I am afraid: they have planted a seed that bears a fruit which keeps poisoning the unity of Oromos
“Wallaggaa dhaquu sodaannee ….Yoo dhufani lamaan isaaniyyuu asumatti hambisna jedhanii.”
This is a mistake that has no historical parallel. When I heard it first, I thought it is a dumb speech; anyone can make a mistake. However, this is not a dumb idea. It is a well thought out statement. Haile Seallssie did not say any thing like it. Mengistu did not dare this kind of stuff. Even Meles did not utter any thing that comes close to this idea. In my view, today’s statement from Abiy and Lamma “…that if we went to Wollega, we wouldn’t come alive” (i.e., they would kill us) amounts to a purposeful effort to divide Oromos and incite violence among them. There are many plausible reasons:
First, both Abiy and Lamma know that they are losing (badly). True leadership requires understanding the feeling of the people and a foresight. They have none. The average Oromo who rallied behind them has come to gradually realize that they did not mean any thing they were saying since they came to power. Realizing this, Abiy and Lemma have to come up with excuses. Remember, it was not too far ago that Abiy said, “members of the national defense army came to the palace not to talk to me, but to hurt me.”
Second, since both Abiy and Lamma came to power, they acted extremely well doing what no other leader in Africa has done. They told the world that the TPLF government to which they were an integral part “terrorized the people.” Many were shocked hearing them admit wrong doing. They declared they are determined to change that.They promised to listen and act in the best interest of the public.That meant bringing justice; however, they quickly realized that doing so would take them down the rabbit hole.
Third, they felt that keeping the country that is falling apart and an economy that is on the brink of collapse (e.g., Hilaemariam resigned the national bank had only 2 months of imports worth of foreign currency) required making peace. That meant talking to opposition parties and paving the path to free and democratic elections; among others, and enabling the OLF leadership to return home, and of course reckoning with the Oromo Liberation Army (WBO). It did not take them long to realize that it was an untenable path for them. Thus, they had to back track on their agreement with the OLF; for example, attempting to forcefully disarm WBO. They failed miserably on that and it back fired on them with the Oromo people, not the OLF, resoundingly saying “NO” to their plans.
Fourth, given the strong headwind that is blowing against them, they realized that soon there will be no party called OPDO. They started freaking out. They called for advice from disgruntled former members of the OLF. They came up with a smart solution: divide the Oromo people along regional lines; hence, what they declared today. As an Oromo, this approach frightens me a lot. It pits one group of Oromo against another group. Most of all, it reminds me of how ethnic cleansing in Ruwanda started: when in the early 1990s, President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, began using anti-Tutsi rhetoric to consolidate his power among the Hutus.
I am afraid that, God forbid, if either of these people die, even of natural causes, they have planted a seed that bears a fruit which keeps poisoning the unity of Oromos in a way that no other previous leader of the country has done. I am afraid!