By: Milkissa Ch.
The Oromo Protests that began in Mid November 2015 has continued across the Oromia region though the TPLF led Ethiopian government claimed that the protests have come to an end.
The immediate reason for the Oromo protests was the Addis Abeba and Oromia Special Zone Integrated Master Plan, a government plan to expand the capital city Addis Abeba into the neighboring areas in the Oromia region. Oromo university, high school and elementry students , Oromo farmers and Oromo civil servants took to the street and opposed the Master Plan as the plan would evict more than two million farmers from their land. The government forces, however, responded with heavy hands killing more than 200 people mercilessly. When the protesters got tougher, the government declared that the Master Plan was cancelled.
Yet, the Oromos continued with the protests demanding the Ethiopian government to address the questions that Oromos have been asking the current Ethiopian government for almost 25 years. The questions include self rule/autonomy, control over its natural resources, ending political marginalization, economic exploitation and cultural domination. The current government has been killing, jailing and torturing the Oromos for almost two decades simply because they demanded their rights envisaged in the constitution of the country.
Now, the Oromo people are saying enough is enough after patiently waiting for 25 years hoping for changes would come. But changes were nowhere to be seen. Things even got worse. Hundred thousands of Oromo farmers were removed from their land in the name of investment, infrastructural development, mechanized farming and industrial zone expansions usually with meager or no compensation. As a result, the Oromos were forced to become beggars, day laborers, maids and guards. This happened to all Oromo farmers, but it got the worst face in the areas surrounding Addis Abeba.
These and many other factors frustrated the Oromo people and they decided to go out and face of the Ethiopian government that is notoriously known for killing and jailing opposition forces. The Oromos are so determined to defend their rights. They courageously stood against the highly armed government forces because it is a matter of life and death. The government made what it could to stop the protesters. Its special armed forces called Agazi killed students, farmers, elders, pregnant women and children as old as nine and eleven. Still, these didn’t stop the Oromos from demanding their rights. The more they kill, the more people come out in thousands.
In their history, the Oromos have never been united as they are today. Oromos across the Oromo land (Oromiya) have risen together for the same cause. They wanted to be free of oppression and exploitation. They wanted freedom. And they know that freedom cannot be achieved without making a sacrifice. And they are dying for it in hundreds today..they will die in thousands tomorrow.. they will die in millions until they make sure that they they are set free of century old oppression