We are excited to announce the launch of our new feature, “View Points” — a roundup of opinions from experts, officials, journalists, professors, and students on current issues in Ethiopia. This inauguration feature focuses on the role Oromo should play in Ethiopia’s politics.
On a conference organized by the National Endowment for Democracy and the Woodrow Wilson Center on democratization in Ethiopia, Professor Terrence Lyons of George Mason University, a frequent commentator and researcher on Ethiopia and Horn affairs, was asked what Ethiopia would look like in 2020. Dr. Lyons did not have to look into the crystal ball for an answer: he was quoted saying, If I knew what the Oromo would do between now and then, I would offer a clearer prediction.
Few would disagree with Lyons that the Oromo hold a stump key to Ethiopia’s future.
So far, attempts of the Oromo to wrest the reins of power away from the Tigreans who assumed it on account of their military superiority, from within the ruling party through the OPDO, using the political system through the efforts of Marara’s ONC and Bulcha’s OFDM in the ballot box, and from without through OLF with arms and subversion, have all come to naught. As a consequence, the great potentials of the Oromo have remained what it has always been: just a potential.
How would the Oromo throw off the lethargy? What vision would enable the Oromo to turn possibilities into reality? How would/should the Oromo behave differently this time than it did during the last two decades?
In search of answers to these perennial questions, OPride turned to Oromo leaders and experts.