Abusive old OLF leaders short of new ideas By Robele Ababya

January 11th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

The new OLF’s reversal of its secession policy has no doubt sent a shockwave in the camp of Old OLF’s faction linked to the pariah dictator of Eritrea supporting the terrorist Al Shabab.

The outpouring support to the new OLF has eclipsed the cry in the wilderness of the few abusive remnant disciples of the bankrupt political premise which was wrong from the start. Forty years have been wasted and precious lives have been lost all owing to intransigence to change course.

Inflation is at 39.8% in Ethiopia where the TPLF propaganda machine is deafening the people by its power of monopoly over the media that the country is ranked as one of the five fastest growing economies in the world – which makes no sense to the increasingly hungry and angry masses. Therefore addressing the multiple plights of the Ethiopian people is top priority. But few turncoat Oromos, having run out of ideas, are greeting progressive options with insults.

The new OLF’s reversal of policy to embrace unity is therefore most welcome to address multiple draconian problems unleashed by the repressive ruling regime. The bold move is a reminder of the stand on the question of national unity taken by the Marxist-Leninist Organization established in the aftermath of the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution. Vide paragraphs below meant to serve as a lesson to the few turncoat leaders stuck with secessionist policy of the old OLF with their main office in Asmara.

The Marxist-Leninist Organization during the Derg regime
The Organization formulated its policy on the unity of Ethiopia after in-depth analysis of the history of Ethiopia. It clearly understood that there were hierarchies of ruthless exploiters in each ethnic group fleecing the masses to their bones. The aristocracy, provincial warlords and the Balabats (local officials with large land ownership) mercilessly suppressing social justice were identified as the main target for elimination. In short feudalism was the main problem. So the Organization agreed and declared that the right way forward was to unleash class struggle and emancipate the masses in a united Ethiopia. It was a laudable wise move for that time of bitter ideological Cold War era given that the Carter Administration had abandoned Ethiopia.

The Organization in caption comprised the following five leftist entities working with the Provisional Military Government. As their names clearly tell all the five groups below are national political entities inclusive of all ethnic groups that opt to become members:-

1. All Ethiopia Socialist Movement: Dr. Haile Fida was the leader of this Movement commonly known by its acronym MESON;
2. Ethiopian oppressed people’s Revolutionary Struggle led by Baro Tumsa;
3. Sedede (Conflagration): Mengistu Hailemariam was the leader of this group, which finally devoured all the rest like a forest fire;
4. Revolution was reputed to be a collection of communist hardliners. I have forgotten the name of its leader; and
5. Woz League under the leadership of Senay Lekie was a close ally of Mengistu’s Sedede, but the alliance fell apart shortly after the death of Senay resulting in the annihilation of thousands of educated members of the Woz League by Sedede.

Readers are invited to note that the leaders named above at 1, 2, and 5 were Oromos; Mengistu also spoke of his Oromo ancestry through his father. Bravo for their all inclusivity!

It would be pertinent to recall at this juncture that in sharp contrast to the nationwide all ethnic groups inclusive character of the above list comprising Marxist- Leninist Organization, the Marxist Leninist League of Tigray (MLLT) at that time wore its tribal garb; its offshoot the TPLF is still doing the same using divide and rule along ethnic lines as its last ditch weapon to remain in power. The assertion that tyrant Meles Zenawi had a secret agenda of creating Greater Tigray has a good basis to believe.

Notwithstanding my chilly attitude towards communist ideology, I commend the Marxist-Leninist Organization for its all ethnic group inclusive national agenda, uncompromising stand on the unity of Ethiopia, articulating the principles of self-reliance and autonomous administrative region.

Untimely death the founder of Woz League

The founder of Woz League, Dr. Senay Lekie, was an Oromo originating from Illubabor. I met the brilliant intellectual in 1973. He held a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the famous Barkley University in California. He was politically active to the extent that he became a renowned member of the Communist Party in the USA.

When the 1974 Ethiopian revolution broke out we got to know each other better. He knew my utter dislike for a military government to the point of nauseating in view of the then profuse takeover of state power by the gun in Latin America, Africa and Asia. But we concurred that the military was the only armed organized institution capable of provisionally stabilizing the disorderly political atmosphere in Ethiopia at the time. He appreciated my staunch support for “land to the tiller.” He knew of my cold attitude towards communism but did not hide his own reverence for Stalin and contempt for Lenin. He was of the view that socialism is a very distant dream for Ethiopia, stressing that much needed to be done to strengthen unity and economic growth in order to lay down the foundation for the envisaged transformation to socialism. We saw eye to eye on the vital question of a united and strong Ethiopia. I was impressed with his ability and charming character; his capacity to make inroad into the military establishment and recruit elite members to Woz League was amazing.

Senay had predicted his death in the course of the revolution. His untimely death in a Palace coup at his the prime age of 33 shocked me and I wept standing beside his Oromo mother in deep grief during his burial at the Saint Joseph Cemetery reserved for communists in accordance with his wish . Regardless of our difference in ideology, what mattered to me was his passionate exemplary fight for the unity of Ethiopia and.


In what can be characterized as a plebiscite in the election of 2005, the Ethiopian people outvoted the TPLF thugs thus dealing a heavy blow to the satanic ambition of tyrant Zenawi to balkanize the country and its people along ethnic lines or creed. The mammoth demonstration of the Ethiopian people in support of the (Kinijit – Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) – is a living witness that ethnicity or creed could not eclipse the quest for unity because the support accorded to CUD is an objective reflection of common history and cultural interaction of the Ethiopian people the overwhelming majority of which are joined by marriage across ethnic lines. There is nothing that the tiny minority of the old OLF faction or anyone else can do to change this reality. Respect for the universal right of the individual is the ultimate panacea for fostering racial harmony in a united, strong, democratic and prosperous Ethiopia under the rule of law.

In a free democratic society:-

• The universal values of freedom, liberty, equality, dignity and pursuit of happiness of all individuals shall be sacred and inviolable guaranteed by the constitution of the people by the people for the people and rigorously upheld by law;
• There shall be no political prisoners and no torturing of prisoners; persecution for one’s political cannot occur; private land ownership is quintessential to avoid enslavement by brutal regime; and
• No individual or vital national interest shall be on offer for sale.

The leaders of the myopic minority of the old OLF faction have to explain what in return they had agreed to offer for sale to the internationally ostracized dictator of the pariah state of Eritrea, Isaias Afeworqui, for his support of secession.

I congratulate the new leaders of OLF for their change of mind and heart and come on board as Ethiopians to join genuine opposition forces to end tyranny in the country and solve the myriad problems confronting the people. I extol the brilliant article written by Messay Dejene titled “Rejoicing the return of the prodigal son” dated 07 January 2012 (posted on Ethiomedia website) and urge renegade detractors of my consistent vantage point to read the article objectively. I am elated that something like a call for “All Ethiopia Liberation Action” (AELA) is gathering momentum.

Ethiopian democrats must intensify the struggle for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including: Andualem Aragie, Asamnew Birhanu, Bekele Gerba, Eskinder Nega, Nathnael Mekonnen, Olbana Lelisa, Reeyot Alemu, Woubshet Taye, and Zemenu Molla. Terrorist Zenawi has no legitimate or moral right to hold prisoners of conscience in his filthy and congested jails


  1. Asfaw Dargue
    | #1

    I think the most remarkable change that Ginbot 7 has helped to bring about is the idea of being able to work together despite differences; respecting differences; not considering people with differing ideas as ‘enemies’; building trust and relationships.

    We can easily stretch this idea to include even those Robele calls ‘abusive old OLF leaders’. Remember, many of those who now support the changes in the OLF were those who perhaps just a few years ago we would label as ‘abusive old OLF leaders’!!

    It is because people like the Ginbot 7 leadership decided to engage these people as equals and with respect for their positions when no one else would that we have the progress we have today.

    And so the engagement has to continue even with the ‘abusive old OLF leaders’. These people are like all of us – they have their strengths and faults, some good ideas, some bad – but it is in their best interests, as it is in ours, to have freedom, justice, and democracy in Ethiopia.

    As the saying goes: ‘Everyone is my potential friend’. So no need to alienate the ‘abusive old OLF leaders’. Let’s embrace them and slowly bring them around, and perhaps we may learn a thing or two in the process, too.

  2. Tebeje
    | #2

    Good writing Dr. Robel.

    The moment some xenophobic tigrayans start to have knee jerk reaction to the criticism that Meles works for a “Greater Tigray”, is an indication that they are part of the problem and not the solution. Hitler was working for Greater German race (at the exepnse of all other races of the world). That idea was enticing to the Germans but brought disaster on tjemselves. The TPLF is a perfection of exclusive tribalism where any thing and any person outside the domasin of Tigray is an enemy. It is very difficult to imagine how unity can be fostered in the presence of such tribal garb. et us call a spade a spade, a tribalist a tribalist.

  3. Awweetuu Morkaa
    | #3

    Trying to mix Oromia and Ixoophiyaa is like trying to mix water and oil. What the fascist Biraanuu and his party have said is just a day dream. It’s is their fantasy. G-7 is a colonial, racist and an out dated party on death bed seeking attention by this frivolous statement from disgruntled former OLF members. G-7′s statement is, a statement of a party that is drowned in political sea and trying to catch foam out of it’s political oblivion. Ixoophiyan should always know that, even if we have a little disagreement between ourselves all Oromo people are united against Ixoophiyaa and it’s colonial government in Oromia. We will soon shock Ixoophiyaa’s colonial government and parties by over coming our differences and sharpen our spear for the final blow to this cannibalistic regime in Oromia. You will soon witness when your current euphoria dissipate and Oromo people’s firm and united front against you give you shock and heart attack.

  4. Kush-Kush
    | #4

    Dear sir Robele Ababya you are very noststalgic and trying to tell us the five branched organizations were good at that particular time despite the fact that you distanced yourself from them . To be a member of any organiztion is not wrong ,but to commit a crime is an acceptable . As far as I remember those organizations committed unseen crime and were soacked with the innocent blood of the Ethiopian people. At that particular time as I can remember most people who participated in the movement were the list concerned about their distinct ethinicity . Who was the champion of the ethinicity movement? The other fact is that they were led by Haile Feda even if they prtend they have differences . To me their differnce was closer to none because they reside in the Menlike second palace with the junta military by the name of ” Critical support .” I am the leaving example and I know the ins and the outs of the MESON and I am very bitter and will never reconcile with them . Some one will say for the sake of the Ethiopian unity we have to come together and my answer is to hell with the Ethiopian unity . Those MESON criminals are telling us to unite and defeat this or that . I will say to them you are a fox in the sheep’s skin and stop meddling . The other point I clearly emphasize is if the OLF changed its policy , good for them and that is all. And also if they fractured in to 100 pices , that is good for all Ethiopians and I encourage them to divide themselves in to a million pieces and we will benefit more . That is all . In the end , stop telling us this person was oromo and that person was that . What benefit we gain if we say we belong to the eighty or more ethinics ? My answer is we do not gain even one penny and and stop saying Senay Like was oromo or Kembata . To hell with Senay Like and a good thing is he is dead and I wish all his members die instantaneously . Selam Tena Yistiligne !

  5. Tebeje
    | #5


    The intention of Robele was not to indicate whether politican X was an oromo or not. It was rather to indicate that tribalism was not the agenda of oromo politicians of the time. The maximum demand was for regional autnomy (by meson). Senai like was more of a marxist without regional orientation. The Ichiat (oppressed people) were voicing for the rights of opressed nations and nationalities. But none of these hae the tribalist orientation that the TPLF mantra showed at the time. Mengistu ate them all but behind mengistu were the centralist amhara establishments who did not want to enetrtain the idea of ethnic liberties. Therfore, i one sun all these wanna be organisations were purged. Asafa chabo (Gamo), mekonen Zegeye(Oromo) of Ichiat were thrown in to prison. meison fled and got in the process slaughtered. Once the political space for any sembelance of regional autonomy was effectively closed and EPRP was willing to accept the regional autonomy of eritrea only and was dismissing the others as anti unity, the stage has been set for cessesionism. Here the oromos mentioned like haile fida, mekonene zegeye, etc raised a fair share of the demand for regional autonomy and got hacked for it. The TPLF rejected any kind of unity and got rewarded for it. Robele mentioned the facts of the struggle of oromo politicians which was overwhelmingly pro ethiopian.

  6. Samuel
    | #6

    Kush Kush

    As far as I can tell from your post you are no Kush. Why do you label yourself a Kush when you are not and object the ethnicity of others. MEISON was not my party, but it was better than EPRP, the other elitist organization that is the root cause of the troubles we had in Ethiopia for the last 40 years. I hate the organization from the bottom of my heart. I have some friends that belonged to it and persished unnecessarily. That is the history of EPRP-Death-Kill-Death and Death.

  7. koster
    | #7

    Talk about woyane who is terrorizing and looting at the moment. DERG is gone and it is history. If you do not learn for the last 20 years, please wake up, the longer woyane looters and killers are in power, the damage they cause will be irreversible. Those Oromos who wanted to join their Ethiopian brothers and sisters and fight woyane state terrorism and Meles fascistic torture should be encouraged.

  8. Samuel
    | #8


    I am younger than you are based on your recollection of the late 1970s struggle in Ethiopia and I am an active supporter of OLF for many reasons. I have worked in Ethiopia in different capacities and seen what it meant to be an Oromo. You will not tell me otherwise. Yes, you grew up in Bishoftu (excuse me Nazreth) and may have i different experience than me. The way to solve Ethiopian ethnic problem is not to bash OLF, but to work carefully through the difficulties of issues. You know very well that OLF never advocated for cessation as the only solution for the ethnic inequalties perpertrated by successive Abyssinian rulers, but if all else fail that may be where we are heading. You left Ethiopia long time ago and do not understand the current poltical situation in Oromia. Oromos do not need your advice or ask for it. They will eventually excercise their God-given right to decide their fate. The OPDO military brass that “joined” the OLF do not have any clue of the politics and cannot represent the poltical wing of OLF. If you carefully follow current affairs of Oromo politics you will understand how much their action galvanized the supporters of OLF in objection to their actions. Let us not fool ourselves and the general public. If you truly want to solve the problem face the real poltic and leave these gimmicks aside.

  9. aha!
    | #9

    The whole is equal to te sum of the parts and yet is greated than any of the parts, where the whole represents Ethiopia, where each part of the whole is not complete to exist by itself forver unless one thinks that whole is a consumeble item. Those Ethiopians who upon reflecitve thinking manage to turn their loyality to the tax payers as a whole, those Ethiopians advance/think of their Ethiopiawinet ahead of their ethnicity, with due respect to their citizenship to Ethtiopia irrigardless, as well as those Ethiopians that put Ethiopian interest ahead of their interest may no difficulty in reaching the right decision
    to stand up together for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, where sovereignity of Ethiopians refers to individual freedom, liberty and equality to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights in a non-violent uprising to freedom, from autocratic, ethnocratic rule of minority or majority ethnic rule, without firing a single shot and yet backed by the armed strrugle for freedom and democracy for all Ethiopians, where the government rules by the consent of the governed. To lead such grass root movement, the ploitical the opposition parties need to merge and the liberation movements, Ginbot 7 and EPPF need to merge under the common goals for unity, territorial integrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians in order to save Ethiopia (the whole) from the negative forces of disintegration or to dismanle ethnic fereralism, secessionism and totaliarinism, which are antitheses to capitalism and democracy as well as individual freedom, liberty and equality, supeceding ethnic and secessinist rights as a basis for a new constitution. If the individual right is ahered to the group right is consquential, but not the other way around. What Berhanu Nega, Andargachew Tsigue, Prof. Beyene Petros are advocating for “yekilil mengistat yekulent mebitachew ndikeber”, of which there are seven major ethnic groups and the ethnic federalists (loyalist opposition) parties are offended by matter dictated to them by minority ethnic group, but not ethnic fedralism, reflecting about the “part” rather than on the “whole” as the sum of the parts.

  10. ጉረኞች
    | #10

    Samuel said:
    Lie # 1″I have worked in Ethiopia in different capacities and seen what it meant to be an Oromo.”
    Lie # 2 “Yes, you grew up in Bishoftu (excuse me Nazreth) and may have i different experience than me.”

  11. Olana
    | #11

    Bravo, Obo Robele for your outstanding contributions to advance democracy in Ethiopia. Thanks to the likes of Meles Zenawi, Ethiopians have spent the last 20 years wasting their time in unnecessary ethnic bickering and conflict while the rest of the world uses its precious time in advancing science, technology and economic development. History may move backward sometimes, but never for long. Whether one likes it or not, the regressive ideology of ethnicty is bound to slowly die out.

  12. Birtu/can
    | #12

    I remember reading a story where a Japanese soldier was hold up in a jungle thinking the fight was still raging during the second world war. Imagine his surprise when he emerged from the jungle and found out things have changed for the better.The narrow nationalist oromos are old school, living in the past-unable to extract the communist influence flowing in their blood.They are bitter that the Soviet Union is no more and regret the destruction of the Berlin wall-symbol of divide.Some were involved in the killing of innocent civilians in Bedeno, Woter, Arba Gugu…etc and realize nothing can wash up their sins including collaboration with unity forces. Isaias Afeworki is a living testimony that the so-called secessionist crap is not working. Dictators(few elites) use it as a means to exploit their subjects in the name of freedom. The oromo case is especially touchy because not only oromia covers most of Ethiopia, oromia itself is divided into factions such as Wellega oromo, Shewa oromo, Harrari oromo…etc possibly breaking the land and the people into bits and pieces. What we are witnessing now is one small step for OLF, and one giant leap for Ethiopia. The solution is putting a system where everyone is treated equal. Otherwise, a vicious cycle of bloodshed will continue for generations to come.


  13. yem
    | #13

    Leave the old lazy farts (olf) aside and move ahead to defeat the ethno-fascists. Those who try to build walls between our people are the satanic woyane gujile and their cadres.

    The satanic, sodomite woyane gujile are a curse upon the Ethiopian nation and we should all pray to lift the curse upon our country.

  14. tewbel
    | #14

    why i am i censored evry time i send a message stating that i had
    already sent the message ???
    If you censoring say so !!

  15. true
    | #15

    Awettu Mork smells like Weyane/TPLF. Please OLFs and the rest of Ethiopians, ignore Weyane stooges getting in Ethio blogs trying to divide us. Let us focus on taking them out.

    Long live Ethiopia!

  16. Oda Tulu
    | #16

    Bravo #12 Birtu/Can and #15, true. I agree with both of you entirely.
    Let us address the plight of the Ethiopian masses; nothing will prevent the old OLFites to show remorse and join the rest of the opposition forces to fight brutal TPLF regime in unison.

  17. Bilisabaas
    | #17

    This way or that way, NO genuine Oromo nationalist in a walk of life is far away from the only ONE Kaayyoo-Oromoo of self-determination. Gen. Kamal’s group now explicitly announcing an ‘Internal self-determination’ as its goal is not in principle wrong. The members of this faction do have a God-given right just like the right of Ob. Dhugaasa’s faction persuing its goal of ‘External self-determination’. Of course Ob. Daud’s group being open for both types of Oromo people’s self-determination and stressing a REFERENDUM on the two options is a conciliatory position. The last decision on the issue must be left for the Oromo public at large. I think what angered Oromo nationals, who are now opposing the move of the General is the euphoria and the premature celebration of the Abesha camp. The Abesha elites just tried to hide their own giving-up of the ‘centeralism position’ and their accepting of the ‘language-based federation’, which they vehemently used to oppose. Actually the position now taken by Gen. Kamal’s group is not new for the OLF, but the move of the Abesha camp to this position of accepting the ‘Federal Republic of Ethiopia’ or the Internal self determination of the Oromo people is new. Simply put, the Oromo camp is the one who won in the negotiation between the Kamal’s group and the G-7, it is not at all a victory for Abesha camp. But, interesting is to observe how the criminal cadres of the Gujile are now enjoying the “conflict” and trying to sow more discord in the Oromo liberation bloc! http://gadaa.com/oduu/11583/2011/11/12/oromia-ethiopia-the-oromo-liberation-movement-is-like-a-fighter-jet-shooting-from-its-three-parts/

  18. deriba Gotchu
    | #18

    Hi Folks,
    It is sad our people still carry on about democracy as if it is the solution for all our ills in paricular, abject poverty, poor healthcare, unemplyment, etc. One could argue democracy is the best administrative system we have. If one accepts this argument, it also implies democracy is not perfect either. Why on earth in articles after articles democracy is presented as an ultimate solution to the problems faced by millions back home in order to adequately look after themselves and provide for their young ones. It is a ridiculous proposition to think somehow if we have a democratically elected government all this problems will vanish. Those of us who have the experience of living in the West and has the opportunity of witnesing and participating democratic elections can testify that it is the best system mind you not perfect and ceratainly not the end to all sociteal ills. One man one vote works extremely well in the West because they have vast array of institutions, democratic parties, rules and regulations, independent media and a public which is keenly tuned in and values dearly its rights.
    If it is possible to bring individuals with democratic credentials to power in our country, but what is the gurantee that they will be any different from those who came before them. The answer probably is none.
    If you cover a glass filled with red ink with thick cotton pad, in time red spots will appear on top of the pad as the autocratic nature of indivduals will show in a system where the essentials of democracy are absent. What we need to strife for is to get our priorities right. Focus on getting and establishing the institutions and all the regulations and fight to freeing the media. Above all we need a changed mind set of our entire population along the lines of democratic practices at schools, homes and work places. Achieving the latter is critical to safeguarding democratic practices. No use talking about democracy if we don’t have these ingridients in place at all levels-As shown, this a GENERATIONAL TASK and not something that can be achieved by changing individuals at the top. It is not a short term thing but rather a long term campaign. Effectively this is a call to democratise our society, first.
    Surprised to read a reminder to old so called “intellectuals” of the left. Remember in politics relevance is a key between being a looser and a winner. This is a new generation with different aspirations with scant memory of the cruel destructive needless atrocities of the past which should best be left in the anals of history.

  19. Oda Tulu
    | #19

    #18: No body said democracy is perfect; but it is the better of all other options known in history. There is no hunger in democratic countries governed by law.

  20. true
    | #20

    Deriba Gotchu,

    It so true and well done explaining this. The issue is it maybe hard to bring democracy in nations that have diverse groups and multi cultures such as Ethiopia. One way or the other, one group is most likely to be marginalized so how do we tackle this? Even today Ethiopia has a true democratically elected president, tomorrow another group might pick up arms because it was not fair for their group. Countries such as Ethiopia must first come up with diverse group governing 101. I suggest to elect people based on merit. This merit will be: people with talent in anything, people with compassion and morality, etc, etc, what I mean is people with diverse groups and skills in the governing body rather than based on ethnic groups or religions that leads to resentment and division. The other solution is to look at other nations that have diverse groups, how they are coping and use part of that model. The other is federal system as in Switzerland.

  21. deriba Gotchu
    | #21

    U r welcome.
    It is possible in a country like Ethiopia which is a mosaic of Ethnic groups and languages to attain democratic governance and prosperity.
    Clearly, what we are lacking is a network of well-rooted institutions which can ensure democratic practice from personal to organisational levels. They are critical to help establish deep awareness by our population democracy as a value (I was going to say deep CONSCIOUSNESS-sorry, I’m averse to that language). Add to that an independent press, then we can talk about real achievment in democratic governance. Otherwise we are just posting a wish list and hope some “Hero” will pick it up as persuit and run away with it to the ….Mind you I have my doubts whether attaining these by themselves will bring about a relief from abject poverty so synonimous with us for decades now. Sorry, to be such a pesimist on the matter, I am just trying to be a realist.
    I am not trying to bring the “old School” debate (mind you I do not want to say ARGUMENT) of Politics or Economy, which one comes first much the same as the Chicken or the Egg analogy. My honest view at this juncture is Economic improvements should be supported whenever it happens and it should start somewhere, regardless.
    My only wish is we find some “Hero” which can detach Politics from Economy and let loose the Economy and leave Politics to sort itself out. That is endless debate for the long haul.
    Honestly, let’s leave the stage to the new Generation, less tainted by the past, with little acts to grind. Moreover, despite the sinister acts of divide and rule, there are indications it is taking refuge and renewal in oneness in Ethiopia, and re-discovering Nationalism!!

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