Opinion

Unitarists “Article 39″ to Dismantle Oromia


By Fayyis Oromia

Simply put, Wayane’s Article 39 is ye Amhara masferariya (scare tactics) and ye Oromo mataleya (deception tool) as well as ye Tigre dibiq-tesfa (hidden agenda).

It is clear that the chief advocate of Article 39 in the current Ethiopian Constitution is the TPLF regime that is ruling Ethiopia. To begin with, the TPLF regime put the Article in the constitution as a guarantee for an option to push for the independence of Tigray in case it loses power in Finfinne palace. It was never meant to secure the right of other nations for this would be practically impossible for as long as Wayane in power. A case in point is the revision of the decision made by Somali Regional Parliament for national self-determination in 1995, which was the main precursor for the ongoing conflict between ONLF and the current regime.

Ogadenis were denied the right to self-determination, which is theoretically guaranteed as a constitutional right. Since then, the ONLF has been fighting against Ethiopian government for national self-determination of Ogadenia, which it could have achieved constitutionally. This shows why the Article has no value for other oppressed nations other than for Tigre’s.

I once heard a very interesting interview given by Abadula Gamada in Wayane’s “political civility” forum. He described and elaborated the Article 39 of Ethiopian constitution as follows, “if you close a door on a group of people in a certain house and tell them to be united and live together, surely they will break a door and windows to get out of the house. But if you open the door and tell them to be united, surely they will live together.” So, we can clearly see how the Article is the best mataleya (deception tool) wickedly designed against the Oromo liberation movement for the intention of the Article, according to him, was not the liberation of oppressed nations, but keeping them together under Wayane’s subjugation by using political manipulation.

He also said that the Article was good to take action of separation when certain “Nefxenya” organization like Kinijit “siqebx ketayee ina kasega.” This seems to be also the step taken as the best masferareya (scare tactics) against Amhara elites. Is it not interesting to hear especially for our “fool” Amhara elites and Oromo elites, who still couldn’t come together in order to find a common ground and to fight together the common enemy, which are the worst fascist and looters that the empire had ever seen?

According to Abadula, simply put, Wayane’s Article 39 is ye Amhara masferariya and ye Oromo mataleya as well as ye Tigre dibiq-tesfa (hidden agenda) to be implemented incase the Wayane ruling elites accumulated enough wealth to allow Tigray split from Ethiopia voluntarily or in a situation where they would be compelled to leave Finfinne palace by force.

On the one hand, the Article is accused specially by Unitarist Amhara forces for its alleged “intention” to tear Ethiopia apart. That can be and is why most pro-unity forces reject the article and even some Oromos support the opposition against the Article. But we should ask what the intentions of the Unitarist forces (mainly Amharas) are when opposing the Article?

Surprisingly, Amhara parties like AEUP, EDP, EDUM, EPPF, EPRP, G7M and UDJ that accuse Wayane for dismembering Ethiopia got their own “Article 39?, which they want to use to dismantle Oromia. Their Article is stated in their respective party programmes as follows: “establishing a federal system based on historical and cultural ties, language and geographic characteristics, administrative suitability and potential for development. It opposes administrative divisions based on ethnicity and language.”

With this Article, their primary intention is to dismantle the biggest state in the empire, Oromia, and then to build mini-Oromo federal states like Borana, Arsi, Hararge, and Wellega….etc. This attitude of all unitarist parties will prove to be one of the main obstacles for the formation of a durable alliance between Amhara forces and Oromo fronts, if ever they win. To no one’s surprise, there is no single Amhara party which accepts and respects “ethnic” federation and/or self-determination, except the puppet of Wayane, ANDM. That is why, the opposition against fascist Wayane is now basically divided in to two blocs:

a)       Bloc of the language-based federalists, which include parties like ATSD, OFDM, OPC, SDFC, SEDC, OLF, ONLF and SLF- these groups want to have as the minimum compromise solution for the current problem of the empire, the autonomous national areas such as Oromia, Ogaden Tigray, Amhara…etc

b)      Bloc of the geography-based federalists, all being Amhara parties as listed above and they want to forge a federal Ethiopia based only on geographical suitability. With that they target specially Oromia, which they intend to divide into pieces.

Fortunately, neither Wayane’s nor unitarists Article 39 can stop Oromos from struggling and achieving Oromian independence within Ethiopian/African union, which is the best compromise solution for all oppressed nations in the empire as well in the continent. But unfortunately, the Article of the Unitarists is an obstacle for the formation of a necessary tactical and strategic alliance between Amhara elites and Oromo elites against sewu-bella fascist regime.

Even if the unitarists give up their “Article 39?, Oromo people in general, and  the OLF in particular, needs to build a necessary trust to make an alliance with habesha groups for the goodhearted Oromos have already been repeatedly betrayed (at least three times) in the not far dated political history of that empire.

a)       in 1977 as General Teferi Benti was executed by KGB and Habesha forces, all “socialist” habeshas who used to make alliance with Oromos in Meison and Ichat started to mock the “Ga*llas” and campaigned against self-determination of nations on which they used to agree. That was one of the reasons why most Oromos in Meison and Ichat left the “peaceful” struggle and join OLF.

b)      in 1992 Wayane betrayed OLF which joined the coalition transitional government to build a democratic and united Ethiopia in which Oromos’ rights are respected. But Wayane pushed OLF out of the coalition and crashed its army with the help of EPLF, CIA and other western nations, so that OLF had no choice but abandon the “legal” status and opt for armed struggle.

c)       in 2007 Amhara’s CUD and EPPF which made an alliance AFD betrayed OLF as Wayane started to persecute Oromos in Somalia during the invasion and later they declared not to stay being part of the alliance they made with OLF.

The new alliance formed recently (2009) in the form of MEDREK is yet to be tested. Even though Oromo parties have given in and given up to make a compromise on the God-given rights of Oromo nation to self-determination, mark my words, it will be again Abyssinians who will betray the goodhearted Oromos and give up the alliance in this forum. OFDM and OPC should have been very careful in the MEDREK alliance they forged with Habesha groups, not to give up the cause of Oromos.

These two Oromo parties should insist either to have a consensus on the goal to forge independent Oromia within Ethiopian union or they needed to agree on going for a referendum and allow for the Oromo public decide on the issue. The choice therefore is between autonomy within a union Vs. independence without a union. Furthermore, some Amhara parties in Diaspora like G-7 now are trying to implement the same procedures in forging alliance with liberation fronts like OLF and ONLF. I always advocated against the idea of OLF entering into alliance with such groups.

Now it seems that Oromos in MEDREK have given up the notion of Oromian self-determination and gave into the wish of habeshas for unconditional Ethiopian unity. That is part of the hitherto history of Oromos, always intrigued and cheated by Abyssinians. But now let us look forward by learning from the past, never to be disadvantaged again, and not looking backward for the sake of only resentment. We should never give in or give up, but we need to push forward till habeshas swallow the bitter pill of accepting Oromo’s right to self-determination. To be effective, I wish that Oromo, Ogaden, Afar, Gambella, Benishangul, Sidama and other oppressed nations forces forge and remain in an alliance to neutralize the domination effort of habeshas.

I once read on Awude, Amharic newsletter, where UDJ explicitly said that it was vehemently against “ethnic federalism.” How on earth could this party then make an alliance with OFDM, OPC, Arena…etc? is it UDJ or the others which should give in? Now it seems others have given in to the wish of UDJ to keep the empire unconditionally with euphemism of unity and sovereignty. But surely, this alliance will not last long for Oromos will never give up till we achieve our self-determination. This makes the alliance very shaky. All Amhara parties are persistent not to give up their “Article 39? which they formulated for dismantling Oromia. Then why on earth do they cry about Article 39 of “ethnic” federalists? Wayane will have the upper hand by playing geography-based federalist Amharas against language-based federalist others.

Let’s not dream, unless Unitarists give up their “article 39”, Wayane will rule Ethiopia for the coming one century. Geography-based federalism is not the will of Oromo nation and others, except being that of Amhara elites, who do continuously advocate for it, because they know the advantage they get based on the fact that Amharic being the working language of the federation. Suppose Afaan Oromo is the only working language of the federation instead of Amharic. Who will then favor geography-based federation? It will be Oromos, not Amharas. Clearly every nation favors what is to its advantage.

Now geography-based federation is more advantageous for Amharas, because it favors Amharanization. Oromo and other ethnic groups favor language-based federation for it protects us from Amharanization. If Amharas do agree to accept Afaan Oromo instead of Amharic as a federal language, Oromos will be the best advocates of the geography-based federation. I am not talking here about making both Afaan Oromo and Amharic working languages of the federation as UDJ and co suggested.

With this maneuver Amharas want to make Amharic the working language of all regions including Oromia, a privilege which they do not have now. I suggest limiting Amharic to only Amhara region and making Afaan Oromo the only NATIONAL language of Ethiopia. I am sure Amharas will then be supporters of language-based federalism, while Oromos will be the best advocates for geography-based federation!

That means, one way of persuading Amhara parties to respect the right of nations to self-determination is by challenging them with this idea of exchanging the role of the two languages. If they want to apply their “Article 39? and if Oromia has to be dismantled, then as a precondition, Afaan Oromo should be the only working language of the federation, Amharic will be demoted to local language. Once that is achieved, Oromos will not cry about the possible dismantling of Oromia, rather will sing about a united and sovereign Ethiopia with only Afaan Oromo as a federal language.

Last but not least, to be sure that Oromia will not be dismantled, I suggest that all Amhara parties, which have “Article 39? of their own and intend to dismantle Oromia should not be run election campaigns of any form inside Oromia. A law must be fostered by Caffee Oromia to make such parties illegal in Oromia.

 *Edited by Oromsis* (not for content)

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