partition Oromia again into colonial administrative regions, reimpose Habasha/Amhara culture and language, and to continue looting Oromia resources. The OLF and OFC have become the main obstacles to these grand schemes while some Oromo organizations and former politicians/activists are willingly becoming the agents of the neo-nafxanyaa government to satisfy their personal interests at the expense of the Oromo nation. Currently, Abiy and his government are trying to dismantle the independent leaderships of OLF and OFC and replace them by a subservient leadership that will be commanded by the neo-nafxanyaa government. They do this to continue Habasha/Amhara hegemony and to securely institutionalize Ethiopian settler colonialism and its nafxanyaa system.
In its attempt to destroy or diminish the Oromo national movement and its organizational infrastructures, Abiy and his government have developed and used four main political and ideological schemes.
- Using the carrot and stick strategy, the Abiy government has corrupted and incorporated some Oromo political activists/politicians, who were members of the now defunct Oromo Democratic Front, as well as some of the leaders of the so-called OLF-United, using them in the struggle against Oromo independent political and civic organizations and Oromo society.
- Claiming the rise of Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) as a pretext, it has mobilized politically naive and/or Oromo opportunists and subservient organizations to ideologically attack the OLF and the OLA, justifying the establishment of a brutal military rule under command posts in many regions of Oromia.
- While cementing his political relationship with his nafxanyaa brethren, Abiy has defamed and devalued Oromo nationalism by falsely claiming it has reduced the significance of the Oromo nation to a local phenomenon.
- Creating animosity and hatred for Oromo nationalists, Abiy’s government used the assassination of Hacaalu Hundessa (for which it is either directly or indirectly responsible) to amass Oromo political leaders, nationalists, and activists and jam them in overcrowded and filthy jails, which are infested with Covid-19 and other dangerous diseases. Following the killing of Hacaalu Hundessa on June 29, 2020, the government massacred hundreds of people and incarcerated more than 9,000 Oromos, charging them with terrorism.
- Abiy and his nafxanyaa comrades are campaigning hard to misinform the world community by portraying Oromo nationalists as extremists and terrorists. The fact on the ground, however, is that the Oromo people have never resorted to terrorism or extremism in their bitter struggle to liberate themselves from the yoke of barbaric subjugation and economic marginalization.
Preemptive political crimes have been concocted and implemented to enable the PP to win the upcoming elections and keep Abiy in power. Above all, Abiy’s security infrastructure has detained most of the known OLF leadership to make it a marionette of PP or to simply destroy it. When these efforts failed, the government sponsored the creation of what is now called the Hilton group, a renegade group corrupted from the ranks of the OLF that takes its orders from Abiy’s government. The fact that the Abiy government is now calling for a general election is clear evidence that COVID-19 was not the reason for postponing the May 2020 election. If that was the reason, the government does not reverse the decision now when COVID-19 is more prevalent. The true intention for illegally and unconstitutionally postponing the election was to weaken formidable political opponents so that Abiy and his party can declare victory by running against themselves, as they did in the 2015 sham election.
The declaration by agents of the government of Ethiopia and the neo-nafxanyaa media outlets that the chairman of the OLF was replaced by his deputy chairman was intended to spread confusion and to demoralize the Oromo people and promote the renegade group. Overall, the assassination of Hacaalu and the attack on the Oromo people and their leaders have renewed the commitment of the people to intensify the Oromo national movement in Oromia and the diaspora. Ongoing rebellions, economic boycotts and shutting down of highways are clear examples. The Oromo diaspora has come out in en masse in support of the Oromo struggle in Oromia by engaging in series of demonstrations and by engaging in public diplomacy on behalf their people. The demand to release all political prisoners and to abolish command posts in Oromia with emphatic support for the Oromo Liberation Army have dominated Oromo medias and other media outlets.
Our people, while aspiring for the liberation of their society and country under such dire conditions, must know that they need independent political organizations that lead their national movement through the rough roads ahead. Consequently, while engaging in different political activities, they must consider the following.
- Support the call for the formation of the Transitional Government of Oromia and contribute their fair share to its implementation;
- Become members or supporters of independent Oromo political organizations and provide human and financial resources to build the Oromo national organizational capacity;
- Join or support independent national civic institutions such as Oromia Global Forum;
- Centralize and coordinate the Qeerroo/Qarree movement with new strategies and tactics, armed with a robust network of firm and honest leadership that can resist corruption and infiltration by government security networks;
- Like any society in the world, the Oromo need their national defense army, which will protect them and their country from tyranny that have become too common these days. Therefore, every Oromo has a moral and national obligation to support the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) financially, ideologically, and intellectually.
- Support Oromo media outlets that focus on the Oromo national struggle to engage in knowledge dissemination and propaganda more actively. The enemies of the Oromo have been depicting the Oromo nation negatively and calling them foreigners in their own country. Currently, our external and internal enemies are painting members of Oromo society as extremists and terrorists, who hate non-Oromos and commit genocide on them. These nafxanyaa forces and their collaborators are well organized and financed, with powerful media outlets that attack the Oromo people day and night. In order to defend themselves from such attacks, the Oromo need to consolidate their media capacity, in order to equip our people with liberation knowledge by focusing on Oromo national culture, history, and national Oromummaa.
- Support our firm and historic initiatives to immediately start national dialogue among independent political groups or organizations, activists, scholars, religious institutions, etc., toward the creation of an independent Oromia democratic state to, once and for all, liberate Oromia from a stubborn adversary that is unwilling to live together with Oromos as equals by respecting Oromo national identity, lives, and culture.
- In summary, rather than waiting for Oromo political parties to mobilize and organize the Oromo people at home or in the diaspora, all freedom loving Oromos must voluntarily join or support our independent organizations and build their national leadership and organizational capacity. At the same time, Oromo nationalists and others must marshal their economic and intellectual resources to build OLA as the Oromo national defense force. It is a high time to stop appealing to and begging our morally corrupt external and internal enemies, and to take our national destiny in our hands. Once the independent Oromia democratic state is formed, the Oromo can freely decide on the process of forming a multinational confederation or federation within the context of a multinational democracy.
- Adugna Birhanu (Ph.D)
- Alemayehu Biru (Ph.D)
- Amanuel Gobena (Ph.D)
- Asefa Jalata (Ph.D)
- Asfaw Beyene (Ph.D)
- Ayana Gobena (Ph.D)
- Bahiru Duguma (Ph.D)
- Baro Deressa (MD)
- Bedassa Tadesse (Ph.D)
- Begna Dugassa (Ph.D)
- Bekele Temesgen (Ph.D)
- Benti Getahun (Ph.D)
- Berhanu Kedida (MD)
- Bersisa Berri (Ph.D)
- Bichaka Fayissa (Ph.D)
- Daniel Ayana (Ph.D)
- Degefa Abdissa Ph.D)
- Dessalegn Negeri (Ph.D)
- Desta Yebassa (Ph.D)
- Gizachew Tesso (Ph.D)
- Guluma Gemeda (Ph.D)
- Haile Hirpa (Ph.D)
- Ibrahim Elemo (Ph.D)
- Iddoosaa Ejeta (Ph.D)
- Ismael Abdullahi (Ph.D)
- Jamal Ebrahim (MD)
- Jemal Hebano (PharmD)
- Jenberu Feyisa (Ph.D)
- Junaidi Ahmed (MD)
- Koste Abdissa (Ph.D)
- Mekbib Gebeyehu (Ph.D)
- Mekuria Bulcha (Ph.D)
- Moa Apagodu (Ph.D)
- Mohammed Hassan(Ph.D)
- Mosisa Aga (Ph.D)
- Namara Garbaba (Ph.D)
- Oli Bachie (Ph.D)
- Rundassa Eshete (Ph.D)
- Samuel Geleta (Ph.D)
- Solomon Geleta (Ph.D)
- Teferi Margo (Ph.D)
- Tekleab Shibru (Ph.D)
- Tesfaye Negeri (Ph.D)
- Tesfaye Tesso (Ph.D)
- Thomas Baisa (MD)
- Tolawak Beyene (MD)
- Workineh Torben (Ph.D)
- Worku Burayu (Ph.D)
- Hambisa Belina (Ph.D)
- Habtalem Kenea (Ph.D)
- Alemayehu Kumsa (Ph.D)
- Alem Hika (Ph.D)
- Galaana Balcha (MD)
- Henok Gabisa (Ph.D)
- Mohammed Tahiro (Ph.D)
- Jirenya Gudeta (M.Sc)
- Imiru Itana (M.Sc)
- Itana Habte (Ph.D)
- Tsegaye Ararsa (Ph.D)
- Beyan Asoba (Ph.D)
- Mesfin Abdi (Ph.D)
- Gobena Huluka (Ph.D)
- Benti Ujulu (Ph.D)
- Kano Banjaa (Ph.D)
- Zelalem Abera (M.Sc)
- Teshome Dime (M.Sc)
- Abdisa Koricho (Ph.D)
- Geremew Nigatu (Ph.D)
- Ayele Teressa (Ph.D)
(A4O, 5 October 2020) Supporting the idea of Establishment of the Transitional Government led by OLF is not only necessary, rather, is found Crucial.
Following the Political Violence the Ethiopian Empire has sustained, the country lacks sustainable peace and stability. Specially, Oromia became war zone of the ruling government, and the people has risked many lives and destructed lots of properties.
Including high ranking officers and members of the opposition political parties, many more nationalists were detained and being tortured in various detention centers. In general, to elongate its political power, the terrorist group running the government post, has grossly violated human rights and putting the people under pressure.
In order to rescue the country from further crisis, especially, to transform Oromia from the Unitary System to that of Democratic System, making Oromia clear from violence zone and setting peace should be the primary duty of every one of us. OLF, in its statement of September 13, 2020, has taken political responsibility to enable Oromia get sustainable peace and security, and thereby ensure establishment of the Transitional Government of Oromia; and OFC also has accepted the same.
On its statement of September 28, 2020, OFC has also supported importance of the Transitional Government. Therefore, in order to ensure the establishment of the Transitional Government of Oromia which is declared by the Oromo Political Parties; Committee made up of Qeerroo National Youth Movement and Oromia Citizens determined to held demonstration showing support for establishment of a Transitional Government.
The Committee, in its message sent to its members in and outside country, it has stated: “For the achievement of a Transitional Government, all of the Wider Oromo Population, Citizens of Oromia in the country, neighboring and foreign countries, Oromo Activists, Oromo Medias as well Human Rights Activists, should be ready to carry out your responsibilities”.
Subsequently, when demonstration for support of the Transitional Government of Oromia is declared, besides our support for the same intent; Organizing Committee strictly advised every one to refrain from touching the residential area and property of others in words or action; framing other citizens and diplomats, as well as, clashing with security officers on national and country obligations like Oromia Police, and other Oromia Security Forces.
In general, without leaving Oromia Struggle Camp, supporting the principles declared by the Oromo Liberation Struggle Camp Officers, are asked to show only their support for the establishment of the Transitional Government of Oromia. The intended demonstration shall be fully peaceful. By this peaceful demonstration, which shall be made for the establishment of the Transitional Government, the Committee has highlighted that it will also concentrate on releasing the Political prisoners detained without a crime.
Finally, message is transferred by the Committee of the Transitional Government of Oromia, to the Oromia Citizens and various Community groups of the people of the country in the level of the Federal Region explained that: “Those who take measure on residential areas and properties of others in the name of the establishment of the Transitional Government, will not represent the Committee, and we shall also condemn those acts!”
Victory for the Citizens of Oromia!
Subject: Request to support the Establishment of Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government, and to intervene to resolve the Ethiopian Constitutional Crisis
We, the undersigned members of the Oromia Global Forum, are writing to request your support for formation of Transitional Caretaker Government of Oromia as proposed by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). We also request you to urgently intervene and avert the impending constitutional crisis in Ethiopia which, if left unattended to, can most likely result in a civil war with potentials for genocide and refugee crisis.
On October 5, 2020, the term of office for both federal and regional governments in Ethiopia will expire. However, the regime in power has unconstitutionally and forcefully postponed national and regional elections indefinitely. Rejected by the Oromo and other nations and nationalities, the government is engaged in conducting vindictive, politically motivated, imprisonments, extrajudicial killings, looting of properties, and all sort of crimes in Oromia state, in particular.
The Oromo people have endured unprecedented brutality, deprivation, expropriation of their ancestral lands, enslavement, and relentless attack on their cultural heritage, language, institution, and national identity ever since the Abyssinian (later named Ethiopian) rulers invaded and conquered Oromia and southern nations between 1880 and 1913. Erving E. BeaureGard (1976, PP24) vividly described Menelik II of Abyssinia conducted wanton aggression and invasion of Oromia using weapons purchased from the French adventurers . In the article published by the New York Times on February 26, 1895, under the title of “Menelik’s terrible expedition,” the newspaper describes that an expedition sent by king Menelik of Shewa Amhara (1866-1889), and later the emperor of Ethiopia (1889-1913), against the “Galla tribes” (the then reference to the Oromo people by Amharas and Abyssinian rulers) slew 70,000 tribesmen and captured 15,000 men . The brutal attack continued and decimated the Oromo population from 10 million by half to 5 million resulting in the extermination of millions of the Oromos, according to Martial De Salviac, a French missionary who lived among the Oromos [3, 4].
Abyssinia had neither the knowledge nor the capacity to conquer neighboring free nations if it were not for the firearms and military advice emperor Menelik received from European colonial powers including Great Britain, France, and Italy, during “the European scramble for Africa”. There was practical consanguinity between other African colonization and invasion of Oromia and similar states neighboring Abyssinia. European colonizers and Abyssinians used identical tools and pursued a similar objective of dominating and exploiting others’ economic and human resources.
With the continued advice and support of European colonial powers, the Abyssinian empire joined the League of Nations as a junior colonial partner, to gain protection and to consolidate its expansion into Oromia, southern, and eastern states, under the reign of king Haile Selassie. Later, the Abyssinian empire was renamed to the Ethiopian empire under the leadership of Haile Selassie in 1931. Both king Menelik and Haile Selassie turned Oromos into serfs, dispossessed them of their properties, lands, and human rights for over eight decades until the communist military junta regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam rose to power in 1974 following the civilian disobedience led by the Oromos and other oppressed nations.
It is unfortunate that the United Nations that replaced the League of Nations and promoted freedom and the independence of nations following World War II chose to turn a blind eye to the subjugation of the Oromo people in contravention of its own policies elsewhere and the Charter of the United Nations which affirms the Right to Self-determination of all peoples. Throughout history, UN and Western Powers have protected the Ethiopian empire with no regard for the Oromo people’s welfare and their right to self-determination, thereby perpetuating their subjugation. Regardless, Oromia has never voluntarily accepted the union with Abyssinia. It is involuntarily kept in Ethiopia and endures continued violence and tyranny.
In 1991, the Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military regime was removed from power by the bitter struggle of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) which was followed by the London Conference, led by the United States government, which ended by rewarding the Eritreans with their independence, and TPLF with “state responsibility” of forming the Ethiopian Transitional Government. The Oromo and other nations and nationalities accepted the Transitional Charter that outlined the formation of a multi-national federal arrangement that recognized the nations’, nationalities’, and peoples’ right to self-determination and self-rule. However, in practice, they were denied these rights. The OLF was eventually forced out of the Transitional Government in 1992, and Oromia has been subjected to military rule ever since.
Before it assumed state power, the TPLF had created the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Afaan Oromo-speaking prisoners of war, with the mission of suppressing dissent in, and exploiting, Oromia. It had also created the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which included OPDO and its other servile parties that it controlled, and in whose name it ruled the country with an iron fist, before it was forced to retreat to Tigray by Oromo non-violent revolution.
The Oromo non-violent revolution which started in 2014, culminated in the expulsion of TPLF from the seats of federal power in 2018, and was hoped to usher in freedom for the Oromo and other peoples of the country. Despite costing the Oromo nation thousands of lives, the revolution was hijacked by Afaan Oromo-speaking Neo-neftegna group led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed within the OPDO. To hide its true colors, the Neo-Neftegna team promised to respect human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of press, abide by the constitution, rule of law and transition to democratic governance. The promised reform and transition to democracy was derailed by the backward-looking imperial ambition of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to become the 7th king of the empire and to stay in power against the will of the peoples of Ethiopia.
As a result, Ethiopia is on the verge of becoming a failed state under the visionless, Machiavellian style leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. While Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is busy with glorifying and building statues for the most barbaric brutal feudal kings of Abysinia, the whole world is demolishing statues of such brutal figures everywhere. He is working hard to dismantle the multi-national constitution currently in place and to take back Ethiopia to the feudal era instead of crafting a forward-looking system that could hold together the diverse multinational empire of Ethiopia. To this end, he has fully deployed military rule (command post) by commanding the army, national security and police forces to silence all progressive Organizations that support transition to democracy, self-determination and respect human rights in all parts of the country.
Furthermore, to remain in power indefinitely, the neo-neftegna group led by Abiy Ahmed has illegally and forcefully postponed national and regional elections indefinitely, and beyond its five years term of office ending on October 5, 2020, thereby creating a clear constitutional crisis.
To resolve the constitutional crisis and to bring about a solution to the Oromo people’s long-standing political demands, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), two leading independent Oromo opposition parties that are legally registered with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, had formally called on the Ethiopian government to chart a political solution in the form of a Transitional Caretaker government involving all legally registered independent political parties in the country. Instead of heeding their advice, the government of the PM Abiy Ahmed decided to extend his power through an unconstitutional interpretation of the constitution.
As a result, come October 5, 2020, due to the absence of a constitutionally mandated government in Oromia and Ethiopia, chaos and civil war are very likely to ensue, resulting in refugee crisis and potential genocide by the illegitimate military government of Abiy Ahmed. To avert this impending catastrophe, Oromia urgently needs the establishment of a Transitional Caretaker Government.
The Tigray region has been enjoying absolute freedom since 1992 and has now defied the federal government and held a regional election as a reflection of its status as a genuinely autonomous state in the Ethiopian empire . The Amhara region also enjoys autonomy. Its leaders advance the Amhara people’s interests both in their region and at the federal government level. Oromia, however, has been transformed into a battlefield by this regime through imposition of illegal state of emergency. Since the invasion and occupation of Oromia by Abysinia, the Oromo have never been allowed to choose their representatives and form their own government. All rulers of Oromia, including the current pseudo-government led by deputy president Shimalis Abdissa, have been installed and imposed on the Oromo people by the central government.
Taking the gravity of the situation into account, the Oromo Liberation Front and the Oromo Federalist Congress have proposed the establishment of Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government involving all Oromo stakeholders, and have called for support and intervention of the global powers and your leadership.
As a coalition of 45 Oromo civic, professional, human right, and faith-based organizations, the Oromo Global Forum calls on the UN, US, EU, AU, and all global stakeholders to intervene in the political and constitutional crisis of Ethiopia, and to support the formation of Transitional Caretaker Government of Oromia involving independent Oromo institutions. The proposed Transitional Caretaker Government of Oromia will oversee a peaceful, free, and fair elections led by an impartial and independent Electoral Commission it shall establish under the supervision of UN, US, EU, and AU.
We believe disregard for this call and continued indifference to seek a permanent resolution for the Oromo political demands will be regrettable. We consider all global powers who have contributed to emboldening the regime in power through financial and military support are equally responsible for the ongoing crimes the regime in power is committing against Oromos and other nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire.
The global powers should learn from the consequences of ignoring the national crises in Somalia, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Ruanda, etc. Early intervention in the impending crisis in Ethiopia can save millions of human lives, and can avert enormous refugee crisis and human misery of the local populations, and can also save humanitarian aid costs to international organizations and governments.
Thus, as advocates for the Oromo people, we reiterate our call for your intervention and support for the OLF and OFC proposed establishment of an autonomous Oromia Transitional Caretaker Government that shall establish an impartial and independent Electoral Commission to ensure a free and fair elections and govern Oromia for the duration of the transitional period.
We sincerely hope you will take our advice seriously and play a leading role in ending the suffering of the Oromo and other marginalized peoples in Ethiopia preventing a potentially devastating civil war.
With best regards,
The Oromia Global Forum
- Bilal Oromo Dawa Center
- Canaan Oromo Evangelical Church
- Charismatic International Fellowship Church
- DMV Oromo Islamic Center
- Gaadisa Sabboontottaa KP
- Global Gumii Oromia
- Global Oromo Advocacy Group
- Global Waaqeffannaa Council
- Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
- Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
- International Oromo Lawyers Association
- International Oromo Women’s Organization
- International Qeerroo Support Group
- Network of Oromo Studies
- Mana Kiristaanaa Fayyisaa Addunyaa
- Oromo Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
- Oromo Community of Bergen
- Oromo Community of Columbus Ohio
- Oromo Community of Oslo
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington DC Metropolitan Area
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society
- Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
- Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
- Oromo Lutheran Church of Baltimore
- Oromo Parliamentarians Council
- Oromo Political Prisoners Association
- Oromo Relief Organization, ORA in USA
- Oromo Resurrection Evangelical Church
- Oromo Scholars and Professionals
- Oromo Seniors Welfare & Benevolent Association In Victoria (OSWBAV) Inc
- Oromo Studies Association
- Oromia Support Group
- Our Redeemer Oromo Evangelical Church
- Tawfiq Islamic Center
- Tawhid Oromo Islamic Center in Minnesota
- Tumsa Sochii Haqa Oromoo
- Union of Oromo Communities in Canada
- United Oromo Chirstian Church in Australia
- United Oromo Evangelical Church
- Wabii Maccaa Association
- Washington DC Metropolitan Oromo SDA Church
- https://www.nytimes.com/1895/02/26/archives/meneleks-terrible-expedition.html (please see the attached image of the NY Times article)
- De Salviac, Un peuple antique au pays de Ménãik, 86-87, 278.
(A4O, Press Release, 30 Sept 2020) We support the right of the Oromo people in their home state of Oromia to peacefully celebrate one of the most important Oromo cultural holidays, Irreecha, on October 3-4, 2020. Each year, massive crowds gather in Finfinnee and Bishoftuu, Oromia for the Oromo annual festival, Irreechaa.
The Irreecha -Oromo Thanksgiving Day, has gone on for many years to celebrate the harvest season. Irreechaa is celebrated as a sign of reciprocating Waaqa in the form of providing praise for what they got in the past and is also a forum of prayer for the future. In the past, it has also been a forum for peaceful political protest and expression. In Oromo culture, both types of peaceful demonstrations are fully permissible.
This year’s festival, on October 3 and 4, occurs against the backdrop of escalating tensions and unrest in Oromia. Both federal and regional officials have stated that they will limit participation and political expression in this longstanding peaceful celebration. What is perhaps most concerning is the increased military-style presence of security forces in Oromia.
We view the government’s attempts to limit participation in Irreechaa with suspicion. Though, reasonable restrictions on public gatherings may be justified during this pandemic period, the government should show restraint at upcoming festival.
In this forum, the Oromo people have every right to peacefully voice their opposition to the government’s policies and governance. Any effort by the security forces to stop such free speech should be considered a limit on freedom of speech and unacceptable.
We urge caution by Ethiopian security forces and respect for citizen rights to avoid a repeat of 2016 attack and aggression that left hundreds of dead.
The Oromo nation have rights to celebrate Irreechaa free from any repression and attach.
Thanks to God for all the blessing
This festival is a spectacular show of cultural, historical, and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season. It has spawned somewhat of a science of knowing just when the blooms will peak at blooms and decline, depending on the wind, rain, and sunshine they get.
Now it is the beginning of 2020 Irreechaa celebrations, the premier holiday of the Oromo people marks the end of the dark-rainy season and the beginning of a blossom harvest season. The event is very important for our nation as it brings the nation together and helps to connect and share experiences in their day to day life.
The theme of this year Irreechaa is “Moving Forward: A Year of Consensus” in which it aims to celebrate Irreechaa as a medium for bringing all Oromias together to promote a process of our tradition group decision-making where the members are willing to work together to find the solution that meets the needs of Oromo people.
Together, we can make our destiny better everywhere.
Dabessa W Gemelal,
Director, Advocacy for Oromia
Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. We take all allegations seriously.
CARE International in Ethiopia has issued a statement on the matter, as follows:
“CARE International in Ethiopia would like to note that as an organization held accountable by strong, globally agreed core values of respect, integrity and diversity, we are a non-partisan, non-religious entity that does not discriminate on any basis. We recognize that the erroneous language used in an internal advisory has understandably caused pain and anger. We confirm that no ill will was intended. The communication was purely intended as an internal advisory in advance of any festivals or holidays, to keep our staff safe and secure.”
CARE is investigating this matter in order to ensure that any actions taken are consistent with our values as an organization.
Abdi Raggasa, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Dejene Tafa, Dhaqqaba Wario, Gammachu Ayyana, Mallasa Dirribsaa, Lammii Beenyaa, Yaasoo Kabbabaa and many thousands of Oromo political leaders, human rights defenders and journalists behind bars: you are the Freedom’s Pride; you are the Oromia’s Pride.
Your bravery, strength and passion for peace, freedom, justice and democracy will prevail.
(A4O, 27 Sept 2020) Advocacy for Oromia expresses its great concern regarding recently leaked email sent out to CARE Ethiopia staff.
In the letter sent to CARE Ethiopia, Advocacy for Oromia indicated that the email sent out to give advice to the staff contained oppressive content.
“The email was unprofessional, based in propaganda, unethical, and violates the code of conduct of CARE International,” says the letter.
Advocacy for Oromia further indicates that the content of the internal email contained highly biased words, sensationalised warnings which were discriminatory and vilified Oromos.
The writer of the leaked email, Mr. Abreham Abebe made a bold and false allegation about Jawar Mohammed with no evidence, again inserting highly politicized propaganda into a professional email without context.
Advocacy for Oromia says such remarks are very harmful to the Oromo people (which CARE serves) who are currently facing a government that is accusing and detaining all prominent Oromo leaders to prevent them from participating in the election.
The leaked email is currently circulating on social media and raising concern about CARE Ethiopia’s political involvement in Ethiopia.
Though, Advocacy for Oromia appreciates the services that CARE Ethiopia provides for our community, we also expect respect and dignity to the people being served.
We kindly ask your office to carefully investigate this allegation and to make your stance clear regarding the content of this email sent by Mr. Abebe on 23 September 2020,” says A4O in its letter
The arrest and detention of Kjetil Tronvoll, a highly regarded and engaged scholar with a particular expertise on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa, will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and academic inquiry.
Kjetil has now been freed and is on his way home. He has attended two Eritrea conferences hosted by Eritrea Focus.
Norwegian professor detained at Ethiopia airport
By Martin Schibbye | September 13, 2020
Norwegian professor Kjetil Tronvoll is said to have been abducted by police at Bole Airport in the capital Addis Ababa. He most recently came from Mekelle in the Tigray region, where he followed the “illegal election” criticized by the central government.
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, information was received during the evening that a Norwegian citizen had been detained at the airport.
– We have also been informed that he has now had the opportunity to travel further, says Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde at the press service at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Blankspot.
Kjetil Tronvoll is head of the think tank Oslo Analytica as well as professor of peace and conflict knowledge at Bjorknes University. For the past thirty years, he has conducted field studies in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Zanzibar and also worked as an advisor and mediator in several peace processes.
One of his special areas is the development of democracy on the African continent.
But his presence during the election, which was won by the former ruling TPLF party, has been criticized by supporters of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for taking a stand for the opposition party.
Something he rejected on twitter this week.
“Just to clarify. I observe the election as part of my 30-year research on political developments in Tigray and Ethiopia. Studying a process does not mean supporting it, but the empirical reality is a key to later being able to analyze the situation. Some seem to confuse this, “wrote the Norwegian professor.
In another follow-up comment on twitter, Kjetil Tronvoll wrote that there was a smear campaign against his presence with allegations that he was there and working illegally on a tourist visa.
“It’s fake! I am here as part of my work as an adjunct professor at the University of Mekelle on an official visa issued by the Ethiopian government. ”
The whole of Ethiopia was supposed to go to the polls in August, but they were postponed to the future. However, politicians in the Tigray region have opposed the postponement of national elections indefinitely, criticizing the Prime Minister for remaining in power without winning any election.
That is why the region’s politicians have arranged their own.
In an interview that Kjetil Tronvoll did recently with Al-Jazeera, he highlighted that both the people in the region and the TPLF party have undergone radical changes in recent years.
According to the ruling party TPLF, what has now taken place is a historic election that has given citizens an opportunity to choose between different political alternatives. They have also warned the government against intervening or in any way trying to stop the election because, according to them, it would be “a declaration of war”.
Relations between Tigray and the central government in Addis Ababa are strained, and in the past the TPLF, the dominant party in Tigray, has dropped out of government cooperation.
When asked by state television (EBC) about the election, the prime minister replied that it was a “minor headache” and that “the election is illegal because only the country’s national election commission can organize elections in Ethiopia”.
When Professor Kjetil Tronvoll returned to Addis Ababa’s airport Bole, he was taken away and detained, according to other passengers.
On Twitter, The Economist correspondent Tom Gardner writes that he was taken to a hotel.
According to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs , he now has the opportunity to continue his journey.
By Niko Georgiades & Jenn Schreiter, Unicorn Riot September 9, 2020
Saint Paul, MN – On June 29, famed Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa was assassinated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sparking renewed rounds of protests by Oromo people across the world.
Hundreds have been killed protesting in Ethiopia since Hachalu’s murder, with upwards of 10,000 arrested in a government crackdown that included a three-week Internet shutdown.
While Oromo people make up Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, with over 36 million people, they’ve struggled for land rights and human rights for centuries.
The Oromo population in Minnesota is upwards of 40,000 people and has been a hotspot for recent #OromoProtests.
Dozens of demonstrations have occurred this summer in the Twin Cities metro area, including: protests and car caravans on the interstate; religious actions; women’s marches; hunger strikes; a 48-hour protest at the state capitol; and an ongoing occupation outside the new Ethiopian Consulate General office in St. Paul.
In August, Unicorn Riot reported from several Oromo protests—you can find the live streams below. During our coverage, we heard the opinions of many Oromo people, from youths to elders.
We listened for hours before and after the demonstrations. We heard of forced assimilation, of cycles of generational trauma and horror stories going from past generations leading up to newly arrived refugees who escaped persecution, torture, and possible death.
We also heard from Ethiopians who said they were against the protests, which they view as furthering an already-existing tension amongst ethnic groups in Ethiopia.
The following report links to some of the Oromo protests Unicorn Riot covered in Saint Paul during the summer of 2020 and attempts to contextualize some of the reasons behind them and this East African conflict.
Oromo Protests in Saint Paul–Minneapolis
Similar to the ‘qeerroo/qarree’ (youth) uprising that has occurred this summer in Ethiopia, Oromo youth in the Twin Cities are the driving force behind a movement demanding human rights for the Oromo people and justice for Hachalu.
In Saint Paul, Oromo youths with Qeerroo Minnesota have occupied an area outside of the Ethiopian Consulate on University Avenue since August 6. Their planned sit-in turned into an occupation of the property after workers in the consulate refused to meet with them.
The qeerroo staged the occupation seeking to speak with the consulate, draw attention to what they deem human rights violations against the Oromo people, have an ongoing vigil space for Hachalu Hundessa, and to protest the government crackdown and detention of opposition leaders such as Jawar Mohammed and Bekele Gerba.
As the qeerroo and qarree set up their occupation on August 6, we streamed live from the steps of the building that houses the consulate. Oromo flags were flown and a large sign reading “Abiy Must Go,” referring to Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, was placed in sight of the busy University Avenue.
Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister. Though he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for his efforts in brokering peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia, members of the Oromo diaspora are split when it comes to backing Abiy.
A constant demand during the Oromo protests is that Abiy and his administration resign and he be stripped of his Peace Prize due to his human rights violations.
Unicorn Riot heard from Qeerroo Minnesota organizers at the start of their occupation outside the Ethiopian Embassy in Saint Paul:https://www.youtube.com/embed/mqRaExw1ggU?feature=oembed
One protester at the occupation emphasized that although the number of protesters that day in St. Paul was small, their worldwide energy was apparent.
Members of younger generations of the Oromo Diaspora have been rallying across the earth to demand an end to human rights violations in their homeland. Protests and occupations have taken place outside of Ethiopian embassies throughout Europe, including the embassy in Berlin, Germany:
“There’s a lot of protests going on, and I feel like this generation, our generation, will end it, you know?” — protester at sit-in outside Ethiopian consulate in St. Paul, August 6, 2020
Although the qeerroo in Minnesota said they’re demanding justice for the Oromo people, they were there “for humans in general. There’s a lot of human rights violations going on in this world.“
“We’re here for people in Kashmir; we’re here for Palestine; we’re here for #BlackLivesMatter; we’re here for the Uyghur Muslims who are suffering at the hands of the Chinese government. We’re here for all humans. But our people, Oromo people, they’ve have been suffering for so long. And it’s the government that’s been hurting our people—it’s systematic oppression.“
While the consulate is supposed to act as a conduit of access for Ethiopians in Minnesota to Ethiopian government officials, the youths said that the consulate was nowhere to be found after Hachalu’s assassination—hence the occupation at the embassy to demand a meeting.
The internet was turned off earlier this summer as turmoil, unrest, and violence swept areas of the Oromia region, making communication challenging for those in America with loved ones back home. People were not able to speak with ambassadors, and could only attempt to contact their family and friends through landlines.
After nearly a month of camping outside the consulate, one of the youths’ demands was met—a video meeting with the consulate. A Qeerroo Minnesota organizer told Unicorn Riot that although during the meeting the ambassadors “pretty much avoided all questions” youths were able to share their thoughts and demand the consulate make a public statement.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1295645281804079106&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px
Many Oromo Minnesotans have family members who’ve been affected by the happenings in Ethiopia. On August 7, women organized a large march in protest of the repressive policies in Ethiopia and demanding freedom for political prisoners, and that the U.S. stop funding the Ethiopian government. Participants marched to Governor Walz’ residence from the Oromo Community Center in St. Paul.
Since 2016, total U.S aid to Ethiopia has averaged around $1B a year. Last month, disagreements over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River led to about $130 billion of U.S. aid to Ethiopia being cut by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
During the women’s march in Saint Paul, one participant explained, “People are out here because there’s a huge government crackdown going on in Ethiopia. We also have minority groups that have been attacked.” The Ethiopian government, she said, is scapegoating protesters for the violence rather than investigating the hundreds of deaths that have occurred.
Watch our stream from the women’s march on August 7, 2020:https://web.facebook.com/v8.0/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df1cedf43c851e84%26domain%3Dunicornriot.ninja%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Funicornriot.ninja%252Ff6eb1385bb74b%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Funicornriot.ninja%2Fvideos%2F306507303940525%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=640
This journey for change has also steered its way onto Twin Cities highways. In one of the roadway takeovers, on August 12 (see below), dozens of vehicles crawled slowly along I-94 West in Saint Paul, stalling traffic during rush hour.
After portions of the caravan exited the interstate in Minneapolis that day, a few vehicles were pulled over by Minnesota State Troopers and given traffic citations.https://player.vimeo.com/video/447572600?dnt=1&app_id=122963
During a late-night visit to the occupation outside of the Ethiopian Consulate on August 13, numerous qeerroo shared their perspectives with Unicorn Riot during a nearly two-hour long live stream (see below).https://www.youtube.com/embed/tUKBPowNlR8?feature=oembed
Many of the youth compared aspects of the movement for Oromo liberation to the movement for Black lives in the United States.
Asked about reports of buildings being burned down in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, one man used the example of the property set aflame in the George Floyd protests, saying:
“Oromo people are not just burning anything down. We’re trying to be heard. We’ve tried the peaceful protest. BLM has tried the peaceful protests, and nothing has been changed from that.” — Qeerroo organizer in Minnesota
After meeting with members of the consulate, organizers with Qeerroo Minnesota are no longer sleeping outside the building, but are still holding space in front of the embassy during business hours to continue to demand a public statement and to protest.
Assassination of Hachalu Hundessa
Imprisoned in Ethiopia at age 17 for political activities, Hachalu Hundessa released his first album in 2009, one year after his five-year sentence had ended.
Hundessa became increasingly popular as his songs about the struggles of the Oromo people struck a chord with the public. On June 22, 2020, a week before his murder Hundessa commented on the repression of Oromos during an interview on Oromo Media Network (OMN). After this he received intense criticism and threats on social media, which many say directly led to his death.
Hundessa was shot to death on June 29, 2020 in a suburb of Ethiopia’s capital city, Addis Ababa. The government claims members of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) perpetrated the assassination; the OLF has denied responsibility.
Immediately after Hachalu’s murder, the Ethiopian government shut down the internet and arrested about 50 top-level government officials. Mass protests erupted. Buildings across dozens of districts were set ablaze and entire regions were wrought with intercommunal violence.
At least 5,000 people, mostly Oromo, were rounded up in the following days. Filling the jails, many more were locked up in the subsequent weeks, leading the government to set up makeshift jails in school buildings.
Hundreds of imprisoned people crowded together in close quarters during the COVID-19 pandemic has predictably led to more outbreaks of the virus. Community members at the Oromo Community Center of Minnesota allege that government forces have sent inmates who tested positive for coronavirus to jails with no infections in a deliberate attempt to spread the disease among Oromo protesters.
Oromia Media Network and Jawar Mohammed
Oromo Media Network, a nonprofit news organization headquartered in Minnesota, was created in part by a prominent leader of the 2016 Oromo protests and the ‘Qeerroo’ movement, Jawar Mohammed.
Educated at Stanford and Columbia University, 34-year-old Mohammed recently lived in Minnesota for some years before returning to Ethiopia in 2018 after Abiy became Prime Minister and lifted bans on opposition groups. Jawar stepped down from his role at OMN after setting up a branch in Addis Ababa, and joined the Oromo Federalist Congress to run for office in Ethiopia.
On June 30, Jawar Mohammed was arrested after a disagreement with the government over the location of Hachalu Hundessa’s burial site. Members of his family were also arrested, along with political leader Bekela Gerba and others. Many of these political prisoners are still locked up.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1295645281804079106&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px
OMN continues to operate, playing a vital role in broadcasting information to the Oromo Diaspora and consistently posting to social media. On September 4, OMN interviewed Minnesota-based human rights advocate Najat Hamza about recent occurrences in Oromia and through the diaspora.https://web.facebook.com/v8.0/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Dfaa2880cc001b%26domain%3Dunicornriot.ninja%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Funicornriot.ninja%252Ff6eb1385bb74b%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FOromiaMedia%2Fvideos%2F314417556504565%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=640
There is a notable lack of free press in Ethiopia. An interviewee during the women’s march explained to Unicorn Riot that the Ethiopian courts work with the government, and that lawyers don’t have “any right to advocate for the people.“
Itichaa Guddataa, a journalist formerly with OMN and now with Oromo Diaspora Media, said that ‘”there is no press freedom” and that journalists, bloggers, radio hosts, and others are locked up simply for reporting on Oromo news.
Since Jawar Mohammed’s arrest, OMN employees based in Addis Ababa have been detained by the Ethiopian federal government on suspicion of “operation of illegal communication equipment.” Several other journalists have also been recently arrested or detained.
Outside the embassy in Saint Paul, OMN has interviewed the protesters at the occupation a few times, including during an occupation eviction scare.https://web.facebook.com/v8.0/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df3aefba78b423%26domain%3Dunicornriot.ninja%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Funicornriot.ninja%252Ff6eb1385bb74b%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FOromiaMedia%2Fvideos%2F3878772145483121%2F&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&width=640
As of this article’s publication, Jawar Mohammed is still incarcerated, along with a litany of other political prisoners.
In late August, two Minnesota politicians wrote a letter to Ambassador Nagy, the American ambassador to Ethiopia, condemning Ethiopia’s detention of Jawar Mohammed and Mishi Chiri. Misha also works with OMN and came to Ethiopia from Minnesota in 2018 with Jawar.
The politicians urged the State Department to take every appropriate action “to ensure that they [Jawar and Mishi] are treated humanely and assist them in protecting and exercising their full legal rights.“https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291833062867775488&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px
A week before the letter for Jawar and Mishi, 20 members of Congress, led by Congressman Dean Philips (D-MN), wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the U.S. administration to work with Ethiopia to ensure dialogue and political opposition to Prime Minister Abiy and among other demands, an independent investigation into Hundessa’s killing.
Oromia and Ethiopia
Oromia is a region in Ethiopia, the second-most-populated country on the African continent. The Oromo people are indigenous to east and northeastern Africa and historic regions of Oromia spread beyond Ethiopia into Somalia and Kenya.
Ethiopia is the home of over 80 ethnic groups and multiple religions and languages. At about one-third of Ethiopia’s population, Oromo people make up the largest ethnic group in the country.
Historically rooted as one of the first Christian states in the world, over 60% of those living in Ethiopia are Christian, with another third of the population practicing Islam. Judiasm, Baháʼí, and traditional indigenous beliefs such as Waaqeffannaa are also practiced, among others.
The Oromo language is the most-spoken language in Ethiopia, yet Oromo is not recognized as an official federal language in the country.
While in the last 150 years Ethiopia has been celebrated for resisting white supremacist colonization, the country has continued to suffer through ethnic violence. Abyssinian rule in the 19th and 20th centuries laid out a continuing regime of systematic oppression against groups like the Oromo.
Oromo people are faced with forced assimilation in their homeland and an erasure of their history. Oromo have been branded by Abyssinians as outsiders and called the derogatory term ‘galla’, meaning ‘savage’, ‘slave’, or ‘enemy’.
Oromo youth outside the consulate in Saint Paul compared the Oromo people’s forced assimilation through religion, language, and cultural conversion to the genocide enacted on Indigenous North American populations by the United States.
Statutes of Emperor Menelik II have been targeted in Ethiopia, in a worldwide wave of colonialist statutes being toppled. In London, a bust of Haile Selassie and his father were both destroyed during the 2020 protests.
Marginalization of Oromo-based political movements from national politics has continued into the 2000s. Massacres of Oromo and political activists have been perpetrated by the Ethiopian government numerous times in the last 20 years, including killings of hundreds in 2005 and 2015.
In 2016, mass Oromo protests were sparked from a government plan to take over Oromo land in and around the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. Hundreds were killed during the protests and thousands were jailed.
Two years later, protests helped pave the way for the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn; this is when Abiy Ahmed was placed into power. Since then, the country has experienced “an increase in killings of people critical of the government and political personalities in the country“, according to Amnesty International.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=ur_ninja&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-5&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291824136474566658&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Funicornriot.ninja%2F2020%2Fyouth-lead-summer-of-oromo-protests-in-minnesota%2F&siteScreenName=ur_ninja&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px
As new information out of Ethiopia is slowly gleaned, Oromo protests following Hundessa’s killing earlier this summer are continuing to happen in Oromia and across the world.
Continue to follow Unicorn Riot for further specials on the Oromo protests in Minnesota.
Georgia Fort contributed to this report.
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About this postCategories: Community, GlobalTagged: #oromoprotests, abiy ahmed, addis ababa, ethiopia, hachalu, hachalu hundessa, hundessa, jawar mohammed, Minnesota, oromia, oromia media network, oromo, oromo community center of minnesota, oromo diaspora, oromo diaspora media, political prisoner, qarree, qeerroo, qeerroo minnesota, Twin Cities, womens marchPublished September 9, 2020MORE FROM UNICORN RIOTHistoric Squats, Rosa Nera and Terra Incognita, Raided by Greek Police