OLF - A bold move!

By Robele Ababya / January 5, 2011
It was like I was hit by a thunderbolt when I heard the long yearned news that the OLF has reversed and discarded its secessionist policy at last affirming its commitment to the unity of Ethiopia and vowing to fully participate in coordinated struggles to stem tyranny in Ethiopia. I was numb for a moment and then held my breath thinking what to do. It dawned on me that I should share the stunning news with my colleagues, which I did. My friends and I unanimously agreed it was a historic moment of vital paradigm shift in view of our long held belief given that the Oromos were one of the first ethnic groups of the culturally diverse Ethiopian people from time immemorial.

With that holy act of courage the new leaders of OLF have come to the fold of the majority of heroic Oromo Ethiopians with a proud history of gallantry. These leaders have bravely detached themselves from the iron grip of Isaias Afeworqi’s ruthless regime condemned by the United Nations for colluding with and helping the Al Shabab – a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda bent on destabilizing the region.

Salient points in the Press Release of 01 January 2012

In my opinion the following points captured in the Press Release appear convincing albeit, as it were, the devil is in the details that may emerge during implementation process:-

  • Focus “on the timely demand of working with other democratic forces in forming the new Ethiopia that will guarantee and protect the fundamental rights of all peoples in Ethiopia;
  • New social contract will & should be based on the free will and consent of all peoples in Ethiopia. The previous style that claims “I know for you” should be abolished and replaced with a new vision that is based on peoples’ consent and free will”;
  • Effective amendment to the OLF political program “to fulfill this vision and play crucial roles, not only for the Oromo people, but for all Ethiopian people” with effect from 01 January 2012.
  • Acceptance of “ the new federal democratic republic of Ethiopia that will work for the betterment of all of its citizens, neighboring countries and international communities”;
  • Pledge to “respect and honor all decisions the Ethiopian people will make using their right of self-determination”.

I wholly subscribe to the last paragraph of the Press Release by the new-OLF in particular which states: “The OLF National Council also appeals to International Community to stop supporting the dictatorship of Meles Zenewi’s regime that has engaged in terrorizing the Ethiopian people, selling the precious resources of the country to the highest bidders, and the government that does not respect the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law.”

Inevitable uprising

Starting from the Imperial regime, there were rampant examples of popular uprisings, insurrection, insurgency, mutiny within the armed forces, workers’ strikes, opposition especially by peasants against unfair land taxation and bad governance, corruption, and social injustice. The stolen Election of 2005 had shown that millions could come to the streets of major cities in support of change to a democratic order. The call for bloodless change in the 1974 revolution rallied the Ethiopian people to the noble call, but which did not last long due to Marxist-Leninist elites of the time insisting that there is no change without bloodshed and using the Derg to do the dirty job of executing rivals.

Now that the new OLF has bravely resolved to reverse its secessionist policy and pledged to work with other opposition forces to bring an end to tyranny, it is a simple matter to call a coordinated nationwide civil disobedience and defeat the repressive TPLF minority mercenary regime, which has been humiliating Ethiopians for the last 20 years with the massive and immoral financial, material and military training support of some western donors.

Alliance for Freedom & Democracy (AFD)

In my article dated June 16, 2006 posted on Ethiomedia.com website, I was enthused to state “The birth of the AFD is to me a most welcome development in that it has already opened a formidable forum for dialogue on issues that are indispensably vital to the fate of Ethiopia in the face of the destructive policy of the repressive regime of Meles Zenawi during his misrule of the last 15 years. The fact that opposition forces with seemingly irreconcilable ideology and modus operandi to defeat the enemy have come together to formally create the Alliance is a laudable achievement by itself.” But my enthusiasm was dashed by the well-known saboteurs. I am sure they will not succeed this time no matter how much they try because their foul diatribe can be detected from afar and dealt with instantly.

Closing remarks

I have always blamed the Amharas and Oromos for not taking advantage of their overwhelming numerical majority to work together to bring sanity to the wayward political madness causing havoc in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region. This was never meant to be that minor ethnic groups and individuals should be disadvantaged in terms of their rights to freedom, liberty, prosperity, dignity, equality, social justice all of achieved can be achieved if and only if such rights are assured to the basic building block of that society, namely the individual. In the pursuit of the aforementioned universal values, the active participation of individuals in their right to vote is imperative for as the former Chief Justice of the USA, Earl Warren said, voter apathy would kill democracy. So it is my ardent belief that power for serving the voters can be won through “one-person, one-vote” principle; for individuals and minority ethnic groups, there is nothing to fear in a democratic state governed by law underpinned by moral imperatives derived from Holy Scriptures of Christian, Islamic and Judaic faiths that have lived in Ethiopia in mutual respect for centuries.

Zenwai must not be allowed to play his divide and rule trump card!

 "Unless we acknowledge that Ethiopia is under a mercenary rule, we will remain vulnerable to the machinations of Meles, and unity among opposition groups may remain elusive because they mistake him for a Tigrian from Adua, and hence an Ethiopian dictator, which is profoundly wrong." Abraha Belai, Ethiomedia Editor
In my opinion, the new OLF leadership should do more to earn the trust, respect and admiration of the Ethiopian people. It should keep in mind the unique reality that the majority of the Ethiopian people comprise children born of mixed ethnic parentage; true love crosses the ethnic divide.

Ethiopians should at least strongly suspect that Isaias Afeworqui and Meles Zenawi are still buddies ”keeping their tents apart but their hearts together” as the old adage goes. These two despotic rulers must be dethroned by their respective oppressed peoples for the sake of regional stability, tranquility, democracy and prosperity.

The political program of the new OLF has kicked- in an era of civilized dialogue widening the scope of cooperation among independent civil societies and opposition political forces. In that scenario, I envision the debut of an oasis of peace and stability in Ethiopia and her environ. I also expect the acronym OLF to be dropped in time because the burning agenda henceforth is to liberate Ethiopia from the iron grip of the brutal Stalinist regime of Meles Zenawi.

The first order of business for all genuine Ethiopian democrats is to intensify the struggle for the immediate and unconditional release of all political 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.