Opinion

Reflection on the OPDO Central Committee Meeting Press Release


by Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni

I speed-read the press statement of the much-hyped OPDO central committee meeting and found it very much muddled and unclear and lacking much-needed focus at this critical time in our country’s history. My expectations were not that high, but I found the press statement very much wanting and lacking critical strategic policy directions.

Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni

1. OPDOs central committee should have taken a clear position to end the unequal status of EPRDF member parties by democratizing the EPRDF or decide to dismantle it if democratizing it is not feasible. OPDO should have taken a lead role in order to preserve its own interests and gain trust from the Oromo public by directly opposing the current practice that gives TPLF veto power in the affairs of the organization and Ethiopian national interest issues, based on civil war time status of the TPLF, instead of restructuring the EPRDF based on population, membership and national resources base of each respective member parties.

2. OPDO CC should have taken a clear decision in shifting national decision and policy-making power from the unelected and unrepresentative Executive Committee of the EPRDF to the existing constitutional structure by trying to empower the so-called parliament, however ineffective it is, by advocating for democratic representation and transparency of elected officials to their respective constituents. OPDO should have taken a clear stand on separating the party and state structure to restore integrity and impartiality into the Ethiopian government institutions. That would have helped the OPDO and the ANDM in decision-making process instead of continuously labor to reach useless backdoor dealing with the TPLF.

3. OPDO CC should have taken clear policy line by ending the existing land grab policies and laws by adopting Gadaa System Land Tenure system that recognizes three interconnected land ownership system, namely 1) private land ownership system (family ancestral land holdings), 2) communal ownership of grazing, public ways and water lands, and 3) preservation of wildlife and forest lands. Gadaa system does not recognize any form of state ownership of land. The current TPLF land policy is specifically adopted to undermine Gadaa land tenure system and transfer land ownership to the TPLF in the name of being the government.

4. OPDO CC should have taken clear and uncompromising stand on the totality and inalienability of the self-administration rights of the Oromo people including administering all Oromia cities including Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Harar, Moyale and many other cities and towns now unlawfully separated or excluded or federalized in violation of the self-administration rights of the Oromo people to protect the economic, political and social interests of the TPLF and its members. The OPDO CC should have taken clear stand to defend and protect the human security, economic security and social interests of the Oromo people by legalizing the right to bear arms by the Oromo people and building capable local self-defense forces in addition to denying TPLF officers presence anywhere in Oromia.

5. OPDO central committee should have taken a clear position to end the total absence of any meaningful Oromo representation in the federal security institutions including defense, national intelligence, and federal police as well as in the civil service sector of federal government institutions including Ethiopian Embassies abroad.

6. It is a public secret that the TPLF adopted the anti-terrorism laws, the press laws and the anti-civil society laws to politically and economically persecute Oromo and Amhara nationals in an effort to exclude the Oromo and Amhara population from the economic, political and social life of Ethiopia. It is undeniable fact that the Oromo people are the prime target and victims of these laws. These laws are also meant to divide and create disconnections between the Amhara and Oromo population in the Diaspora and in Ethiopia. OPDO should have taken a clear position to end these openly discriminatory laws that the TPLF adopted to attack, divide and marginalize the Oromo and Amhara population in the country and outside the country.

7. OPDO, as the largest and the biggest member of the governing party, should have taken a clear policy and political positions on the economic, political and social policy directions of Ethiopia at national level, at regional level in Africa and internationally in assessing the Ethiopia’s foreign, development and security policies with the countries of the region and international development and security partners in order to shape and direct the policies of Ethiopia to end the current discriminatory and exclusionist policies pursued by the TPLF in these areas. OPDO’s failure to address this critical issue is a major mistake, and it is a major abdication of responsibility.

8. Given that almost about 95-98% all political prisoners in Ethiopia are Oromo and Amhara nationals, the OPDO should have exclusively called for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners in Ethiopia. This is particularly important since Bekele Gerba, the first vice president of OFC and other top Oromo leaders are in grave health conditions due to abuse in prisons and denial of medical assistance by the TPLF officials who administer and run those institutions.

9. OPDO CC should have taken a clear stand in condemning the joint TPLF and Somali Janjaweed Militia aggression and invasion of the Oromo people in Eastern and Southern Ethiopia. OPDO CC should have demanded the disarming and dismantling of the Somali Janjaweed Militia and Federal government army units participated in the aggression and invasion of our people. OPDO CC should have clearly condemned TPLF federal officials who denied humanitarian assistance and media coverage of the displacement of one million Oromo civilians evicted and dispossessed by the TPLF and Somali Janjaweed Militia armed men. OPDO CC should have made a clear and open call up the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the over one million Oromo civilians displaced, evicted and dispossessed by this war of aggression and invasion. OPDO CC should have designated the war of aggression and invasion committed on the Oromo people and the resulting crimes as crimes against humanity in order to hold all those who participated in these crimes accountable. In addition, the OPDO CC should have called upon the Oromo people to get organized and mobilized based on Gadaa system structures, values, and principles to both defend themselves, their lands and protect their economic interests.

10. Last but not least, the OPDO CC should have taken unequivocal and clear position in unilaterally recognizing Afaan Oromo as the only federal working language Oromia recognizes in it’s dealing with federal government and Addis Ababa city administration in order to force the Federal government and this prodigal city to adopt Afaan Oromo as the federal working language on equal footing with Amharic in order to end the economic, political and social exclusions of the Oromo people from Ethiopian federal institutions and Addis Ababa City Administration.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Habtamu

    February 7, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Team Lemma is walking a carefully orchestrated tight rope and doing heavy damage to the woyane on almost daily basis, without unnecessarily exposing his flanks. Lemma has paralysed the woyane into inaction, while at the same time consolidating his positions and moving forward in carefully choreographed steps.

    Fools like Messay Mekonnen and Berhanemeskel Segni are trying to force Lema Megersa to lose his footing and overplay his hands. This is no time to try to outmanoeuvre Lemma and strengthen one’s position in the political lanscape. Lemma should be encouraged and not criticised. He is doing just fine on his own, without the advice of fools. He has proved himself to have the right instincts, and is simultaneously promoting Oromo and Ethiopian interests. Let Lemma does what he does best. Taken from a comment made somewhere.
    Top

  2. Asfaw Negat

    February 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Just look at the title of the comment by B. A. Segni which reads: “reflection on the OPDO central committee meeting press release” and relate it to the ten points he said he would have liked included in the press release.

    The problems is all Segni’s expectations are written in phrases lawyers call “mandatory”; i.e. they all begin with “should” which imply “obligation or duty”. Contrary to what he highlighted on the title, his note looks like a “decree” than a “reflection”. In fact, I have not seen an iota of reflection in it.

    Any ways, who’s B. A. Segni to make such a “decree” intended to undermine the efforts OPDO to change Ethiopia? I feel that some Oromo nationalists are pissed off because OPDO has gone beyond limited Oromo interests and talks for all Ethiopians. Given this fact, OPDO’s efforts seem directed toward the problems of the country as a whole to effectively deal with the problems of the Oromo. I support its stance.

    Attempts by some self-styled Oromo nationalists – advocates like Segni to limit the role of OPDO to Oromo issues will face opposition across the country. OPDO is winning the respect of Ethiopians because it positive contributions for the betterment of the country.

    What’s going on in the country is a reform and not a revolution. After working for change in the country for decades, we have now started reform which is gradual change affecting certain aspects of relationships. Segni’s call is for rapid or fundamental changes which are likely to lead to conflicts and more repression. It is good OPDO opted for reform.

    This does not, however, mean that OPDO is beyond reproach. Let’s focus enabling OPDO to continue with the reform limit it to sector issues and radicalize it to precipitate conflict in the country.

    We don’t have to squander this opportunity.

  3. Asfaw Negat

    February 9, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Correction . . .

    The first paragraph from the last was supposed to read as follows:

    “This does not, however, mean that OPDO is beyond reproach. Let’s focus enabling OPDO to continue with the reform than limit it to sector issues and radicalize it to precipitate conflict in the country.”

    My regrets,

    Thanks.

  4. Deder

    February 9, 2018 at 9:39 am

    It is better to compare What Lemma Megerssa is doing in this short period of time in the politics of Ethiopia to the 26 years opposition groups tried for shaking the TPLF as a regime. Count everything that make TPLF to bleed and die slowly.Lemma Megerssa gradually realizes Ethnic politics is not a cure to Oromo people and All Ethiopians as well. So watch him closely!

  5. TRUTH

    February 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    The last time I checked OPDO is a member of a terrorist, mafia, murderous, criminal TPLF/EPRDF. Beside TPLF, OPDO is the founding member of EPRDF and has been around for about 26 years.
    At this stage in Ethiopian history, we should not waste time worrying about what OPDO is doing or what its leaders think. OPDO has placed the Oromo people under the bus time and again. Great Oromo people deserve new leadership.
    We Ethiopian people deserve new leadership that is not based on ethnicity and that is based on freedom/democracy/rule of law.
    OPDO LIKE TPLF/ANDM and the whole of EPRDF must be eradicated and completely destroyed. NO IFS ANDS OR BUTS.

  6. Mirror

    February 11, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Mirhanemeskel,
    you are a moron who want to start civil war in Ethiopia

    “4. OPDO CC should have taken clear and uncompromising stand on the totality and inalienability of the self-administration rights of the Oromo people including administering all Oromia cities including Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Harar, Moyale and many other cities and towns now unlawfully separated or excluded or federalized in violation of the self-administration rights of the Oromo people to protect the economic, political and social interests of the TPLF and its members”

  7. Meseret Tesfaye

    February 11, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Segni,

    Being a fanfare of democracy and equality, I thought you would advise OPDO to allow non-Oromo Ethiopians to elect and be elected (there are no non-Oromo political parties in Oromia), learn in their mother tongue, not in Kube, use their language, not Kube, at the court and other public offices.
    The strange thing about Oromo elites is that you guys preach democracy but fail to recognize and even try to deny the democratic rights of non-oromo Ethiopians in Oroomia.

    Another issue is that I wonder how you say Addis Ababa is for Oromos while you know very well that the Twin Cities belong to Oromos as well as non-oromo Minnesotans. It is shame to say that Addis Ababa belongs to the Oromos from the remote part of Wollega and Illubabor but not for people who lived in Addis Ababa fro generations.

  8. BlaulichtNews

    February 14, 2018 at 5:48 am

    ” He counselled them, “The Amhara and Oromo are totally intermingled through marriage and cultural assimilation”. He told them he is the product of a union of Amhara, Tigre and Oromo, but all his family had Amhara-sounding names. Then he asked them, “Would you have me kill my own family members and the whole of the rest of the population to get rid of the Amhara? ” Therein lies a great lesson for the TPLF. Ethiopians are a mix of Oromo, Amhara, Tigrean, Gurage, Southern Peoples, Ogadenis,  Afaris, Somalis… They are sergena teff!

Leave a Reply

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Posts

To Top