Monthly Archives: March 2015
Transparency and Accountability Should Be The Hallmark of Any Oromo Nonprofits Organizations: Has MWMF Surpassed Such Threshold?
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF OromoTV.com
Here is a challenge, stop for a second and think about how many times Oromo organizations irrelevant of their goal have asked for funding through donations. Whether we reside in Minneapolis, Washington DC, Seattle, Atlanta, Toronto, Melbourne, London or Oslo, wherever a concentrated Oromo community exists the need to raise money has always been a part of the Diaspora community. While some causes are noble and worthy of every penny we donate, others have been less than stellar at best and downright fraudulent at worst.
For example, consider how many times you have been asked to donate to an organization without really knowing how much money the organization has raised or what their overhead costs are?
So with transparency in mind, we were grateful to have had an incredible opportunity to wittiness on 22nd of March, one of the leading Media, Madda Walaabuu Media Foundation annual summery report posted on Social Media. Not great but good enough for its first start to disclose how much money they raised in the year of 2014 and an itemized description of MWMF broadcasting programs. Their new program includes an, “Oromia Insight English Program”, which was begun to air since January of this year.
To further understand we went on to dig deeper into the MWMF and reached out Mr. Aliye Geleto Anota, one of the founders of MWMF and the Executive Director of MWMF. A resident of Melbourne Australia, an IT lecturer, Mr. Geleto, was very polite and gracious enough to speak to OromoTV.com Editorial Member on social media. Perhaps, he spoke openly and willing to share their powerpoint presentation that helped us to examine pertinent details of MWMF’s annual repost.
According to their website, MWMF is a non-governmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization, co-opted their vision in Washington, D. C. and founded in 2013 (across Australia and USA) by a broad based coalition of human rights advocates, civic society leaders, journalists and community members who are committed to the principles of democracy, human rights, freedom and justice.
Their three times a week radio broadcasting program known as “Oromo Voice Radio”, airs to Oromia on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:00 PM local time has been gaining attraction.
Their recent disclosure of yearly summery report, since its inception roughly a year ago, should be regarded as — noteworthy — for setting the standard to all Oromo nonprofits organizations, particularly nonprofits media based institutions.
Ironically, for people stripped of their established — a just and genuinely democratic order of lifestyle known as “Gada System” more than a century ago, nonprofits organizations have always been the way to sustain Oromos’ movement for generations. Whether media based — small and big — or — any communal institutions set-out to be a voice to the voiceless in any community setting — transparency and accountably should be the moral set toward communal progression. In fact, MWMF’s recent annual summery report may raise a ringing indictment of other Oromo nonprofits organizations that has shown little to no financial transparency.
Now this bring us to the question — Why transparency and accountably is imperative?
It is a no-brainer that transparency means telling the truth about your organization, and your mission. It also means disclosing how every aspects of your work, and precisely how and when funds are being raised and disbursed accordingly.
According to America’s Nonprofits advocates — the National Council of Nonprofits — all nonprofit community must earn the public’s trust every day not only by complying with the law but also by modeling and promoting integrity, transparency, and accountability. In fact, it is considered as, “A BADGE OF HONOR” — for those nonprofits organizations make disclosure and openness their core principle.
Ever so often, a common complaint that too many nonprofits fail to address among Oromo society is ignoring constituent feedback. Just like any other sectors of world society, Oromos are not immune to common ethical problems involving gray areas of activities such as fraud and misconduct. No matter how difficult to disclose every parts of fundraised resources — all Oromo nonprofits organizations must continue to pursue aggressively in promoting ethical conduct and financial transparency.
After all, the public deserve to know how their money is being spent. More importantly, the Oromo people should demand such disclosure all the time. This is very important for people to know their rights — to insist an organization of full disclosure. Because, this in-turn would propel an organization to succeed, once trust cultivated through transparency and accountability, the crucial component of equal partnership develops between public and such organization. Whenever the due-payers are not asking for transparency and accountability the chances of an organization to succumb to a failure is enormous.
Let’s back to MWMF…
The little step they set out after a year in business means a lot to make their donors comfortable enough to pledge more in the future. When contributors feel like they are part of a campaign it is important that the campaign or organization openly share all aspects of the operation, from how much has been raised to how much support they will need in the future. This allows the contributors to be part of the decision making process not just give their money and feel like they are being kicked to the curb.
As a result, MWMF open and transparent policy is not only setting an example for future campaigns and organizations, it is the future for our community. Up to this point we have not had an open nonprofits organization that is based for media purpose like that of MWMF. However, we would like to congratulate their attempt to be open and transparent to their donors. No matter what this is a baby step, we encourage their leadership to do more on their next year report. They have made tremendous progress and it is certainly no easy task to have come as far as they have within a year. But what makes their organization unique is making their institution as transparent as possible. Let us leave you with their organizational philosophy we found on their powerpoint presentation, “Our institutional wisdom is to reflect, connect, build confidence, model a willingness to improve, manage our performance & resources well and model transparency, accountability.”
We would like to give our deepest gratitude to Aliye Geleto for sharing their annual report powerpoint.
(Advocacy for Oromia)Prof. Dhugo introduces the Oromo people of Oromia and East Africa to the African American community in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the 2014 ASA.
The youtube video uploaded by Gadaa.com shows strong argument of Prof. Habtamu Dhugo about Oromo and Oromia. The interview was conducted by Virgil Boyd, a 2014 African Studies Association’s meeting local organizing committee member and part of African Studies Program in Indianapolis, for African American Community Media.
Amnesty International’s report on the state of existence of the Oromos, published last year, has been damning. It painted a chilling picture of the brutality unleashed by Ethiopian government on the hapless community to which the country’s President, Mulatu Teshome, belongs. The rights group, based in London, said: “At least 5,000 Oromos have been arrested based on their actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government”. And most of them have been “subjected to treatment amounting to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”.
Amnesty researcher Claire Beston has been scathing. She said, “The Ethiopian government’s relentless crackdown on real or imagined dissent among the Oromo is sweeping in its scale and often shocking in its brutality. This is apparently intended to warn, control or silence all signs of ‘political disobedience’ in the region”. Beston, in her report, said in no uncertain terms that she saw “signs of torture, including scars and burns, as well as missing fingers, ears and teeth” on those Oromos she interviewed.
The scenario in the country is perhaps far more terrifying. The United States, in its 2013 Human Rights Report, has pointed out that at least 70,000 persons, including some 2,500 women and nearly 600 children are incarcerated with their mothers, in severely overcrowded six federal and 120 regional prisons. “There also were many unofficial detention centres throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele,” the report added further.
Plurality, respect for basic democratic values and tolerance for dissent have never been the fortes for which Ethiopia is known in the world. It is for reasons on the contrary the country has already earned a massive notoriety internationally. Corruptions are rampant and behind the façade of development the government in Ethiopia is infamous for selling out the country to the western world and foreign corporations and, of course, for its blatant violation of basic human rights.
What defines Ethiopia today is the greed and corruption of its politicians, especially those in power. The brazenness with which the government is trying to sell out Omo Valley to foreign corporation is a shame and a heinous crime. Twice the size of France and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Omo Valley is known as the ‘cradle of mankind’ which, according to ancient-origins.net, has the world’s largest alkaline lake as well as the world’s largest permanent desert lake.
The Ecologist says, Lake Turkana in Omo Valley was a prehistoric centre for early hominids. Some 20,000 fossil specimens have been collected from the Turkana Basin. Anthropological digs have led to the discovery of important fossilised remains, most notably, the skeleton of the Turkana Boy, (or Nariokotome Boy). Finding Turkana Boy was one of the most spectacular discoveries in palaeoanthropology. His reconstruction comes from the almost perfectly preserved skeleton found in 1984 at Nariokotome near Lake Turkana.
Discovery of the fossilised Turkana Boy, aged between seven and fifteen who lived approximately 1.6 million years ago was a milestone in the study of our origin and ancestry. Yet, to the corrupt, shameless and avaricious Ethiopian government it is of no significance. And neither is the welfare of the indigenous people of the valley who are believed to be the living descendants of the early hominids.
Alas! Ethiopian government wants to sell out this important archaeological treasure trove to foreign corporations where they want to develop sugar, cotton and biofuel plantations. A shameless land grab is underway in Omo Valley where hundreds of more fossilised skeletons of our forefathers are expected to be found and retrieved.
Misrule, human rights violations, hubris, arrogance and corruption plagues Ethiopia. Continuous demagoguery against the Oromos has made Ethiopia sit atop a huge mound of gun powder waiting for a spark to explode. The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), the armed wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) is getting ready for yet another armed struggle to overthrow the present political dispensation in power.
And given the history of insurgency in Ethiopia the country today seems to be heading fast towards a fresh bout of armed insurrection.
A low intensity struggle has already started as the Oromos are no more in mood to take the oppression, they are in no mood to suffer in silence their marginalisation. The ethnic fire the Ethiopian government has been stoking is gradually turning into an inferno.
We know human stupidity is endless and that of Ethiopia is infinite and dark. It cannot achieve growth and progress keeping its people delegitimised and aggrieved. The oppressed and tortured shall one day erupt to claim what legitimately belongs to them as well.
The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman. He can be reached at email@example.com