Wednesday, May 31, 2006

3 Oromos killed and 4 injured by the Federal forces

By Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Tension has been high in western Oromia since the mass up raisings started in the whole Oromia last year opposing the harassments and imprison of the Oromo people.

The federal forces killed 3 civilian Oromo persons and left 4 innocents injured in Bordode town in western Oromia last week. Said radio VOA afaan Oromo on 30 may 2006.

Oromo civilians are in mass detained and harassed widely in these areas in connection with the on going demonstrations all over Oromia against the government.

School children imprison with out committing any crime. Other School children and young Oromos forced to flee.

In the mid April a young businessman Muhamad Sahli were killed in a brutal way by Federal forces in Asabot town with accusation to be supporter of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

Also Mr Mesay Kana’a a Cabinet member of Asabot found dead in his house in Asabot town.

The Mr Bewunetu Bilata Debale Oromia region administrative and security head affirmed the death of those persons and also confirmed the ongoing imprison and harassments in the region of Asabot.

Mr Debala tolled the source of the news as personally he visited the area and as he made a report about the situations to the concerned upper governmental bodies.

It is the regional Administrative bodies who commits these harassments said Mr Debala.Investigation is underway about the death of those peoples by concerned bodies. Said Mr. Debela to the VOA

Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What we want will make what they want impossible.

What they want has already kept us from what we want for several generations. Under the existing circumstances in Ethiopia, any form of alliance with Abyssinians is impossible because of irreconcilable contradiction in our interests. H. Q. Loltu

Opinion: On March 17, 2001, a seminar was organized by the OLF group in the Washington, D.C. area titled, “A Seminar on Causes and Solutions: for “The Political, Economic and Human Rights Problems Facing the Oromo People within Regional and Global Context.” Naturally, people went to the seminar expecting that they would be discussing the alliance of Oromo forces. They never expected that the focus would be alliance with Ethiopian forces. But it was.

If I am not mistaken, the issues on the program were divided into morning and afternoon presentations. The morning was devoted to defining or explaining the problems that the Oromo face, and the audience was explicitly told that the solution was to be discussed at the end of the program. People were expecting to hear a serious presentation of solution strategies for the very real problems now confronting the Oromo. That is not what they got. The speakers endorsed the idea of an alliance with Amhara in order to remove Prime Minister Meles Zenawi from power.

Several questions were raised at the meeting, the most central being, “How could alliance with the Amhara be a solution, isn’t it a combination of Amhara and Tigray that make up one colonialism?” The approach of the speakers can be summed up as, “Well, now they are enemies, so the enemy of my enemy is my friend, hence the Amharas are our friends.” One speaker said that we Oromo have a common enemy with the Amhara - the Tigray regime. All forces who are oppressed by Woyane (Tigray) have a common cause and thus have the basis for an alliance against Woyane. It slowly began to dawn on most of the people in the room that the OLF group actually believes that alliance with the Ethiopians (Amharas) against the Woyane government is the solution they are seeking to the problems facing the Oromo. No other solution was presented at that meeting.

Another question that came was, “Would you not think that before you put the effort into working with and allying with the Ethiopians, you should consolidate your Oromo forces?” The intriguing answer came back, “Had Menilik waited until he consolidated the Abyssinian forces before he went to conquer the South, he may never have accomplished a united Abyssinia. But by conquering the South, he got the other Abyssinians to rally behind him. Conquest of the South gave him the base to consolidate Abyssinia.

What does that mean? I asked myself when I heard it. The only conclusion I could reach regarding his meaning was that the OLF does not have to wait for the consolidation of the other 0romo forces before taking action. By conquering the Ethiopian state power it can rally the Oromo forces just like Menilik rallied the Abyssinian forces. There seems to be no other conclusion to draw, especially in light of the remarks of the other speakers that day. According to my information, one invited speaker responded to a direct question by saying that anyone carrying an Ethiopian passport is an Ethiopian. He called all Oromo in this country Ethiopians. Another invited speaker indicated that anything is better than what exists now, even to have an Oromo in state power would be better than what we have - it would save Oromo lives. (Would it really?)

All right, the issue of alliance has been brought out into the open and debate has been invited. It is time for us to look very hard at this matter. Is it possible to make an alliance with Abyssinian forces that will get Oromo closer to the objective of liberation? If so, when should such an alliance be made? This is something that the Oromo need to be extremely clear about now. It appears that we have not reached the level of political clarity as a nation that we need to endorse one move over the other. Actually, I welcome an open debate on this point. I offer my opinions as a contribution to a dialogue that is long overdue.

There is no doubt in my mind that Abyssinians would benefit greatly by an alliance with Oromo. It would assist them to gain power over the Ethiopian state. However, our first concern is, or at least it should be, what would the Oromo people as a whole get out of such an arrangement?

The question of alliance is a fundamental question. It lies at the heart, of political tactics and strategy because it is intimately connected with the question of political objectives. If you know precisely what you want, then you have clear criteria or either forming or rejecting any alliance that might get that goal achieved. If you know what you want and why, then you can see how another force can assist you to get it. That same kind of clarity enables you to steer nimbly through any diplomatic challenge or negotiation that is required. Without the strategy that is born of political clarity, the processes of alliance, negotiation, and diplomacy can go wildly, destructively astray.

What exactly is alliance? Although it is crucial to success in politics, alliance is not something mysterious. It is the coordination of the efforts of two or more participants to get a job done. The process affects all of us in our everyday lives. Even at the personal level, we must create alliances with other people in order to accomplish anything that we cannot do alone. Not surprisingly, then, there are many different forms of alliance - - personal or group, such as team, clan, family, nation, state, business, etc. Marriage is an alliance. The United Nations is an alliance. Alliance is simply the coming together of forces to accomplish a specific shared objective. It is whom you choose to work with to get where you want to go.

Politically speaking, forming alliances is one of the most basic political operations. Once a group fixes its objectives and sets a plan of action, it must begin to form alliances to implement the plan. The kind of alliances one builds reveals a great deal about priorities and goals. As you begin to proceed, your alliances make up the set of connections on which your political tactics and strategy are erected. The forming of alliance is as basic to political destiny as the formation of molecules is to the building of the structures of matter. Some of these structures are stable and some are unstable. The alliances we make as persons and as nations indicate our values and the scope of our vision. We should think of our alliances as the basis upon which our Oromo universe is being constructed. And in a very real sense, the neighborhood of the Horn of Africa will be heavily influenced by whatever alliances the Oromos choose to make and build upon because we are such a central player on that turf.

How do the Oromo people decide who to form a relationship with? What alliance is good? What alliance is bad? How do we judge?

Is getting Meles out of office enough of an objective for the Oromo right now that the OLF group, apart from the other Oromos, should cling to the Amhara Abyssinians who oppose the Woyane at this point? Should one Oromo group move ahead to form an alliance with Abyssinians hoping that the Oromo will later thank them for it? Not at all, In fact, such a move would undermine the overall Oromo objective and harm the OLF itself.

Let us look carefully at the issue of alliance as it applies to Ethiopia. To do so, we must examine again the forces or the actors that are involved in the conflict there and examine their relationships. In Ethiopia, there are several distinct groups that relate to each other based upon many cross-cutting factors. But all these factors are not equal. Underlying them all is the irreducible historical fact of conquest. This is where our attention must be focused. The conquest divided and reorganized the peoples of the region into a new arrangement that had not existed previously. That division was fixed in place by a systematically installed structure of colonization. Ethiopia as a political unit was built and is still maintained upon that fact.

The divide that was created by the act of conquest affects the possibilities and effects of alliances formed today. Entire nations fall on one side or the other of that divide. As peoples they are either beneficiaries or victims of that arrangement. They are either on the credit or the debit side of the balance sheet. The structure called Ethiopia was built for the specific purpose of preserving that divide, keeping that balance sheet stable, holding that relationship in place.

The Abyssinian nations who participated in the conquest, Amhara and Tigray, are positioned on the credit side of the equation and have benefited from the structure of Ethiopian colonialism since its inception. So far, it is the objective of all Abyssinian parties to preserve Ethiopia as an empire and to continue to reap the benefits accruing to them from their position within it. The conquered nations, who experienced great losses at the time that they were conquered, were forcibly placed on the debit side of the balance sheet of colonialism. It is the unpaid, exploited resources and labor of the nations on the debit side of this balance sheet that keeps the empire running. Until the conquered nations who remain on the debit side join together with each other to redraw the equation and rewrite the very central relationships reflected in that balance sheet, the benefits will keep flowing toward the Abyssinians and away from the conquered nations. Of course the Abyssinians are happy with their position on the receiving end. They may express dissatisfaction with the amount of benefit they receive, but under no circumstances do they want to rip up the balance sheet. On the other side of the divide, several nations were brought together by means of conquest. These are the Oromo, Sidama, Gambella, Somali, Afar, Gurage, etc. They share a common position in relation to the conquerors; they are now trapped on the debit side of the divide. But the conquered nations of Ethiopia have a powerful common interest and common cause: to eliminate the colonial balance sheet entirely.

This view may seem reductionist. It is. It is reductionist in the same way that a chemical formula is reductionist. It is basic. It is a law, a circumstance of the Horn that cannot be ignored or wished away. Forgetting colonialism is like forgetting the basic laws of political chemistry; you will get burned. But the simple-underlying, act of colonialism is forgotten by the most unlikely people. It is forgotten, for example, any one who suggests that an alliance between one Oromo force and any Abyssinian force could eliminate the divide between them.

In Ethiopia to say that the Amhara and the Oromo will make an alliance would mean that some remarkable reversal had taken place, either that Ethiopia had recognized the independence and freedom of the Oromo people, or that the Oromo had accepted the overlordship of Ethiopia. What has been implied in the March 17 meeting is that one of these conditions had occurred to make alliance possible. They never told us what had changed, but I know that the Amhara have not recognized a free Oromia.

Misunderstanding on the issue of alliance should have taught the Oromo people a powerful lesson. When the Oromo attempted an alliance with the Tigray Abyssinians in 199 1-2, it led to a ruinous result for us. This lesson should have been unforgettable. At the time, the Tigray appeared to be an improvement over the Amhara. Tigray had suffered under the Derg government. Tigray had obtained support form the United States. Tigray promised a democracy and national autonomy for Oromia. Tigray said all the right things.

Tigray betrayed alI those promises absolutely, irredeemably and predictably, (if one looks at their interests rather than ours). The Oromo are suffering pitiably under a Tigray brand of tyranny so bad that it even makes Amhara rule look good to the colonized people.

What have the Oromo learned from this miserable experience under Tigray overlordship? At the very least, we should have learned what makes a good or bad alliance. At the least if we can learn that lesson from the anguish of the past ten years, then perhaps the suffering of so many was not completely in vain. But people seem to have forgotten this supposedly unforgettable lesson! There are still Oromo who are crying over their lost Charter, their lost opportunity. Oromo cherished that we could accomplish our goals with allies who also wanted the Derg regime out of power. We did not acknowledge that the Tigray themselves were threatened by our goals. Our alliance with them was based on our illusion and self-deception. We must get over it and acknowledge that all the disappointment outrage and destruction could happen again if we again miscalculate and again try to pursue our dreams with other partners who do not share those dreams. The Amhara not only fail to share our dreams, it is worse than that. Our interests and theirs are irreconcilable. They cannot accomplish their dreams if we accomplish ours. And they know where their self-interest lies. They are not stupid.

Let us not forget that inside the Ethiopian empire is a two­legged beast that stalks the Horn of Africa. Both legs are attached to a single body, Abyssinia. One leg is Tigray. The other is Amhara. As with any other beast, it has to move forward by taking one step, using one leg, at a time.

The Abyssinians, both Tigray and Amhara, have fashioned their society on the assumption that Oromo and other colonial riches will be transferred to the rest of the empire. Parties formed in Abyssinia will not jeopardize that system unless they are forced to do so. They have not now created any other way to thrive except to live off of the product of the Oromo land and labor. Until they do, we have no basis for an alliance with them as a nation.

Individual Oromos may choose to move into an Abyssinian camp in order to pursue some personal goal, but in doing so, they do not represent or further the interest of the Oromo people. Individuals can be short-sighted, misguided and impatient. They want to prevail. They need a shortcut to power. Some may even think that they can somehow outsmart the opposition, but they cannot. An individual may think that he is an Oromo force. Gobana did. Nagaso did. But in the final analysis, they do not embody any national interest. They are revealed to be opportunists who sadly become agents of the opposition’s design and destructive power. It is understandable that individuals would want to jump over or ignore the colonial divide in Ethiopia.

All the parties in Ethiopia find themselves in an historical situation that was put in place before they arrived. They ignore it at their peril, as the Oromo did in 1991. It is as if Menilik planted land mines that will explode in the face of anyone who steps on them. It is not possible for any person or group to cross that terrain or conduct activity there without carefully considering the existence of these land mines! Only the coordinated and painstaking efforts of every party in the colonized camp can dismantle colonialism and change the historic relationships. Then other issues concerning Oromo and Abyssinian interests can be addressed, one by one.

It is not inconceivable that an Amhara party could someday be formed based upon the assumption that the Amhara would be satisfied to take Abyssinia’s territory, call it Ethiopia, and then recognize Oromia and the other colonies in their own right, reorganizing all relationships to acknowledge that new reality. Such a party has not been formed yet or even proposed by a single Amhara know of. But the Oromo have not yet united in such a way to force the Amharas or any Abyssinians to see the wisdom and long-term advantage for themselves of such a position, either. If such a party forms, then the steps for alliance could be outlined according to the interests of both parties.

Think of it like this: If I have to go four steps to reach my goal, and I realize that I need both strategic and tactical allies to get there, I must realize that there are other travelers going in the same direction and must be careful in choosing those who will travel the distance with me. A strategic ally would be someone who has the same long-term goal requiring four steps. A tactical ally is someone who shares just one of those steps with me. To start my journey, I first need to look for someone who will take the full four steps with me. Then, someone who will take three steps, then two steps and finally one step. If I first ally with somebody who has to go only one step to reach his final goal, what possible reason would he have to go three more steps with me once he is satisfied? HE WILL NOT. This is an especially critical question in the case of someone like the Abyssinian who realizes, when he allies with me for one step, that each of those three steps of mine takes him further away from his original goal. Worse than that, if my next three goals undermine and remove his goal from his reach, he can never be expected to travel with me or allow me to travel further, if it is in his power to stop me.

We Oromo have been through this scenario before. When the Abyssinians’ primary enemy is only our tactical enemy, as was the case with the Tigray, how could our alliance with them succeed for us? There is no question that it succeeded for them. We now face a similar situation. Why would we ally with the Amhara? We would be putting them in control in Ethiopia and by so doing empowering them to oppose us. Their full objective is reached when they get there. They do not need to go any further with us and they will not. My point is this: why would the Amhara move to dismantle the very thing that they are fighting to control? THEY WILL NOT. What the Oromo want is antithetical to the health of the Ethiopian state. No Ethiopian is an appropriate ally for the Oromo at this stage. They are not confused on this point. We thought we could fool the Tigrav into actually implementing the democracy they promised or that we could rely on the United States to assure that they would implement it. They were clear on the point. We did not tactically outsmart anybody. What makes us think that we could now fool the Amhara into helping us get what we want? If you think that these people do not know exactly where and why they need us and where and why they will abandon us, think again.

This is what is meant by an irreconcilable contradiction. What we want will make what they want impossible. What they want has already kept us from what we want for several generations. Under the existing circumstances in Ethiopia, any form of alliance with Abyssinians is impossible because of irreconcilable contradiction in our interests.

What should we do then? How should we proceed? First, we have to find those who will make the entire journey with us, all four steps, starting with the Oromo. That is we have to clearly say to ourselves as 0romo what we want. We have to bring the Oromo together into a solid unity of purpose and build our strategy around that. That process has already started last year with the calling of a United Liberation Forces of Oromiya, to which all Oromo organizations are signatories, including the OLF. Then we have to join with the colonized peoples of the Horn region who also lost their culture, their homes, their resources and the means to control their lives at the same time we did. We have a common enemy: the Ethiopian empire. These peoples will make three steps with us. Right now the conquered people share our condition inside Ethiopia; they could not express themselves. They are ashamed to say that they are Ethiopian, yet they are also ashamed to assert who they are. They also need to create a basis on which they can speak. Allies that will take at least two steps with us are probably any group that has been colonized or worked to undo the damage of colonialism on the world stage. Lastly, there may be some Abyssinians who would be ready to recognize us for who we are and would ally with us at the last step.

In the year 2001, however, the Amhara do not look like good candidates for alliance with Oromo. Now is not the time. Ask yourself this: if the Amhara make an alliance with us, who are they allying with -- fellow Ethiopians or Oromo forces? How do they see us? They see us as Ethiopians. They happily refer to themselves as Ethiopians. Why? Ethiopia provides everything for them from the minimum to the maximum. The government uses the resources of the empire to provide them development, protection, and visibility. It has become their national culture. Even their beggars can identify with that.

Some Oromo may be interested in the departure of Meles Zenawi. We should not be. A new leader among the Ethiopians does not help us because it will not change what needs to be changed. To us it does not matter whether it is Meles Zenawi, Mengistu Haile Mariam, or Nagaso Gidada who is in power in Ethiopia, running the system that destroys us. It is the Ethiopian empire that we must dismantle. We must change the system itself. Liberation is about more than choosing which master shall rule over us.

As things stand now, the Amharas aspire to depose the Woyane in order to control an Ethiopia where the Oromo position is unchanged. Even since I started writing this piece, a group led by Tewolde Wolde Mariam, President of Tigray and Siye Abraha, former Minster of Defense, has split from the Meles faction within the EPRDF. The assumption in all corners is that the Amharas will ally with Tewolde’s Faction. Why do people assume that? It is no secret that the Amharas want to keep the empire intact at any cost. They still strongly support the indivisibility of Ethiopian unity. Officially, like Siye and Tewolde, Amharas are complaining that they cannot tolerate the thought that Meles let Eritrea go and then negotiated unsatisfactory terms of peace after a war in which he was too soft.

Let me tell you the Abyssinians’ secret. They are not really arguing over Eritrea and their past mistakes. Talking about “the Eritrean problem” is merely an indirect way of referring to the Oromo threat to the empire and how to deal with it without coming right out and giving visibility to the Oromo by mentioning us by name. It is a code for arguing over the colonies, primarily Oromia.

Ask yourselves, why is it that the TPLF split now on the Eritrean case? Why do we accept that? It is not the Eritrean case which causes their problem. Eritrea is a dead issue for them. It is the prospect of the Oromo coming together that poses the most danger to the Tigray. The Tigray know this, even if the Oromo do not know it themselves. The logical application of a so-called “Eritrean formula” is to Oromia and the colonies. This is how the entire debate should be interpreted.

Tewolde Wolde Mariam’s and Siye Abraha’s group has raised the issue of how to maintain power. After the coming together of the Oromo forces last summer, Tewolde’s group argued, Use force to squash every possible independent group!” Meles Zenawi responded, “Yes, we have to maintain power, but do it by holding the OPDOs closer to our hearts; it is a tactical means of keeping them under us!” Back and forth they go.

In the middle of this debate, Meles resorted to calling the Tewoldef /Siye group “Bonapartists..” Why? Because they want to bring all necessary force to put every part of the empire - in fact, the entire Horn of Africa with Somalia and Kenya included - under their control. During the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to use force to put everything and everybody under his control. He wanted to conquer the whole of Europe to put it all under him. Meles is challenging the others’ plan by raising the issue of Bonapartism” Believe me, the dead issue of the Eritrean case did not raise its head now. Even if it had, they would not risk all to deal with it in this fashion. No, they are at each other’s throats over the question, How do we deal with the Oromos. They all want to take the mind of the people away from the Oromo issue. The Oromo became a problem to them about six or seven months ago, and they have been taking desperate measures, moving the Oromia capital, eliminating the writing of qubee, burning down the forests of Oromia, reacting harshly to the defection of OPDOs and to the protests of the Oromo university students, arresting the visible moderate Oromo leaders, etc. Now the policy issue comes head on.

Meles wanted to keep the PDOs next to him because they brought him to power. He has squeezed through a questionable vote on his position or the time being. On the other hand, Tewolde and Siye argue that Tigray made a mistake with Eritrea, they should have kept the empire intact at any cost by smashing Eritrea and now they find any proposal for autonomy for the PDOs intolerable When Meles took the issue to the PDOs, they voted with him.

All of these events have occurred after the March 17 meeting where the OLF presented its solution and laid the issue of alliance with Abyssinians on the table. Testing the alliance of forces in the Horn, the TPLF Marxists split, with Meles taking the PDOs on the one hand, and on the other hand, Tewolde[Siye taking the indivisibility group. Siye’s group and the Amhara can form a united front against Meles. They form a natural alliance with each other because they share a common desire to keep the Ethiopian empire intact.

The Oromo of the OPDO are waffling. Reports are that they voted first with one faction, then with the other. Which is worse - the Tigray regime of Meles, which was so bad that the caused the OLF speakers on March 17 to declare Amharas their a in e common cause of bringing down that Meles regime, OR the Amharas and their new friends among the Siye group who want Meles out because he has been too weak on the issue of “Eritrea?” Where does the OLF stand now? Would they be with Meles, with Tewolde/Siye, or with the opposition forces? In this situation what is the meaning of all the unity federation, and confederation with Abyssinian forces that we have been talking about?

By deductive reasoning - based on their March 17 statements regarding alliance with the enemy of their enemy Meles - the OLF would ally with Tewolde and Siye. But this cannot be right. Is it possible to oppose Meles in alliance with the Abyssinian opposition group who champion indivisibility of Ethiopian unity, adding Siye to the coalition against Meles? Or is there a possibility that Amhara can work with an Oromo group and Siye together? To what end? What is the common ground here? Let me say this. Watching this whole scenario unfold, I think that if Siye Abraha had prevailed in the early days of the TPLF, with his heavy-handed use of coercion, the Oromo forces themselves and their military would have become strong in this intervening decade, rather than weakened with years of not knowing where to go or how to play the Abyssinian political game. But that is just one man’s opinion, mine.

It should be clear to us this week, even if it was not so clear last week, or ten years ago, that at this point it is out of the question for Oromo to form an alliance with any other national forces except those of Oromo and other conquered people. A fruitful practical alliance is only possible when the participants have a shared purpose, which they can state in no uncertain terms.

So, the first priority and central focus of Oromo seeking liberation is to bring Oromo together. Rather than turning people’s attention toward an alliance with Abyssinians, the OLF would do better to spend its energies building a strong alliance of Oromo organizations in the fashion that they have already generated, along with the other signatories of the United Liberation Forces of Oromiya. Once the Oromo base is truly consolidated, the sky is the limit.

By H. Q. Loltu
P.O. Box 10192 Rockville,
MD 20849 U.S.A

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ethiopia transfers 17 Oromo prisoners at Karchalle Prison

Oromo Liberation Front News
May 26, 2006 (ADDIS ABABA) — Seventeen prisoners of conscience - including teen-age students - have been brought to the Kerchalle Prison in Addis Ababa from various parts of Oromia region, and they are being held without visits by their family members nor by known human rights groups, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) reported on Thursday.
The following is the full text:
* * *
OROMIA - Seventeen prisoners were brought to Kerchelle Prison from different parts of Oromia in connection with the nationwide Oromo public uprising that have been going against the dictatorial regime since November 2005. It was also known that some of the prisoners were brought to Karchallee Prison from Wallagaa, Amboo and some other parts of Oromia.
It was reported that neither the Red Cross nor their family members were allowed to visit them. The prisoners did not commit any crime and no charges have been brought forward against them. They are being tortured and abused because the security agents suspect them of participating in Oromo public uprising without any evidence. It is a known fact that government security agents torture prisoners in order to force confession of guilt.
Family members and relatives of the innocent prisoners of conscience appeal to all human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and diplomatic missions to exert a pressure on the government to be allowed to visit them and facilitate the release of the victims. An appeal is also made to the organizations to force the government to stop the inhuman and barbaric acts against innocent citizens in the country in general and the Oromo people in particular.
The following prisoners of conscience are among those imprisoned:
1. Tsaayinash Alamuu Yoseef - 16-year-old student from Gimbii Comp Secondary School (physical injury to uterus - unable to conceive)
2. Galaanee Qixxeessaa Yaadataa - 16-year-old student from Gimbii paralysed after shot in the leg
3. Roomaan Addaamuu Baayisaa - 14-year-old student murdered in her home in Gimbii
4. Daawwiti Mokonnin Qinaaxxii - 18-year-old student from Gimbii tortured, now in hiding
5. Yahannis Mokonnin Qinaaxxii - 16-year-old student from Gimbii now in jail and condemned to endless court appearances
6. Zalaalem Mulaatuu Nagarii - 17-year-old student from Gimbii tortured and now lives in hiding
7. Gammachis Yoseef Ayyaanaa - 14-year-old student from Gimbii now lives in hiding after jailed for two months in Karchalle
NOTE - On the same day when Roomaan Addaamuu Baayisaa was murdered in her family’s residence, her 65 years old aunt was attacked by government security forces, causing severe damage (breakage) on her leg.
Source: Sudan Tribune

** It is notable that Disappearances extra judicial Killings Massive arrests, detentions and harassments in Oromia are repeatedly reported by known human right organisations like Amnesty International, human rights watch and others since TPLF came to power in 1991.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Kenyans Still Missing After Attack By Ethiopian Militia

Source:-The East African Standard (Nairobi)
May 25, 2006

The wherabouts of the eight Kenyans captured by suspected Ethiopian militiamen in Marsabit District is still unknown.

The missing men were herding their livestock at the Kenya Ethiopia border when the raiders attacked them last Sunday. The raiders killed three people and stole 1,018 animals during the Sunday afternoon raid at Dukana and Folole areas.

Eastern Deputy Provincial Police Officer, Gerald Oluoch, told The Standard that the eight Kenyans' whereabouts remained unknown. Oluoch said they could have been taken hostage in Ethiopia by the militiamen but added that police were pursuing the matter.

A security team led by the Provincial Police Officer (PPO), Jonathan Koskei, and the area Officer Commanding Police Division (OCPD), Francis Sang, were patrolling the area. Oluoch said security officers had been deployed to the troubled Dukana area, adding that the situation now is calm.

"The area is now calm and we are still trying to trace the eight Kenyans although we have not yet determined where they are being held," said Oluoch.

A police officer was shot in the leg as Kenyan forces repulsed the militiamen. The raiders, who were estimated to be over 100, first struck on Sunday evening and raided Folole Police Station at the border of Moyale and Marsabit districts.

They shot dead a villager near the station before they attacked the police.

It is notable that in mid April six Kenyans abducted by Ethiopian soldiers during a raid at Modhaudhi village in Moyale District in northern Kenya and have been released.

The released persons say they were taken to a military camp in Ethiopia where they were tortured by the soldiers. They say the soldiers wanted to know the location of a hide-out of the Oromo Liberation Front in the country.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ethiopian Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire seeks asylum in USA

Sudan Tribune, May 20, 2006

Press Release May 18, 2006 — When the communist military junta of Colonel Mengistu Hailmeriam ended in 1991, and the transitional government composed of various political organizations was formed, albeit it was dominated by the Tigrean Peoples Libration Front (TPLF) from the beginning, the majority of peoples in Ethiopia hoped that the transition would usher in a new beginning of democratic order in the country. The transitional charter that was adopted promised a new discourse of state transformation based on self-rule for the majority of oppressed nations and nationalities in Ethiopia. It was with this trust and enthusiasm that I decided to support and join the government and play my share towards the realization of the protection of the rights of the Oromo and other subject peoples of the Empire.

In my professional capacities, I served in various Oromia institutions. From 1989-1997, I served in the school system of the Oromia state, from 2001 - 2002; I was a parliamentarian in Ethiopian House of Representatives and Head of the Oromia Educational bureau as well. From 2002 - 2004, I was Ambassador Extra Ordinary & plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to Senegal, covering Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania, and the Gambia. From 2004 - 2006, I served as an Ambassador Extra Ordinary & plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, covering Benin Republic, Togo, and Equatorial Guinea. My last post was Ambassador Designate to Cote d’Ivoire.

Although there were clear signs from the beginning that the TPLF dominated Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Front (EPRDF) led government was not committed to the objectives and intentions of self- determination and democracy, I hoped that things would improve eventually as a transition to democracy is a process that would take time. However, to the dismay of many and my self, the EPRDF rather intensified its acts of gross violations of human rights and continued to silence any opposition against its rule. Many innocent civilians and political leaders were arrested, tortured and many were summarily executed. The picture is disproportionally dreadful in Oromia; particularly after the expulsion of the Oromo Libration Front (OLF) from the Transitional Government. The regime is emphatically opposed and rejected by the Oromo people.

On many occasions, I raised to the government authorities my concern regarding the human rights violations of the Oromo people. However, my concerns and intentions were construed as if I was working to implement OLF agendas and I faced constant harassments. During the last one-year, the frustrations resulting from the absence of real choice in the last election and the incapability of the Government to settle peacefully real and genuine political demands, students’ up risings in particular have been intensified. Currently, the systematic human rights violation in Oromia and the brutality of the system has reached its peak to an intolerable level. Consequently, as an ambassador representing this regime, I found it morally indefensible to continue to convey the policies and explain the conducts of the EPRDF led Ethiopian Government to other governments.

Indeed, the regime serves the narrow interest of a small segment of the Ethiopian society; that of the Tigrean ethnic group, led and controlled by the TPLF leadership. I always felt the burdens and pains of the people who have been facing the brutality of the EPRDF’s administration in Ethiopia. Thus I am quitting serving the current Ethiopian regime vacating my post as Ambassador designate to Cote d’Ivoire and seeking political asylum in the USA.

Ambassador Yohannes Genda

May 18, 2006

Har'a dhugaa dubbannu malee bor dhugaan nu hudha.

Beeknees ta’e osoo hin beekin, karaa dogoggoraa fi wal xaxaa irra murni deemaa jiranii fi hawaasa keessaa maddan ol-tokkoof illee dhabbatanii dhaggeeffachuu kann hin feene; yeroo kanatti heddoommachaa deemuun isaanii qaanessaa fi yaaddessaa ta’aa jira.

Keessattuu yeroo ammaatti yeroo ilmaan namaa daran qaroomaa fi yeroo itti seenaa haqaa barachuu fi qorachuun carraan isaa babl’atee jiru kanatti dogoggorri akkasii daran babal’achaa; heddoommachaa deemuun isaa wal nama gaafachiisaadha.

Har’a yeroo kanatti yerroo sabni addunyaa miidhamoon rakkoo isaa injifachuuf hirree,qabeenya fi beekumsa isaanii wal taasifachuun of irratti amantee cimsachuun rakkoo isaanii fonqolchaa fi irra aanaa jiranitti; rakkinni ilmaan Oromoo irra jiru immoo caalaatti kan isa yoomii irra yennaa ulfaataa dhufetti; kaayyoo tokko dhabuu, walqoqqooduu fi wal-ganaa dhufuun yaaddessaa ta’aa jira.

Keessattuu murnoonni hogana shanee gumii nu qofaa duwwaatu beeka jechuun duwwaa beekaa of fakkeessuuf dhama’an; har’a mal irra akka jiran illee wallaaluu dhaan diraqamanni sabnni isaantti kenne Tayitaa aangoo itti fakkaatee lafa duwwaa irratti of tuuluun qanessaa ta’uu irra darbee fokkuu ta’aa jira. Adaa fi seenaa ummatichaatiin ala gochaan isaan raawwataa jiran, dalagaan isaanii kan shiraa ta’uu ifatti mul’isa.

Hangi ta’es diiggaa fi dogoggora raawwatamaa jiru kana osoo arganii osoo dhaga’anii homtuu akka hin taanetti yoo usuu filatan ni mul’ata. Har’a yeroon yoo waliin dirmachuun dogoggoraa fi badii diiggaa raawwatamaa jiru kana sirreessine irraa kan hafe; bor oollee yoo bullu bakki itti qabaa isaa nu dhibuu hin oolu. Diiggaa nif badiin dalagamaa jiru kun kan tokkoon tokkoon ilmaan Oromoo ta’uu isaa hubachuuniif wal hubachiisuun dirqamaa fi qooda hunda keenyaa ta’uu qaba. Diiggaan fi shirri raawwatamaa jiru kun diiggaa mana dhuunfaa tokkoon tokkoon kenyaa ta’uu isaa osoo hin turin arguu har’a barbaachisaa dha.

Diiggaa raawwatama jiru kana murnoonni raawwachaa jiran gochaan isaanii kun daafii ykn maddii issaa waa hedduu irraa kan ta’uu dandada’u yoo ta’u; beekaa fakkaatan illee wallaalina; dantaa ofii qofa ilaaluu fi jireenya sadoo barbaachaaf; kaan immoo dudduubnii isaanii tari rakkina adda adda ijaa qabaachuu maluuf karaa diiggaa fi badii kana irra deemuuf filachuu issaanii ta’uu ni mala.

Har’a seeraaf heera aadaaf Oromootiin ala safuu walii dhabuudhaan; wal dhaga’uu irra wal tuffachuun, gorsa maanguddoota Oromoon ala kan halagaatti gurra qabuunii fi halagaan wal ta’uuf hatattamuun; hundee rakkin keenyaa akka wallaallaaniitti, ’’ormi akkana jechaa jiraa nutis akkas haajennu. Addunyaan geeddaramaa jiraa nutis kaayyoo keenya haa geddarannu. Ormi galaa jiraa nutis qabsoo dhiisnee haa gallu.’’ Jechuudhaan kaayyoo dhabina. Ayyaan lallattumman akkasii kan gara badiitti nam geessuu danda’u, ejjennaa. Kaayyo dhabina waan ta’eef qaanessaa fi salphina dha.

Dhaabni ykn Jaarmaan tokko akka dhaabaatti irra dibaa fi fakkeessaa; dhoksaa fi sodaa tokko malee kaayyoo issaa haqaa ifatti dubbachuu; of fuldura qabachuun barsiisuu fi ittin boonuun galmaan isa ga’uu danda’a. Har’a bakka tokkotti afaan tokko; bakka biraatti afaan addaa oliif gadi dhahuun, offitti amantii dhabuunii fi dhugaa dhoksuun; akka tooftaatti itti fayyadamuuf yaaluun, of sobuuf malee yookaan immoo shira of duubaa kan qabaatanii malee orma gowwoomsuuf tasa hin fayyadu.

Oromoon saba adunyaa kabiraa irraa kan hanga ta’e adda isa taasisuu fi isa boonsu aadaa isaati. Aadaa isaa keessaa inni guddaan uumamaan kan argate kabaja walii kennuu fi daandii dhugaa osoo hin maqsin kabajuu fi waadaa seene haqaan eeguun isaa tokko. Oromoon uumama maraaf kabaja qaba. Hangafaaf ulfina kenna .Dhugaan Oromoo biratti fakkaataa kan hin qabne madda eenyumaa Oromooti.

Oromoon bakka fedhettuu dhugaa hin dhoksu. irra dibee hin golgu. Hagam dhibamu ykn rakkatu illee fakkeessee hin darbu. Ta’uu malee fakkeessuu hin fedhu. Gowwoomsaa akka yakkaatti malee akka haxxoominaatti hin fudhatu. Fullee malee duddu duuba hin dubbatu. Gochaawwan kanaan alaa Oromoon akka sobaatti ilaala.Ni jibba; ni abaara.

Hagam gabrummaa jalatti dhiibbaa fi miidhaan daran ulfaataan irra ga’u illee aadaan boonsaan kun dhiiga Oromoo keessaa hin badne. Caalaattuu jireenya issaatiif bu’ura cimaa ta’ee Oromummaan akka hin badne kan godhee yoonaan ga’e keessaa isa tokko dha.

Egaa har’a qananii Oromoo guddeessa akkasii kana tuffachuun yookaan wallaaluun haqa qabatanii deemuu dhiisanii, furmaata rakkoo Oromoo waliin kan wal hin argine; ’’siyaasni addunyaan jijjiiramte nus waliin jijjiiramuu qaba. Adduunyaan gam tokkotti luuccoftee waliin luucca’uu qabna.’’ jechuun rakkoon ummatichaa waan furamte fakkeessuun; kaayyoo haquunii fi sagal gaggalagaluun aadaa Oromoo miti.

Falammiin ta’aa jiru tokko abbaa biyyuummaa Oromoo kan barbaannuuf inni guddeessi aadaa boonsaa kanaa kabajnee ittiin buluuf malee fiigicha taayitaatiif yookaan dantaaf akka hin taane beekamuun dogoggora nu oolcha.

Yeroo kana murni kan halagaa malee kan saba issaa dhaggeeffachuu hinfeene maqaa hogganaatiin akka fedhan ummata gowwoomsuu fi qabsoo Oromtichaa diiguuf oliif gadi yoo soba ololan mul’atu. Kaayyoo dhaaba ni hogganna jedhanii illee maal akka ta’e ifatti dubbaachuun isaan dhiba. Miidiyaa adda addaa irratti, ’’akka dhaabaattii galii dhaaba keenyaa kana jennee kann lafa keewwanne akka dhaabaatti hin qabnu.’’ Jechuun qaanii malee dubbatu. Filannoo dhuunfaa isaanii illee yoo gaafataman, ’’gaafa carraa isaa arganne icitiidhaan filanna.’’ jechuun ummatatti qoosuu. Kaayyoon bu’uraa dhaabaa garuu akka hin jijjiiramnee odeessuu irra kan hafe galii isaa akka lafaa hin qabne haaluun maal nu agariisuu dha? Gochaan isaanii ka biraa utuu mul’atuu Kaayyoon ganamaa akka hin jijjiiramin ummata afaan fajjeessuuf yaalu.

Hogganni dhaaba tokkoo edda galii dhaaba isaa hin beeknee attamiin hogganuu danda’a? Maal jedhee ummata barsiisuu danda’a? Dhugaatti dhaabni tokko kaayyoo fi galii malee dhaabataa? Maaliif ummaticha jalaa icitii ta’uuf yaalama? Edda bakka ittiin nu ga’u hin beeknee akka farda fuuloonii eessan un ga’uuf deemuuf yaalu ree? Gochaan akkanaa kun daran qaanessaa fii ilmaan Orootaaf sodaachisaa ta’ee jira. Kun ifatti shira dudduduubee Shanee agarsiisa.

Dhaaba tokko gartuun nan hoggana jedhu ka’umsaa fi ga’insa ykn galii dhaaba hogganuuf deemu tokko sirriitti beekuu fi barsiisuun hojiinis ta’e hundaan fakkii ta’ee agarsiisuu dha.

Keessattuu rakkinni ummata Oromoo maal akka ta’e har’a yeroo adunyaa guutuun beekee jirutti; dhaaba Oromoo tokkon hoggana murnoonni jedhan Midia adda addaa irratti illee afaan guutanii rakkina ummatichaa dubbachuu yoo issan sodaatan fi leeyya’an arguun qanessaa fi wal nama gaafachiisaa dha.

Biyya biyya keenya Oromiyaa gabroomfattee jirtu Ethiophiummaa leellissuu fi rakkiinni Ethiophia furamuun nuufs fala jechuun rakkoo isheef quqquuqamuun issanii qaanessaa dha. Rakkinni Oromoo kan biraa akka ta’e ololuudhaaf yaaluun, gaaffiin abbaa biyyuummaa Oromoo demokraasii dhaan hiikama jechuu TPLF wal jala deemuu yaaluun tooftaan harka kennachuu akka ta’e ; dalagaan kun kan eenyuu ta’uu akka danda’u ummata Oromoo jalaa dhokachuu hin danda’u.

Maqaa Oromoo qofa baachuu dhaan halagaa fi diinaan wal ta’uun har’a qabsoo Oromoo of duuba deebisuudhaaf harka lafa jalaatiin diinaan wal hidhachuu dhaan, ilmaan Oromootaa bilisuummaa biyya isaaniitiif wareegamanii fi wareegamaa jiran lafee isaanii irra tarkanfachuudhaan; qaxaamuraan jireenya sadoo ofiif qofa diina jala galuuf murni dalagaa jiran sochiin isaanii ija ilmaan Oromoo jalaa dhakachuu akka hin dandeenye har’a hubachuun gaarii dha.

Ayyaan lallatuummaa fi kaayyo dhabiinsaan bakka argan ta’uu osoo hin ta’in, elaa fi elaameen akka heeraaf seera Oromotti gorsamuu, karaatti deebi’uun kaayyoo qabatamaa fi haqaa kan gootowwan keenya qaqqaaliin itti wareegamanii fi itti
wareegamaa jiraniitti walii galuun dirqamaa fi murteessaa dha.

Afaan tokko harka tokko ta’uun akka aadaatti dhugaatti amanne, akka seera Oromootti hayyuu jaarsoliitiin waliin haasa’uun kutannoo fi kabja Oromummaa yoo qabaanne qofa.

Of irratti hundaa’uu dhiisne wal tuffachuu dhaan halagaatti huddu gataachuun gorsa jaarsolii Oromoo osoo hin taane shira halagaa qofa yoo hordofne, daandiin isaa hallayyaa ta’u ija saaqqannee ilaaluun amma dha.

-Beekumsaa fi maree saba Oromootiin ala diina jalatti galuuf Wayyaaneetti harka kennachuuf yaalii Shaneen godhee fashaleef ammas shira dalagamaa jiru ni balaleffanna.

-Maqaa Adda Bilisummaa Oromootiin jaarmolii farra qabsoo bilisummaa Oromootiin wal-ta’isa murni shanee ghodhe ni balalleffanna.

-Kaayyoo Bilisummaa Oromoo irratti dhaabonni hundaawan dhaabonni Oromoo hunduu wal-ta’uun akka tumsa godhan ni gaafanna ni deggarra.

Hayyoonnii Oromoo, Maanguddoowwan, beektonnii, dardaraa fi shamarran Oromoo hundi yeroo kanatti dogoggoraa fi diiggaa raawwatamaa jiru, ilmaan Oromoon walii gluu diduun halagaa jala galuuf daran tattaafataa murna jiraan; heeraaf seera aadaaf safuu Oromootiin daandiitti akka deebi’an, har’a gorsuu fi dirquun waan yeroon nu irra gaafachaa jijrudha. Yeroon kun yeroo murteessaa fi yeroo nuti daandii haqaatiin kaayyoo dhugaa jalatti dhugaa dhaan waliin hiriiruuf wal dirqinuu fi dirqama fudhannu ta’uu qaba.

Oromoota Swiss
May 24 2006

Tokkummaan Humna.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ethiopia suspected of blocking opposition blogs

May 24, 2006 - 4:50AM
At least 10 opposition blogs have been inaccessible to Ethiopian internet users since last week, prompting suspicions the government has blocked them, a global press freedom watchdog said.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the domestic Ethiopian viewing of the sites, all of which contain posts highly critical of Addis Ababa, had been impossible since Friday and asked for an explanation.
In an open letter to information minister Berhan Hailu, it said technical faults were unlikely to be the cause and warned that shutting down avenues of free expression would likely raise already heightened political tensions.
"We would like to know if your government has deliberately blocked access to online publications ... thus taking the course of filtering the Internet," it said, adding that it believed authorities were responsible.
"It is likely that the disappearance of the sites is the result of political censorship and not technical problems," RSF said.
"Preventing debate and controlling news and information circulating online will only aggravate an already very tense political climate," it said.
Officials with the information ministry told AFP they had no information about the sudden disappearance of the blogs from Ethiopian cyber space.
However, an AFP correspondent in Addis Ababa confirmed that blogs listed by RSF as being blocked were no longer accessible through Ethiopian internet service providers.
Several of them, viewed by AFP in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, contain posts attacking Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and criticising the alleged government shutdown as "an act of desperation."
The RSF complaint comes as Ethiopian opposition groups abroad step up protests over alleged fraud in disputed elections last year and deadly post-poll violence they blame on the authorities.
At least 84 people were killed -- many by police -- during two bouts of unrest that erupted in June and November during demonstrations against the results of the May elections.
The government responded to the demonstrations by launching a crackdown on opposition figures, particularly the leadership of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, whom it accused of trying to foment a coup d'etat.
Currently 111 defendants are on trial on conspiracy, treason and related charges for allegedly trying to overthrow the government.
Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Statement of announcing the formation of the Alliance for freedom and Democracy

May 22 2006

A historic meeting convened, by the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front (EPPF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF) and the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), at Utrecht in Netherlands, from 19 to 22 of May 2006 has successfully completed by forming the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) and elected its officers. The UEDF supports the formation of the alliance and its objectives and has requested a month to consult its member organizations. The formation of the Alliance is an outcome of a series of bilateral and multilateral discussions conducted in the past several months. The Founding Agreement has been unanimously accepted and ratified by all members of the Alliance. The formation of this Alliance reflects the aspirations and best wishes of all people in Ethiopia whose life has been blighted by political repression, marginalization and exclusion.
The ultimate aim of the Alliance is to establish a just, representative and a genuine democratic process through the convening of an all-inclusive conference where the country’s problems will be discussed and resolved.
We are confident that the formation of this Alliance will be a vehicle to eliminate mistrust and suspicion between political groups and communities so that all will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and to the benefit and well-being of all. We believe the collective effort behind the Alliance will put an end to the existing destructive mentality of winner takes all and the habitual indifference towards the excluded. The Alliance aspires to purposefully cultivate the values of compromise, tolerance, inclusion, reconciliation and mutual understanding. That is the only way to end the underlying causes of repression, bloodshed, insecurity, political instability and exclusion in Ethiopia and the region, which are inflicting severe hardships and suffering on all people, and seriously hampers the prospects for development and the attainment of equality, justice and prosperity.
Time and time again the people in Ethiopia have risen up and paid unimaginable sacrifice to satisfy their yearning for freedom, justice, liberty and democracy. The struggle and the sacrifice that is being paid in relation to the May 15 2005 election is a recent addition to the series of quashed aspirations.
Our people have demonstrated their readiness and ability that a just and democratic political order is feasible in Ethiopia. What stands between the aspiration for freedom and democracy and its realization is the unwillingness of the incumbent EPRDF regime to submit to the expressed will of the people and its flagrant violations of human rights and civil liberties and failure to even respect and abide by its very own constitution.
The Alliance will therefore struggle to pressure the ruling party to stop frustrating the realization of the yearning for freedom and democracy. The Alliance would use its generous spirit of inclusiveness in convening the conference that would facilitate a way towards the establishment of a democratic and representative order.
We call upon all the people in Ethiopia, both at home and abroad, to rise up in unison to support the cause of the Alliance and struggle to make the convening of the conference, which paves the way for a democratic transition, a reality. The struggle should continue to challenge the current spate of repression in the country, halt the futile and destructive military campaigns, security crackdowns and end the farcical political trial of elected members of parliament and others and to free all political prisoners, including those detained in the small towns and villages.
We also call upon the international community to realize that dialogue and good-faith negotiation offers the only way to achieve a lasting solution and back the alliance's call for this all-inclusive conference to break the current impasse. We hope the international community will realize that peace and stability, sustainable development and good governance can be a reality in Ethiopia only when the disfranchisement of the many by the few is stopped and by bringing all the stakeholders together to chart a genuinely democratic course.
Ethiopian's problems are immense and grossly complicated. Convening an all-inclusive conference to address them is well over due. We do not underestimate the obstacles and challenges facing us. However, with patience and perseverance we are certain that we will succeed.
The Alliance would hold a Press Conference to lay out its vision and work programs in detail.

Freedom and Democracy for all!

Guyyaa har’aatti (May 22 2006) Gartuwwan mormitoota Mootummaa Ethiopia hedduun wal ta’uun Qindoomina bilisummaa fi Democracy jedhu waliin ijaaruu isaanii ibsatanii jiru.

Jarmoleen kun kan akka CUDP EPPF; ONLF Maqaa ABOtiin kan of waamu Shanee gumii, SLF UEDF fi kan kana fafakkaatan yoo ta’ kora kana kan qindeesse Maqaa Adda Bilisummaa Oromootiin shanee gumii ta’uun isaa hubatamee jira.

Haala Kana ilaalchisee gaffii fi bebii Raadioon Voice of Oromia jedhumu nama Muluu Hiikaa jedhaman waliin gaafiif deebii taasisanii jiru.

Gaaffiin jabduu fi gaaffii saba Oromoo hundaa kan ta’uu malu; Raadiyoon kun isaan gaafate tokko kan akkas jedhu ture:-

Gartuuwwaan kaayyoon wal-hinfakkaanne keessayyuu dhaaba Amaaree kan akka CDU gaaffii Sabaa fi Sab-lammii hin fudhanne waliin attamiin wal-ta’uun danda’ame? Kan jedhu yoo ta’u.

Obbo Muluun :-kun tooftaa dha. Jechuun, sidaamnni nu caalu haxeedha kan jedhan yoo jeraatan illee; Oromoon bakka kaleessa jira mit. Wal-ta’issa kana kan gooneef tooftaadhaaf jechuu oduu ilmaan oromoo dhiigsu dubbatanii jiru.

Gaaffiin kan biraa dhihaateef:- Jaarmota Oromoo walaba, bilisummaa Oromiyaatti amanan waliin wal-ta’insa utuu hin uumin dhaaba halagaa waliin wal-ta’uun attami innii? Kan jedhu ture.

Obbo Muluun yoo deebisan:- Inni kun hatattama waan ta’eef tarkaanfii kana fudhannee jira. Kan Ororootaas ittuma hojjachaa jirra jechuudhaan dubbatanii jiru.

Walta’insa ilmaan Oromootaa irra caalaan wal-ta’insa halgaan gochuu qabsoo Oromoo akka shaffisuuf akka cimsutti ilaaluu fi tooftaaf jechuun Kaayyoo ganamaa Adda Bilisummaa Oromoo ganuun ilmaan Oromoo dheekamsiisuu irra darbee; Seenaa Goobanaa Daacee ammas akka irra deebi’amuu danda’u hubachiisa jedhu namoonni adda addaa.

Gaaffiif deebii kanaan boodas sirba Wallisticha Oromoo Elemoo Alii :-.
Seenaa Oromoo keessatti,
Gabrummaa irraa jalqabee hanga ammaattii;
hinjiru kan akka Goobanaa jibamaan,
Hojii isaa hundaatti cubbamaan.
Goobana daacee Ilmaan Oromoo irratti Nafxanyaa fe’ee..... kan jedhu
gaaffiif deebii kanaan kan wal-qabate; Raadiyoon kun dhageeffatoota isaa afeeree jera.

Egaa har’as keessa deebinee yoo kaayyoo Oromitichaa ganuun ilmaan Habashootaa keessattuu Leellistoota Minilikii fi Tewedroosiin wal-ta’uun qanessaa fi eenyummaa Shanee ifatti waan mul’ise ta’ee jira jedhu Ormoonni hadduun.

Kadhaa fi gorsa Maanguddoota, Beektotaa fi Oromoota mara tuffachuun Dhaabbota Oromootaan wal-ta'uu diduun; halagaaf caalaa kabaja kennuun; halagaa akka beekaa fi humnaatti ilaaluun, diinaan hidhachuuf, diinatti galuun; har’a Uummata Oromoo qaanessuu fi xiqqeessuu dha.

Diinna haqaa qabataniin, kaayyoo dhugatiin, yookaan hirreen mo’uu malee Kaayyoo ofii ganuun itti galuun booji’amuun mo’amuu dha malee; tooftaa ta’uu hin danda’u.

Halabaa Minilik jatatti wal-ta’uu fi waayee tokkuummaa ololuun Uummata Oroomoo qabsoo irraa deebisuuf malee; qabsoo tumsuuf ta’uu tasa hin danda’u.

Biyya keessatti ilmaan Oromootaa har’a Halaabaa Habashaa buusanii ciruun Halaabaa Bilisummaa isaanii Halaabaa ABO yoo ol-baasatan lubbuu isaanii wareeganii fi wareegaa jiran kanatti; Shaneen leellistoota Minilikiin wal-taane jechuun, kaayyoo geddarannee dhaabadhaa! jechuuf yaaluun, eenyummaa namoota shanee keessatti of ijaaranii Uummata Orootiif mul’isa jedhu ilmaan Ormoo hedduun.

Ilmaan Orootaa qabsoo kanaaf Abbaa isaanii, Haadha isaanii, Obboleessa isaanii, Obboleettii isaanii dhabanii fi Oromoota itt gidiramnii fi gidiraamaa jiranti gochaan Gumii Shanee kun hagam akka dhaga’amu, hagam Shaneen dantaaf dhiiga ilmaan Oromootaan daldalu, tokkoon tokkoon Oromootii dhiisuu feena.

Ilmaan Oromoo Of irratti malee halagaa irratti irkachuun keessattuu namoota Oromoo saba jechuullee lagatan ’’Gosa’’ jechuun gadi xiqqeessanii waamanin bilusoomuuf yaaluun soba.

Nafxanyaa ofii illee kuftee jirtu Oromoo bilsa baasuu dandeessi jechuuf Shaneen itti galuuf yoo of gurgure, Ilmaan Oromootaa bakka bu’uun utuu hin ta’in dhuunfaa isaatiin shaneen ta’uun mirga isaaniiti.

Oromoyaan Ni Bilisoomti!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

’’Documents of petition collected in opposition to VOA and Deutsche Well radios Amharic services.’’

By Oluma.a 07 05 1969
The Ethiopian regime is trying totally to eliminate free press Medias including those transmitted out of its territory. As reported by different international human right organizations and governmental bodies: like US congresses, Amnesty international, Human right watch and CPJ, the Ethiopian regime is categorized in the countries most oppressing and violating the law of free press and human rights.

On the CPJ recently press release Ethiopian journalist has been sentenced to jail under the country’s draconian press law, in a case that dates back at least seven years, the Committee to Protect Journalists has confirmed. According to confirmed sources, at this time, seventeen journalists are in jail.

After May 2005 “election”, the regime ruling party closed almost all free presses that had been publishing in the country except some governmental presses. The government has possessed all Medias. The nations have been forced to listen only the government’s Medias.

In connection to the election drama dispute the regime ruling party had charged five voice of America’s (VOA), Ethio-American’s journalists by a treason, a genocide, and a conspiracy causing armed uprising and trying to overthrow the constitution. But because all of these accusations were baseless and the world communities made pressure on the regime to drop the charges it made on these journalists, the regime obliged to drop it.

It is a well known that these Medias help to some extent the empire people to get a piece of balance information.These Radio transmission services transmit every day for only one hour. It is very difficult to listen these radio services clearly in most areas of the country because of its distance of transmissions. But people are still trying to get accurate information from these radio services even though; the government accuses those who listen to these radio transmissions as government oppositions.

This shows how the Ethiopian regime intends to eliminate all of free presses and media. This clearly shows how the regime ruling is committing open crimes violating its own constitution which allows people to enjoy the freedom of speech, _expression and press right.

According the information the regime is trying to eliminate the radio services of voice of America (VOA) and Deutsche welle radios in a systematic way.

The government drafted written documents by the name of petition to deliver to the legislatures of the countries hosting the two media organizations.

According the government media from Finfinne ’’Documents of petition collected in opposition to unbalanced and destructive reports on Ethiopia by the Amharic services of the Deutsche Welle and Voice of America VOA services’’ were handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for delivery to the legislatures of the countries hosting the two media organizations.

The Foreign, Defence and Security Affairs and the Culture Information Affairs Standing Committees of the House of Peoples' Representatives documented the ’’petitions’’ collected and appended their resolutions with the documents.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ensure the delivery of the ’’petition’’ documents to the countries in question through their embassies he. Said

Mr Dawit Teferra said the documents urged the governments of the respective countries to inquire into the matter and keep the services from being vehicles to further individual and political party whims and to produce unbiased and balanced reports.

Adviser with the American and European affairs directorate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Kasa Gebreyohanes said, after receiving the documents, that the mentioned radio services have been engaging in activities aimed at pulling back the democratization process in Ethiopia.

The regime ruling party TPLF/EPRDF is now 15 years on power with out any practical democracy seen in the country; unless talking about democracy like Marxist Leninist theory. Tenth of thousandth of people are in preson and in thousends killed in the country because of their political outlook. But steel today the blood handed regime authorities are joking to the world community by the name of democratization process.

The petitions had been collected by various sections of the society across the nation and submitted to the House, which in turn assigned the task of formalizing the petitions to the two standing committees, he said.
The two committees thus investigated the issue and proved that the stated radio services have operated in violation of their own charters, he said.
The documents urge the respective countries to inquire into the matter and keep the services from being vehicles to further individual and political party whims, and to produce unbiased and balanced reports, he said.
Advisor with the American and European Affairs Directorate Kassa Gebre-Yohannes after receiving the documents said the mentioned radio services collaborating with anti-peace forces have been engaging in activities aimed at pulling back the democratization in Ethiopia. He said the documents will be delivered to the U.S. and German legislatures.
The present Ethiopian ruling is categorised to the most oppressing dictatress governments. Ethiopia is the poorest country in the world. Ethiopia is being number 17th in the lists of the most dictator regimes. This has drawn the concern of international community. Accordingly Several leading donors country like those UK have withheld millions of dollars in direct aid to the government in connection to the human right situation in the country.

Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ethiopian Airplanes strike Tigrey Militias deployed in Ogaden

By Oluma.a 07 05 1969
Source:Ogaden Online

May 15, 2006 Latest reports reaching Ogaden Online service desk especially those from Dhagax Bur and Qorahey zones indicate that after having been soundly defeated in the latest military encounters with ONLF troops, Ethiopian military started the use of air strikes. It was reported that the use of the air force to strike ONLF troops is part of the tactics employed by the newly arrived militias since they have failed to wage an effective ground warfare against ONLF troops whose knowledge of the terrain and sound morale appears to have given them the upper in most of the military encounters with Tigrey militias in Ogaden.A recent incident indicative of the extent of disorientation within the newly deployed Tigrey militias, the air force using an outdated reconnaissance data attacked Tigrey militias who were occupying areas tactically vacated by victorious ONLF troops. As a result of these air strikes the militias started to flee in different directions. It was reported that an entire regiment of about 200 militias who fled the air strikes into the areas between Dhagax Bur and Qorahey regions encountered ONLF troops. In this engagement eye witnesses told Ogaden Online reporters that ONLF troops attacked these fleeing militias and as a result were able to get hold of most of the militia’s military equipment. Only about a dozen militias are reported to have arrived alive in the city of Dhagax Bur.In a related report, ONLF troops and Tigrey militias have had major firefights in the province of Nogob. So far Ogaden Online reporters on the ground are not able to report the details about these firefights but we do promise to include them in future reports.As is the norm for the militia masquerading as military personnel, anytime they, militias, encounter major losses in battles with ONLF troops, they carry out revenge killings against the Ogaden civilians. Such revenge killings recently took place in many parts of the province of Nogob. About thirty innocent civilians have so far been reported killed.
Oluma.a 07 05 1969
Source:Ogaden OnlineNews

Tokko nu taasisi

By Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Maali falli isaa hooda kanaa beektaa?
Ilmaan kee dhipanee mala isaa nuuf laataa?
Diinnoo nu balleessee attamiin callista?
Harmee Oromiyaa aayyoo Oromootaa.

Galii nutti galtee ilmaa Habashootaa,
Galma kee nu dhaaltee kana egaa maal jetta?
Aayyoo Oromiyaa attamiin callista,
Yoo ilmaan kee dhuman attamiin obsita?
Waa hin qabduu fala?
Mee maatu nuu tola?
Harmee hin callisin,
Kana nutti hin dhiisin.
Waan hodaatu nuqabee,
Falli isaa nu dhibee;
Dhiigatu wal-wallaalee maal cubbuun nu qabe?
Foon fooniin nyaatamee lafeen lafeen caabee,
Haqni wallaalamee dhugaan owwaalamee,
Sabni kee guddichi Oromoon gabroome.
Dhiigatu wal-wallaalee lafeetu lafee cabse,
Nutu wal-balleessee halagaaf dabarse.
Mee kan darben haaga’uu boriif waa nuuf himi,
Ilmaan kee hudaattuu gorsii nuuf dheekkami.
Adda adda akka hin baane akka hinfaffacaane,
Ilmaan kee si dhiisnee akka galtuu hin taane.
Waltiit nu qabii dafii nu gorsadhu,
Booree boorantichaa ilamaanti laadhu.
Akka gantuu hin taane,
Galtuutti hin hidhanne;
Halagaa irra gorree dhiiga laammii hin buusne,
Nuti wal-wallaallee diinaaf hin miijafne;
Minaan ati nuuf laatuu kan diinaati seenee,
Diina harkaa nyaachuuf akka hin gowwoomene.
Hunduu hankee akka ta’e kan diinni isaaf laatu,
Mee galticha nuuf gorsi akka inni hubatu;
Yoo ati bilisoomte akka quufee nyaatu,
Harka diinaan dhiisee ofii issaan fudhatu;
Dhangaa kee isa hin dhumne akka inni argatu,
Kabajaaf ulfinaan akka inni jiraatu;
Kan yoo taanee qofa yennaa bilsoomnu,
Kana itti nuuf himi kaayyoo kana jalatti akka tokko taanu.
Yoo akkas ta’e qofa kabajaan jiraannu,
Siinis gammaachiifnee lammiifis kan taanu.

Himii nuuf dheekkami kan garmalee deemutti,
Galma kee ulfinaa kan gurguruuf jedhutti;
Ilma kee sabboonaa ajjeesuuf kan ganutti,
Tari yoo dhaga’e nuuf dheekkami isatti;
Nuuf gorsii deebisi kan qalbiin tamsa’e,
Tari wallaaleetii yookaanis waata’ee.

Isa dur nuu ba’e gadhee qaraa ta’ee,
Silaa abdii hin qabuu as galuuf deebi’e;
Dur diigaan cuuphatee lammii issaa ajjeesee
Isa nutti hin kaasin waatu isa jal’isee.

Halagaa irra goree dhiiga lammii buuse,
Garaa isaaf jecha haadhoo issa ajjeese,
Minaan ati laattuuf kan Tigrootaa se’ee,
Icitii kee mara gadi baasee haasa’ee.

Gaaraaf galii galee mana haadhoo issa dhiisee,
Gochaan Habashootaa kan isa joonjesse,
Dhiiga Oromummaa keessaa isaa balleesse,
Maqaaf jirtee namaa kan garaan ajjeese;
Harmee isaa kan gube haadha isa deesse,
Eenyuuf garaa laafa kan garaan joonjesse.
Isa nutti hin waamin walitti hin deebinu,
Dhagaa gargar cabee walitti hin fayyinuu.

Gumaa haadha issaa kan abbaas callisee,
Innuu itti dabalee haadhoo isaa ajjeesee,
Diina waliin nyaate hirmii laguu dhiisee,
Gola ayyoo isaa halagaa dhaalchisee,
Obboleessa isaa irra garaa isaa caalichisee,
Dhiinaaf gurra ta’ee maatii issaa basaasee,
Dhiiga Oromootaa meeqa dhangalaasee,
Maatii lammii meeqa gara dhabamsiisee,
Haadha ,Abbaa, Ijoollee maatii tatamsaase.

Aayyoo koo obsa kee garaan daaraf daakuu,
Harkaan hin godhannee kan siif kenne fokkuu;
Warri hafan jaalalaan waliin akka bulan,
Warra gumaa hin taane tasa wal-wallaaluun;
Akka hin laaffanne dhiigni Oromummaa,
Tokkicha nuuf kadhu Waaqa kee ganamaa.
Kan hafe qajeelchee walitti akka qabu,
Ilmaan kees gorsadhu barri hanga darbu.
Imimmaan kees obissi nutti ta’aa cubbuu,
Hin ooluu gaaf tokko barri kunis darbuu.

Safuu seera uumamaa naamuusa kee durrii,
Ilmaan keettis himii toora raabaa doorii,
Kabaja hangafaa ulfina jaarsolii,
Obsaaf wal-danda’uu maatii war-sagalii,
Waa wal-dhaggeeffachuu dura callisanii,
Mee kana nu gorsi Ayyoo hin usinii.

Gaargar faffacaasee yoo diinni nu qalu,
Tooftaa adda addaan shira nutti malu,
Kan kaleessaa haa-ga’uu har’a nugorfadhu,
Harmee nutti dafi mee mala nuu ladhu.

Ilmaan kee wal qoodnee bakka sagalitti,
Seera kee cabsinee hidhannee diinatti,
Lammuu akka hin gowwoomne,
Nuu himi ilmaan keetti akka hin daganne.

Kaleesa dagannee wangoo hoolaa seenee,
Wajjiniin haasa’uuf beellama qabannee,
Wangoon nu nyachuudhaaf of irratti arganne,
Ayyoo akka gowwoomne har’as irraanfannee,
Ilmaan kee nu gorsi kana si kadhannee.

Shiraaf kan deemanis har’a illee nu keessa,
Gurmuukee diiganii nu gochuuf hiyyeessa,
Kan yoo dhaga’anii Aayyoo ammas nuuf gorsi,
Ilmaan kee hunda iyyuu karaatti deebisi.
Kaayyoo kee nuu ibssi,isatu nu qajeelchaa,
Ilmaan kees barsiisi,beekkaatu biyya bulchaa.
Karaa irraa yoo maqan karatti deebisi,
Wlitti nu qabii tokkoo nu-taasisi.
Galiif galma keenya tokkoon nu jaarsisi,
Gaaddisa kee jalatti kaayyoo keef nu tumsi.
Galii galma keenya tokkoon nu jaarsisi,
Ilmaan Oromootaa tokko nu taasisi.
Yoo kun ta’e qofa,Wal caccabsuun hafa.
Yoo akkas ta’e qofa,Bilisummaan dhufa.
Jehiitii nuuf himi ilmaan kee maratti,
Walitti nu qabii Odaa kee jalatti,
Ifa kee nuuf baasii biiftuu ishee brii,
Bakkaalchas nuuf ibsi fakkii bifa gaarii;
Diimaa irraaf jallaa magariisa gidduun,
Walitti sassaabii nu bulchi jaalalaan.
Halaabaa kee jalatti galma kee keessatti,
Walitti nu qabi akka bilisoomnutt.
Kanaan nu eebbisi akka nu milkoofnu;
Injifanno argannee akka bilisoomnu.

Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Monday, May 15, 2006

ETHIOPIA: Another journalist jailed on years-old defamation charge

By Oluma.a 07 05 1969

New York, May 12, 2006—Another Ethiopian journalist has been sentenced to jail under the country’s draconian press law, in a case that dates back at least seven years, the Committee to Protect Journalists has confirmed. Tesehalene Mengesha, a former editor at the defunct Amharic-language weekly Mebruk, was convicted of criminal defamation over a week ago and sentenced to 18 months in prison, CPJ sources said. Mengesha is currently in Kality Prison on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa, the same detention center where 14 journalists are being held along with opposition leaders while facing trial on antistate charges. Mengesha’s imprisonment brings the number of journalists jailed for their work in Ethiopia to at least 17. For more information about Ethiopia’s jailed journalists, see CPJ’s attached fact sheet.Attempts to confirm the exact date of Tesehalene’s conviction and arrest were unsuccessful, and calls to State Prosecutor Shemelis Kemal went unanswered today. Obtaining information on court cases in Ethiopia is extremely difficult, partly because much of the private press has been shuttered since November 2005 as part of a crackdown on the media.The case stemmed from an article published in Mebruk during the 1998-2000 Ethiopian-Eritrean border war. An individual whom the article accused of working as a double agent during the war brought a complaint against Mebruk, which led to criminal charges being filed against Mengesha, CPJ sources said. The plaintiff denied the allegation, while journalists at the paper stood by the story, a former Mebruk journalist told CPJ. Mengesha was jailed at least three times between 1997 and 2000 in connection with his work for Mebruk, according to CPJ records. “Ethiopia’s press law is an affront to press freedom,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of CPJ. “The fact that authorities continue to prosecute local journalists under this law, contrary to stated policy, is outrageous.”“Tesehalene Mengesha’s imprisonment shows that the media crackdown in Ethiopia is continuing,” Cooper added. “Mengesha should be released immediately, along with all other journalists imprisoned for their work.”In Ethiopia, editors are held legally responsible for the content of their newspapers, and many have criminal charges pending against them under the press law. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told a CPJ delegation in March that the government had decided several years ago not to prosecute under the press law, which dates from 1992. However, CPJ has documented at least five convictions under the press law since the crackdown on the media began.FACT SHEET for journalists covering Ethiopia’s treason trial(For in-depth coverage, read CPJ’s special report: of journalists in prison while on trial on antistate charges: 14Number of journalists being tried in absentia in the same trial: At least 7Total number of journalists imprisoned for their work in Ethiopia: 17Number of publications banned: At least 8JOURNALISTS IMPRISONED WHILE ON TRIAL:Arrested: November 2, 2005Dawit Kebede, editor-in-chief of HadarFeleke Tibebu, deputy editor of HadarArrested: November 9-14, 2005Zekarias Tesfaye, manager and owner of NetsanetDereje Habtewolde, editor-in-chief of Netsanet Fassil Yenealem, manager and owner of Addis ZenaWosonseged Gebrekidan, editor-in-chief of Addis Zena [Wosonseged is also serving 8-month prison sentence for defamation to be followed by a separate, 16-month sentence for defamation]Andualem Ayle, editor-in-chief of EthiopNardos Meaza, editor-in-chief of SatanawMesfin Tesfaye, editor-in-chief of Abay Wenakseged Zeleke, editor-in-chief of AsqualArrested: November 27, 2005Serkalem Fassil, manager of Menilik, Asqual, and Satanaw [Serkalem is pregnant]Iskinder Nega, owner of Menilik, Asqual, and Satanaw [Iskinder is listed on charge-sheet as a CUD leader, which he denies]Arrested: November 29, 2005Sisay Agena, manager and owner of Ethiop and executive member of the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA)Arrest date unknownDawit Fassil, deputy editor of SatanawCharges against all these journalists (under Ethiopia’s penal code):• “Outrages against the constitution or constitutional order” [art. 238 (1), (2)]• “Impairment of the defensive power of the state” [art. 247, (a), (c), art. 258]• “Genocide” [art. 269 (a)]Maximum sentence for each charge: Life imprisonment or deathAdditional charges against Iskinder Nega:• “Obstruction of the exercise of constitutional powers” [art. 239]• “Armed rising or civil war” [art. 240]• “High treason” [art. 248 (b)]JOURNALISTS SERVING SENTENCES UNDER ETHIOPIA’S PRESS LAW: 3Abraham Gebrekidan, former editor of now-defunct Amharic-language weekly PolitikaImprisoned: March 8, 2006Sentenced: One year for “false news”Abraham Reta Alemu, former editor of defunct Amharic-language weekly RuhImprisoned: April 25, 2006Sentence: One year for criminal defamationTesehalene Mengesha, former deputy editor at defunct Amharic-language MebrukArrest date unknownSentence: 18 months for criminal defamationCASES UNDER INVESTIGATION BY CPJ: 1Goshu Moges, publisher and contributor to Lisane Hezeb; former editor and publisher of Tobia Imprisoned: February 19 and charged with anti-state crimes. See CPJ’s letter of inquiry ( for more information about this case.
Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Ethiopia, Zimbabwe are Africa's worst offenders in denying press freedom


While an African Media Coun-cil conference held in Tanzania, last week was pleased to observe progress in East and Southern Africa regarding the establishment of self-regulatory Media Councils (in Tanzania ,Kenya, Zambia and Uganda), it strongly condemned developments in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.

Journalists and media representatives from various African nations, including Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, termed the Ethiopian government’s treatment of journalists the most shameful on the continent."
"We find it shameful that Ethiopia is emerging as a pariah state on the African continent," said a hard-hitting statement signed by participants at the Regional Conference of Press/Media Councils at Bagamoyo, Tanzania.

The conference, organised by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), said that, in the two countries, journalists have been systematically "criminalised".

At least 20 Ethiopian journalists have been sentenced to long jail terms, and many others have been forced into exile while facing charges such as treason for exercising their basic right to free expression, thus ranking Ethiopia among the worst nations in the world for use of these methods.

MCT executive secretary Anthony Ngaiza observed that the Ethiopian regime has especially targeted the Ethiopian Free Press Journalists Association (EFJA) as an object of this repression. EFJA president Kifle Mulat, now living in exile in Uganda, attended the Bagamoyo meeting and had delegates in tears as he narrated the ordeal of his fellow journalists in Addis Ababa.
"We find it intolerable that any nation would employ these draconian methods against their own population", the delegates said, as they condemned the Ethiopian government for jailing journalists or any other persons for exercising their basic human right of self expression. They demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all held under these conditions.
Kifle Mulat said he was consoled when the conference opted for a strong condemnation of his government, which was asked to drop all charges against journalists and allow the return of those forced into exile without threat of punishment, whether through exercise of police power or by extra-judicial harassment or violence.

Sadly, for Zimbabwe, the past seven years have seen freedom of expression being downgraded from a right to a privilege that can only be exercised at the pleasure of the authorities, participants noted.
Matthew Takaona, president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, told the Bagamoyo meeting that at least 100 journalists have been arrested over the past six years for violating the government's press laws, all of them from the private media.

He said four newspapers, including the country's biggest circulating daily, the Daily News, have been closed since 2003. And, as a result of the restrictive Broadcasting Services Act, independent radio stations have been kept off the air.

Every journalist in Zimbabwe must renew their registration every 12 months with the Media and Information Commission; they face up to two years in jail for practising without a licence.
Newspaper companies are also required to register after every two years. Those failing to comply are forced to close and their equipment is seized by the state.

However, the Bagamoyo gathering saw a ray of light at the end of the Zimbabwean press tunnel.
The Executive Secretary of the World Association of Press Councils, Chris Conybeare, who attended the Bagamoyo Conference, said there were indications that government officials support the establishment of a non-statutory, self-regulatory Media Council of Zimbabwe.

Oluma.a 07 05 1969

Friday, May 12, 2006

Series of explosions in the Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

At least three people have been killed and 40 injured in a series of explosions in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, police say.

Two of the deaths occurred in a blast at a cafe in the Mercato, the city's largest market. A BBC reporter says blood and broken glass litter the site.

There were eight other explosions in busy public places around the city.
There have been several mysterious attacks in the capital since last year's disputed elections.
'Civilians targeted'

The BBC's Amber Henshaw says shoes and other personal belongings can be seen on the veranda outside the cafe.

"I saw the waitresses falling down on the ground, I saw blood," 15-year-old Berekat Betwidid told AFP through tears and sobs.

"These people want to give the impression that there is no peace and stability in the city anymore," said Police spokesman Demsach Hailu.
"All the explosions are targeting civilians."

The police have not said who they believe is behind the explosions and no group has claimed responsibility.

The first blast happened early in the morning local time outside the offices of the Ethiopian Airlines.

The second came a few hours later just metres away outside the headquarters of the state electricity company.

A bus station and a bus were also targeted.


In March one person was killed and 14 injured when five explosions went off in a single day.
Correspondents say the unexplained blasts have increased tension in Addis Ababa which suffered unrest following last year's polls, which the opposition says were rigged.

In February, the police said they had found a cache of explosives and linked it to the main opposition grouping, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD).
CUD leaders are on trial at present charged with treason and planning to commit genocide stemming from those protests.

Source BBC News

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dhukaan Boonbii wal-irraa hincinne Uummata Oromoo gidirsaa jira.

Naannoo Oromiyaatti hidhaa dhoorsisaa fi qe’ee irraa hari’uun gidiruun Uummata Oromoo irra ga’u bifa isaa jijjiiruu dhaan ittumaa hammaachaa deemaa jira. Oromiyaa mara keessaatti yeroo ammaa hidhaanii fi ukkaamsaan gar malee mootummaa dhaan raawwatamaa jirutti, Boonbii dhaan Ummanii nagaan qabeenyaa fi lubbuu isaa dhabuun bifa haaraan eegalamuu immoo daran yaaddessaa ta’aa jira.

Maddi tamsaasa oduu raadioo VOA kaleessaa 2006-05-10 akka gabaasstti Naannoo Oromiyaa godiinalee mormiin barattootaa itti jabaachaa turetti dhihoo kana immoo boonbiin itti darbatamaa jira jedha.

Torban darbe kana keessa qofa godinaallee dhiha Shawaatii fi kibba lixa Shawaatti Boombiileen shan darbatamanii jiru.Jeha VOAn gaafa 05 10 2006. darbe.

Mormitoonni mootummaa Boombii kana Bulchiissaa fi Poolisootatu dhukaase jedhu.
Bulchiinsi godiina Shawa dhihaa immoo Boombii kana nama dhukaase qabatanii kan hafe illee barbaadaa akka jiran dubbatu. Jedha raadioon kun

Walitti aanuudhaan darbatamuu Boombii kana ilaalchisee ragaa aanaa Gindabarat magaala Kaachisii irraa argane akka ibsutti jedha raadiyoon kun:-Torban darbe gaafa kamisaa Boombiin lama halkan dhuka’anii, tokko immoo osoo hin dhuka’in argame jedha.

Boonbiin dhuka’an kana keessaa inni tokko mana jireenya daarekteera mana barumsaa sadarkaa lammaffaa irratti darbatame. Qabeenya manichaa walakkaa kan mancaase yoo ta’u; nama irra miidhaan hin geenye jedha.

Boombiin inni lammaffaan kan darbatame mana dubartii Paartii Kongureesa Biyyoolessaa Oromoo bakka buutee paarlaamaaf dorgomtee osoo hin darbin haftee tokko biratti kan dhuka’e yoo ta’u; kan hafes osoo hin dhuka’in naannoodhuma kanaa argame jedha.

Dhimma kana ilaalsisee odeeffannoon qabdan maali? jedhuun maddi oduu kanaa kan gaafate, miseensa paarlaamaa fi bakka bu’aa uummata aanaa Gindabarat kan ta’an Obbo Labataa Fufaa akkana jedhu.
’’Aanaa kana keessatti baatii lama gidduutti Boombiin gara al-Saddeetii dhuka’ee jira. Balaa adda addaas geessisee jira. Balaan kun immoo uummata baay’ee jeeqaa jira. Namni illee aanaa kana keessatti gabaa ba’ee galuu dadhabee jira. Karaa irra nagaan deemuun dadhabamee jira. Dheengaddumma illee jechuun akka lakkoofsa Faranjiitti gaafa 03 05 2006 Boonbiin Sadii magaala kana keessatti kan dhuka’e balaa geessisee jira.’’ Jedhuu.

Itti fufuunis ’’ Deebi’eetis immoo 'Daarekteera' mana barumsaa irratti kan darbatame Boonbiin Tokko balaa geessisee jira. Kana immoo kan godhaa jiru mootummaadhuma achi jiru. Meeshaa gurguddaa akkanaa kana kan qabu mootummaa dha. Malee hawaasni meeshaa akkasii kana hidhatee kan jiru waan jiru natti hinfakkaatu.’’ jedhanii
’’ Wal-dhibdee cimaan kan jiru bulchiinsotaa fi Poolisoota gidduu Poolisoota murtaawan gidduu, Bulchiinsaa fi Warra abbaa seeraa gidduu wal-dhabbiin tokko tokko jira.’’ Jechuun itti aansuunis ’’Dhimma kana kan raawwate qaamni biraa jira natti hin fakkaatu.’’ Jedhanii jiru.

Kana malees jedhu Obbo Labataa VOA waliin yoo dubbatan ’’qaamonni bulchiinsa naannoo uummata naannoo irratti rakkoo uumaniin kan ka’e; uummataa wajjin gonkumaa nagaan jiraachuu hindandeenye. Qaamoleen bulchiinsaa dirqamaan nutu isin bulcha! jechuudhaan lallabanis; uummanni takkaa dhaabni kun na fayyada jedhee itti buluu hin feene. Kana jecha dhihee bari’u walitti bu’iinsi, hidhaa, reebamuu fi qe’ee irraa hari’atamuun hawaasaa itti cimee jira.’’

’’Dhimma kana paarlamaa biyyattii irrattis kaasanii dubbachuu dhaaf jennaan, paarlaamaan dhimma naannoo tokkoo keessa hingalu jedhamnee dhorkamne.’’ Kan jedhan obbo Labataan, aanicha keessatti barnoonni seeraan kennamaa jira jechuudhaaf akka hindanda’amnee fi barattoonni baay’een baqatanii kaanis hidhaa irra akka jiran dubbatanii jiru. Jedha raadiyoon kun.

Dhimma kana ilaalchisuudhaan gara godiina dhiha Shawaa bahaatt magaala Anbootti bilbilaan VOAn kan haasofsiise, itti aanaan bulchiinsa godinichaa fi hoggaanaa ijaarsa dandeetti Obbo Dhaabaa Jinfeessaa akka jedhanitti, godinicha keessa aanaa adda addaatti Boonbiin dhuka’e dhugaa akka ta’ee fi achuma ollaa aanaa Gindabarat magaala Jalduuttis halkan keessaa sa’a 8:00tti Boonbiin dhohuu isaa ibsanii; Boonbii kana kan dhoosu uummanni nagaan jiraachuu kan hin barbaanne qaamotii shorokeessitootaati. Haata’uutii garuu namoonni Boonbii kana darbatan aanaa Calliyaattii fi Xiqur-incinniitti waan qabamaniif kan bakka hafaniis qoratamaa irra jiru. Jechuu isaanii ibsee jira raadiyoon kun.

Barnoonni dhaabbachuu fi hidhamuu barattootaa yoo dhubbatan ’’ barumsi hindhaabbanne; barattoonni kan shakkaman qofaatu hidhame.’’ Jedhu akka dubbatan gabasa radiyoon kun.

Haaluma wal fakkaatuun jedha raadioon VOA 2006-05-10 darbe kun; Aanaalee kibba Shawaatti magaala Asgoriittis torban darbe Boonbiin mooraa mana barumsaa keessatti dhohuu isaa ragaaleen ibsaanii jiru. Haata’u iyyuu malee dhohiinsa Boonbii kanaan wal-qabatee barattoonni 6 hidhamuu isaanii ragaaleen ibsanii jiru jedha.

Akkauma beekamu baatii darbe keessas magaala Geedootti guuyyaa gabaa baakka uummanni hedduun gabaaf wal-ga’etti Boonbiin dhuka’e xiqootti nama 3 ajjeessee 37 madeessuun issaa ni yaadatama.

Oromiyaa godiina Harar dhihaa keessattis hidhaan har’atamuu fi ajjeechaan qaama mootumman ta’e jedhamee raawwataamaa akka jiran ragaawwan eeruun as irratti maxansuun kiyya ni yaadatama.

Oluma.A 07 05 1969

Monday, May 08, 2006

Who the Oromo people are

About Oromia
the Land and the People

Sourse: (


Horn of Africa; in what is today Ethiopia. Oromia is approximately located between 3 degree and 15 degree N latitude and 33 degree and 40 degree longitude.

375,000 Square Miles, or, 600,000 square kilometers; Larger than France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium & the Netherlands combined.

28 million; 3rd. largest nationality in Africa; single largest nationality in East Africa.

Waaqa, Islam, Christian.

Breadbasket of the Horn of Africa -cereals including wheat, barley, sorghum, maize, tafi; exports includes coffee, oil seeds, hides and skins; it has the largest livestock holding in Africa; forestry - houses all the forest and wildlife reserves of the Horn including unique species like Nyala-lbex, Colobus monkey and the red fox. minerals - two of three mineral belts of the region including gold, silver, platinum, uranium, marble, Nickel, and natural gas.

Locale of the 3.5 million year old Lucy, or Chaltu in Oromo, Croatia of the Upper Nile known and recorded in history by such names as Punt, Cush, and Ethiopia, has hosted numerous pioneering human achievements including the development of the earliest pebble tools (circa 70,000 BC), the domestication of animals (circa 5000 BC), and regional trade in antiquity in gold, ivory, myrrh and frankincense with Pharoahnic Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia. Early in history, the Oromo developed an indigenous democratic system similar to the Grecian Polls called Gada in which elected officials including the Abba Gada(President), the Abba Dula (Commander of the Army), the Abba Hori (Chief of the Treasury), and nine Hayyuus (Judges) assumed public office for non-renewable 8 year terms. With universal male training in warfare including equestrian skills, archery and the martial arts, the Oromo remained independent until the last decade of the 19th century, when Abyssinians from the North aided by modern European arms, managed to conquer them. Since then, successions of autocrats from Menelik to Mengistu have systematically suppressed Oromo culture, looted Oromo resources, divided the people by region and religion in the idiom of Ethiopian unity, thusly fostering instability, war and famine.
Political Objective
The fundamental political objective of the Oromo people is to exercise their inalienable right to national self determination to liberate themselves from a century of oppression and exploitation, and to form, where possible, a political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary associations.
Oromia and the Oromo people
The following summary information was adopted from the book by Gadaa Melbaa, Khartoum, Sudan 1988.
People: OromoCountry: Oromia (also phonetically spelled as Oromiyaa)Area: 600,000 approx.Capital: Finfinnee (also called Addis Ababa)Population: 30 million (1995 estimate)Language: Oromo, also called Afan Oromo or OromiffaEconomy: Mainly agriculture (coffee, several crops, spices, vegetables) and Animal Husbandry; Mining industry; Tourism trade; Medium and small-scale industries (textiles, refineries, meat packaging, etc)Religion: Waaqqefata (the traditional belief in Waaqa or God), Islam, and Christian (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant)
The Oromo make up a significant portion of the population occupying the Horn of Africa. In the Ethiopian Empire alone, Oromo constitute about 30 million of the 55 million inhabitants of the Ethiopian Empire. In fact, Oromo is one of the most numerous nations in Africa which enjoys a homogeneous culture and shares a common language, history and descent and once shared common political, religious and legal institutions. During their long history, the Oromo developed their own cultural, social and political system known as the Gadaa system. It is a uniquely democratic political and social institution that governed the life of every individual in the society from birth to death.
Ecologically and agriculturally Oromia (Oromo country) is the richest region in the Horn of Africa. Livestock products, coffee, oil seeds, spices, mineral resources and wild life are all diverse and abundant. In spite of all these advantages, a century of colonisation by Abyssinia (Ethiopia), a backward nation itself, has meant that the Oromo people have endured a stagnant existence where ignorance and famine have been coupled with ruthless oppression, subjugation, exploitation and above all, extermination. Thus for the last one hundred years under the Ethiopian rule, the Oromo have gained very little, if anything, in the way of political, social and economic progress.
The Oromo were colonised during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by a black African nation - Abyssinia - with the help of the European colonial powers of the day. During the same period, of course, the Somalis, Kenyans, Sudanese and others were colonised by European powers. The fact that the Oromo were colonised by black African nation makes their case quite special.
During the process of colonisation, between 1870 and 1900, the Oromo population was reduced from ten to five millions. This period coincides with the occupation of Oromo land by the Abyssinian emperors Yohannes and Menilek. After colonisation, these emperors and their successors continued to treat Oromo with utmost cruelty. Many were killed by the colonial army and settlers, others died of famine and epidemics of various diseases or were sold off as slaves. Those who remained on the land were reduced to the status of gabbar (a peasant from whom labour and produce is exacted and is a crude form of serfdom).
Haile Selassie consolidated Yohannes and Meniiek's gains and with the use of violence, obstructed the process of natural and historical development of the Oromo society - political, economic and social. In all spheres of life, discrimination, subjugation, repression and exploitation of all forms were applied. Everything possible was done to destroy Oromo identity - culture, language, custom, tradition, name and origin. In short Haile Selassie maintained the general policy of genocide against the Oromo.
The 1974 revolution was brought about by the relentless struggle over several years by, among others, the Oromo peasants. The military junta, headed by Mengistu Haile-Mariam, usurped power and took over the revolution. This regime has continued on the path of emperors Yohannes, Menilek and Haile Selassie in the oppression, subjugation and exploitation of Oromo, the settlement of Abyssinians on Oromo land and the policy of genocide.
Forced to fight against Eritreans, the Somalis and others, many Oromo have fallen in battle. Many others have died on the streets of cities and towns during the so-called "Red Terror" period and in a similar programme that has been expanded in the countryside since then. Massacres in towns and villages coupled with bombing and search and destroy programmes have caused the destruction of human lives, crops, animals and property, have driven Oromo from their land and forced them to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Not surprisingly, this ruthless oppression and persecution of peoples has resulted in the largest flight of refugees in Africa. A very large proportion of the refugees in the Horn of Africa are Oromo.
In its attempt to oppress and eliminate the essential elements of Oromo culture, the present regime has used cover-up words such as 'development, relief, settlement, villagization and literacy campaign' to mislead the world. In fact most of these programmes and projects have been aimed at displacing Oromo people and denying them freedom, justice, human dignity and peace, thereby hastening the process of Amharization or de-Oromization.
The struggle of the Oromo people, then, is nothing more than an attempt to affirm their own place in history. It seeks equality, human dignity, democracy, freedom and peace. It is not directed against the masses of a particular nation or nationality, nor against individuals, but rather against Ethiopian colonialism led by the Amhara ruling class and the naftanyas (Amhara colonial settlers) and against feudalism and imperialism. Thus it is the Ethiopian colonial system and not the Amhara masses or individuals which is under critical consideration.
Today when nearly all of the African peoples have won independence, the Oromo continue to suffer under the most backward and savage Ethiopian settler colonialism. All genuinely democratic and progressive individuals and groups, including members of the oppressor nation, Amhara, who believe in peace, human dignity and liberty should support the Oromo struggle for liberation.
Although the Oromo nation is one of the largest in Africa, it is forgotten by or still unknown to the majority of the world today. Unfortunately even the name Oromo is unknown to many, and this should not be allowed to continue.
The main purpose of this summary is to introduce readers briefly to the Oromo people, their land, and culture.For detailed treatment of the experiences of Oromo under Ethiopian colonial rule as well as their struggle for freedom, democracy and economic and social justice, please refer to the book from which this summary is extracted. Please do note the author's introductory message in this book: "... it is not the intention of this book to write a definitive Oromo history. This task is left to the historians, a work they have unjustly treated or unjustifiably ignored in the past. In fact the little that has been written about Oromo has almost always been from Abyssinians and Europeans point of view".

In spite of the fact that there are several indications and evidences that Oromo are indigenous to this part of Africa, Abyssinian rulers, court historians and monks contend that Oromo were new corners to the region and did not belong here. For instance the Abyssinian court historian, Alaqa Taye (1955), alleged that in the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries the Oromo migrated from Asia and Madagascar, entered Africa via Mombasa and spread north and eastwards. Others have advocated that during the same period the Oromo crossed the Red Sea via Bab el Mandab and spread westwards. Abyssinian clergies even contended that Oromo emerged from water. On this issue, based on the points made in The Oromo's Voice Against Tyranny, Baxter (1985) remarked, "... the contention that the first Oromo had actually emerged from water and therefore, had not evolved to the same level of humanity as the Amhara (i.e. treating a myth of origin as a historical fact); or, more seriously, that Oromo were late corners to Ethiopia and hence, by implication, intruders and not so entitled to be there as the Amhara."
The history of the arrival of the Oromo people in the sixteenth century in East Africa from outside is a fabrication and denial of historical facts. It is a myth created by Abyssinian court historians and monks, sustained by their European supporters and which the Ethiopian rulers used to lay claim on Oromo territory and justify their colonization of the Oromo people. Several authorities have indicated that the Oromo were in fact in the North-eastern part of the continent even before the arrival of the Habasha. According to Perham (1948): "the emigrant Semites landed in a continent of which the North-East appears to have been inhabited by the eastern groups of Hamites, often called Kushites, who also include the Gallas." Paulitschke (1889) indicated that Oromo were in East Africa during the Aksumite period. As recorded by Greenfield (1965), Oromo reject the view that they were late arrivals, "... old men amongst the Azebu and Rayya Galia dismiss talk of their being comparative newcomers....... Their own (Abyssinians) oral history and legends attest to the fact that Oromo have been living in Rayya for a long time. Beke (cited by Pankurst, 1985-86) quoted the following Lasta legend: "Meniiek, the son of Solomon, ... entered Abyssinia from the East, beyond the country of the Rayya or Azebo Gallas There are also evidence (Greenfield et al, 1980) that at least by the ninth and tenth centuries that there were Oromo communities around Shawa and by about the fourteenth century settlements were reported around Lake Tana. The recent discovery, (Lynch and Robbins, 1978), in northern Kenya of the pillars that Oromo used in the invention of their calendar system, dated around 300 B.C., is another indication that Oromo have a long history of presence as a community of people, in this part of Africa.
The so called "Galla invasion of Ethiopia" is also a tale. It was first written around 1590 by a monk called Bahrey and henceforth European historians and others almost invariably accepted this story as a fact. From his writing, it is evident that he was biased against Oromo. The following quotation from Bahrey, (in Beckingham et al, 1954), vividly illustrates typical Abyssinian cultural, religious and racial biases against Oromo. He began his book "The History of the Galla": "I have begun to write the history of the Galla in order to make known the number of their tribes, their readiness to kill people, and the brutality of their manners. If anyone should say of my subject, 'Why has he written a history of a bad people, just as one would write a history of good people', I would answer by saying 'Search in the books, and you will find that the history of Mohamed and the Moslem kings has been written, and they are our enemies in religion In fact it appears that the main purpose of his writing was to encourage Abyssinians against Oromo. Bahrey, Atseme, Harris, Haberiand and others description of what they called the 'Galla invasion of Ethiopia' as an avalanche, a sudden overwhelming human wave which could be likened to a flood or swarms of migratory locust is unrealistic and difficult to imagine to say the least.
The Oromo's Voice Against Tyranny argued that: "... the so-called Galla invasion of the sixteenth century was neither an invasion nor a migration. It was rather a national movement of the Oromo people ... with the specific goal of liberating themselves and their territories from colonial occupation. It was nothing more or less than a war of national liberation." In fact the last 2000 years were occupied with a gradual expansion of Abyssinians from north to south. This expansion had been checked throughout by Oromo. It was only with the arrival of Europeans and their firearms that Abyssinians succeeded in their southward expansion mainly in the middle of last century.
Abyssinian and European historians alleged that there was a sudden population explosion in the Oromo community in the sixteenth century that enabled it to invade Ethiopia. The claim lacks a scientific base. During that time no significant, if at all any, technological development such as discoveries or introductions of medicines, new and improved tools for food production, etc. took place in the Oromo community that could have been the cause for the sudden population explosion. The Oromo community had no advantages of these sort over neighbouring communities.
Different areas have been indicated as place where the Oromo developed or differentiated into its own unique community of people or ethnic group (Braukamper, 1980). According to some ethnologists and historians, the Oromo country of origin was the south-eastern part of Oromia, in the fertile valley of Madda Walaabu in the present Baale region. This conclusion was reached mainly on the basis of Oromo oral tradition. Based on scanty anthropological evidence, others have also pointed to the coastal area of the Horn of Africa, particularly the eastern part of the Somali peninsula, as the most probable place of Oromo origin. Bruce, an English traveller, indicated that Sennar in Sudan was the Oromo country of origin and that they expanded from there. It should be noted here that many European travellers have suggested the origin of peoples, including Oromo, to be where they met some for the first time, which in most cases happened to be peripheral areas.
There are several groups of people in East Africa very closely related to the Oromo. For instance, the Somalis are very similar in appearance and culture. The fact that the Somali and Oromo languages share between 30 percent and 40 percent of their vocabulary could be an indication that these two groups of people became differentiated very recently. Other Cushitic-speaking groups living in the same neighbourhood who are closely related to the Oromo are Konso, Afar, Sidama, Kambata, Darassa, Agaw, Saho, Baja and other groups.
The Oromo are also known by another name, Galla. The people neither call themselves or like to be called by this name. They always called themselves Oromoo or Oromoota (plural). It is not known for certain when the name Galla was given to them. It has been said that it was given to them by neighbouring peoples, particularly Amhara, and various origins of the word have been suggested. Some say it originated from the Oromo word 'gaiaana' meaning river in Oromiffa. Others indicate that it came from an Arabic word 'qaala laa'. There are other similar suggestions as to the origin of the word. The Abyssinians attach a derogatory connotation to the Galla, namely 'pagan, savage, uncivilized, uncultured, enemy, slave or inherently inferior". The term seems to be aimed at generating an inferiority complex in the Oromo.
Oromo have several clans (gosa, qomoo). The Oromo are said to be of two major groups or moieties descended from the two 'houses' (wives) of the person Oromo represented by Borana and Barentu (Barenttuma). Borana was senior (angafa) and Barentu junior (qutisu). Such a dichotomy is quite common in Oromo society and serves some aspects of their po!itical and social life. The descendants of Borana and Barentu form the major Oromo clans and sub-clans. They include Borana, Macha, Tuuiiama, Wallo, Garrii, Gurraa, Arsi, Karrayyu, ltu, Ala, Qaiioo, Anniyya, Tummugga or Marawa, Orma, Akkichuu, Liban, Jile, Gofa, Sidamo, Sooddo, Galaan, Gujii and many others. However, in reality there is extensive overlap in the area they occupy and their community groups. And since marriage among Oromo occurs only between different clans there was high degree of homogeneity.
The Oromo make up over 30 million out of the present 55 million population of the Ethiopian Empire. They are found in all the regions of the Ethiopian Empire except for Gondar. They make up a large proportion of the population of llubbabor, Arsi, Baale, Shawa, Hararge, Wallo, Wallagga, Sidamo and Kafa. They are also found in neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Somalia. Out of the 50 nations of Africa only four have larger population than Oromia.
The Oromo nation has a single common mother tongue and basic common culture. The Oromo language, afaan Oromoo or Oromiffa, belongs to the eastern Kushitic group of languages and is the most extensive of the forty or so Kushitic languages. The Oromo language is very closely related to Konso, with more than fifty percent of the words in common, closely related to Somali and distantly related to Afar and Saho.
Oromiffa is considered one of the five most widely spoken languages from among the approximately 1000 languages of Africa, (Gragg, 1982). Taking into consideration the number of speakers and the geographic area it covers, Oromiffa, most probably rates second among the African indigenous languages. It is the third most widely spoken language in Africa, after Arabic and Hausa. It is the mother tongue of about 30 million Oromo people living in the Ethiopian Empire and neighbouring countries. Perhaps not less than two million non-Oromo speak Oromiffa as a secondianguage.
In fact Oromiffa is a lingua franca in the whole of Ethiopian Empire except for the northern part. It is a language spoken in common by several members of many of the nationalities like Harari, Anuak, Barta, Sidama, Gurage, etc., who are neighbours to Oromo.
Before colonization, the Oromo people had their own social, political and legal system. Trade and various kinds of skills such as wood and metal works, weaving, pottery and tannery flourished. Pastoralism and agriculture were well developed. Oromo have an extraordinarily rich heritage of proverbs, stories, songs and riddles. They have very comprehensive plant and animal names. The various customs pertaining to marriage, paternity, dress, etc. have elaborate descriptions. All these activities and experiences have enriched Oromiffa.
Much has been written about Oromiffa by foreigners who visited or lived in Oromia, particularly European missionaries. Several works have been written in Oromiffa using Roman, Sabean and Arabic scripts. Printed material in Oromiffa include the Bible, religious and non-religious songs, dictionaries, short stories, proverbs, poems, school books, grammar, etc. The Bible itself was translated into Oromiffa in Sabean script about a century ago by an Oromo slave called Onesimos Nasib, alias Hiikaa, (Gustave, 1978).
Roman, Arabic and Sabean scripts are all foreign to Oromiffa. None of them fit well the peculiar features of the sounds (phonology), in Oromiffa. The main deficiency of the Arabic script is the problem of vowel differentiation. The Sabean script does not differentiate gemination of consonants and glottal stops. Moreover, it has seven vowels against ten for Oromiffa. Hence, the Roman script is relatively best suited for transcription of Ororniffa. An Italian scholar, Cerulli (1922), who attempted to write in Oromiffa using both Sabean and Roman, expressed the short comings of the Sabean script as follows: to express the sounds of Galla language with letters of the Ethiopic (Sabean) alphabet, which express very imperfectly even the sounds of the Ethiopian language, is very near impossible ... reading Galla language written in Ethiopic alphabet is very like deciphering a secret writing." As a result several Oromo political, cultural groups and linguists have strongly advocated the use of the Roman script with the necessary modifications. It has thus been adopted by the Oromo Liberation Front some years ago.
A number of Oromo scholars in the past attempted to discover scripts suited for writing Oromiffa. The work of Sheikh Bakri Saphalo is one such attempt. His scripts were different in form but followed the symbol-sounds forming patterns of the Sabean system. Ever. though his scripts had serious shortcomings and could not be considered for writing Oromiffa now, it had gained popularity in some parts of eastern Oromia in the 1950s, before it was discovered by the colonial authorities and suppressed.
Oromiffa has been not only completely neglected but ruthlessly suppressed by the Ethiopian authorities. a determined effort for almost a century to destroy and replace it with the Amharic language has been mostly ineffectual. Thus, the Amharization and the destruction of the Oromo national identity has partially failed.Culture
Oromo have a very rich culture, fostered by the size of the population and large land areas with diverse climatic conditions. One highly developed self-sufficient system which has influenced every aspect of Oromo life is the Gadaa system. It is a system that organizes the Oromo society into groups or sets (about 7-11 ) that assume different responsibilities in the society every eight years. It has guided the religious, social, political and economic life of Oromo for many years, and also their philosophy, art, history and method of time-keeping.
The activities and life of each and every member of the society are guided by Gadaa. It is the law of the society, a system by which Oromo administer, defend their territory and rights, maintain and guard their economy and through which all their aspirations are fulfilled.
The Gadaa system has served as the basis of democratic and egalitarian political system. Under it the power to administer the affairs of the nation and the power to make laws belong to the people. Every male member of the society who is of age and of Gadaa grade has full rights to elect and to be elected. All the people have the right to air their views in any public gathering without fear.
There follows a brief description of how the Gadaa system works: there are two well-defined ways of classifying male members of the society, that is the hiriyya (members of an age-set all born within the period of one Gadaa rule of eight years) and Gadaa grade. The Gadaa grades (stages of development through which a Gadaa class passes) differ in number (7-1 1) and name in different parts of Oromia although the functions are the same. The following are the Gadaa grades:-
1.Dabballee (0-8 years of age)2.Folle or Gamme Titiqaa (8-16 years of age)3.Qondaaia or Gamme Gurgudaa (1 6-24 years of age)4.Kuusa (24-32 years of age)5.Raaba Doorii (32-40 years of age)6.Gadaa (40-48 years of age)7.Yuba I (48-56 years of age)8.Yuba II (56-64 years of age)9.Yuba III (64-72 years of age)10.Gadamojjii (72-80 years of age)11.Jaarsa (80 and above years of age)
We will briefly describe the duties of a Gadaa class as it passes through the above grades.
The Dabballee are sons of the Gadaa class who are in power, the Luba. They are boys up to 8 years of age. Thus this is a stage of childhood. Upon reaching their eighth year, they enter the Folle grade. At this age they are allowed to go further away from their villages and to perform light work.
At 16 years old, they enter the Qondaala. They may now go long distances to hunt and perform heavy work. Three years before the Qondaaia ends, those of the Gadaa class come together and nominate the future group leaders (hayyu council) who eventually will constitute its presidium and thereby the executive, judicial and ritual authorities. The final election is preceded by an often lengthy campaign of negotiations. After nomination, the candidates tour the region accompanied by their supporters to win the backing of the people before election, The individuals will be elected on the basis of wisdom, bravery, health and physical fitness.
In the Kuusa grade, the previously elected leaders are formally installed in office, although they do not yet assume full authority except in their own group. This is one of the most important events in the life of the individual and the Gadaa system over all.
In the next grade, Raaba Doorii, members are allowed to marry. This and the Kuusa grade constitute a period of preparation for the assumption of full authority. At the end of this period the class members enter Luba or Gadaa, the most important class of the whole system, attain full status, and take up their position as the ruling Gadaa class. At this stage the system comes to a stop momentarily and all men move to the proceeding class vacating the last class which is the immediately occupied by a new class of youth who thus begin their ascent of the system's ladder.
The former ruling class, the Luba, now becomes Yuba. The Yubas, after passing through three separate eight-year periods, are transferred to the Gadamojjii class. Then they enter the final grade called Jaarsa and retire completely.
As described briefly above, when the Oromo man passes from one stage to the next, his duties and way of life in society change. For instance, during the grades of Qondaala, Kuusa and Raaba Doorii, the individuals learn war tactics , Oromo history, politics, ritual, law and administration over a period of 24 years. When they enter the Gadaa class or Luba at the age of about 40 years, they have already acquired all the necessary knowledge to handle the responsibility of administering the country and the celebration of rituals. It ends with partial retirement of the whole, group of elders to an advisory and judiciary capacity.
The following are the Gadaa officials and their duties according to the Tuuilama Gadaa practice:
1. Abbaa Bokku - President2. Abbaa Bokku - First Vice-President3. Abbaa Bokku - Second Vice-President4. Abbaa Chaffe - Chairman of the Assembly (Chaffe)5. Abbaa Dubbi - Speaker who presents the decision of the presidium to the Assembly6. Abbaa Seera - Memoriser of the laws and the results of the Assembly's deliberations.7. Abbaa Alanga - Judge who executes the decision8. Abbaa Duula - In charge of the army9. Abbaa Sa'a - In charge of the economy
Thus, the entire presidium consists of nine members, called "Saigan Yaa'ii Borana" (nine of the Borana assembly). The Abbaa Bokkus are the chief officials. (Bokku is a wooden or metal sceptre, a sign of authority kept by the Abbaa Bokku, the president). The Abbaa Bokkus have counsellors and assistants called Hayyus who are delegated from the lower assemblies.
There are three level of assembly - intercian, clan and local chaffes, chaffe being the Oromo version of parliament. The chaffe assembly was held in the open air in a meadow under the odaa (sycamore) tree. The chaffe made and declared common laws and was source of the accumulated legal knowledge and customs. In the hierarchy of Gadaa chaffes, the assembly of the entire presidium of the ruling- Gadaa Class is the highest body whose decision is final. It, is the assembly at which'reipresentatives of the entire population come together, at predetermined times, to evaluate among other things, the work of those in power. If those in power have failed to accomplish what is expected of them the assembly has the power to replace them by another group elected from among the same Gadaa class or Luba. And this was one of the methods of checking and balancing political power in the Oromo society. The second highest Gadaa assembly is the clan chaffe. It is from these assemblies that special delegates to the higher assembly are elected. The lowest Gadaa chaffe is the local chaffe. This is made up of local members of the Luba from among whom representatives to clan chaffes are elected.
The holders of these responsible posts can remain in office for eight years only, in normal times, and are then replaced by a new group of officers. The power is handed over at a special ceremony at a special place and time. The office-holders conduct government - political, economic, social, ritual and military - affairs of the entire nation for this period. During war time all capable men fight under the leadership of the group in office. During the eight year period the officials live together in a village (yaa'aa village) and when necessary travel together.
There are five Gadaas in a cycle of 40 years. If a man enters office (becomes Luba) now, his sons will become Luba 40 years from now. The five Gadaa (some times called Buttaa) in the cycle have names, which vary slightly from region to region. Among some Oromo communities the sets of five Gadaa names used by the sons are different from those of the fathers. Whereas among other communities the same set of Gadaa names are used for both fathers and sons. For instance the Gadaa practised in the Borana community uses the following different sets of names for the five Gadaa. (Could be likened to five parties who take power in turns).
Fathers Sons
1. Birmajii Aldada2. Melba Horota3. Muudana Bifoole4. Roobale Sabaqa5. Duuioo Kiloolee
In this manner a given name repeats itself every 80 years. This is in fact the complete Gadaa cycle divided into two semi-cycles of 40 years each. The first 40 years is the Gadaa of the fathers and the second is the Gadaa of the sons.
Although it is not known with any degree of certainty where and when the Gadaa system started, it is known and documented that the Oromo have been practising it for well over 500 years. However, according to oral Oromo historians, the Gadaa system has been in practice for several centuries. "Their (Borana Oromo) noted historian, Arero Rammata, was able to recount, in 1969, an oral history covering four thousand years", (Prouty et al, 1981). Today Gadaa experts easily recall fifty-seven Abbaa Gadaas with important events. Of course, this highly sophisticated system cannot have appeared without having been based on something earlier. Therefore further study and analysis is required to know more about its origin and development.
Social scientists of diverse backgrounds at different times have studied the Gadaa system. Many of them have testified that it is uniquely democratic. Among those authorities, Plowden (1868), stated, "among republican systems, Gadaa is superior". Asmarom Legesse (1973) described the Gadaa system: "one of the most astonishing and instructive turns the evolution of human society has taken". Indeed it is one of the most fascinating sociopolitical structure of Africa that even influenced the lives of other peoples. Several neighbouring peoples have practised a sort of the Gadaa. Among these are Sidama, Walayita, Konso, Darasa, Nyika, Nabdi, Maasai, etc., (Beckingham et al, 1954).
Like living organism, cultures undergo evolution in order to adapt to changing conditions. The Gadaa system has thus been undergoing evolutionary changes since its inception so as to serve better a continually developing society. However, the fundamental that occurred in the Gadaa system, starting around the end of the eighteenth century, were brought about mainly by events set in motion from outside the Oromo society. Therefore it was not fully a normal or natural development.
In most communities suddenly and in a few cases gradually, the usefulness of the Gadaa system declined. Among the factors that had contributed to this decline were firstly, the protracted wars that preceded the onset of colonization. The end of the eighteenth century was marked by constant wars and skirmishes, particularly in the north and north-eastern Oromia against the encroachment of the Abyssinians. Because of the insecurity imposed by such wars coupled with the distances involved to go to the Gadaa ceremonies to change the leadership, the Abbaa Duuias (fathers of war) stayed on their post for much longer period than required by the Gadaa rules. This gave these war leaders a mandatory power, because they were forced or encouraged by the society and existing circumstances, such as the continuous wars, to hang on to power. This weakened one of the outstanding features of the Gadaa system, the built in checks and balances mechanism of political power. This in turn weakened the ideology by which the Oromo nation was successfully led for several centuries.
In addition to the protracted wars, the passing of major trade routes through the area and the subsequent expansion of trade gained the war leaders more wealth. Thus the wealth, fame and power they gradually gained enabled them to command a larger number of followers in the area they were defending. Thus they usurped the political power that belonged to the Gadaa officials and the people and finally some of them declared themselves "mootii" (kings).
The second important factor that contributed to this decline was the coming of new beliefs and religions. The politico-religious aggression that took place in the expansion of 1siam and Christianity have affected the culture of the Oromo people very much. The invasion of Oromo land by Muslims in the east and south and by Christians in the north have left their mark on the Oromo culture.
Thirdly, the changes in the mode of living of several Oromo communities was probably one of the important factors that led to the decline of Gadaa. As the Oromo society developed there was a gradual change in the social, economic and political life of the people. For instance, in many parts of Oromia a settled agrarian mode of life developed fast and the people practised both mixed agriculture - raised crops and animals - and nomadic pastoralism. The latter was the dominant mode of life before this time, although Oromo have practised cultivation for a long time and have made significant contribution to agriculture by domesticating plants and rearing rare varieties of crop plants. The introduction and expansion of trade had significant contribution also. These and other related factors led to the emergence of a new social system, which created a significant pressure on the Gadaa system and brought about a modification or change in the Gadaa practices.
Finally, the onset of colonization had tremendously reduced the political and usefulness of Gadaa system as the administrative affairs and management of the national economy were taken over by the colonisers except in remote regions. Atseme noted, "Menilek outlawed the major chaffe meetings in the Oromo areas he conquered". Bartels (1983) also noted, "Gadaa ... was gradually deprived by Amharas of most of its political and judicial powers and reduced to merely ritual institution". Even the social aspects, that is the ritual and ceremonial aspects, have not been left to the people. The observance of Gadaa ceremonies has been prohibited by proclamation.
The Oromo people also have a rich folklore, oral tradition, music and art. For example it is believed that the Oromo are responsible for the invention and use of phallic stones (Wainwright, 1949 and Greenfield, 1965). Decorations of stone bowls from Zimbabwe include pictures of cattle with long "lyre-shaped" horns such as raised by Oromo. According to these scholars, this and the phallic stones found in Zimbabwe are traced directly to Oromo and linked to their early settlements there and to the Zimbabwe civilization. Wainwright (1949) argued that these were founded by the Oromo. He wrote: "Waqlimi and his people came from Galia land and its neighbourhood, and were already installed in southern Rhodesia before A.D. 900". (Waqiimi is an Oromo name). This date coincides with the date of the erection of some of the famous buildings there which Wainwright says were built by "Galia". This appears to be part of the spread of Kushitic civilization.
Although much of this culture and these traditions have survived harsh suppression, much has been forgotten and lost, artifacts have been destroyed and Oromo are discouraged from developing their culture and art.
Oromo Calendar
Time is a very important concept in Gadaa and therefore in Oromo life. Gadaa itself can be narrowly defined as a given set of time (period) which groups of individuals perform specific duties in a society. Gadaa could also mean age. The lives of individuals, rituals, ceremonies, political and economic activities are scheduled rather precisely. For this purpose, the Oromo have a calendar. The calendar is also used for weather forecasting and divination purposes.
The Oromo calendar is based on astronomical observations of the moon in conjunction with seven or eight particular stars or star groups (Legesse, 1973 and Bassi, 1988) called Urji Dhaha (guiding stars). According to this calendar system, there are approximately 30 days in a month and 12 months in a year. The first day of a month is the day the new moon appears. A day (24 hours) starts and ends at sunrise.
In the Oromo calendar each day of the month and each month of the year has a name. Instead of the expected 29 or 30 names for days of a month, there are only 27 names. These 27 days of the month are permutated through the twelve months, in such a way that the beginning of each month moves forward by 2 or 3 days. The loss per month is then the difference between the 27-day month and the 30-day month, (Legesse, 1973). One interesting observation is that, as illustrated in the computing of time like in the Oromo calendar, Oromos visualization of events is cyclical just as many events in nature are cyclical.
Since each day (called ayyaana) of a month has a name, the Oromo traditionally had no use for names of the days of a week. Perhaps it is because of this that today in different parts of Oromia different names are in use for the days of a week.
Each of the 27 days (ayyaana) of the month have special meaning and connotation to the Oromo time-keeping experts, called ayyaantu. Ayyaantu can tell the day, the month, the year and the Gadaa period by keeping track of time astronomically. They are experts, in astronomy and supplement their memory of things by examining the relative position of eight stars or star groups, (Bassi, 1988) and the moon to determine the day (ayyaana) and the month. On the basis of astronomical observations, they make an adjustment in the day name every two or three months.
The pillars found a few years ago in north-western Kenya by Lynch and Robbins (1978) has been suggested to represent a site used to develop the Oromo calendar system. According to these researchers, it is the first archaeo-astronomical evidence in subSaharan Africa. Doyle (1986) has suggested 300 B.C. as the approximate date of its invention.
According to Asmarom Legesse (1973), "The Oromo calendar is a great and unique invention and has been recorded only in a very few cultures in history of mankind." The only other known cultures with this type of time-keeping are the Chinese, Mayans and Hindus. Legesse states that the Oromo are unusual in that they seem to be the only people with a reasonably accurate calendar which ignore the sun.Religion
There are three main religions in Oromia: traditional Oromo religion, Islam and Christianity. Before the introduction of Christianity and Islam, the Oromo people practised their own religion. They believed in one Waaqayoo which approximates to the English word God. They never worshipped false gods or carved statues as substitutes. M. de Aimeida (1628-46) had the following to say: "the Gallas (Oromo) are neither Christians, moors nor heathens, for they have no idols to worship." The Oromo Waaqa is one and the same for all. He is the creator of everything, source of all life, omnipresent, infinite, incomprehensible, he can do and undo anything, he is pure, intolerant of injustice, crime, sin and all falsehood. Waaqayoo is often called Waaqa for short.
There are many saint-like divinities called ayyaana, each seen as manifestation of the one Waaqa or of the same divine reality. An effective relationship is often maintained between ayyaana and Oromo by Qaaifu (male) and/or Qaafitti (female). A Qaaiiu is like a Bishop in the Christian world and an lmam in the Muslim world. He is a religious and ritual expert who has a special relationship with one of the ayyaana, which possesses him at regular intervals.
Although the office of Qaaiiu is hereditary, in principle it is open to anyone who can provide sufficient proof of the special direct personal contact with an ayyaaria. In the Oromo society a Qaaiiu is regarded as the most senior person in his lineage and clan and the most respected in the society. He is considered pure and clean. He must respect traditional taboos (safuu) and ritual observances in all situations and in all his dealings and must follow the truth and avoid sin.
The Qaaliu institution is one of the most important in the Oromo culture and society and is believed to have existed since mythical times. It is a very important preserver and protector of Oromo culture, more or less in the same way the Abyssinian Orthodox Church is the preserver of Abyssinian culture.
The Qaaiiu institution has political importance, even though the Qaaiiu himself does not possess political power as such and religion is distinctly separated from politics. The Qaailu village is the spiritual centre, where political debates are organized for the candidates for the Gadaa offices. Thus he plays both a spiritual and political role in the Gadaa system. For instance, during the fifth year of the Gadaa period, the Gadaa class in power honours the Qaaliu by taking gifts and making their pledges of reverence. This is the Muuda or annointment ceremony. As the head of the council of electors, the Qaaliu organizes and oversees the election of Gadaa leaders.
The Qaallu institution was once a repository of important ceremonial articles (collective symbols) in the Buttaa (Gadaa) ceremony, such as the bokku (sceptre), the national flag, etc. The national flag is made in the colours of the Qaallu turban (surri ruufa). The national flag had three colours - black at the top, red in the centre and white at the bottom. In the Gadaa, the three colours, black, red and white, represented those yet to enter active life, those in active life (Luba) and those who had passed through active live, respectively. The use of these symbols is prohibited by the colonial government.
The Oromo Qaallu must not be confused with the Amhara Qaailicha, who has a very different, much lower, social status. He is a vagabond who resorts to conjuring and black magic for his own benefit, (Knutsson, 1967). He is notorious for extracting remuneration by threats or other means. On the other hand, it is beneath the dignity of an Oromo Qaallu to ask his ritual clients for gifts or payment. The Abyssinian ruling class has confused the terms, thus disparaging the Qaallu socially and religiously by using the term depreciatingly.
The place of worship of Qaaliu ritual house is called the Galma. Each ayyaana has its own Galma and its own special ceremonies. The Galma is usually located on a hill top, hill side or in a grove of large trees. Many of these sites are now taken up by Abyssinian Orthodox Church buildings or Mosques. Places of worship also include under trees, beside large bodies of water, by the side of big mountains, hills, stones, etc. This has been misrepresented by outsiders claiming that the Oromo worship trees, rivers, etc.
The believers visit the Galma for worship once or twice a week, usually on Thursday and Saturday nights. At this time the followers dance, sing and beat drums to perform a ritual called dalaga in order to achieve a state of ecstasy, which often culminates in possession. It is at the height of this that the possessing ayyaana speaks through the Qaallu's mouth and can answer prayers and predict the future.
Religious Oromo often made Muuda-piigrimages to some of the great Qaaiius and religious centres such as Arsi's Abbaa Muuda (father of anointment). Among the Borana Oromo Muuda pilgrimages are still common. Muuda pilgrimage is very holy and the pilgrims walk to the place of Abbaa Muuda with a stick in one hand and carrying myrrh (qumbii). All Oromo through whose village the pilgrims pass are obliged to give them hospitality. As the Mecca pilgrims are called Haj among Muslims, these Muuda pilgrims are ca!ied Jiia.
The Qaaiiu institution was weakened with the advent of colonialism to Oromia, which reduced contacts between various Oromo groups. The pilgrimage was prohibited. It became the policy to discourage and destroy Oromo cultural institutions and values. The Qaaiiu institution has suffered more during the last 14 years than it suffered during the previous 100 years. At this stage it faces complete eradication and Orthodox Church buildings are fast replacing Gaimas.
Just before the beginning of the harvest season every year, the Oromo have a prayer ceremony (thanksgiving festival) called irreessa. It once took place in river meadows where now the Abyssinian Orthodox Church takes its holy Tabot (tablets) for special yearly festivals, the 'timqat'. The lrreessa has become illegal and anybody who attempts to practise it is now likely to be imprisoned.
The Oromo believe that after death individuals exist in the form of a spirit called the 'ekeraa'. They do not believe in suffering after death as in Christianity and Islam. If one commits sin he/she is punished while still alive. The ekeraa is believed to stay near the place where the person once lived. One is obliged to pray to and to give offering by slaughtering an animal every so often to ones parents' ekeraa. The offerings take place near the family or clan cemetery, which is usually in a village.
Oromo people have been in constant contact with other religions like Islam and Christianity for almost the last 1000 years. For instance, the Islamic religion was reported to have been in eastern Shawa about 900 A.D. and Christianity even before that. However, in favour and defence of their own traditional religion, the Oromo have resisted these religions for quite a long time.
However, today the majority of the Oromo people are followers of Islam and Christianity, while the remaining few are still followers of the original Oromo religion. It is said that the Islamic religion spread in Oromia as a reaction to the Ethiopian colonization. The Oromo accepted Islam and non-Orthodox Christianity en-masse because they identified Abyssinian Orthodox Christianity with the oppressor and also to assert their identity visaa-vis Abyssinians. The Amhara spy monk, Atseme wrote: "The Galia became Muslim for his hatred of Amhara priests." Bereket (1980) also noted, "... Oromos in Arsi province accepted Islam in large number as a demonstration of anti-Amhara sentiment and a rejection of all values associated with imperial conquerors." A somewhat similar situation in the west was the acceptance of Islam by many Afro-Americans in 1950s and 1960s, as a reaction to the racial discrimination and oppression they faced from the white community and in search of an identity different from that of the oppressor group.
There are many Oromo who are followers of Islam or Christianity and yet still practise the original Oromo religion. Bartels (1983) expressed this reality as follows: 'Whether they (Oromo) became Christians or Muslims, the Oromo's traditional modes of experiencing the divine have continued almost unaffected, in spite of the fact that several rituals and social institutions in which it was expressed, have been very diminished or apparently submerged in new ritual cloaks." Many used to visit, until very recently, the Galma and pay due respect to their clan Qaaiiu. This is more true in regions where Abyssinian Orthodox Christianity prevails.
The Land
The country of the Oromo is called Biyya-Oromo (Oromo country) or Oromia (Oromiya). Oromia is a name given by the Oromo Liberation Front to Oromoland, now part of the Ethiopian Empire. Krapf (1860) proposed the term Ormania to designate the nationality or the country of the Oromo people. This, most probably, originated from his reference to the people as Orma or Oroma. Oromia was one of the free nations in the Horn of Africa until its colonization and occupation by Abyssinia at the end of the nineteenth century. It is approximately located between 2 degree and 12 degree N and between 34 degree and 44 degree E. It is bordered in the East by Somali and Afar lands and Djibouti, in the West by the Sudan, in the South by Somalia, Kenya and others and in the North by Amhara and Tigre land or Abyssinia proper. The land area is about 600 000 square kilometres. Out of the 50 or so African countries it is exceeded in size by only 17 countries. It is larger than France, and if Cuba, Bulgaria and Britain were put together, they would be approximately equal to Oromia in size.The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south. Among the many mountain ranges are the Karra in Arsi (4340 m), Baatu in Baaie (4307 m), Enkelo in Arsi (4300 m), Mui'ataa in Hararge (3392m) and Baddaa Roggee in Shawa (3350 m).
Similarly, there are many rivers and lakes in Oromia. Many of the rivers flow westwards into either the Blue Nile or the White Nile, and others flow eastwards to Somalia and Afar land. Among the large rivers are the Abbaya (the Nile), Hawas (Awash), Gannaaiee, Waabee, Dhidheessa, Gibe and Baaroo.
For the peoples of Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia, life would be impossible without these rivers. They carry millions of tons of rich soil to Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia every year. Somalia depends heavily on the Gannaaiee (Juba) and Waabee (Shaballe) rivers which come from Oromia. In fact Oromia supplies almost 100 per cent of the fresh water for Somalia, Djibouti and Afars. At present the Ethiopian government depends heavily on Hawas (Awash) water as a source of electric power for its industries and irrigation water to grow sugar cane, cotton and fruits. The Wanji and Matahara sugar estates are good examples. There is a great potential in all these rivers for the production of electric power and for irrigation. Qoqaa, Fincha, Malkaa Waakkenne, Gibee Tiqqaa dams are examples of where hydro-electric power is already being produced or in the process of being harnessed.
Among the Oromo lakes are Abbaya, Hora, Bishofitu, Qoqaa, Langanno and Shaalaa. Many of these lakes possess a great variety of fish and birds on their islands and shores.
The climate is as varied as the physical geography, although close to the equator (to the north of it), because of the mountain ranges, high altitudes and vegetation, the climate is very mild and favourable for habitation. Snow can be found on the mountains such as Baatu and Karra. In the medium altitudes (1800-2500 m) the climate is very mild throughout the year and one of the best. Up to 80 per cent of the population lives at this altitude and agriculture flourishes.
The low altitude areas (below 1500 m) in west, south and central part are relatively warm and humid with lush tropical vegetation, and although few live there permanently most graze their cattle and tend their beehives there. Although there is little agriculture at this altitude at present, it has great potential for the future. As the highland areas are already eroded and over populated, people are gradually moving to the lowlands. The low altitude areas in the east and south-east are mostly semi-arid and used by pastoralists seasonally.
The vegetation of Oromia ranges from savanna grassland and tropical forest to alpine vegetation on the mountaintops. The forests contain a variety of excellent and valuable timbers. Oromia is known for its unique native vegetation as well as for being, the centre of diversity for many different species. For instance, crops like coffee, anchote (root crop), okra, etc. are indigenous to this area.The Economy
Potentially, Oromia is one of the richest countries in Africa. Agriculture is the backbone of its economy. Still employing archaic methods, subsistence agriculture is the means of livelihood for more than 90 per cent of the population. There are a variety of farm animals and crop plants. Farm animals include cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, mules, horses, camels and chicken. The Cushitic speaking communities of this region perhaps Nubians, are credited with the domestication of donkey and were the first to breed mules, (a result of a cross between a donkey and a mare). The Oromo are expert in animal husbandry through their long tradition as herdsmen. For some, cattle-rearing (pastoralism) is still the main occupation.
Because of Oromia's favourable climate and rich soil, many types of crops are cultivated and normally there is little need for irrigation. Normally one and sometimes two crops can be harvested annually from the same field. Among the major food crops are cereals (wheat, barley, tef, sorghum, corn, millet, etc.), fibre crops (cotton), root crops (potato, sweet potato, yam, inset, anchote, etc.), pulses (peas, beans, chick-peas, lentils, etc.), oil crops (nugi, flax, etc.), fruit trees (orange, mango, avocado, banana, lemon, pineapple, peach, etc.), spices (onion, garlic, coriander, ginger, etc. - coriander and ginger also grow wild) and a variety of vegetables like okra which is indigenous to Oromia.
Many varieties of these important crops occur naturally in Oromia. These diverse crop plants are very valuable natural resources. Oromo farmers have contributed to world agriculture by cultivating and developing some of the worid's crop plants and in this way have discovered new domesticated varieties. The main cash crops are coffee and chat (a stimulant shrub). Coffee, a major cash earner for many countries, has its origin in the forests of Oromia and neighbouring areas. Specifically, Kafa and Limmu are considered centres of origin for coffee. It is from here that coffee spread to other parts of the globe. Coffee was one of the export items of the Gibe states. Wallagga and llubbabor regions of Oromia exported coffee to the Sudan through the inland port of Gambelia on the Baro river and border towns of Kurmuk, Gissan, etc. Hararge, because of its favourable location for communication with the outside markets through the Red Sea, has been producing one of the finest coffees for export. Coffee has remained the chief export item, representing more than 60 per cent of the foreign earnings of successive Ethiopian colonial regimes.
The country is also rich in wild animals and plants. Many different species are found in the waters and forests of Oromia: different kinds of fish, hippopotami, and crocodiles. Land animals include lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, wild ass, zebra, columbus monkey and elephant. There are a number of wild animals that are found solely in Oromia, such as nyaaia, bush-buck (special type), fox (from Baale), etc.
Various types of birds, many of them unique, are found around lakes and elsewhere. These creatures are a source of attraction for tourists and natural scientists alike.
The forests of Oromia are a source of excellent timber. Although the major portion of the forests has been destroyed since its occupation, some still remain in the south and west. However, this is threatened by mismanagement, particularly through the fast the expanding state farms and resettlement programmes. At the time of colonisation a large part of Oromia was covered with forest. This has been reduced to the present 5-7 per cent. In addition to timber trees, medicinal plants and trees producing different kinds of gums, grow in abundance. Myrrh, frankincense and gum Arabic are gathered from the wild trees. Forests, besides being a source of timber, medicine and gum, are useful in the conservation of water and soil, and as shelter for wildlife. They also have an important aesthetic value.
Oromia has important mineral deposits. The gold mines at Adola and Laga Dambi in the Sidamo and around Nejjo, Asosa and Birbir river valley in Wallagga regions which were the major sources of revenue for Meniiek and Haile Selassie are being exploited using modern machinery. Other important minerals found in Oromia are platinum, sulphur, iron-ore, silver and salt.
As early as 1900 Meniiek granted concessions to a Swiss company to mine gold, silver and other minerals in Nejjo, Wallagga region. Later the Germans took over. English, Russian and Italian companies extracted gold and platinum at Yubdo and neighbouring areas in the same region. After some 60 years, the Soviet Union is continuing this business today in the same areas. It is known that large deposits of natural gas and oil exist in Baafe and Hararge regions. The Ethiopian government announced as 1986 the discovery of a new deposit of natural gas in Baale.
The hundreds of hot springs scattered over Oromia are also of economic importance. Thousands of people, including foreigners, visit these springs for their medicinal and recreational value. They are a great potential source of thermal energy. Rivers, streams and springs are plentiful. The rivers have many fails that could be used to generate electric power with little effort. The extent of this electric power could easily satisfy the power needs of Oromia and several neighbouring countries.
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