The Oromo protest is one of the marks that led to a change in Ethiopia’s political landscape and brought Dr. Abiy Ahmed to a drive seat of the incumbent government leadership.
Since he came to power, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have initiated nationwide economic and political reforms that brought considerable achievements. As a major achievement, with the invitation of the Premier for all contending political parties for peaceful struggle, a number of political parties’ leaders and members who were engaged in armed and political struggles in exile returned home for peaceful political activities.
Among them are over 17 Oromo political parties that had been using various dissertations to form political parties focusing on Oromo nationality and brandishing more or less same type of emblem. Some analysts fear that this is a situation that indicates obsession of some of Oromo political parties’ leadership to crown themselves at the expense of thousands and potentially crippling the unity of the Oromo people.
The 17 plus Oromo political parties with the Oromo peoples struggle emblems and various names happened home and pledged to work with the incumbent. What is the identity of these parties and the reality on the ground? What should be the next step in the Oromo people struggle to move forward and make sure Oromo people unite?
According to Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni, a lawyer and Ethiopian Think Tank Group Member, it is time to pull natural and human capital together for better future of Ethiopia to shine in the region and beyond.
“We are witnessing various political parties in the name of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) joining the call and ready to use the peaceful rapprochements. But some are keeping on stirring controversy for the last months. In my understanding OLF headed by Dawud Ibsa entered Ethiopia after the Party had concluded an agreement with the Federal government for a peaceful struggle.”
However, the party’s recent activities contradict the agreement, according to statement frequently given by the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP). This would harm the Oromo people and should be resolved before long, Birhanemeskel added.
For Birhanemeskel, currently, there is no organization known as the OLF in existence now. The OLF as an organization was dismantled and dismembered long time ago among key individuals who were at the helm of the leadership of that organization.
“Instead, what we have now are five independent groups established by ex-members of the OLF. Now, these groups are causing confusion among the Oromo people by using the name and flag of the OLF as political trademark and brand name to earn legitimacy and raise money from the Oromo public who do not know the fact that the OLF is dismantled long time ago.”
These five independent organizations established by ex-members of the OLF are: Lencho Lata’s Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), Gallassa Dilbo’s Qaacaa, General Kemmal Gelchu’s AWO, General Hailu Gonfa’s United Oromo Liberation Front, and Dawud Ibsa’s Shanee, he clarified.
For Birhanemeskel, all of these groups, except one, are still using the OLF flag and logo in their outreach to the Oromo people and in fund raising. Yet, none of these groups are structurally and substantively the continuation of the famed Oromo Liberation Front. None of these groups have any legal rights to use the logo and the flag of the OLF. Thus, those which use the OLF’s flag and logo to their political consumption must be proscribed by law.
“Similarly, the government must ban the misuse and abuse of the pictures and the reputation of Oromo heroes for private fund raising purposes or even cover up their criminal activities”, he said.
He stressed that lack of understanding among the Oromo general public about the non-existence of the OLF is causing serious confusions. It is exposing the public to various fraudulent and criminal groups including a nascent, yet very deadly terrorist network known as ‘Abba Torbee’, one of the four wings of Dawud Ibsa’s Shanee.
Therefore, the Oromo people must be aware of the non-existence of the OLF as an organization, and distance themselves from the countless, daily mushrooming fraudulent and criminal groups operating as a franchisee of this long defunct organization.
The Ethiopian government and the media must also alert and educate the Oromo general public to protect themselves and their family from exposing to the fraudulent and criminal groups and individuals who unlawfully uses and operates under the flag of the OLF, and uses, at times, the pictures of Oromo heroes to cover up their crimes.
Gelasa Dilbo, OLF founder and politician told The Ethiopian Herald that they came here to rally behind Dr. Abiy Ahmed and the leadership in Oromia State. Gelasa went on saying: “we should leave behind hatred and start working in unity with a new spirit. The Oromo people must look out of the box of our political party programs.
Peaceful struggle should be seconded and move one step to be formal approaches as the truth of the Oromo people struggle is greater than the political parties. As a political party, there should be civility to harmonize the relation. Conflict and armed struggle is no more needed.”
Actualizing lasting peace and economic prosperity as well unity should be the epicenter of the Oromo struggle but not to peruse each political party’s legacy. The source power is the people not political parties; so each should engage in selling ideas. The time is over to arm faction struggle.
Oromo activist, Fita Motti for his part noted that the Oromo people had paid gruesome sacrifice and no way for second round blood shade.
“The Oromo parties should beware that if they keep on armed struggle they are harming the people of Oromo, we do not like to be like Syria, Yemen, or Libya settling differences should the prime objectives.The new leadership is showing hope and addressing the demand of the people so darkening this golden opportunity is crime.”
Fixa noted that there are two ways of dealing: one in peaceful struggle, and the other in armed struggle. Political parties should choose the right way, “the Shane group should think twice and ready to put off any kind of own political ideology.”
Many are working with incumbent in cooperative spirit which should be scaled up. “We should have to rally behind Dr. Abiy Ahmed and other architects of the reform from Amhara, Afar,Trigray, Sidama Ethiopia Somali among others,” activist Fitta said as a message to the youth.