January 19th, 2012 Print Print Email Email

In a January 1, 2012 press release, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) declared that it has “effectively amended” it’s political program and will now work with all pro-democracy forces to fight for a free, united and democratic Ethiopia.

Its “amended” political program, issued at the same time and posted on its website, declares that one of the “goals of the political struggle of the Oromo people” is to form a “New Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia that will be established by the consent of its peoples based on principles of democracy, equality, freedom, liberty, justice and rule of law.” The new program also stipulates that OLF’s new vision, its principal “responsibility” and political agenda, is “to lead all forms of struggle to dismantle the fascist rule of the TPLF regime to enable the peoples in Ethiopia to form a new union based on democracy and rule of law for all of its citizens.”

(Emphasis added.) Through these declarations, the OLF has essentially disavowed any secessionist agenda that it has long been alleged to be espousing and has declared its readiness to join hands with all pro-democratic forces for a free, united and democratic Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian National Congress (ENC), a world-wide civil society organization which, since its inception 15 years ago, has been steadfastly advocating for and attempting to facilitate unity formation activities among all of Ethiopia’s pro-democracy forces, welcomes and applauds this action by the OLF. The ENC has always believed that it would be impossible to forge a stable, united, and prosperous Ethiopia without a democratic governance arrangement that genuinely embraces and serves the interests of all its peoples.

This has been and remains one of ENC’s core beliefs and guiding principles. Indeed, it was with this conviction that, during a two-year period in 2002 and 2003, the ENC was engaged in a protracted effort to bring together the leadership of the OLF with those of other political parties and organizations. There were times that our efforts appeared to be succeeding but such unity had proven to be elusive until now.

The ENC believes that this January 1, 2012 action by the OLF is a wise, bold and courageous action that should be embraced by all democratic and unity-minded Ethiopians. For it is an action which has the potential of dramatically changing the balance of forces in favor of our people’s struggle for a free, democratic, and united Ethiopia. When everything is said and done, it is the broad masses of the Oromo people – and the rest of the Ethiopian people – who will ultimately benefit from the successful pursuit of this new vision and course of action.

Meles Zenawi and his minority clique, which has successfully mastered and used the strategy of divide-and-conquer as the sin qua non for its 20-year long grip of dictatorial power, will no doubt ridicule this move by the OLF as one more futile and manipulative attempt by a divided and weakened “terrorist” group. Even some democratic circles will remain skeptical and suspicious about the “true intentions” behind this “change of mind.” Even more importantly, there will surely be factions within the OLF itself and other forces within Oromo society, both at home and abroad, who will oppose and work steadfastly to reverse this action. This is understandable and to be expected. Our hope — and pleading — is that these forces will be genuinely guided by the true and long-term interests of the Oromo people. We are confident that, if they do, they will ultimately see the wisdom – and transformative value – of OLF’s embrace of democracy and the need for a united struggle to free all Ethiopia’s people from the yoke of dictatorial rule by a minority clique.

This move by the OLF should also be embraced by the international community and especially by those legitimately concerned by the spread of terrorist activities in the Horn of Arica. The only sure way of ultimately containing terrorism in the region is to embrace the democratic aspirations of the people by supporting democratic governance and the rule of law. OLF’s embrace of democracy and determination to work with Ethiopia’s democratic forces to get rid of the minority dictatorship now in power, if allowed to succeed, will guarantee the evolution of genuine and sustainable democracies in the region.

JANUARY 18, 2012

  1. Oda Tulu
    | #1

    Outstanding Press Release! Thank you ENC.

  2. tewbel
    | #2

    What does this mean? Are we going back to the old adagio of offuscating issues. I think that this nullifies all the verbage of the declaration.

    3. To facilitate the rights of self determination of the Oromo people, other peoples and individuals in Ethiopia.

    Why not say simply that “they will abrogate Article 39 of the present constitution ????
    I wonder if ENC is clear on the implications of this statement

  3. Lemlem
    | #3

    ሠርጉ ሣይደገሥ እምቢልታ አትንፉ፣ ከቨሮም አትምቱ!
    “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Abraham Lincoln
    የዚህ ጽሁፍ ዋና ግቮች ሁለት ናቸው፣ 1ኞ) “የኦረሞ ነጻ አውጭ” ድርጅት በቅርቩ አስተሳሰቬን
    ሳይሆን የፖለቲካ አቅዴን ለውጫለሁ ( OLF_National_Council_Press_Release_final.pdf
    18K View Downlad ) ብሎ በወሪ መዝሬያው ስላስተላለፈ እልልታ እያስተጋቡ ላሉ ኤትዮጵያውያን ለጥያቂየ መልስ ለማግኘት፣ 2ኛ) እንደ አንድ ኢትዮጵያዊ በተቨተነው ወሬ ላይ አስተያየቴን ለመሰንዘር ነው::

    በአለፉት 40 ዓመታት በኢትዮጵያ ለደረሰው ሰቆቃ ተጠያቂወቹ እና ተጠቃሚወቹ እነማን እንደሆኑ የኢትዮጵያ ሕዝቭ መገንዘቩን በ 2005 ዓ.ም. በግልጽ አሳይቷል:: በተጨማሪም ሰቆቃ ያደረሱ ሰወችም አንድ አንዶቹ ነፍሴን ላውጣ በማለት አገር ሲለቁ ሌሎቹ ሥልጣን ላይ ሆነው ተራውን ኢትዮጵያዊ አትተንፍስ፣ አትናገር፣በምሄድበትም መንገድ አትቁም፣ …ወዘተ፣ በማለት ይገኛሉ:: ለማለታቸውም ምሥካሪው በኢትዮጵያ የሚገኘው እሥር ቤት ሁሉ ነው::

    ይህ እንዳለ ሆኖ ጥያቄየ እውነት “የኦረሞ ነጻ አውጭ” ድርጅት ለመላው ኢትዮጵያዊ ዜጎች ፍትህ ለማምጣት የሚወድቁ እና የሚቃኑ፣ በመታገልም መሪ ለመሆን ፍላጎታቸው ከሆነ፣ ለምንድን ነው በተጨባጭ ላይ ያለውን አቋማቸውን በእልልታ የሚቀበሉ ኢትዮጵያውያን ይኖራሉ በማለት “የምሥራች” ወሪ ሲያስተጋቡ፣ የባእድ ቋንቋን – እንግሊዘኛን እና አረቭኛን ሲጠቀሙ የአማርኛን ቋንቋ አቭረው ያልተጠቀሙት? እንግሊዘኛ፣ አረቭኛ፣ ወይም የኦሮምኛን ቋንቋ ኢትዮጵያውያን መናገር ጠልተው ሳይሆን፣ ቋንቋወቹን መናገር ስለማይችሉ መሆኑን አልተገነዘቩ ይሆን? ቋንቋ የንግድና የባሕል መገናኛ እና የቁሳቁስ መለዋወጫ እንጅ፣ የጎሣ መቀስቀሻ መሆኑን ለማስተዳደር እጩ እሆናለሁ የሚለው ሁሉ ሊገነዘቩት ይገባል::

    ለማጠቃለል፣ ለተበተነው የፖለቲካ አቅዴን ለውጫለሁ ለሚለው የኔን አመለካከት የቀድሞው የአሜሪካ መሪ አባባል በደንብ ይገልጥልኛል፣ ጥቅሱም መልኩን ሳልቀይር እንዲህ ይላል፣ “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan…, March 4, 1865 Inaugural Address” by Abraham Lincoln.

    ሥደምደምም፣ ሠርጉ ሣይደገሥ እምቢልታ አትንፉ፣ ከቨሮም አትምቱ! እላለሁ:: በተጻፈው ላይም አስተያየት ለመሰንዘር ለሚፈልጉ መስመሩ ይህ ነው ltsegaw@gmail.com (ለመላክ ይችላሉ)::
    ለምለም ጸጋው፣
    በአሜሪካ፣ January 5, 2012

  4. deriba Gotchu
    | #4

    Hi Folks,
    It is sad our people still carry on about democracy as if it is the solution for all our ills in paricular, in tackling abject poverty, poor healthcare, unemplyment, etc. One could rationalise democracy is the best administrative system available. If one accepts this, it is also implicit democracy is not perfect either. Why on earth articles after articles present democracy to be an ultimate solution to the multitude of problems faced by millions back home specifically, in the fight 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 these problems will vanish, never to be experienced again.
    Those of us who have lived in the West and have had the opportunity and experience to participate in elections and witness democracy in action can testify that democracy indeed is the best system available, but mind you never was the perfect one and ceratainly not the means by itself to end all societal ills. One man one vote works extremely well in the West because they have a vast array of institutions, DEMOCRATIC parties, rules and regulations, independent media and a public which is keenly tuned in and dearly values 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 cotton pad, in time red spots will appear on top of the pad as the autocratic nature of indivduals will show up in a system where these essentials of democracy are absent. We don’t need a LOT OF CONVINCING to accept the fact that we all are the sons and daughters of an autocratic society regrdless of our ethnicity. It is fair and an honest thing to say that there is a bit of that trait in all of us.
    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 Homes, SCHOOLS and WORK PLACES. Achieving such a value is critical to safeguarding democratic practices. No use talking about democracy if we don’t have these ingridients in place at length and breadth of our country-As shown, this a GENERATIONAL TASK and not something that can be achieved by shifting individuals at the top. It is not a short term thing-get ready, but rather a campaign for the long haul. Effectively this is a call to democratise our society, first.

  5. astra
    | #5

    This is an opportunistic stand by ENC.If it believes in democracy,supporting INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS is the most universal yardstick. ALL shady organizations are now scrambling to join the Weyane/TPLF creation of “group right” shady “kilil ideology” and its advocates, believing that the TPLF is about to open a “political space” to bring in the HODAMS. However, they and their ilk will be exposed and the Ethiopian people will triumph! ENC is engaged in cheap Diaspora politics, which has no resonance with the Ethiopian people,and their demand for a lasting and TRUE DEMOCRACY

  6. aha!
    | #6

    I will comment on this hoopla of OLF face lift of the old members of TPLF/eprdf regime, which took off to to ethnic secessionist movement, instead of governing Ethiopia with a coalition of liberation movents, stemming from opration of natins and nationalites, which created ethnic fedralism, secessionism and totalirinism as its three prong political ideology that does not lend itself to individual freedom as Astra put it, nor to capitalism and democracy to the silent, silenced but not silent majority of Ethiopians. Astra’s assertion has alluded most of the oppostion parties of the prodemocracy movements, including UDJP and now ENC,a civil organization to focus on individual freedom, liberty and equality to supercede ethnic and secessionist rights, knowing if the individual right is respected the group right follows through inadvertentely, instead of pandering to the teletafi (ethnic fedralist) parties and the loyalist (ethnic federalist) parties, which directly and indirectely support ethnic fedralism and secessionism, and totaliarinism, a prelude to secessionism and future border conflicts among the seven ethnic groups, eight including Eritre, which is the living example. What OLF need to do is abandon ethnic secessionist right and merge with the factions with national agenda for unity, territorial inegrity, sovereignity of Ethiopia and Ethiopians, to bring about individual freedom, liberty and equality, to restore Ethiopian nationalism, Ethiopian natioanal interests and the sovereignity of Ethiopia in a non-violent uprising to freedom to which the armed struggle will on a standby to reinforce the struggle from within Ethiopian proper.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    Well said-What we need is a straight talker-No good dancing around the truth. Good to know the far-sighted won on the day and were able to see secessionism was a cowardly adventure which was a recepie for endless chaos. That is not what one wishes on poor people one is supposedly on whom behalf one is claiming to be working
    As they say, the proof is in the puding. Drop all those misconceptions. Get real and be honest to yourself. WE ARE MANY, but, WE ARE ONE!!

  8. SomethingFishy?
    | #8

    General Kemal Gelchu and his army do not control one square meter of Ethiopian territory. What is General Kemal Gelchu’s credential for leadership, isn’t he and his army practically prisoners in Eritrea?

    Kemal Gelchu’s request for travel permits outside Eritrea has been refused by the Eritrean government until now. Something smells fishy here, why is Kemal Gelchu allowed to travel now?

    The unity supporting diaspora camp and the Oromo nationalists were slowly but surely and painstakingly drawing closer towards each other until now that is. Isn’t this is a potential threat in the making for somebody?

    If somebody wanted to neutralize the above threat, what would he/they do? Wouldn’t it be very natural to make an attempt at short circuiting the arduous reconciliation process by providing a managed quick fix of one’s own?

    What has happened now is that the real Oromo nationalists and the unity supporting diaspora are as far apart as they have ever been in decades. Who could be benefiting from this debacle?

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