The Oromia Media Network** Board of Trustees expresses Strong Opposition to the Master Plan for Addis Ababa

The Oromia Media Network** Board of Trustees expresses Strong Opposition to the Master Plan for Addis Ababa, predicting devastating impact on the Oromo People. The OMN* Board of Trustees is outraged by the impending implementation of amassive land grab in the heart of Oromia referred to as the “Integrated Regional Development Plan for Addis Ababa” referred to in short as the “Master Plan.” The Board commends the effort made by OMN’s editorial department to provide continuous reporting on the matter. It once again instructs the department to increase its coverage.

This major social engineering project was secretly prepared by leaders of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that controls the current Ethiopian government. At the heart of the plan is a scheme to remove 36 Oromo townships and 17 counties (woredas) surrounding the federally chartered city of Addis Ababa from the control of the regional state of Oromia and place these Oromo territories under the control of the TPLF government. The implementation of this Master Plan will result in the expansion of Addis Ababa to twenty times its current size. In the process, over six million Oromo people will be forcibly uprooted from their farming and grazing lands, reducing them to abject poverty, at risk for loss of cultural landmarks and practices, and ruination of their way of life.

Destruction of any people’s livelihood, culture and identity is ethnocide, a crime against humanity. There is no doubt that the Master Plan is a politically motivated project, which aims at achieving three longstanding political and economic goals of the TPLF leadership

First, this Master Plan is designed to accomplish an enormous transfer of prime productive and well-watered agricultural and grazing lands away from the indigenous Oromo people into the hands of non-Oromo ownership and management. Such a strategy will impoverish hundreds of thousands of Oromo families and reduce them to a life of homelessness and begging. That process has already begun. The second outcome of the Master Plan will be the undermining of the rich and vibrant Oromo cultural heritage, which is tied to these lands and their productivity. The outright takeover that is central to the design is a direct attack on the Oromo national identity. Such a strategy amounts to nothing short of ethnocide.

The most treacherous part of this Integrated Regional Development Master Plan for Addis Ababa will be the inevitable destruction of the territorial integrity of the continuous lands of the Oromo by severing the regional state of Oromia into two parts. The Master Plan will take over the center of Oromia up to the borders of non-Oromo territories. This injurious plot is designed to weaken and divide a people already without rights or an authoritative voice in the current regime.

In short, the Master Plan sets up an arrangement by which the Oromo people who live in the center of Oromia will be robbed of their land with impunity and displaced without meaningful compensation. One goal of this mean-spirited design is to plant long-lasting discord among the peoples of Ethiopia. The illegal grabbing of Oromo land and theuprooting of Oromo people by current TPLF leaders evokes bad memories of past atrocities by previous regimes and will never be accepted by the Oromo people.

Therefore:

● The OMN Board of Trustees strongly condemns the Ethiopian government’s “Master Plan,” which will have a devastating impact on millions of Oromo families.

● The Oromo people, who were not asked for their consent to the Master Plan, will never accept such a scheme, which will only darken their future.

● We demand that the Ethiopian government leaders halt implementation of the Master Plan, to avoid the inevitable negative impact on the future relationships between the Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia.

● We call upon international corporations, governments and agencies to investigate the impact of this Master Plan and to acknowledge the destructive impact and divisive consequences for the Oromo people.

● We challenge all parties to withhold or withdraw support for the Master Plan aware that it cannot achieve full implementation without significant external support

● The Trustees also call upon all Ethiopians and other peace-loving peoples of the region and the world to publicly condemn this malicious Master Plan, bringing attention to the intent to destroy the livelihood of millions of Oromo families, their culture and national identity. At this moment no calling is more urgent and noble and no responsibility greater for the Oromo, all the peoples of Ethiopia and peace loving people in the international community than to stand by the side of their neighbors and compatriots, the Oromo of central Oromia, strongly urging the Ethiopian government leaders to immediately cease and desist the implementation of “The Integrated Regional Development Master Plan for Addis Ababa.”

** The Oromia Media Network (OMN) is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit news enterprise established with a goal of producing original, fact-based, and citizen- driven reporting, focused on Oromia, Ethiopia, and the greater Horn of Africa region.

OMN holds its broadcasting mission to the highest journalistic standards and professionalism while offering a uniquely Oromo perspective to its viewers. As part of its professional duty, OMN also takes pro-active and firm stand on grave issues of discernible consequences.

OMN Board of Trustees

Signed

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