Understanding Some Terminologies in Oromo Political Discourse: The Need for Clarity

Posted: Guraandhala/February 11, 2013 · Finfinne Tribune | | Comments (8)

By Leenjiso Horo* | February 2013


The aim of this article is to clarify the definitions and the meanings of terminologies and phrases that have been distorted, inadequately translated, improperly and willfully made ambiguous, thereby making communication confusing and harder to interpret. These terminologies are independence/walabummaa, liberation/bilisummaa, colonial question, question of national oppression and self-determination. These are powerful languages if properly understood and used. They damage one’s cause if misused. Critical evaluation of meanings and definitions of these words are needed before using them. Here below, each will be addressed showing their meanings and relevance to the struggle.

The meaning of independence versus liberation
Since 2006, Oromo nationals in the Diaspora have been falsely led into believing that, in the Oromo struggle, there is a difference between independence/walabummaa and liberation/bilisummaa. To this effect, attempts have been made to eschew the meaning of liberation, suggesting that it is different from independence. Ever since, the story has been told over and over to convince the public that independence is for a country, and liberation is for a people. This is a distortion. It carries a pseudo-meaning, and so it is misleading. In this way, the meanings of independence or liberation become diluted to the point that we must constantly distinguish between the common Oromo usage and the erroneous current usage by some Oromo nationals. The translations are contrary to the Oromo meanings of the two words. Neither the Oromo people, nor Oromo nationalists, nor national liberation movements appeared in history ever assigned liberation to people, and independence to country. Again, no international organization, such as the United Nations, a human rights organization and other organization, has ever assigned independence to country, and liberation to people. One can use them interchangeably. Another confusion thrown into the mix has been in regard to self-determination as applied to national colonial question, and to oppressed nations or unequal nations within a state. The purpose here is to undo the wrong meanings and re-state the proper ones.

To begin with, independence means liberation from control or influence of another or others. It is liberation from foreign or alien occupation. Hence, there is no difference between independence and liberation. Historically, the concept of independence of a nation or liberation of a nation meant the nation is not subject to government of another nation, and its citizens are free to determine their own fates and live their own free lives in their own free country. This concept of independence or liberation is firmly rooted in the traditional Oromo belief, in Gadaa socio-political system, as being one and the same. Both are synonymous and overlapping in meaning. Hence, their meaning, concept and idea will remain, and will not go away with the borrowed version of those individuals who rebelled against the Oromo struggle for independence, and created destructive influence and confusion for the less informed nationals. The purpose for advancing this meaning has been and still is to tell the Oromo people that liberation/bilisummaa is possible under the “federalized Ethiopian colonial empire.” The attempt is to create confusion so as to throw Oromo nationals into the chains of political confusion and darkness of doubt. In fact, some Oromo nationals are already confused and have unwittingly accepted this erroneous meaning, which they naively believe to be a force for good.

No one denies that Ethiopia is an empire; that it extends its political rule by the Amhara and Tigrinya political elites over the Oromo nation, other nations, and nationalities and territories, including Oromiya. The Ethiopian empire rulers have never denied the truth of this. As it is well known, the empire’s first constitution that came into being in 1931 reads: “The Imperial Constitution of Empire of Ethiopia.” And its revised version of 1955 again reads: “Proclamation Promulgating the Revised Constitution of the Empire of Ethiopia.” Empire means many independent countries conquered, occupied, annexed and colonized, and then all put together under one rule. This is the core meaning of an empire. So, Ethiopia has been and remains an empire.

Hence in the Oromo struggle, the word independence or liberation means the dissociation of Oromiya from the colonial association – the association with the Ethiopian Empire. The widespread meanings chosen and held by some Oromo nationals that independence and liberation are different, and that independence is for a country and liberation is for a people, is simply a gross distortion of the language, the concept and the true meanings of the two words. In fact, there is no difference between independence and liberation in Oromo socio-political system. In Oromo political language, both are one and the same. Independence or liberation means the dissociation of one’s relationship as an entity from association or bond or relationship that existed before with another entity. For instance, the dissociation of a colonized people from the association with a colonizer people is an example.

In Oromo common parlance, liberation or independence is a term used by the Oromo patriots for the liberation of their country and empowerment of their people. In the liberation struggle, the fighters are patriots or freedom fighters fighting the alien colonial occupation and its injustices seeking the liberation of their country and people in order to establish people’s government and their rule. To say that independence is for a country, and liberation is for a people is contrary to the Oromo concept of the terms. They do not carry the full weight of their Oromo meanings. They are borrowed language, concepts and meanings. Since the last decade, the two words have been notoriously dichotomized, and notoriously interpreted out of context and out of their historical meaning and different value concepts placed on them. For instance, in distorting the meanings of independence/liberation they say “independence is for a country/walbummaan kan biyyaa ti; liberation is for a people/bilisummaan kan sabaa ti.” Such are outrageous distortions of the meanings intended to confuse and mislead Oromo nationals. Here the attempt is to undo the dubious dichotomy that the pro-Ethiopian empire federalization and democratization Oromo political groups have been attempting to inculcate in the minds of some Oromo nationals. They have already instilled these false meanings of independence and liberation in the minds of their target groups inside and outside of the Oromo organizations. Many of the victims are echoing these false meanings. These altered meanings confused many nationals and weakened the struggle. In Oromo politics, the making of such distinction between two words with exactly the same meaning is ahistoric, and totally artificial concoction or fabrication.

The genesis of the so-called difference between Independence and Liberation
As outlined above, historically, the two terms independence and liberation are one and the same. During the struggles for the decolonization of Africa, Asia and Latin America, the concepts and meanings of both terms were exactly the same. In these struggles, both words were used exchangeably one for the other. However, the problem appeared after independence. Most countries in Asia and Latin America became independent in the 1940s, the Middle East countries in 1950s, and most African countries became independent in 1960s, 1970s to the mid 1980s with a great deal of optimism, with hopes, excitement and happiness in the belief that there is a better day coming, and a bright future is on the rise on the horizon. However, before long after independence, that optimism was destroyed. The hopes were dashed and the excitement, jubilation, and happiness of independence turned sour. The reason has been the new national governments became agencies for the elites for control and extraction of resources. The newly independent states have become reproductions of former colonial states at all levels, including political orientation, governance, laws and basic socio-economic structures. The state power has been used for political purposes of the elites and their cronies. At the same time, the new regimes sought legitimacy from former colonial powers and other external forces rather than from their own population. Consequently, there have been little in the way of legitimacy granted to them from their people.

There was a reason for this. This was a problem of stratification into classes, the rulers and the ruled and masters, chiefs and servants. Before colonization, most of the colonized countries, if not all, were socially and politically stratified. For instance, some countries were ruled by priests and clergies, some by chiefs, others by Caliphates, Sultans, and still others by Potentates, Monarchies (Kings and Queens), Princes or Princesses. These were the local ruling elites before the conquest, occupation, and colonization. Hence, before colonization, power was exclusive to these elites. It was these elites that had lost power to the colonialist occupation forces. These were the systems of hierarchy and hereditary rules. With conquest, occupation, and colonization, colonial masters put these local rulers as pawn to serve them. These local elites served the colonial system as tax collectors, policemen, soldiers, officials, and liaison officers. All in all, they served as a link between the colonialist authorities and the colonized subjects. For instance, the social and political stratification in India was ruled by Princely states based on cast system. There were more than 565 Princely states under the British-India, in Nigeria and other West African countries the chiefs system, in central Africa the kingdom system, in southern Africa kings and chiefs, in Middle East Caliphate system, and etc. Upon the independence of the colonies, the colonialist masters transferred power to these former local elites. This transfer of power to local elites made no difference to the lives of the majority of the population. Independence brought no betterment for the common people. The military, the police, the local owners of wealth, and landlords that were groomed under colonial occupation took over from the colonizers. In this case, political power changed hands. That is, colonial governments were replaced by national governments. With political transfer, exploiters changed. The old-style of colonial exploitation was replaced by the new one. That is, the end of colonialism has not ended exploitation in the former colonies. Consequently, domination and exploitation remained intact. All in all, elites were empowered, but the people were not. Hence, with independence, the societies were suffocated, oppressed and exploited. Opposition parties or groups or individuals were harassed, intimidated, persecuted, arrested, and dragged into the jails. Colonial foreign authorities were replaced by dictators. All in all, the victories that were won by blood and sweat of the people were lost to the local kleptocratic rulers.

It was from these observations and experience that in the 1980s leftist scholars attempted to make distinction between independence and liberation. From this observation, the word independence is re-defined as political independence from alien rule, while leaving the exploitative colonial socio-economic structure in place. It is defined as a struggle for empowering the elite, not the people. On the other hand, liberation is re-defined the same as political independence from alien rule in addition to removal of exploitative colonial socio-economic structures that perpetuate social injustices in all their forms. It is defined as a struggle to empower the people, not the elite. In Oromo language, the two words: liberation and independence equally mean dismantling of colonialism and its webs of exploitative socio-economic structures. Hence, there is no difference in meaning and concept between the two words in the Oromo political vocabulary.

Turning to the Oromo society
Before colonization, the Oromo society under Gadaa system was a horizontal society. This means Gadaa political system was not based on socio-economic and political stratification. It was not a hereditary and hierarchical system. There was no special ruling class in larger Oromiya except in a few pockets of localities that later developed Kingdoms in the early 1800s. It was only in these pockets of localities that privileged Kings and Queens emerged to undermine the democratic Gadaa socio-economic and political system and its institutions. However, the kingdoms system did not become a significant or a dominant political and economic institution in the larger Oromo society. On the contrary, under the Gadaa system, the Oromo people had collective politico-socio economic common space where all were equal, all were at home, all exercised freedom, liberty, democracy, where all enjoy equality, fraternity, pride and dignity, where all were safe and secure, and all were collectively the makers of their governing body with a term limit of eight years with no renewal, and all elected officers were subject to recall. Under this system, land belonged to all. No private ownership of land. This means Gadaa was a system of democratic government, government of the people, from the people, by the people, and for the people. Hence, under the Gadaa system, government was the people. For this, hierarchical and hereditary rule was alien to the Oromo society under the Gadaa system. There were no oppressors and oppressed. There was no low class and high class in the Oromo society. The Oromo struggle has been and still is to re-establish the Gadaa system of governance and institutions in an independent Oromiya.

In Oromo society, under the Gadaa system the words independence and liberation had exactly the same meaning and still have the same meaning. One can say, “biyya walaba’a” or an independent country; “saba walaba’a” or independent people, and “nama walabaa” or an independent individual. Equally, one can say “biyya bilisa’a” or a free country and “saba bilisa’a” or a free people, and “nama bilisaa” or a free individual. Hence, “walaba” and “bilisa,” independence and liberty, have exactly the same meaning. The meaning is equivalent to the English words emancipation, equality, liberty, freedom, liberation, independence, all in one. Hence, no difference existed between these two terms in the Oromo socio-political vocabulary then, and none exists now. It is, therefore, wrong to make such dichotomous distinction or meaning by replacing the Oromo meaning with borrowed alien meanings of the words and impose borrowed words upon Oromo political parlance. Hence, in the Oromo struggle, independence and liberation mean the same. That is liberation or independence mean political independence or political liberation from alien rule in addition to removal of exploitative colonial politico-socio-economic structures that perpetuate social injustices in all their forms.

Colonial question versus question of national oppression
Now, we come to two important issues: colonial question versus question of national oppression. Many Oromo nationals confuse what is meant by these two phrases. What is their difference? Here is the difference. All oppressed, exploited, and dehumanized nations are not colonized nations. On the other hand, all colonized nations are oppressed, exploited, and dehumanized. Colonial question is a question of territory. The question of territory is the question of territorial independence. It is a question of the establishment of a separate, independent, and sovereign state. Such is the Oromo question.

On the other hand, the question of oppressed nation or unequal nation is a question of asking for equality and dignity within an existing society. This is not a colonial question because such a nation is not a colonized nation. Hence, the central question of an oppressed nation is for full social, political, and economic, religious, and cultural equality, and for developing their own distinct identities. It entails management of one’s own local or internal affairs within the boundary of the existing state recognizing and accepting the existing constitution and the territorial unity of the existing boundary of the state. Such question can be addressed through democratic and participatory policy within the existing state.

There is no excuse to present the Oromo question as a question of national oppression or as one of an oppressed nation as some Oromo individuals have been doing quite for some time. The Oromo question is a colonial question as stated in the OLF political program. It must be stated as such and should be followed through and through. The Oromo struggle is an anti-colonial struggle. It is plainly stated in the OLF Political Program. Article VI, Section A of the OLF Political Program of 1974/76 states:

“The fundamental objective of the struggle is the realization of national self-determination for the Oromo people and their liberation from oppression and exploitation in all their forms. This can only be realized through the successful consummation of the new democratic revolution by waging anti-feudal, anti-colonial, and anti- imperialist struggle, and by the establishment of the people’s democratic republic of Oromia.”

And its amended version, Article V, Section A of the 1998 Political Program says explicitly in Oromo Language:

“Hundeen akeeka qabsoo kanaa mirga hiree murteeffannaa ummata Oromoo argamsiisuuf sirna Impaayera Itoophiyaa diiguudhaan, Oromiyaa kolonii, hacuuccaa fi saaminsa jalaa bilisa baasuun mootummaa walaba Oromiyaa dhaabee iggitii itti godhuu dha. Kunis kan mirkanaawu mirga qabutti dhimma bahee ummatni Oromoo mootummaa walaba isaa labsachuu yookaan ummatoota biraa wajjin tokkummaa politiikaa haaraa ijaarrachuuf murtii kennatuun ta’a.”

Roughly translated as: The fundamental objective of this struggle is the realization of the right of national self-determination for the Oromo people by dismantling the Ethiopian empire system, by liberating Oromiyaa from colonization, oppression and exploitation, and by establishing and guarantee the independent state of Oromiyaa. This can only be realized when the Oromo nation uses its right in declaring its own independent government of Oromiyaa, or decide to establish a new political unity with other nations (translation mine).

In this struggle of ours, those who are presenting the Oromo question as a question of national oppression are the problem, not the OLF political program, not the Oromo people, not Oromo nationalists and not globalization. These are spineless individuals whose mind-set, political beliefs and outlook, and modus vivendi are shaped by their colonial masters. Such are individuals who have permanently fallen under mental slavery and mental colonization. And they cannot break away from the politics of the empire.

These individuals have effectively confused Oromo nationals today by redefining colonial question in terms of national oppression; thus removing the terms independence or liberation and the establishment of a Democratic Republic of Oromiya from political parlance and substituting these terms with “Ethiopian democratization,” and “Federalization of Ethiopia.”

Oromiya has been occupied since 1880s by armies of a foreign power, which divided it into zones according to that power’s wishes. With the occupation and annexation, Oromiya fell under Ethiopian empire. We have become extremely dependent on decisions of the occupying power. As history is a witness, all empires so far known to man were established by genocide and maintained by genocide. Ethiopian empire is such an empire. Today, as it began collapsing on itself, genocide that began at the conquest, is now resumed once again. Under the Tigranya regime led by the TPLF, a policy of extermination of the Oromo people is underway: the roundup of men, women, children, intellectuals, students, and civic leaders and their arrests and life imprisonment, and later executions into mass graves are implemented. Oromiya has become the center of concentration camps under Tigrayan regime. In these camps, rape, beating, and torture are commonplace. For the Tigranyan colonial government, Oromos are guilty; the guilty is directly rooted in their struggle for freedom, justice, dignity, peace, and national independence. For these reasons in the TPLF court, one does not have to prove that they are guilty; they are guilty by being Oromos. In Oromiya, disappearance of Oromo nationals from streets, markets, farms, business, and schools is commonplace. Those who were not arrested are forced to flee through mountains and deserts across the borders into refugees without food, water, or shelter. The expulsion of Oromo from their land and the looting of their resources are at the height in our memory. Hence, an Oromo national need to understand the logic and the rationale of the Oromo struggle for independence, and should have passion and morality to support it. There is no logic that supports “federalization” of the empire. Hence, empire federalization is a political illusion on the part of those who advocate for it. It is a shameful concession to the empire rulers. For this, it is important to understand as to what the Oromo struggle is for so as not to succumb to an obscurantist thesis of empire federalization. Hence, the central message to the Oromo nationals is ‘fight for independence of your country.’ To those in the Diaspora, it is incumbent upon you to stand with the Oromo people and it is your national obligation to support the Oromo Liberation Army. You cannot escape from this; you cannot hide from this; you cannot avoid this.

The right of nations to self-determination
First and foremost, the language we use has to be powerful. Powerful language is a weapon of struggle. Without powerful language, one defeats one’s cause; without having powerful concepts one is blind; without powerful concepts one unilaterally disarms oneself and one’s followers, and confuses the larger public. Hence, once potent language is taken away or altered, once its meaning is blurred or made indistinct, diluted, and once the concepts are trivialized, a person becomes blind about the issues, uncertain about the goal, the mission and the vision, and knows little about the cause. As we have seen, this is what has been done to the phrase “right of nation to self-determination” in the Oromo political discourse. We have already seen the consequence: confusion, misinterpretation and misapprehension. For two decades, some Oromo nationals have been attempting to blur, alter, and trivialize the meaning of self-determination. The right of self-determination is oftentimes taken as a synonym for political independence/political liberation. However, it has multiple meanings. So, it means different things to different people. The latter-day Oromo collaborationists of Ethiopian empire selectively used the inappropriate meaning of self-determination to apply to the colonial question in order to undermine the Oromo struggle for independence. It is because of this that self-determination suffered conceptual ambiguities within the camp of the Oromo national struggle. Its multiple meanings have become a source of confusion for many Oromo nationals. These meanings should not be taken as mere labels. Its meaning depends on the platform one lays out. Here one has to understand the difference between the right to self-determination of an oppressed people and the right of self-determination of a colonized people. No term is as important as self-determination, if one rightly understands it, conceptually and operationally as to what it means. Many Oromo nationals fail to get this right. The two depend on the political and historic context of the question raised and the struggle waged. If one’s question is a question of national oppression, self-determination implies seeking a solution within the context of the border of the existing state. Here, the solution is sought in the form of democratization and/or federalization of the state. However, if one’s question is a colonial one, self-determination implies political self-determination or political independence – the establishment of an independent and sovereign state. That is, the establishment of an independent nation state. Both differ from each other in their meanings and implementations. If you simply use the phrase self-determination without qualifying or identifying the case for which it is being used, you confuse yourself, the public and the international community. It is because of this confusion that the Oromo are oftentimes asked the question, “what do you want?” or more precisely they are asked, “what do Oromos want?” People want to know as to what we exactly mean when we say self-determination in the context of the struggle in which the phrase is used. Hence, the advice is never to use the phrase self-determination without stating your case.

Self-determination as applied to question of national oppression
Today, the right of nations to self-determination is a vague slogan. It is interpreted to mean the right to autonomy. It means the right of unequal nations or nationalities. Unequal nations or nationalities means those nations or nationalities which have been and are historically integral part of a sovereign state, but oppressed, humiliated, exploited and dehumanized by a dominant nation (e.g. Tigrayan vs. Amhara or Amhara vs. Tigrayan). In this case, self-determination means the question of abolition of national oppression. It is the right to self-determination of oppressed nations or nationalities to cultural, educational, economic, and language autonomy. That is, the right to have their own cultural structures and institutions and social organizations of the community of the territory, while question of political independence is excluded. The right to self-determination allows them to control, allocate, manage and utilized their own local economic resources. In other words, it is the right of the unequal nations to self-determination within the border of an existing state. Hence, self-determination as applied in the case of oppressed nations is a limited self-rule that recognizes the legitimacy of the borders of existing state. It spells out that such nations are entitled to autonomous rule meaning some form of self-government short of complete independence and sovereignty. For instance, an autonomous government cannot organize its own army, cannot create and print currency, and cannot freely establish international relations.

We need to tear the mask from these Oromo nationals, who, in a hypocritical manner, are foolishly prating about self-determination, but who are in reality striving to keep colonial Oromiya within the framework of the Ethiopian imperial state. These nationals have skillfully concealed their true color under the “flag of self-determination.” The slogan “self-determination” has been advanced or promoted as a vehicle to co-opt the national aspiration.

Self-determination as applied to colonial question
Self-determination in the case of colonial question refers to people’s right to establishment of their independent state. This means it is a legitimate right of colonial people to separate from a colonizing state and form an independent state of their own. Such right is limited to colonized territories. Colonial question is a question of establishment of a complete political independence – formation of a new state. In this case, a colonial nation, first and foremost, may establish its own independent state and its own independent government in its own right.

First and foremost, national colonial question cannot be settled with “democratization” and “federalization,” without dismantling the empire. However, an empire cannot be democratized. An empire cannot be federalized. History has recorded many empires, among them the Chinese, Ottoman, British, French, imperial Japan, Dutch, Portuguese and Soviet empires. Neither of them were democratized nor federalized. All of them were dissolved. History has no record of a democratized or federalized empire. Nor have those Oromo nationals who prate or sing about “democratization” or “federalization” of the Ethiopian empire ever produced a single evidence of a democratized or federalized empire in history. Ethiopia is an empire. And so, its fate is to go down as all empires before it. Any talk of empire democratization or federalization is simply hogwash. What is interesting is that these Oromo nationals accept the truth that Ethiopia is an empire. These Oromo nationals are recently campaigning on a false premises of giving the colonized subject people “citizenship” of the empire and “making” them the “rulers” of the empire. This is a logical fallacy and a distortion of history. It is simply intended to confuse the Oromo public.

National colonial question is not a question of national oppression. It is not a question of unequal nations to be equal with the dominating nation. On the contrary, it is a colonial question. Colonial question is the question of territorial independence. The question of territorial independence cannot be exercised within the borders of the existing colonialist state or empire. A colonial question is a delegitimization of the borders of the existing state, the authority of its government, and its regime over one’s territory. In Oromo case, the Oromo struggle delegitimizes the Ethiopian empire state, its constitution, its institutions (the Army, police, judiciary, bureaucracy and etc), the authority of its government, and its regime over Oromiya.

The right to self-determination of a colonized nation is the right of independence, and the right to freedom of independent control of one’s own destiny. The Oromo question is a colonial question. For this, independence is at the core of the Oromo struggle. Hence, independence is in the hearts and minds of Oromo nationalists and the Oromo people, and it is in their dreams and their desires. Oromo nationals behind the prison walls of the empire are carrying this in their hearts and minds, and millions of them died carrying this in their hearts.

In the case of self-determination of a colonized nation, one needs to understand that, before referendum is conducted, the colonial territory has to be independent state and its independent government has to be established; political power has to be seized; territorial borders have to be controlled; institutions have to be built and local affairs have to be conducted, or regulated. It is this government and only this government that has legitimate and legal right to conduct referendum in the presence of international observers. It is wrong to assume that referendum can be conducted while a territory is under occupation or before national liberation.

Referendum/plebiscite is conducted simply to obtain legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. The reason for this is simple. It is not enough to seize political power, control territory, and regulate internal affairs. A new state also needs international legal sovereignty. This means the new state needs recognition by other states; it needs the right to sign treaties; the right to join international organizations and the right for its representatives to have diplomatic immunity and privileges. For these, it is important to show the international community the choices, the wishes, the desires, and the aspiration of the people of the new state by conducting a referendum/plebiscite. Here, what has to be understood is that referendum is simply an instrument or a means to secure the realization of self-determination that had been already achieved. Referendum is not the goal of the struggle. The goal of the struggle is political independence.

All in all, in this struggle of ours, the Oromo people know their colonizer. They know that the colonizer has been and is bent on holding the empire together at any cost. They know what the colonizer says. But what they do not know is the intentions of the double-crossing Oromo nationals who have been embedded within them and within their nationalists. Hence, one of the problems in the Oromo struggle has always been and still is the double-crossing or collaborationist Oromo nationals. It was with the aid of the Oromo collaborationists that Oromiya was colonized. And still, Oromiya is under colonial occupation because of the collaborationist Oromo nationals. We know it is Oromo loyalists of the Abyssinian empire or the pro-Ethiopian empire democratization and federalization Oromo nationals, the double crossing groups, who have been and still are dividing and weakening Oromo nationals and the Oromo struggle. Again, we know it is these double-crossing Oromo nationals who have been and still are notoriously giving wrong meaning to independence and liberation as if they are different. It is the same double-crossers who have been and still are shying away from stating the goal of the Oromo struggle by hiding behind the phrase self-determination. Now, they are singing “federalization” of the Ethiopian empire. Some nationals have already been awashed in the myths of empire “federalization,” and singing and dancing in futility to the tune of the “Oromo Dialogue Forum,” the standard bearer of Ethiopian empire “federalization.” Empire federalization is a politics of absurdity. Hence, it is always important to call to mind the old saying, “Be careful of your enemy once and of your friend a thousand times for a double crossing friend knows more about what harms you” the most. It is these double crossers who have been and continue to harm the Oromo struggle. Hence, Oromiya and the Oromo struggle must be defended, and vigorously.

In the end, we can proudly say that despite all hidden or open resistance by the collaborationists from within against the Oromo struggle for independence, the Oromo people have risen up in confronting the external enemy and internal detractors. Internal detractors or double-crossers have been and continue to try to diminish the Oromo institutional foundation, the importance, the values, the ideals, and the effectiveness of the OLF, of Oromo nationalists, and of the Oromo struggle for independence. Their primary goal is and always has been to discourage Oromo nationals from joining the Oromo national liberation armed struggle. Despite this campaign, the Oromo people’s desire for independence is undiminished and, in fact, proven irresistible; that means the realization of the goal is inevitable. Again, Oromo nationalists are coming together with energy and enthusiasm marching forward. The recent statement of reconciliation and unity of two OLF factions – the OLF Transitional Authority and the OLF Shanee Gumii – epitomizes this fact. These nationalists are the captains of this struggle. This unity, if it is practically carried out through and truly and completely implemented, is a guarantee for the independence of Oromiya. Hence, the statement of unity must be followed by action. There is no possibility of U-turn in this liberation struggle. And so, no power on earth can stop or reverse the direction of the Oromo struggle for independence.

Oromiya Shall Be Free!

* Leenjiso Horo can be reached at delivers information on Oromia and the Horn of African region: top news stories and analyses, politics, and culture, arts & entertainment, and more.


  1. Hawwinee Barii

    Feb 11, 13 at 2:00 pm

    What an excellent and educative article from our nationalist Leenjiso! You clarified for me many things that I was not clear about before.Thanks so much

  2. Qanquree

    Feb 11, 13 at 7:15 pm

    Warri hikkaa addaa addaa itti kennun Oromoo afaanfajjesan walaalan utuu hin ta`iin karaa kanaan yaada isanii isa Impayeera suphuuf ka`an fixaan bafachuuf!

  3. zerfachew

    Feb 11, 13 at 7:18 pm

    I would like to thank you for this detail analysis of one of the bone contention point in our struggle. In my view the term independence, and soveregnity can be used interchangeably if we are talking about a given state or country but strictly speaking the term libration or liberty and freedom belongs to a person or people not for nation. The right of self determination until cessetion presupposes, the existence of freedom and liberty and the peole exercises thier right without any fear to vote for independece or soverignity

  4. fuliyyee

    Feb 11, 13 at 7:38 pm

    Obbo Leenjisoo,
    Thank u very much. I tank u from my bottom of my heart again.
    All obstacles and roots of confusions has to be removed from our way to libration.

    Good job brother.

  5. educative article

    Feb 13, 13 at 12:49 am

    First of all, thank you Obboo Leenjisoo for such wonderful article.
    Such educative articles need to be translated into Afaan Oromoo (Oromo language) and narrated to the public on different independent Oromo radios.

    Duraan dursee, Obboo Leenjisoo barreeffama baay’ee bareedaa kana dhiyeessuu keetiif galatoomi.
    Barreeffamni barumsa guddaa namaaf kennan kan akkanaa kun Afaan Oromootti hiikamanii raadiyoonii Oromoo kan walaba ta’an irratti uummtaaf dhiyaachuu qabu.

  6. Zerfachew

    Feb 15, 13 at 2:11 pm

    A nation can be independent or soverign, while the people might be under repression and oppression, due to dictatorship instead of rule of law!!!!!!A civilized nation has its own international minimum createria; freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of association e.t.c To get these right one has to be librated(emanicipated) from dictatorship and the rule of law must prevail, this is called libration(freedom and liberty). A nation can only be independet(soverign) from aliens rule or colonization.

    If a nation is under colony and individuals are subjected to opression and repreassion, a freedom fighter(libration front) can only librate the people so that they could be free from any kinds of fear of prosecution and persecution, excercise their right, freedom of opinion , expression, association e.t.c and then to decide(vote) for soverginity which is to creat independet nation or not. This right belongs to the people, not to libration front!!!!

    Oromo people are about 40,000,000, we have diffrent poletical opinion, understunding, personal or group innterest, we can not therfor put all of them in one buket, while we are supposed to librate them. If we do that we end up creating gap among ourselves and easily overlook the big issues, these divides us in accordance with our opinion e.t.c To creat unity and stand against subjugation, we have to respect their opinions and creat equal platform for all come as an oromo and joing us to reach our destiny.

    If a libtration front has to pre-determien this right which belongs to the people, it is dictatorship by itself, what would a libration front do if the people vote aganist, naturally impose on them. So let us stop stop stop poletical corectness and creat vague, let us be clear her!!! Focus on the foundamental issue that matters to our prople today and in the long run, which is freedom, liberty, equality, justice and democratic rights to our prople, the qust for soveregnity or independence cvomes after these( as a secondary) since it is collective rights we alla sitt down, reflect on it based on our own indivdual outlook, rather than conventional withdom( what we have been told by any groups og organizations).

  7. Fayyaaleessa

    Feb 16, 13 at 12:18 pm

    Obbo Zerfachew,

    I seriously doubt if you understood what you wrote. You are completly confused. You do not seem to grasp the issue.

  8. waralata

    Feb 26, 13 at 4:11 am

    I totally agree as there is language game played to confuse the very crowd they have been preaching to the real meaning of the words.It is okay to admit mistakes if any and move on.On the other hand it is dishonest to try to look good by deception.Regarding the main issue the current World political condition must be looked into.The Oromoo people shouldn’t be in slaved by the same endless the only one way.That is the issue I have problem with.To free our people any tactic that apply should be employed to move one step forward.If we believe in the power of our people and communicate well with them there is nothing to be afraid of.Majority is afraid of no one unless it is disorganized like what we are witnessing now.Thanks for the clarity to those whom they are trying to confuse to save their own—-s.