Irksome debate on the Oromo question

By Robele Ababya, 17 August 2011 |

I am prompted to write this short piece to argue my case as a proud Ethiopian born to mainly Oromo parentage whose ancestors lived in northern Shoa. As I have always been saying, I neither chose my parents nor place of birth, but I am happy to state that I became a die-hard Ethiopian by choice for a number of good reasons rooted in history:

1. The Oromos are indigenous people of Ethiopia from the time of Cushite kingdom spanning the period 2000 BC to 500 BC. It means that the Oromos and others which spoke the Cushite language were part and parcel of the indigenous civilization of that kingdom inherited by the Axumite Kingdom ;

2. I entirely agree with substance of the brilliant article written by the esteemed scholar and poet Dr. Fikre Tolossa titled “Nobles of Oromo descent who ruled Ethiopia”, written in 1992. The EthiopianReview Editor commends it as “an insightful and highly informative article” in his remarks of 13th August 2011 written under the heading “The Oromo contribution to building the Ethiopian Nation”. I am proud of the contributions of my ancestors.

3. Based on my history lessons offered in classroom during the Imperial time, my own motivation in reading history, personal experience, curiosity to listen to elderly older people narrating Ethiopian history, and close friendly working relationship with the legendary Professor Mesfin Woldemariam and Professor Negussay Ayele in our professional contribution to defense institutions, building , I am satisfied that race or ethnicity were never unsurpassable obstacles to our efforts for the Imperial policy was inclusive; I am satisfied that race, ethnicity were not factors underlying our chronic political problems and sufferings under abject poverty. So Meles Zenawi fools no one but himself in playing the ethnic card to prolong his misrule;

4. On my part I reject all and sundry those who find it politically convenient to express sympathy to the ‘unanswered Oromo question’ in order to pursue their hidden agenda thus belittling the gallant Oromo people who have lived in Ethiopia from the beginning of recorded history of the nation; I maintain the answer to the Oromo question is found in the whole spectrum of Ethiopia’s history in which the era of Menelik II is a small part but significant in terms of modernizing the country;

5. My parents lived harmoniously among other ethnics groups in Addis Ababa collaborating on issues of common concern – natural calamities such as flood, fire, wind; and cooperation in social development schemes that are unique to Ethiopia.

Just look at a social gathering in weddings, funerals, and children at playgrounds in Ethiopia of today. Everyone comes from mixed parentage, except those who believe in the divisive and destructive tribal ideology of Zenawi.

The problems that face a child born in Ethiopia by default is one of abject poverty, techno-scientific backwardness, absence of the rule of law, lack of independent democratic institutions, suffering in the TPLF serfdom, ideological brainwashing of school children and low standard of education among others.

The future of Ethiopia would be guaranteed by the principle of one-man-one vote in a pluralistic society where freedom of the individual is firmly upheld. Political mudslinging of the past is a cheap shortcut in the weapon pursuit of dictatorial power; Using all means to that pursuit including murder, incarceration, summary execution of political opponents or claim of racial supremacy has no place in the 21st century.

The Amharas, Oromos are exchanging olive branches of peace and mutual respect with the understanding that both are targets of Zenawi for fear of their combined numerical size forming about n 80% of the Ethiopian people. He (Zenawi) is therefore using tribal politics to set apart and weaken them to exploit their rich national resources.

The masses of Ethiopia came out in unprecedented numbers to cast their vote at polling station in 2005 and dealt a heavy blow to the repressive TPLF party. This shows that ethnicity is not an overriding problem of the masses; it is rather that of leftist elites imbibed with Stalin’s teachings of nations and nationalities, which is inapplicable to the unique history of Ethiopia whose people intermingled from time immemorial. History is replete with internal struggle of warlords for power, not to divide Ethiopia as seen, in most cases, in their propensity to unite to deter external aggression. I would hasten to add that the stellar victory of Adwa was achieved with significant contribution of eight thousand horse-mounted ferocious Oromo fighters mainly from Shoa.

So, my fellow Ethiopians, as a descendant of Oromo parents and ancestry, I swear that I have always argued that Oromo question is like any other question pertaining to all; it is largely one of abject poverty and parochialism exacerbated by the incompetent leadership of the tribal minority regime spearheaded by Meles Zenawi.

Let us genuinely rally, in the spirit of engendering a compassionate and truly democratic Ethiopia under the rule of law; let us rally around the following slogan, which in eight Ethiopian ethnic languages, means enough to the brutal misrule of Meles Zenawi.

Release all political prisoners in Ethiopia!

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Posted by on August 17, 2011. Filed under COMMENTARY. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.