OROMO MOVEMENT FOR FEDERALISM AND ETHIOPIAN UNITY
Familiar Election Season Activities that shouldn’t have been Seasonal
It is only one year remaining for the forthcoming national election; we have already started to see very familiar activities that usually appear at about this stage of the election cycle. Such activities like emissaries of various governments talking to representatives of opposition political groups, leaders of opposition political groups paying visit to various countries and emergence of multiple discussion forums to deliberate presumably on issues that pertain to this same election, so on and so forth. All these activities undoubtedly are not only important and necessary but are to some extent timely too. They are so important that their execution, we believe, should not have been confined solely to that of the election seasons.
On the other hand, having completed the elaboration of its containment policy down to the last detail, Woyanne’s main focus at about this stage usually is manufacturing sensational side issues one after the other so that public’s attention would be diverted from focusing on major concerns of the country to that of concocted trivialities. Likewise, we have already started to see those trivialities being trickled down to the public domain. If it was about “witchcraft” yesterday, today it is about “Kidasse on internet” and tomorrow possibly it would be about “establishment of the country’s naval force at Tekeze’”. Why not? After all, the country’s foreign minister recently conveyed a stern warning against “Somali pirates” driving most of us to wonder how “his government” that committed a treasonous act of making the country land locked could possibly support that bluff with subsequent actions.
Our main concern at present however is not about what we currently witness happening but rather what we failed to see happening. The single most important absence, at least to our knowledge, is the stepping up of mutual consultation and engagement among various opposition political forces. The fact that each strives to solely realize one’s own organizational objective without paying due attention to the larger governing possibility could only lead down the road to a chaotic situation and not to a viable political alternative. It is an objective fact that each has got its own perspective through the prism of which it is looking at the current situation in the country. Besides, be it big or small, each are presumed to have their own respective constituencies the interest of whose social segment they claim to be representing. At the same time, most of opposition political groups are believed to share a very strong anti-woyanne stance that provides them with a solid common ground upon which they can build their shared strategy and tactics.
Holding serious negotiations among various opposition groups that aim at developing a joint political platform that reflects an optimum combination of those diverse interests, in our opinion, is long overdue. The ideal scenario at about this time should have been the clear articulation of a transition modality that is arrived at through a thoroughly conducted negotiation among various groups of opposition forces. As for us, we see no alternative to such a concerted move. Besides, we would still like to reiterate that unless we manage to establish such a nucleus within the soonest time possible, it is difficult to believe that opposition forces are seriously providing our people with any meaningful practical alternative. For the successful realization of such a lofty objective, some may be required to address in-house challenges first like the tendency towards fragmentation we regrettably witnessed around OLF. We see no reason why some may not be able to transcend the hitherto existing minor differences and come together especially in the face of the currently prevalent troubling situation in the country. In fact, they ought to have long understood that the petty differences they are obsessed with are so trivial to merit any attention this time let alone leading to the squandering of whatever political capital this organization has built over the course of so many years.
Our emphasis on such a collaborative effort however does not mean that we underestimate the significance of those familiar activities we mentioned herein before. In fact, remarkable achievements have already been scored through the medium of those engagements by a group of opposition leaders that operate inside the country. These leaders, during their engagement with the representatives of the Netherlands government, publicly humiliated and tossed out the representative of UEDP-Medhin, an organization everyone in the country knows to be an appendage of Woyanne, from among their rank as opposition group. This is truly a remarkable achievement that unbelievably has a long term impact on other subsequent manipulations intended to be staged by Woyanne.
UEDP-Medhin being measured to its proper size and texture publically henceforth has got only itself to fool around by impersonating opposition political forces. The place it belongs clearly designated now, it can freely proceed with its intended course of self-deception by continuing to preside over Woyanne organized public gatherings as its own. Like it is for every other stunt actors, this particular group of political stunts seems destined to shoulder all too demanding tasks on behalf of Woyanne. The only difference being, political stunts toil at the forefront for the ultimate benefit of the back stage manipulators while in the film industry they constitute an essential part of the whole.
If things go as planned, our sources indicate, UEDP-Medhin is poised to be declared as “opposition party” that scored a significant gain only next to Woyanne in the forthcoming election. Then, of course, updates on the negotiations to be held with this “opposition party” on the possibilities of forming a “coalition government” will be orchestrated and released in a carefully measured way. The final measure will be announced with big fanfare thus paving the way for portion of Woyannes to come through the other door to join their fellow Woyannes, UEDP-Medhin acting as no more than “seltun agafari”. We couldn’t wish them any different.
We welcome and wholeheartedly support the holding or organizing of different discussion forums as we strongly believe that the kind of understanding we yearned for our politicians earlier could only be achieved through such engagement. Such discussion forums however in as much as they are expected to promote understanding, unless we handle them prudently, could also end up being the venue for sowing discord among people or derailing the issue from its proper track though the intention of the organizers at any rate may be far from that.
We consider such formulation of discussion topic like “How conducive is the political climate to hold a free and fair election” to be more helpful and engaging than say such a formulation like “peaceful or armed struggle”. Our reason is plain and simple. The latter one derails the focus of political discourse by putting primacy on methods of struggle before we are able to clearly articulate the very cause we need to struggle for in the first place. The former approach encourages free and open discussions while the latter one deters people from freely expressing their views. Besides, The latter kind of issue formulation tends to wrongly associate or attach “peaceful” with the group in power while depicts the others as may be pondering over to opt for “armed struggle” thus blurring the real picture one could get if one focuses on the objective assessment of the current situation in the country. The objective assessment of the current situation in the country, unlike what such a formulation suggests, places those mentioned forces in a diametrically opposite domain. Most of our people have rightly started to wonder whether ascending to power through armed struggle makes one susceptible to try to govern the country through that very means. Hence, the question of “armed struggle” may pertain more to Woyanne at present than it is for any other group as it seems engaged in a kind of “permanent armed struggle”.
It is an open secret that the will of the people expressed during 2007 election had been forcefully robbed by Woyanne through merciless slaughtering of civilians and ruthless repression it had waged against the entire population. Since then, its prime engagement had been to further narrow the already contracted democratic space by promulgating restrictive legal regimes in matters pertaining to election commission, press freedom, civil society and NGO operation and so on and so forth.
More than and above all these, the despicable measure Woyanne took to bring the army under the command of senior officers coming from a single region clearly attests to a kind of troubling situation we are talking about. During the preceding election, hospital sources had relatively been accessible to let us know the magnitude of the massacre perpetrated by Woyanne on innocent civilians. As part of its containment policy prepared for the forthcoming election, the only autopsy unit in the country has been put under police force so that even the magnitude of the planned massacre may not be known any longer. Those are the troubling areas that we believe pose a serious threat not only to the democratization of the political system but also to the very well being of the country and that is exactly the discussion area where we most expect our learned citizens to weigh in with their wealth of knowledge and experience to try to save their country from what appears to be an impending catastrophe.