“Despite its organisational flaws and divisions, many ordinary Oromos retain an almost messianic belief in the OLF as the major nationalist organisation.”
– ICG, September 2009
Leaders of OLF factions (left to right): Dawud Ibsa, Dhugasa Bakako and Kemal Gelchu
Opinion: OLF as a Trinity (one and three at a time)
By Fayyis Oromia*
This short essay is just presented as a clarification for Oromo foes, who are nowadays delighting by “perceiving” a division of the Oromo liberation vanguard into “three.” For their information, OLF has got, from the very beginning, only one Kaayyoo (goal), which also at the same time can be interpreted as three Kaayyoos in a pocket, and it plays with the three cards based on the objective reality it is in, aka according to the “here and now” of the situations. Even though the only one Kaayyoo is self-determination, the three interpretations of the Kaayyoo are:
– independence without a union,
– referendum on the issue: independence without a union Vs. independence within a union, and
– independence within a union.
OLF permanently advocates that it fights for the independence of Oromia, for Oromos’ right to self-determination, and for a union of nations in the empire/region. It emphasizes one of the three interpretations according to the condition of the time (Zeitgeist). Whenever Abyssinian elites become arrogant and start to sing about the unconditional unity of their empire with suppression of Oromos’ rights, it stresses the independence of Oromia from Abyssinian colonialism undermining the possible union. The logic behind this is, whenever there is suppression, there will be a move for separation. When reasonable politicians from different nations in the empire start to recognize the God-given right of the great Oromo nation to self-determination, it starts to play the card of self-determination (decision per referendum either for ‘independence within a union’ or ‘for independence without a union’.)
Now, the one structural OLF we Oromos have believed to have been divided into three, each of them just taking as a goal one of the three interpretations of the Kaayyoo:
– OLF1 of Ob. Galaassa seems to make no compromise on independence without a union.
– OLF2 of Ob. Daud has self-determination as its goal (being open for both ‘independence within a union’ and ‘independence without a union’ as far as Oromo people decide for one of the two).
– OLF3 of Ob. Hassan (the new) seems to have decided for the independence within a union of nations in the empire/region so that it sympathizes with and seems to seek an alliance with Oromos in the ruling party aka OPDO and strives for an understanding from the reasonable “pro unity” Abesha forces. Here I must say, it is not yet clear whether this group moves to the position of OLF1 for it wants to consolidate all members of ULFO, who do stress independence without a union under one structural organization. Time will tell us, whether this group will be either pro OPDO or pro ULFO. Or is there any association between the two (OPDO and ULFO)?
Anyways, a Merdo to the foes of Oromo Liberation Movement is that the one/three OLF(s) will never give up the struggle for the right of Oromos to self-determination till we Oromos become the determiners of our own destiny, be it within the Ethiopian union or without the union.
Otherwise, let’s differentiate rhetoric from conviction! I do hear nowadays certain Oromo politicians talking about the “fact” that Oromo people do not want “secession”. I do consider talking about “Oromos wanting independence or not” is a wrong generalization. One thing we need to know as a fact is that almost all Oromo politicians (including those who do make the above mentioned rhetoric), deep in their hearts, believe in the right of Oromo nation to self-determination. This is the hallmark of Oromos and aim of our mindset (spiritual organization) aka OLF. This mindset, OLF has got one Kaayyoo, but also three Karaas (including three rhetoric.)
– OLF mindset in the rebel organizations has got an explicit rhetoric of self-determination and it fights for this Kaayyoo by all means,
– OLF mindset in the opposition organizations has got the rhetoric of struggling for liberation in the Ethiopian context, but it covertly struggles for the Kaayyoo,
– OLF mindset in the ruling organization has got the rhetoric, which says: “we have already achieved the liberation”, but yet it covertly pushes for the Kaayyoo.
So fellow Oromos, let’s allow the mindset move to the Kaayyoo in all the Karaas, despite the rhetoric of some Oromos in the opposition and ruling Oromo organizations. Let our foes know exactly, despite the different rhetoric, Oromo Liberation Movement can never be stopped till it achieves the Kaayyoo. We need to motivate ourselves to do our rhetoric and our practice in the liberation movement on the Karaa each of us chooses to come to the Kaayyoo. Long live OLF as a trinity (OLF with one Kaayyoo, but with three Karaas)!
We have to forget the current rhetoric of Oromo politicians in the ruling party and in the opposition parties, who are doing their talks under the gunpoint of Weyane (they are just denying the right of Oromo people to self-determination at gunpoint) and let’s strive to our END Kaayyoo, which is already determined by our mindset.
I am personally against any sort of dictatorial unity, and I am a supporter of a union of free nations in the empire/region based on free will. Any unity without Oromo’s public verdict will fail, take it only 1 year, about 10 years or as long as 100 years. That is why I do advocate for a lasting solution based on free will of all stakeholders, instead of the temporary hoyaa-hoyee of unity as a wishy-washy solution. MEDREK seems to have chosen unconditional-unity as a precondition for the alliance, but the unity they do strive for will surely never last long, because it is not based on self-determination of peoples, but on predetermination by only few elites. TIBIBIR aka revived AFD, which may be forged by OLF et al must be based on a solid ground and take self-determination rather than unconditional unity as the precondition for an alliance!
Anyways, our foes need to know that, they can only manipulate and delay the realization of Oromo’s right to self-determination, but they can never hinder it. Oromo’s mindset is leading us to our Kaayyoo aka self-determination, however long it may take it. Our foes like it or not, in reality almost all Oromos are led in our liberation struggle by this mindset. That is why the International Crisis Group (ICG) put it:
“Despite its organizational flaws and divisions, many ordinary Oromos retain an almost messianic belief in the OLF as the major nationalist organization”!
* Fayyis Oromia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.