Is OPDO’s Abiy an Amhara or Oromo Ethiopian? 

Filed under: Opinion |

By Teshome M. Borago

As the ruling party plans to elect a new Prime Minister in a few days; more shocking information is coming out on the identity of lead Oromo candidate Dr. Abiy Ahmed; including some that has sent the whole current TPLF system of ethnic-federalism upside down. 

Several renowned Oromo journalists and Oromo activists have already praised Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the new leader of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO).

Oromo activist Dr. Awol Kassim Allo labelled Dr. Abiy as “the only Oromo candidate for PM.”

The Editor of popular Oromo website Opride.com, Mohammed Ademo, gave Dr. Abiy his full support, predicting that “appointing Ethiopia’s first Oromo prime minister could appease protesters.”

Many Oromos on social media also view Dr. Abiy as their future leader, with some calling him “Oromo liberator.” Even the renowned Oromo activist Jawar Mohammed told his 1 million+ Facebook followers to forgive Abiy’s surprising absence during the State of Emergency voting session last week, because Abiy is Oromo.

Virtually millions of Oromos and foreign observers have openly advocated for the premiership of Dr. Abiy Ahmed; as a way “to give a voice and representation to OROMO people.”

As expected, after several years of ethnic-politics being institutionalized in Ethiopia by the TPLF regime, nobody is surprised that so many Ethiopians have adopted such an ethnocentric and narrow world view.

But the big surprise is that OPDO’s Dr. Abiy might actually be more of an AMHARA.

According to his official profile and background info, Dr. Abiy is reported to have Amhara ancestors, with his mother described online as “Amhara Christian.” His name “Abiy” (also spelled Abey) is an Amharic name; and some of his former colleagues have reportedly suggested that he sees himself as an Amhara culturally, but as an Oromo politically in order to join the OPDO. In reality, based on his ancestry, Dr. Abiy seems to be no more Oromo than Emperor Menelik (whose mother was also Oromo.) In fact, Emperor Haile Selassie (whose father was half-Oromo and whose mother was full-Oromo from Wollo) is actually more Oromo than Dr. Abiy Ahmed will ever be.

This is not a new dilemma inside OPDO, because Oromo extremists have for years complained about the genuine “Oromoness” of most members of OPDO, including OPDO co-founder Aba Dulla. In the early 1990s, many Oromo hardliners often said OPDO is filled with half-Oromos (including those with Amara, southern, Somali and Tigrean ancestry.) This was a big problem for OPDO for two decades.

However, in this historic year of rising Oromo nationalism and Oromo revolution, it is truly ironic that Oromo activists worldwide want to give the KEYS to their movement to an Amhara.

After so many innocent Oromos died in the streets of Oromia the last two years; if the best leader that Oromo nationalism can produce is an Amhara: then what does this really say about where we are as a nation? What does this say about the concepts of ethnic self-rule and ethnic self-determination? What does this say about the useless ethnic boundary referendums that have caused endless ethnic bloodshed between OPDO-led Oromia and regional states like Somali and SNNPR?

After-all, one of the reasons why hundreds of Oromos and Somalis died last year, and millions became internally displaced refugees was because of the tribalization of land since the 1997 referendum. After that land redistribution scheme, 340 zones out of 420 zones were awarded to Oromia, leading to the homelessness and disenfranchisement of Somali-Ethiopians. Similar ethnicization of land has brought so much suffering to millions and divided our country. If all these crisis and ideological bankruptcy of ethnic elites do not convince them to lower their divisive ethnic-nationalism rhetoric, then, what will?

Sooner or later, diaspora Oromos and other vocal Oromo elites might turn their backs on Dr. Abiy and Lemma; just like they defamed and turned their backs on OLF founders like Lencho Lata. Oromo nationalists are infamous for blaming each other and attacking personalities; instead of soul searching or self-reflection on their ideological shortcomings.

For those of us Ethiopians who have exposed the gravity, backwardness, impracticality and incompatibility of the current tribal-federalism structure with modern democracy in the 21st century: this is a huge ideological and political victory. If the future leader of OPDO and the #Oromoprotests is a half-Amhara like Dr. Abiy, maybe it will reduce ethnic tensions. Maybe then, we can all see each other as Ethiopians first and foremost.

But too many people have already perished in Ethiopia for the sake of tribalism and it must stop. Sooner or later, ethnic apartheid federalism and dangerous tribal-nationalism must be replaced with regional federalism and civic nationalism. One of the best ways to mitigate tribal conflict and lower ethnic tensions is to detach tribal ownership of any land and recognize mixed-Ethiopians as a separate group in our population.

Dr. Abiy Ahmed is one of millions of Ethiopians with mixed ancestry. Unfortunately, mixed-ethnicity is not emphasized in our national Census and this should be one of the main agenda of our future government.

The TPLF dictatorship is on its last legs, but we should not focus on the ethnic label of the next government, we should focus on developing democratic institutions. All Ethiopians must unite to establish a new non-tribal government. We should not try to replace the Tigray-led regime with an Oromo-led one. It is important that Ethiopia transitions into a new system of government for all the people, in which leaders are picked based on merit, and where all Ethiopians are represented as individuals, no matter which tribe (or mix of tribes) they belong to.

Contact the writer at teshomeborago@gmail.com

23 Responses to Is OPDO’s Abiy an Amhara or Oromo Ethiopian? 

  1. Teshome is playing the TPLF card but acting as Ethiopianist and against TPLF. You better keep silent. We do not care in the fact that he has an Oromo blood. It is even good and KERRO has no problem with Amhara. That may be a problem for you and your boss, TPLF!
    Tolawak

    Tolawak Megersa
    March 9, 2018 at 12:53 pm
    Reply

  2. Rubbish article. Just nonsense you as you may be. Many of us Oromos do care about human beings. Our Struggle is for justice to prevail.

    Please remove this very shallow article

    dadi
    March 9, 2018 at 1:18 pm
    Reply

    • I agree with you brother. We are one people and there is nothing between us . We seek justice not an ethnic superiority. This article is full of shit starting from the title. If you actually understand we are the reason for all this chaos. We gave the chance to tear us apart when we can stand together. I wish everyone says they are Ethiopians not something like Amhara, Oromo or the likes.

      Abel
      March 16, 2018 at 3:39 am
      Reply

  3. Well, most Oromos are mixed with Amara. Even the “real Oromos” inthe deep rural have ancestors of hadiya, Sidama and dawaro but their great grandfathers adopted Oromo language so they think they are Oromo. Most eastern Oromos are Somali converts
    The original Oromos are only 10 to 15 %

    Teddy
    March 9, 2018 at 1:20 pm
    Reply

  4. It is either to discredit Abiy or you are trying to get the support of Amaras for Abiy. But we Amaras already supported. Abiy and Lemma more than Gedu. So stay away from trashing names.

    Abegaz
    March 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm
    Reply

    • Thanks
      We support who ever has an honest heart and kind committed to serve his people. It doesn’t matter which language he speaks or where he comes from. The most important is a person who has fear of Go, and out of the fear-serving the people he has been given with honesty and integrity. A person who is kind hearted but who makes decision right away. A person who wishes to see the prosperity and safety of his people. A person who has a heart of humanity sitted deep inside his heart. A person who is willing to resign his position when he finds he is not doing well.

      dadi
      March 13, 2018 at 2:10 am
      Reply

  5. i am so sorry that the so called “ethiopians”are so confused with no future eccept throwing evrything they had in their lonely ,hoppless and full of shit minds at evry corner .no more ethiopia with out oromo.the creator and protector of the land from the people like you.

    Dombi
    March 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm
    Reply

  6. what we need in Ethiopia is a a kind of razor sharp analysis that is employed here by Teshome M. Borago to find the cure for tribal politics in Ethiopia, which has been instituted to benefit TPLF and its cronies. Some of the known Oromo tribalist, who claim to represent the Oromo interest, their beef seem to be that they are not in the driver sit like TPLF but on principle they seem to be two sides of the same coin. They even claim that had TPLF instituted the tribal constitution according to the letter of the law, we Ethiopians would have been in a better place. This bankrupt tribal ideology needs to be uprooted for peace and democracy to reign in Ethiopia.

    Habtamu
    March 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm
    Reply

  7. Dr. A BYE IS NEITHER AN OROMO NOR AMHARA ETHIOPIAN. He is simply a great son Ethiopia.

    Tesema Horra of Enchni
    March 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm
    Reply

  8. Wow Borango, i have never seen a man coming out trash and suffering from identity crisis. you are parroting your masters thinking and self defeated ethnic inferiority . I know DR Abiy very well and he is the one who should say where he belongs ethnically. Borango you are a man with mental constipation and verbal diarrhea. If you don’t seek treatment for your inferiority complex you will soon end in a mental facility where you could not get even the basic support as your problem is already chronic.when Abiy becomes a prime minster I am sure you will throw yourself over a bridge and will never see the success. I wish you seek treatment asap before it is too late.

    Gaddisa
    March 9, 2018 at 8:18 pm
    Reply

  9. እንዴት ያለ አስቀያሚ ጽሁፍ ነው ይሄ? በዘረኝነት ከወያኔም በለጣችሁ እኮ!
    በሽተኞች!

    ኢትዮጵያዊ
    March 10, 2018 at 6:23 am
    Reply

  10. Bingo! Bravo! and way-to-go Ethiopia.You hit the nail on its head Dr.Teshome. Yes, unity in diversity and pluralism,not ethnic federalism,tribalism,narrow regionalism,religious extremism, geographical expansionism and pseudo-nationalism.These are diseases that must be cured,social volcanoes that must be extinguished and cultural gangrenes that must burned out with hot iron for global peace, regional harmony,political stability,and economic progress with peaceful and respectful geographical neighbors.This is going to be, and should be the future of the Horn of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular in the post-Woyane era.

    Enough is enough.Game is over.Long-live the Ethio-Eritrean solidarity, united military front and strategic alliance to dismantle and defeat the ailing beast..Woyane.

    Abraham Amanios
    March 10, 2018 at 8:20 am
    Reply

  11. I am not sure the writer understands the Oromo protest. It is this same Oromo protest that brought Lema and Abiy to the front. It is an issue-driven, not personality. Whoever responds to their demands the right way will get their support. I understand people from mixed parents do exist mainly in urban areas of the country, and they may think their political future is with the dominant urban culture they grew up in. After all, these people may claim mixed parent in their heritage but in reality, they are not any different from a person who is born to a Gondere Amhara family who lives in the city of Gonder.
    This line of dismissive argument of Oromo protest as backward when in fact it is this Emmeye Menelik side of which Mr. Borago is an honorary member has always been backward looking.

    Yes there were some Oromos of mixed parents in the past who had been manipulated to work against their Oromo parent side and the consequence have been devastating to this day and the current struggle is to correct that. The struggle has come a long way and I for one would want to be part of this indomitable spirit of qeerros.

    Garo
    March 10, 2018 at 11:26 am
    Reply

    • Garo you and your likes are so idiots and fools- trying to use language politics to bring out your hatred and narrow thinking. I can assure you very well millions of Oromos mixed with non-Oromiffa speaking people in our country. Those idiot politics of narrowing to language is no longer working is phased out. Oromos won’t allow people like you to manipulate. I resist you and oppose you strongly. We value and respect humanity of all kind even beyond Ethiopia. Your narrow and language politics is now phased out because it doesn’t work.

      dadi
      March 13, 2018 at 2:16 am
      Reply

  12. PEOPLE MUST BE JUDGED BY THEIR SKILL AND CAPABILITY AND BY WHAT THEY OFFER TO THE SOCIETY NOT BY WHICH ETHNIC RELIGION OR REGION THEY CAME FROM LIKE TPLF POISENEOUS HATEFUL AND DIVISIVE CAMPAIGN OF 40 YRS

    Selamawit Solomon
    March 10, 2018 at 2:50 pm
    Reply

  13. Ironically, the supercharged and rabid so called Oromo Nationalist Jawar Mohammed himself is half Oromo and half Amhara.
    Sometimes I suspect that it is this vulnerability which makes him shout more than the Oromos themselves.
    A day will come to expose his real self, insha Allah.

    Saeed
    March 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm
    Reply

  14. My Oromia is on its own as a New Republic heading to the UN to claim its deserved seat as a full fledged member that was denied to her since 1939. This Abiy Ahmed or Ahmed Abiy which ever you like to call him is not even an Oromo. My reliable sources are even telling me that his father is an ‘Ethiopianized’ Sudanese who migrated to Jimma to steal the coffee of my Oromos. His mother was born into an Indian and Kikuyu family from Kenya who came to Jimma by the invitation of the neftegna chief Haile. He will be deported either to India or Kenya whichever his best choice is. You see now I have educated you on who is who is. My Oromia in not only coming but is here for Good!!! Let me say it for you! The Republic of Oromia!!!! It Never Sounded Any Better Than That!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hordofaa
    March 10, 2018 at 11:17 pm
    Reply

  15. This is a sexist mentality that people ignore their mother side ethnicity/race and adopt only father side ethnicity race.
    It must be changed

    Ethio
    March 11, 2018 at 9:01 am
    Reply

  16. Garbage! An obviously incompetent person acting as if he is articulating a complex issue. There is no substance in this piece. Started and ended with flimsy speculation, the simple and simplistic type, no intellectual taste. If you do not have any thing of substance to say, then why waste your time and ours. Disgusting!

    J. Bonsa
    March 12, 2018 at 12:31 am
    Reply

  17. This a TPLF paid article to divide Oromos & Amaras. It doesn’t work.
    Woyane-Tigres, don’t waste your time here. The two people are united forever to end your apartheid rule. Woyane-Aremene Tigres, who sing and dance on the death of 10 & 14 year old boys, please disappear from our land. We can not live with you anymore. You are Aremenes!

    Abel
    March 12, 2018 at 12:37 am
    Reply

  18. Mr.Borago’s article headline says it all. A person of a mixed parent usually is molded by the dominant culture they grow up in. That is why these mostly urban people of mixed parents where Amhara culture has been a dominant culture are culturally really Amharas and it often shows in their thinking.They use their mixed parent heritage only when it serves their politics and they usually don’t know anything about their non-Amhara side they claim to have come from. That is why they are not trusted by both sides.

    Garo
    March 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm
    Reply

  19. we need to be united in the name of God and to get out of heal. We are human and we are born equal. We divided in millions negative characteristic because we think we are civilized withno understanding who made this universe. we learn to make money not to see how money is the root of evil. We are like car and our body driver needs to know hot to protect the passengers safety from invisible matters. My generation needs to get out this world crises with the help of God. When you talk about person background you need to go deep either the DNA analysis to find the origin and you can tell us who made our cell. when you explore your gene you will find how we are similar instead how we are different if we are different some one might have six eyes or deformed body and you don’t see any human physically looks different from other humans.
    first of all you can get free democracy when you hated this world and when you think to live in another free world or in heaven. It is 2018 where I live and God give additional day to save all human from evil matters.
    Our education already drive our body as we missed each other and we need tell the truth about the power of education destination and we posted here because we think we are teaching others to fix broken life but our education has limitations because our brain or age has limitation to know this world and to tell others. Politics is just one of the driver of this world population in to war or other crises. politician like to talk about race, ethnic and division of human in to pieces until there family to make
    ultimate power. There genetic story never similar with biology and they divide person not by biology characteristics but political characteristics.
    i am not sure the limitation to be grouped in one ethnic. Speaking language looks one of the political DNA test(speaking language) to determine the person life style outcomes. other might measure the skin color as political DNA test. or religion and language together a measure of association to the occurrence of he definition of good personality others will be rejected if they are not qualify to the measure of one region political play cards. now we are investigating to create new political power measurements in terms of exclude the regional measurement of human power in this land. We are not divided by political, biological and misunderstanding of religious interpretations. if you want try to know the story of human not you found two years story , or two century but go back and try to find out who we are before biology tell us we came from non-human specious. We can see how the story of evolution in biology never changed any of our human character physically except we read there hypothesis and observational studies in terms of using Darwin theories.
    Our Darwin related stories might need to reject the null hypothesis in constructive way. There are good science help society and other science hurt society. good politics and bad politics and we need to tell the good ones with change or improves the vulnerable populations.

    Tekle
    March 13, 2018 at 12:45 am
    Reply

  20. So what Mr. Borago? Let alone a person with mixed parent, I prefer devil to rule Ethiopia that TPLF. Whether Dr Abiy is an Oromo or Amhara or a mix of the more than 80 tribes in Ethiopia, he is the perfect fit for the PM role. But let the TPLF give him the chance first and we can talk.

    Solomon
    March 14, 2018 at 12:26 pm
    Reply

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