By Kasembeli Albert | The African Executive
It has never known political stability after the colonial conquest and subjugation by Abyssinia. It has never enjoyed real prosperity in spite of being one of the richest nations in natural resources in the horn of Africa with a population estimated at 33 million.
It is Africa’s longest political conflict that appears to have been forgotten by the international community including IGAD and Africa Union among others. It has won the unenviable accolade of being the cradle of the world’s largest forced mass movement from one country in modern African history, namely the current exodus from Ethiopia. Welcome to Oromia, the country of the Oromo people (375,000 square miles).
In the last four decades, the Horn of Africa, with Ethiopia as an epicenter, has experienced an unprecedented wave of refugee flows, resulting in large concentrations of displaced persons. Nearly all these displaced persons are from Ethiopia. Today there are an estimated over 10 million refugees originating from Ethiopia, second only to those from Afghanistan and Iraq put together.
The influx of Ethiopians fleeing their country to Kenya has always hit headlines in the local and internal press. Ironically, most are apprehended by Kenyan authorities and handed back to the Ethiopian authorities or locked up in Kenyan prisons. Some of the refugees are said to be on transit to South Africa.
The Oromo Liberation Front has for decades been embroiled in a protracted war for the liberation of the Oromia. The most striking aspect to political pundits and academics is the manner in which the international community has accorded the conflict a blind eye, and regional governments, IGAD and AU cannot explain why Ethiopians are fleeing their country in droves.
Who will save the Oromo people from institutionalized oppression and blatant abuse of basic human rights by the Addis Ababa government? What is the IGAD and the Africa Union doing to resolve the conflict? The 140 years of continuous acts of cultural genocide by successive Ethiopian regimes is a remarkable testimony to the resilience of the Oromo cultural values and democratic heritage.
Even as the international community remain silent in the face of the conflict that has claimed lives of millions of people, it is important to note that as a geo-cultural bridge between Europe, Africa and Asia, the Horn of Africa has always been embroiled in some world-historic events, since the times of the Roman empire. The Horn remains important in security considerations of the Middle East and the increasingly competitive global economy.
It is important to observe that the current Ethiopian regime is being sustained in power by foreign western powers for imperialistic reasons. Take the case of the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), also known as Wayyane, which was promoted in 1991 by foreign governments, particularly that of the US, to fill the power vacuum created by the downfall of the Dergue regime. As expected, this led to replacement of the Amhara regime by a Tigrean power as was evident to those familiar with the Ethiopian political landscape.
– Full Story (The African Executive)