OPDO on Crossroads: What Comes Next?

Tullu Libban

It is a public knowledge that Oromia has been fully under the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) control over the last 26 years, in a camouflage of Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front (EPRDF). In the EPRDF coalition, OPDO has served only TPLF as a tool to cash Oromia. There has no time when OPDO acted as a responsible party to represent the Oromo people because the system never wanted OPDO to play an active role in the entire tenure of EPRDF regime. We don’t need to go into the details of why TPLF created OPDO and why it kept it truncated for so long time. It seems, now the time has changed.
At this moment, it is a question whether TPLF can maintain its control over OPDO, by extension on Oromia, given the dynamics taking place in the political arena in the Ethiopian empire. It is less likely that TPLF could use OPDO as a manipulative political object anymore. In the recent months, OPDO has shown bold resistance towards the humiliating master-slave relationship it has undergone over a quarter a century.
The question is yet, how far this resistance can last and what will be the end result. For both TPLF and OPDO (the father and the child) the Oromo struggle posed undesired challenges. Can TPLF control Oromia without OPDO? Or can OPDO survive without TPLF? No for the father; yes for the child, in my opinion. Therefore, I guess, TPLF must have gone a mile ahead to prepare a plan on how to handle OPDO and maintain its lust for power and control for resources in Oromia. How about OPDO? Does it have any strategy on how to escape being swallowed by the yawing beast (TPLF)?
I believe, OPDO cannot continue to rule Oromia, (at least theatrically), providing a liaising service for TPLF against the interest of the Oromo people. Certainly, TPLF will never enjoy that cheap service from OPDO in the years ahead. However, there will be a lot of headache for the current leadership of OPDO to continue standing up to TPLF’s arrogance. TPLF will try its best to bring to power loyalists from within the OPDO to the higher echelon by removing the current populist figures like Lemma Megerssa, Abiy Ahmed, Addisu Arega, Worqineh Gebeyou etc.
What can TPLF do?
Assumption and scenarios
1. Engaging OPDO in routine rings: TPLF will continue to keep the current leadership busy (creating conflicts here and there, inciting uprisings in schools, industries, neighborhoods, encouraging havoc in Oromia). Then popular demands would remain unanswered in the region, development activities would be halted and resentments escalate to blame the current leadership.
2. Infiltration and sellouts: TPLF may prepare splinters, buy some betrayers to divide OPDO and manipulate internal strife to weaken the emerging force from the OPDO camp
3. Self-criticism and Confession (Gimgema): One of the instruments that TPLF deploys to tame its surrogates and control them with chains on the neck is the so-called gimgama. The masters stuff their subordinates in a hall and demand them to make confessions about perceived or committed “crimes”. The confession session may take a month or a couple of months. There is a character assassination camp known as EPRDF Training Center led by Addisu Legesse, Abay Tsegaye etc. and all top-level officials from all regions and federal government agencies are required to participate in the “training” at least for 2-3 months. Core TPLF circle reps “evaluate” each one of their prey and make a decision about whether the prey would go back to their position or fired and jailed.
4. Democratic Centralism: TPLF has effectively utilized the Stalinist method of democratic centralism, which allows dictators to impose their hegemony on party members, where members have no voice, right and choice to reject whatever percolates from above. They are expected to endorse whatever a small circle in the highest leadership decides. That is the kind of “democracy” in place even in the TPLF rubberstamp parliament, where laws are unanimously enacted without any objection or abstention. Therefore, OPDO members are required to heed to this practice and they would lose ground to hold an independent position on matters affecting their interest and that of the people they represent.
5. Marginalizing OPDO in the EPRDF: The formidable force to challenge TPLF at this moment is OPDO. Recent developments that brought about the alliance of the Oromo people with OPDO is a big blow to TPLF’s governance model. Therefore, TPLF would try its level best to mobilize ANDM and SEPDM against OPDO in a bid to diminish OPDO’s role in decision making on matters of national interest and that of the Oromia region. That would make matters difficult for the OPDO leadership to keep its public promises and pledges.

What should OPDO do then?
I would like to recommend the following points for OPDO to keep the momentum, ensure its relevance, credibility and very survival.
1. Stick to your motto of “Our people, our masters”, depend entirely on the Oromo people and listen to them attentively. Consult with Oromo intellectuals, pause and think over your plans before putting them into actions. That will spare you from committing ridiculous mistakes like erecting a thoughtless monument for Irrecha massacre martyrs and preparing a useless document for Oromia special interest over Finfinnee.
2. Act collectively and ensure profound bond among your members from top to down and stand together. Never let betrayers work against you and the interest of the Oromo people
3. Denounce the labeling of Oromo children as narrow nationalists and terrorists, as you are well aware of why these demeaning terms are used against the self-conscious and self-respecting Oromos
4. Get rid of the so-called democratic centralism and developmental government theories because both are unconstitutional party tools to restrict your free thoughts, actions and decisions
5. Say no to TPLF “gimgema” which is conducted in a master-servant relation manner. Why do Bereket, Abay, Addisu, Debretsion etc. gauge you and decide your fate, course of action and political life. Reverse this practice upside down and criticize them and make them accountable for the atrocities, corruptions, and vandalism in the country.
6. Say no to EPRDF rules and regulations, which are mainly developed by the late Meles Zenawi to serve the interest of TPLF dwarfing OPDO’s role and thereby that of the Oromo people in the political realm
7. Demand to have fair and proportional representation in the EPRDF executive committee and its council as well as in the Federation Council etc. so that you can influence decisions and discussions as per the contribution of Oromia to the national economy and well-being.
8. Calculate what Oromia would lose if OPDO is not part of EPRDF (for instance is there any benefit for Oromia to be in EPRDF coalition better than Gambella or Afar?). Withdrawal from EPRDF is a possibility without, withdrawing from the federation.
In conclusion, if OPDO remains to be controlled by the same tools designed by TPLF and abides by the unfair laws unchanged, it will never achieve any remarkable success. There is no a level playing field. The rules of the game are prepared by TPLF. Therefore, to play on the field where TPLF is both a player and a referee, OPDO will continue to be a loser. It will be trapped in the same vicious circle and remain to host the parasitic TPLF being consumed, of course, letting the Oromo people down as usual.

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ይድረስ ለኦህዴድ መሪዎች!

Tullu Liban

ትንሽ ወንድማዊ ምክር እንድለግሳችሁ ፍቀዱልኝ። ላለፉት 26 ዓመታት ያሳለፋችሁት የባርነት ዘመን ሕሊና ላለው ሰው እጅግ የሚሰቀጥጥ ነው። በሌላችሁ ስልጣን ስልጣን እንዳላችሁ፣ በሌላችሁ ክብር ክብር እንዳላችሁ፣ ባልተሳተፋችሁበት ትግል እንደታገላችሁ ተነግሯችሁ፣ ጄኔራል ሳትሆኑ ጄኔራል ተብላችሁ፣አምባሳደር ሳትሆኑ አምባሳደር ተብላችሁ፣ መሪ ሳትሆኑ ፕሬዚዳንት ተብላችሁ፣ ሳትማሩ ድግሪ ተሰጥቷችሁ ለወያኔ መጫወቻ አሻጉገሊት ሆናችሁ ኖራችኋል። ወያኔ ከአባታችሁ ቤት በአካፋ እየዛቀ ሲዘርፍ እናንተ በማንኪያ ትንሽ ብትሰርቁ ሙስና ሰርታችኋል ብሎ እያሸማቀቃችሁ ጥባጥቤ ተጫውቶባችኋል። ወያኔዎች ሰማይ ጠቀስ ፎቅ እየሠሩ እናንተ መጠነኛ መኖሪያ ቤት ስትሠሩ በግምገማ እሳት ላይ ጥደውአችኋል። መቼም ህሊናችሁንም የኦሮሞንም ህዝብ መዋሸት አትችሉም። በየትኛውም መስሪያቤት አንድ ቀጭን ትግሬ ካለ የቱንም ያህል እውቀት ቢኖራችሁ፣ የቱንም ያህል በሥልጣን ተዋረድ የባላይ ብትሆኑ ውሳኔ ሰጭው ትግሬው እንደሆነ ታውቃላችሁ። ይህን የበታችነት ደረጃ አሜን ብላችሁ ይህን ውርደት ተሸክማችሁ ሩብ ምዕተ ዓመት ኖራችኋል። መቼም ሕሊና ላለው ሰው ይሄ ያማል።

የትልቅ ህዝብ ተወካይ ነኝ የሚል ሰው በአባልባሌ ተራ ማይም ትግሬ ሲናቅና እንደ አሽከር ሲላላክ ያማል። ጥሩ ለብሳችሁ አጊጣችሁ ይሆናል። ጥሩ መኪና ነድታችሁ ይሆናል። ጥሩ መኖሪያ ቤት ገንብታችሁ ይሆናል። ዳሩ ምን ያደርጋል ይህ ሁሉ እርግማን ይሆንባችኋል። ባዶነታችሁን ያሳበቅባችኋል። የደም ሀብት ነው። አላፊ አዱኛ ነው። ይህ ሁሉ ሆኖ አሁን የነጻነት ጎህ የቀደደ ይመስላል። ዕድሜ ለኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ትግል እናንተም ነጻ የምትወጡበት ጊዜ ሩቅ አይሆንም። አደራችሁን ካሁን በኋላ በኦሮሞ ሕዝብ ትግል ፊት እንዳትቆሙ። እናንተ ስላተዋረዳችሁት፣ ራሳችሁም አንሳችሁ ስላሳነሳችሁት፣ አልባሌ ሆናችሁ በአልባሌ ቡድን ስላስጠቃችሁት እንጂ የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ከኦነግ ጋር አልቆረበም። ኦነግ የኦሮሞን ህዝብ የልብ ትርታ ስላወቀ ጥያቄዎቹን ጥያቄው ስላደረገ ነው መንፈስ ሆኖ የቀጠለው።ኦህዴድ ነኝ ማለት የሚያሳፍራችሁ የሠራችሁት ነውር ስራ አፍ አውጥቶ ስለሚናገር ነው። ኦነግ መባል በኦሮሞ ህዝብ ዘንድ ያስብከር እንደሆን እንጂ አፍሳሮ አያውቅም። እናንተው የገደላችኋቸው አንድ የመንዲ አዛውንት ያሉትን ልንገገራችሁ። የናንተው ነፍሰ ገዳዮች ያዟቸውና “እርስዎ ምግብ እያመላለሱ ኦነግን ጫካ ውስጥ ይቀልባሉ ” አሏቸው። ቆፍጣናው አባትም “እውነት ነው ለአንበሶቹ ስንቅ አመላልሳለሁ። ውሻ ግን አልቀልብም። እስቲ ውሻ ሆነህ ለጌቶችህ እመንደር ውስጥ ከምታድነኝ አንበሳ ሁንና ጫካ ግባ እንደማልቀልብህ ታያለህ” አሏቸው። ግን ውሾቹ በሏቸው።

ኦነግ ኖረም አልኖረ የኦሮሞን የሀገር ባለቤትነት፣ የሥልጣን ባለቤትነት፣ ሰላምና ብልጽግና ለማስመለስ የተጋ ሁሉ ክብርና ሞገስ አለው። አሁን በመጨረሻ ሰዓትም ቢሆን ይህ ዕድል እንዳያመልጣችሁ። የፈሪ ሞት ሳይሆን የጀግና ሞት ሙቱ። ለዓመት በዓል ዋዜማ ዶር አብይ አህመድ አንድ ልብ የሚነካ ንግግር አድርጎ ነበር። “ሁላችንም እንሞታለን ሞት አይቀርምና”ነው ያለው ባልሳሳት። አዎን ሞት አይቀርም። ጄኔራል ታደሰ ብሩ ከናንተ የተሻለ ሀብት፣ ማዕረግ፣ ክብርና ሞገስ ነበራቸው። ከወገናቸው ክብር ግን አልበለጠባቸውም። ብዙዎቹ በእስር ቤት የሚማቅቁት፣ የሞቱት እና የተሰዱደት እንናንተ የምኖሩትን ኑሮ ቢፈልጉ ኖሮ በሩ ሰፊ ነበር። እስቲ አሁን ለሕሊና መኖር ጀምሩ። እናንተ ማገር ሆናችሁ ባትይዙት ግድግዳ ሆናችሁ ባትደግፉት እኮ እንኳን በላያችሁ ላይ ጥሬ አሩን ሊያራና ወያኔ ወይ ተጠራርጎ ከኦሮሚ ይወጣል ወይ በናንተ ተርም ቀጥ ብሎ ይኖራል። መንገዱ እኮ ቀላል ነው። እናንተ በፌዴራል ምክር ቤት 190 መቀመጫ አላችሁ። በኦሮሚያ ጉዳይ ላይ ያለ ፍርሃት ድምጻችሁን አውጥታችሁ ተከራከሩ። ኦሮሚያን የሚጎዳ ውሳኔ ሊተላለፍ ሲል በድምጻችሁ ውድቅ አድርጉት። የማይስማማችሁ አሠራር ሲኖር ከፌዴራል ሥርዓቱ ለመውጣት እንደምትገደዱ ለሕዝባችሁ በግልጽ ተናገሩ።

የኦሮሚያ ምክር ቤት በምትሉት ስብሰባ በክልላችሁ ጉዳይ ማንንም ሳታስፈቅዱ ውሳኔ ስጡ። ለወያኔ ይህ የኛ ጉዳይ ነው በሉት። ምን ሲሆን ነው የትሬው አፍሮ ጽዮን የናንተን የባህል ማዕከልና ጽ/ቤት የሚገነባው? ለዚያውም ከደረጃ በታች፤ ከውሉ ውጭ። ኦሮሚያ ዲዛይነርናኮንትራክተር የለውም? ለምንድነው የኦሮሚያ ውሃ ስራዎች ድርጅት ስራ ፈቶ እያለ በኦሮሚያ ውስጥ የሚሠሩ የውሃ ልማት ሥራዎች ለትሬው ሳባ ኮንስትክራሽን የሚሰጡት? እስከ መቼ ነው የመከላከያ ጃኔራሎች ስብጥር 99 ከመቶ በትግሬ የሚያዘው? እስከ መቼ ነው የደህንነት መስሪያቤቱ በትግሬ የሚዘወረው? እስከ መቼ ነው ቁልፍ የፏይናንስ ተቋማቱና ትልልቅ ካፒታል አንመጭ ተቋማት ለምሳሌ የኢትዮጵያ አየር መንገድ፣ ቴሌሙንኬሽን፣ ጉምሩክ፣ የኢትዬጵያ መንገዶች ባለሥልጣን ወዘተ የትግሬ የግል ንብረት የሚሆኑት? መቼ ነው ትልልቅ ካምኒዎች የአላሙድ የወርቅ ማምረቻ ጭምር ለኦሮሚያ ግብር የሚከፍሉት? ኦህዴዶች፤ ወይ መሆን ነው ወይ አለመሆን ነው ምርጫችሁ። የፊንፊኔ ጉዳይና የአፋን ኦሮሞ ጉዳይ ገና ጊዜ የማይሰጠው የቤት ሥራ ነው። የህዝባችንን መፈናቀልና ጥቃት ያስከተለው የድንበር ጉዳይ የምትተኙበት የቤት ሥራ አይደለም። አሁኑኑ እልባት ማግኘት አለበት 26 ዓትመ ሙሉ ስትተኙ ከርማችሁ አሁን ማጣፊያ ሊያጥራችሁ ነው። መቼም ታረጉታላሁ ብለን አይደለም። ትልቅ የበታችነት የሥነ ልቦና በሽታ አለባችሁና። ከሰማችሁ ስሙ ህዝባችንን አስታቁት እንጂ ትጥቁን አታስፈቱት። አዲስ አብባ ያለ ትግሬ ሳይርቀ በነፍስ ወከፍ እየታጠቀ ኦሮሞ በራሱ ገንዘብ የገዛውን ትጥቅ ለምንድነው የሚፈታው። ስሙማ በደርግ ጊዜም ቢሆን ትጥቁን እንዲፈታ የተገደደው የኦሮሞ ህዝብ ብቻ ነው። ጁነዲ ሳዶ በሥልጣን ዘመኑ ከ200 ሽህ ህዝብ በላይ ትጥቅ በስማፈታት ታሪክ ይቅር የማይለው ስህተት ሠርቷል። ዛሬ ህዝባችን ለአብዲ ኢሌ ጥቃት የተጋለጠው ትጥቅ ስለሌለው ነው።
እኔ ልምከራችሁ ወያኔ ጠፍሮ የሚያስራችሁ አብዮታዊ ዲሞክራሲ፣ ዲሞክሲዊ ማዕከላዊትነና ግምገማ በሚባሉ የታወቁ ገመዶቹ ነው። በዚህ ጠልፎ ይጥላችኋል። ይህንን በቃን በሉት። እናንተ አትገመግሙንም በሏቸው።ዴሞራሲያዊ ማእከላዊነት የሚባለውን ሰውን እንደ ግዑዝ የፓርቲ ቁሳቁስ የሚቆጥረውን የሶሸሊስት አስተሳሰብ ከዛሬ ጀምሮ በቃን በሏቸው። በኢህአዲግ ማዕከላዊ ኮሚቴና በሥራ አስፈጻሚ ኮሚቴው ውክልናችሁ በምትወክሉት ህዝብ መጠን እንዲሆን ተከራሩና አስወስኑ። ይህን ለማድረግ ከወሰናችሁ ህዝባችሁ ከጎናችሁ አለ። ይህን ካላደረጋችሁ የተለመደ የተላላኪነት ሥራችሁን እየሠራችሁ ህዝባዊ ማዕበሉ ጠራርጎ ይወስዳችኋል። አሟሟታችሁም የውሻ ሞት ይሆናል። ፍጠኑ ጊዜ የላችሁም። ጨረስኩ። ልቦና ይስጣችሁ።

 

 

Imperfections, Yes! Retreat, No! An Interesting Note by Tsegaye Ararsa About Jawar Mohammed.

You can hate him passionately. In deed, it is evident that, while his supporters love him with passion, his detractors hate him with an equivalent or more passion. Hate him, you may. But you can’t ignore him. If you are an observer of the Oromo and/or Ethiopian political developments, what you can’t do is to ignore Jawar S. Mohammed.

Having survived the most stringent of public scrutiny (virtually living his life in front of the relentless gaze of the media), Jawar Mohammed remains to be the one person in the Oromo and/or Ethiopian public life who continues to ignite and sustain the (political) passion of the youth in Ethiopia today, especially among the Oromo.

Jawar loves taking risks. His courage to take risks and to thrive in their midst, unusual as it is for most politically engaged personalities from Ethiopia, makes him rather uncommon. In taking risks, he also commits himself to the possibility of making mistakes. He may make mistakes and may do so rather frequently. In fact, he does make mistakes. (Who doesn’t?) He may be excoriated for his mistakes (sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly). He may even be emotionally bruised at times (when the criticism goes to the extent of disfiguring him, his cause, or even his family). But what you don’t find Jawar doing is a retreat.

What he can’t do is retreat in the face of opposition. Every day, he seems to be pushing and pushing and pushing himself to achieve something for his people. Achieve, he did. Perhaps, his achievements of the last five years alone are too numerous to recount on this platform.

As a fellow traveler on this journey (and as a compatriot and a friend), I ‘see’ Jawar at work every day. Beyond the daily routine, I see him as someone who tries to contribute his bit to the Oromo struggle for emancipation and to leave a mark on his people’s inexorable journey to victory. As we can all see, he has already made what is arguably the most important contribution to the resistance movement of recent years (eg, #OromoFirst#OMN#OromoProtets,#GrandOromoRally#OromoRevolution #OLC#LagannaaGabaa, etc, etc). The unprecedented successes of boycotts of the last few weeks and the ongoing stay-at-home protests are in part the result of his work on and offline, on social and conventional media outlets. That is why he is a phenomenon in the Oromo and/or Ethiopian politics of recent years. Yes, it is tough to be him and to not make mistakes. But there is no gainsaying that he is quite a presence, a force to reckon with. It comes as no surprise that the regime in Ethiopia seeks to make him one of the victims of its legal violence by prosecuting him, in absentia, “for inciting terrorism.”

To those who love to hate Jawar as a proxy for what he represents and stands for (as an Oromo), I would like to say, he is one of the best things that happened to Oromos, Ethiopians, and their politics. Yes, even to his detractors, he is the best thing that happened to them, albeit they don’t even know it. In this, he is like the entirety of the Oromo nation, which–even at its worst–is the best thing that “happened” to Ethiopia, although Ethiopia didn’t know it.

Why are the Oromo People Protesting again? 

The Oromo people are protesting again:

1) To defend and protect their children and their leaders from the attack, arrest, and killings by the Ethiopian government security forces,

2) To protect their land from Addis Ababa based and foreign land grabbers and land thieves, and take back their land from these land grabbers,

3) To force the Ethiopian government to make Afaan Oromo the working language of the federal government to end the political, economic and social exclusion of the Oromo people in Ethiopia,

4) To force the Ethiopian government restore the status of unlawfully separated and stolen Oromia cities including Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Harar and Moyale under the Oromia National Regional Administration,

5) To force the Ethiopian government to accept the self-administration rights of the Oromo people by ending the current indirect rule of TPLF/EPRDF in Oromia,

6) To force the Ethiopian government to accept the legitimate rights of the Oromo people to have their fair power and resources share in the federal government, and

7) Last but not least, the Oromo people are protesting to force the Ethiopian government to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners including Dr. Merera Gudina, Mr. Bekele Gerba and Mr. Yonatan Tesfaye.

Over the last two years of the #OromoProtests, Ethiopian government did nothing to address any of the demands of the Oromo people. This is a very serious mistake on the part of the regime that prefers to despise and belittle the civilized power of the Oromo people.

Ethiopia will descend into chaos and instability if the Ethiopian government continue giving blind eyes and deaf ears to the demands of the people.

All Ethiopia’s development and security partners who observe the civilized and non-violent demands of the Oromo people must advise and pressure this unresponsive government to address each and every demand of the Oromo people.

https://www.facebook.com/birhanemeskel.abebe?fref=ts&sw_fnr_id=2328633628&fnr_t=0

The Qube Saga: Another Attack on the Oromo People

By: Tullu Liban

The change to Qube sequence has gone virial on social and mainstream media this time around. OPDO officials came out on TV screen to deny and or defend the change in a hair-raising way. One of the defenders who appeared on Oromia Radio and Television (who presumably presented himself as a language scholar), tried to explain the “rational” of the Qube change, though implausibly. He mentioned 5 points, defined as reading components viz. phonological awareness, grapho-phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
There are plenty of reasons that retrigger linguistic and pedagogical questions in these claims. Are they really the causes to change the sequence of Oromo alphabet? The OPDO officials/experts denied the change to ABCD sequence in Afan Oromo curriculum. However, they couldn’t hide that the teaching method for Afan Oromo from grade 1 to 8 has been changed as far as Oromo language teaching is concerned. What does that mean? On the one hand they say Oromo alphabet order is not changed. On the other they tell us the order is changed from ABCD to LAGM? Are they confused or try to confuse us? Leaving aside the denial tricks, let us raise some mechanical (writing), linguistic and pedagogical points.

1. The issue of mechanics (grapho-phonemics)

The OPDO TV panellists said “L” letter is the simplest sign for children to write. As we all know, Qube alphabet has got two sets of signs, which are different in shape-small and capital (lower case and upper case). Which of the signs the OPDO linguists are talking about “l” or “L”? If they are talking about small “l”, yes, one needs to write only one vertical line and if that is the case what should logically follow is ‘i’ not “a” or A, then “j” not, “g” or “G”. If they are talking about capital “L, it needs to draw two lines, vertical and horizontal and connect them at the bottom end, and the logic of simplicity becomes questionable. In that case one may probably accept the logic of drawing two lines to write “A” capital. But it needs three lines, the two which form a coned shape and connected them at the middle by another line. Worse, yet, “g” or “G” are entirely different in shape from both “L” and “A”. Where is the mechanics of simplicity, then? This fact automatically dismisses the simplicity of visual and mechanical logic claimed for writing the letters.

2. The issue of frequency of “L” sound (phonological awareness)

The magic of “L” sound in Afan Oromo is simply a surprise for one to believe. What is the magic for frequency of an “L” sound in Afan Oromo? What special linguistic quality makes it appear repeatedly when all sounds have equal value in the language? Moreover, in which text and in how many written materials the magic sound occurred in the so-called Primerpro software? What is the factor that triggered the recurrence of an “L” sound? Even if that is true, can an expert experiment become a cause to change a nation’s curriculum? There is no sufficient evidence as yet provided by the OPDO “experts” to defend their “discovery”.

3. Reading components?

The OPDO “expert” claimed fluency, vocabulary and comprehension has stirred the change to alphabetical order. These concepts have nothing to do with alphabet teaching or ability of alphabet discrimination. Alphabet is learned in preschool classes and in the case of rural Ethiopia in grade one. Alphabet teaching is not an all time exercise (from grade 1-8). However, fluency in reading, vocabulary mastery and comprehension skills are a lifetime exercise. How on earth these components serve to change sequence of a language alphabet. How much can kids read at grade one in a country like Ethiopia and what does it have with the shapes of alphabets?

4. A Counter argument

If one tries to group sounds, here is linguistic argument. One can arrange sounds based on linguistic features, in their point and manner of articulation instead of the shape of the letters that represent them. For instance, one can argue “K”, “G and “Q” are produced in the same area in oral cavity, so it is easy for children to memorize them if they are put in sequence in alphabet teaching. The same logic works for “T” and “X” of Oromo Qube and “S” and “Sh” alike. Thus, the change made to Afan Oromo alphabet has nothing to do with linguistic features.

5. Confusion of alphabets in two languages

The OPDO officials/experts talked that English alphabets will continue to be taught to children in the natural order of ABCD. As we all know, English teaching starts in grade one in Ethiopian schools. One can imagine the benefit of learning the alphabets in the two languages alike. Why do they create this confusion to children, while it is not in the interest of the children (as we watched on Oromia Television a teacher in Sululta reflecting students’ dissatisfaction and that of the teachers with the confusion of changing the alphabets)?

6. The psycholinguistic factor

One of the TV interviewees was heard saying psycholinguistic method was one of the factors that triggered the change (means, cognitive faculty captures simple words than complex ones). Apparently this claim sounds logical. But what has it got with learning “l” first and “a” next? Is “a” difficult than “l”? Dr. Firdisa Jabessa, an established educator at Addis Ababa University, told a journalist while asked the change OPDO made to Qube, that children first pronounce “A” and “B” when they learn talking at toddler stage, not “L”. They start with “Aba”. This is true for all children in the world.

7. The socio-linguistic factor
Since the coming to effect of Qube, Oromos know Qube in the order they have learnt it from day one of their acquaintance with the writing system. Kids chanted ABCD, renowned singers including Ali Birra, produced pieces of lyrics and Oromos across the world cherished ABCD unanimously. Why the TPLF masters and OPDO surrogates want to intervene in this public business? Don’t they know, the level of Oromo attachment to the Qube issue?

8. Detachment from the world
One would hardly believe that Oromo children are less intelligent than the children around the world to learn their alphabet. There is no a story of similar step where countries or communities changed their regular alphabet to teach them to their children. Alphabet teaching is not a rocket science. It needs a lot of elements to help children identify alphabets and read texts properly. Therefore, to alter the order of alphabets known to the world has nothing to do with teaching letters.
Aleqa Kidanewold Kifle, an Amharic lexicographer argues (may be before 50 years back) that Amharic should change its alphabet order from “ሀ ለ” to “አ በ ገ ደ” because the world alphabets start with “A”.

9. The true reason for kids to fail to identify alphabets

One of the scary reasons is that the majority of kids in Oromia are unable to read and write when they complete first cycle school (grades 1-4) is a policy issue. This fact is boldly told to the public by one of the OPDO officials during the TV briefing, though those who are aware of the current Ethiopian education system prettily know it. The major problem here is the so-called self-contained system where one teacher is assigned for the kids to teach all subjects in the first cycle.
Moreover, there are a lot of factors that affect the learning-teaching process at this formative stage, some of which are lack of well trained teachers, teacher-student ratio (up to 80 students in a class room), textbook-student ration, lack of pedagogical facilities such as teaching aids, (fillip chart, flash card, picture books, realia, paly boars etc.), lack of motivation from the part of the teachers, lack of incentive and party membership nepotism, lack of academic freedom among others

10. Preschool policy
The Ethiopian education system is devoid of a preschool policy. There are no publicly funded preschools or kindergartens in Ethiopia. Cities have an assortment of private preschools and kindergartens but there are fewer or no institutions in rural areas. Typically, the children from poor, urban families or those living in rural areas do not attend preschool at all. That means, children enter grade one before learning how to pronounce and spell sounds. This is a country where 85% of the population lives in rural areas and there is not policy as to how to teach basic alphabets and arithmetic to the kids and there are no preschool institutions. Therefore, one can see no liability in the order of Afan Oromo alphabet for the failure of children to read or write.

11. The undercover project
The fact lies somewhere. The change that OPDO made changes to Qube is a political intrigue, which is part and parcel of destabilizing the Oromo society. Known to all, the OPDO goons would not take any policy initiative by their own be it bad or good. The project owners are the TPLF masters. They want to narrow every space they believe benefiting and promoting Oromia. Afan Oromo is a big capital and a unifying force. TPLF wants to infiltrate in this business and disrupt the pace and progress of Afan Oromo development.

Hyenas in the olden days and hyenas of our time

Tullu Liban
An Amharic proverb has it that once upon a time a hyena went to a foreign land where nobody knew him he was a carnivorous. They say the hyena told his hosts to get him a bed made of skin for the night. I think that hyena was so scrupulous and polite that he never tried to cheat the people who knew that he could never sleep on a bed made of skin. Thus, he left the people who knew him and tried to pretend he was a good guest in a foreign land.

Hyenas of our time are shameless. They are so rude when they cry wolf. They don’t understand the intelligence of the people who know them from day one of their birth to their adult age. Hyenas of our time eat everything even sacks let alone skins. And yet, they want to have a skin made bed for their nap. Everybody knows that they eat any bit of mattresses made of skins.

These are the TPLF hyenas and the OPDO foxes. In the tales, our parents told us foxes are servants of hyenas. They told us that foxes hunt for hyenas and eat the leftover when hyenas are full. This analogy works exactly for TPLF masters and OPDO servants.
OPDOs have no the slightest moral ground to brag about economic revolution and tell the public that the Oromo people are their only masters. ( Someone quoted Lemma Megerssa as saying in his speech at the 27th birthday anniversary of OPDO). No, no OPDO boys and oldies. Your master is TPLF. Your masters are not Oromos. There are uncountable evidences to justify this fact. Do you want to know some of your scandals?
Defend these ones if you can, though.

1. TPLF created you in Tigray and told you your birth place was Dherra in Oromia. You told the public for 24 years or so you were born at Dherra. For the reason your masters know (not you) they told you to retell the public you were born in Tigray. You did so. Shame on you!
2. TPLF told you, you are one of the coalition members in EPRDF and that you each would run endowments as TPLF, OPDO, ANDM and SPDM. You were told you would each rlook after Guna, Dinsho, Ambasael and Wondo in that order. For sure Dinsho died because the masters told you to kill it while Guna has grown to a multi-billion and multi-sector company. I doubt if Wondo had better destiny than Dinsho. Ambasel is in its death bed.
3. You were told that Fana Radio (which is now called Fana Broadcasting Corporate) was the property of the four “coalition” members (TPLF, OPDO, ANDM and SPDM). You have never been part of it and it remained to be the property of TPLF.
4. You were initially told and declared in your constitution that Finfinnee is the seat of Oromia state. Ten years later you were told by the masters to evacuate hurriedly from Finfinnee and camp in Adama disregarding protests of the Oromo people. You cracked down on Mecha and Tulama and failed at least to protest in unison with the Oromo people.
5. As part of the Oromo people’s protest against the move of Oromia seat from Finfinnee, Oromo students across the country demonstrated peacefully. Finfinnee University students were in the forefront. Your masters fired 320 Oromo students in a single day from the university, killed some and jailed others. The masters told you to endorse the action. Junedi Saddo, your head, proudly appeared on a TV screen and blessed the barbaric measure.
6. When CUD shook the TPLF government the masters ordered you via telephone to come back to Finfinnee. You immediately rushed back, without any precondition. Even you didn’t wait at least to nullify the law you had enacted to move to Adama.
7. You were told right after elections 2005 that there would be established 10 high schools in the ten sub cities of Finfinnee to teach in Afan Oromo and Abadula Gemeda put cornerstones in each of the places meant for the construction of the schools. Nothing has been materialized over 12 years.
8. In 2011 the So-called Oromo Development Association (ODA), a lame organization considered as a private property of AWAD Jibril bragged to mobilize 3 billion (three billion birr) in a telethon to undertake various development projects in Oromia. Many Oromo children were motivated by the rhetoric made by Mulugeta Debebe, then ODA president, that the dream would come true. However, your masters told you to stop such kind of effort in favor of the Renaissance Dam. You zipped your mouth. You remember that in 2010 Amhara Development Association collected 1 billion birr in a telethon for similar purpose.
9. From 2015 November to 2016 October Oromia was on fire. Still the region is on hidden fire. Your masters killed Oromo children, pregnant, elders and students. They ordered you to celebrate the killings. Muktar Kedir appeared, (then your head) on a TV screen and thanked the killers and appreciated the sniper bullets that hit heads and chests of our people.
10. Your masters deployed killing regiments in various peripheral parts of Oromia (South and East) in particular, under the guise of ethnic conflicts with the neighboring tribes. You know that tribes don’t have heavy weapons, military uniform and trucks to invade Oromia. Even your spokesperson Addisu Arega told the VOA Amharic news that the armed invaders in the south and the east are in military uniforms. You kept quiet.
So, how do you boast of economic revolution as if the Oromo people don’t know your role in the system you are serving? Lol I expect you to appropriately refute these facts. Don’t shout like empty vessel. If you can’t refute, don’t talk and brag nonsense.

Economic revolution? The chain is on the dog’s neck

By: Tullu Liban
Some people seem to be touched and thrilled by Lemma Megersa’s public tizzies. Indeed, Lemma talks Afan Oromo prettily and his verbose are quite attractive, though yet to be tested in action. Such glossy talks are not bad albeit the mix-up of OPDO’s pragmatic power limit and their confused world.

The fact speaks for itself, though. How come one expects economic or otherwise emancipation to come from an enslaved group? We don’t need any lecture on Oromo nationalism and economic marginalization from Lemma, for that matter. The level of Oromo self-consciousness is far way ahead than Lemma and co. would believe. We have had enough of them over years and no rhetoric can be a panacea for Oromo questions but action. The fact is that OPDO can bring neither economic nor political empowerment for the Oromo people given its obvious position in the power relations. They cannot because they are not made to do or be so. The very people who are caged in the nursery of TPLF; hived off from the people they are meant to represent, cannot liberate others before they do declare their own freedom. OPDOs (not the file and rank ones) are up in the line of politics so long they serve the interest of the masters who installed them. They are installed for a purpose. That purpose is to be an ensemble for TPLF interest in order that the latter could exploit resources of Oromia.

TPLF doesn’t want the Oromo people but their resources. Therefore, they don’t want to empower the people whom they are determined to loot indefinitely. They are not that naive to lose their grip over the resource they direly need. Thus, they don’t permit OPDOs to exercise a real power. If one believes OPDODs are exercising a real power in the Oromia leadership or in the fake federalism, one is simply foolish or far away from the tricks of Tigrian politics.
Lemma is not in the service of the Oromo people because he is not elected by free will of the people. He is an assignee of TPLF and his cabinet too. Where is the point then, that one hopes Lemma will bring about economic revolution for the Oromo people?
Lemma is instructed to deliberately speak up loudly picking up the language of honest Oromo elites: nationalism, marginalization, segregation, dehumanization etc. Yes, it seems the plan is hitting the target, it caught public attention for a moment; but couldn’t cool down public temper as it was supposed to.
TPLF emboldened Lemma Megerssa and Beker Shale to spark a dialogue to measure the thermometer of Oromo politics. In a way, TPLF will buy time, respire for a while, work out how to quell the next chapter of inevitable Oromo fight that bothers them day and night.
Those who are hoping OPDOs will change the powerline in Ethiopia’s politics are misleading themselves. OPDO is a handmade “speaking tool”. When the creators, the TPLF masters want them to speak, OPDOs speak nicely and loudly. When they are told to act, they will perform exceedingly. Don’t forget, the chain is on their neck, yet. To loosen a chain on the neck of one’s dog or tighten, fasten it, is not decided by the dog itself but by the owner. That is the situation in which the OPDO surrogates find themselves. If any change happens, in answering Oromo questions, it happens because of the irresistible smack TPLF gangs sustained because of the nonstop Oromo struggle.
Even amid the shocks it has experienced, TPLF still aspires to survive in the years to come. In 2020, TPLF will conduct another round of sham elections in Ethiopia. In the next elections, they want to cling to power by hook or crook. They deploy different tactics to achieve that dream. One of the tactics is addressing some of the Oromo questions. They may promote Afan Oromo as the second federal language, at least theoretically. They may enact a law on Oromia-Finfinnee relations, at least on paper. They may delegate regions to administer certain portions of the economy (with strict control of the center). All these cosmetic reforms will happen to legitimize the next survival of TPLF as a central powerhouse of the empire. As we can see preparations are underway in the name of political negotiation where Oromia is not represented. There will be some individuals in the name of opposition parties in the next parliament of TPLF (Tolessa Tesfaye, Lidetu Ayalew and Ayele Chamisso in mind) . And yet, the essence of the real power relations will remain under the full control of TPLF.
The whole effort of TPLF is now to finalize a groundwork to get a “pass grade” for the 2020 elections. Then, they will prepare another strategy for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th rounds to realize the 50 year Tigrian rule dream.
The thing is that OPDO protagonists like Lemma Megerasa, are in the TPLF utmost service so that the former could buy time for power perpetuation. Lemma and his OPDO are agents of TPLF in Oromia as we know them since their creation from POWs.
One must ask Lemma when he broadly opens his mouth about Oromo marginalization where he has been hitherto. He has been an active player, a forefront striker in effecting the marginalization process. One would not have been surprised if Lemma was a newcomer to the OPDO circle. However, it wouldn’t make any sense to hear his ostentatious rhetoric he himself being one of the persons in the enemy service by heart. For heaven’s sake, how dare the thoughts of Oromo economic empowerment came through Lemma’s revelation as if he has not been part and parcel of the system that made the Oromo people sustain the pains? Okay fine, now say they came to their sense to realize the pains, how can Lemma and his comrades reverse politically designed marginalizations under the slave-master relationship with TPLF?
If politics is not a magical activity or a divine business, in this real world of humans, there will be no economic empowerment without political empowerment. If the chain on the neck of OPDO was not in the palms of TPLF, one would hope to see changes in different life aspects as far as Oromia is concerned. But the remote control is not in the palms of the dogs; the masters do hold that chain; will they loosen the grip? No! They may let the dogs relax temporarily, not permanently.
In sum, we are sure whatever reform TPLF conducts in the name of OPDO or if OPDO does something good to answer a portion of Oromo questions, they do it not because they wished to do it nor OPDO dared to demand it. If the OPDO stooges had that ability, they could have materialized many of Oromo demands long ago. The harder we hammer them, the tight we press them, the more our dreams are achieved. They are not granting us our rights. We are gabbing them through struggle. Whatever benefit comes in favor of Oromia, we welcome them because they are the result of Oromo struggle, not a gift from the enemy. They are achieved by struggle thanks to our martyrs who shed their blood selflessly for the noble cause.

Untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations : Amnesty International USA

At the end of 2016 Amnesty International published a report titled Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia. This report documented how social media and networks in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region were being blocked by the Ethiopian government. Among the more alarming findings is that AI and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), who co-authored the report, detected the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which can be used to monitor and filter internet traffic. The Ethiopian government appears to be using the technology for “mass surveillance internet censorship.” The government’s actions constitute a violation of Ethiopia’s obligations to protect freedom of expression under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also drastically restricts access to information for the Ethiopian people.The internet crackdown is linked to a brutal crackdown by the government in response to protests that started in the Oromo region in November 2015 against the Addis Ababa City Integrated Development Master Plan. This led to nationwide protests following a stampede in Oromia region on October 2, 2016 that followed attacks on foreign and local businesses. In response to the attacks and the protests, the Ethiopian government declared a State of Emergency (SOE) on October 9, 2016. The government declared that under the SOE they could “restrict freedom of expression where such freedom is abused”, and imposed a wide range of restrictions on internet access.  The government also arrested more than 11,000 people charging them with “violence and property damage.”

Based on the standards of the ICCPR, the State of Emergency in Ethiopia has resulted in many derogations that fail to meet international human rights law. For example, the Ethiopian government established a Command Post whose purpose was to “stop any media, prohibit any assembly and search and seize any person or place.”  Under the SOE, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter were either blocked or inaccessible in Ethiopia, especially in the Oromia region. Further, certain types of URLs were blocked, including news media, web pages of political opposition, LGBTI, calling for freedom of expression, and circumvention tools such as Tor and Psiphon.

The Ethiopian government continues to misuse the Anti-terrorism Proclamation (ATP) legislation to charge and arrest people critical of government policies or actions. Amnesty International believes that “the acts of censorship, conducted outside a clear legal framework, over several months and affecting dozens of websites and social media platforms as well as the State of Emergency itself – which is so broadly drafted violates Ethiopia’s international legal obligations and permits violations of numerous human rights.”

These violations include the arrest of a number of government critics such as Bekele Gerba, a leading Oromo human rights activist, Eskinder Nega a prominent journalist and a human rights defender. Who was sentenced to 18 years in jail after he wrote articles demanding freedom of expression and an end to torture in Ethiopia.. Yonatan Tesfaye, a prominent opposition figure facing a possible death sentence due to his Facebook post opposing a government plan to extend the capital’s administrative authority to the Oromia region and Merera Gudina, a human rights activist and leader in the Oromo community.

An untold number of Ethiopians are subject to human rights violations as a result of the State of Emergency, the Anti-terrorism Proclamation and other legislation that the government is using to impose order, and, according to the government, restore peace and security.

As 2017 begins however, the government of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will face very stark truths. In can continue down the current path of increasing repression, and jail anyone who it considers unacceptable, creating a nationwide detention camp, or it can display the leadership the country needs by ending the State of Emergency, allowing an independent commission of inquiry into the protests that have shaken the country for the last two years, repeal the draconian laws it created to silence opposition, and release the scores of prisoners that it will need to talk to and work with to address the governance and human rights challenges the country is facing.

The world is watching and time is running out.

See the original report HERE

TPLF cannot stop Oromo’s Struggle for Freedom, Social Justice and Rule of Law

If TPLF/EPRDF leaders think that they can silence the Oromo people from demanding justice, freedom, equality and rule of law by keeping Oromo political leaders & activists behind bars, they are fooling themselves.

They must know that imprisonments, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances will never stop Oromo people’s struggle and it will undoubtedly continue until Oromos free themselves from systematic oppression, economic exploitation and marginalization.

Oromo people’s struggle for political, economic and cultural rights has been around for more than a century now. Whatever TPLF & others do, it will never go away until Oromo get what they deserve.