According to EthioMedia, a delegate of Group-7 (the recently created “new OLF”) will hold a meeting with its Ethiopian fans in the capital city of Canada, Ottawa, over the weekend (May 5, 2012).
Part of the mission of the delegation of Group-7 to Ottawa, Canada, according to an unconfirmed source from Toronto, is to lay the groundwork for the takeover of the Oromo Sports Federation in North America (OSFNA) by an Ethiopian Sports Federation. According to this source, OSFNA had been deliberately weakened and made irrelevant over the last three years – attracting less and less number of people each year – as “part and parcel” of the ultimate alleged takeover of OSFNA by an Ethiopian Sports Federation.
Gadaa.com has contacted OSFNA management to verify if the above serious allegations are being undertaken with OSFNA’s knowledge; Gadaa.com will post OSFNA’s response as soon as it becomes available. The source in Toronto said “OSFNA management has no knowledge of the takeover plan for OSFNA,” but it had changed its traditional dates of the tournament from end of July to beginning of July (to be specific, June 30 – July 7, 2012).
It’s to be noted that it was only a group of 7 individuals, who conspired, without the knowledge of the larger OLF-J group, to change the Kaayyoo of the Oromo struggle on January 1, 2012 (WBO’s Day) with an announcement at Kelly Inn in St. Paul, Minnesota. That a similar decision could be made regarding the OSFNA takeover, without OSFNA’s knowledge, can not be ruled out.
In the recent The Washington Post story, a representative of Group-7, Obbo Taha Tuko, had expressed dissatisfaction with the existence of “youth groups for Oromo college students, Oromo cultural festivals and Oromo Singles, a dating Web site.” The change, being advocated by Group-7, is coming, not only to the politics of the Oromo, but also the daily life of the Oromo: “This could mean big changes and small, both in politics and daily life,” (The Washington Post)
OSFNA – the Past, Current and Future
According to OSFNA’s website, OSFNA was founded in 1996 – with the first tournament held in Toronto, Canada; the participating teams were Rissa of Minnesota, Madaa Walabuu of Seattle, Oromia of Toronto, Odaa of Scarborough, Barisaa of Atlanta, Georgia, and Bakalcha of Ottawa, Canada. Over the last 16 years, OSFNA has become the reflection of Oromo society in the Diaspora (exile) – attracting all Oromos, regardless of religion, region and political beliefs.
One observer, who was asked by Gadaa.com about the serious allegations of OSFNA takeover, said, “OSFNA is a people’s organization; the Oromo community all over the world, especially, in North America, must save this organization from humiliation and collapse now. I have faith in the OSFNA management that they will not allow any takeover of OSFNA by an outside group.”
OSFNA, in addition to holding the annual soccer tournament, is also a venue for the major Oromo community events of the year, such as family and friends get-togethers, a pageant show, music shows by major Oromo artists as well as civic meetings by Oromo political organizations and the Oromo Studies Association (OSA). Moreover, a number of vendors come out to the OSFNA soccer field to sell their goods and services to the festival attendants. In short, OSFNA holds a paramount place in the Oromo life, and arguably, the only place in the world where Oromummaa is celebrated in freedom with the attendance of thousands of festival goers. The alleged takeover of OSFNA by any group that does not represent Oromummaa will have a devastating effect on the Oromo nation.