Continued from Part II (Read Here)
On Changing the OLF Political program
No serious observer of the Oromo people and their struggle for liberation over the last twenty years would doubt their abiding love and support for the OLF. That much, I argue, is beyond dispute. One cannot find a stronger evidence of the truth of this statement than pointing to the fact that the Oromo people stuck with it over the last twenty years even when it is at its weakest. Even Melles Zenawi, the arch enemy of the OLF, is said to have quipped “if you scratch every Oromo, you will expose the OLF in them” or something to that effect. This quip is one of the most telling testaments of Oromo love for the OLF.
So, why is it that the Oromo people love this organization so much and refuse to abandon it even when it seems weak and ineffective? Why is it that no Oromo organization created since has been able to garner as much support as the OLF from the Oromo people? What has it done for them in the past and what has it promised them for the future?
Most importantly, to tie it to the Kemal Gelchu & Co. story, how can one kill the OLF which seems to have nine lives and would not die regardless of uncountable attempts on its life or the number of obituaries written about its death?
Follow me, please!
The Oromo people’s deepest love is not for the leaders or members of the day; Although they love and hold them in high regard too. They know that leaders and members come and go. Their love is for something constant, something persisting in the OLF regardless of who leads the organization or holds membership in it. That, my friends, is the ideals the organization represents; the fears, hopes and aspirations it is connected to. The ideals, the fears and hopes, and the aspirations it represents and stands for are the same as those that the Oromo people hold very dear. In fact, the OLF was formed for exactly that purpose – to represent and reflect Oromo hopes and aspirations. This is manifested in its political program. It is specified as dismantling the Ethiopian empire, freeing the Oromo people from colonial subjugation and enabling them to determine their fate with no external interference or undue pressure. Without dismantling the empire the Oromo will never see freedom and without freedom they won’t be able to determine their fate freely. When that opportunity comes around, while it advocates for independent state of Oromia, the OLF has promised them that it will respect and abide by their choice. That is what gained it so much love and support from them.
Not only has the OLF reflected Oromo hopes and aspirations for liberation, it has also achieved for them, in a few decades, part of what they had lost for over a century. Paramount among them, it has helped lift Oromo identity, history and culture from the dust bin to which it was relegated by the Habasha colonizers and located it in its rightful place among the respected ones on the planet. I say helped because it is the Oromo people that did much of the lifting work through their organized and unorganized resistance. The OLF, however, gave that resistance and renaissance shape and direction. It organized and led it. The implication of that achievement alone on the Oromo psyche is incalculable. A book can be written about the impacts of this achievement. However, for the purpose of this piece, suffice to say that we would not have Qubee, or recognized as a nation without this achievement.
OLF’s work is not completed by any stretch of the imagination. But, knowing what it has accomplished for them to date, the Oromo maintain confidence that it will deliver on its promises in the future as well. That is because they are mindful of the fact that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. The OLF has gone, and will go, through ups and downs, rainy and sunny days, disappointments and successes but at the end of the day, they believe, it will come through for them and will deliver on its promises as it has done before. Yes, it will stumble from time to time, it will even fall down now and then, but they are confident that it will pick itself up, dust itself off, and walk, even run and fly, again. Whether it is strong or weak at any particular time is not as important as what it stands for. Its point in time strength or weakness may be most important for opportunists among them but not for the vast majority of the Oromo people.
Simply put, what the Oromo love is not OLF the organization per se. Their love affair is with OLF’s political program which is the embodiment of their hopes and aspirations. Without its political program, the OLF may exist as an organization, in name only, but without doubt will forgo the love and support of the Oromo people it has enjoyed since its inception.
In order to kill the OLF, it is not enough to murder, to “disappear” or to torture its leaders or members. Nor is it enough to delegalize it or label it as a terrorist organization. Twenty years of such practices have not borne fruit for TPLF. The secret to killing the OLF is to deprive it of the love and support it enjoys from its people. That is the only sure way of burying the OLF six feet under. What better way is there to accomplish that than by decoupling and disassociating it from its political program? None at all!
The sure way to kill the OLF, once and for all, would be to cajole, coerce or force it to abandon its missions and objectives as they are enshrined in its political program.
Enemies of the OLF know this very well. After years of attempts at cajoling and coercing it to change its mission, and having failed miserably at it, they have devised a crafty scheme they hoped the Oromo would be unable to uncover. It is to infiltrate the organization, take it over and force it to abandon its political program so as to deprive it of Oromo love and support. But they needed an Oromo tool, a “Trojan Horse” to accomplish this mission for them.
Say hi to Kemal Gelchu & Co., the lethal tool charged with this mission by the TPLF.
That is exactly what Kemal Gelchu & Co. announced on January 1, 2012. (Read Here) Under the guise of “a new vision with clear goals” they have changed the goal of the Oromo struggle led by their faction of the OLF from freeing the Oromo people from colonial subjugation and determining their fate freely to achievement of “New Federal Republic of Ethiopia.”
What is more, they accomplished their mission by trampling upon the due process procedure enshrined in the OLF constitution which calls for the organizations general assembly to make such a major change. Usurping the general assembly’s power and circumventing that due process was necessary to achieve their mission. Without such illegal act, they were certain that their mission cannot be accomplished for they would be opposed by the vast majority of nationalist Oromos who had joined their faction duped by their sugar coated mantra of “change”.
If the Oromo people’s aspiration were life in a “Federal” empire, they have had many organizations to choose from. First, there have been independent and “legal” Oromo organizations in the country that they could have supported and helped grow. These organizations have accepted a federal Ethiopia. The Oromo people, however, did not flock to join them and strengthen them. Secondly, the Oromo people have had the option of joining what Habasha’s call “multi-ethnic” organizations in the country. These are also “legal” and are working to remove TPLF from power. Twenty years after the OLF left the country, the Oromo people have refused to join these organizations.
Why? Why have they decided to stick to an “illegal” organization labeled a terrorist and face assured harsh treatment at the hands of TPLF?
The answer is simple. After twenty years of their refusal to join these other “legal” organizations in droves, it is fair to say that these organizations, although some of them seem independent and work for some Oromo interests, they do not represent the whole gamut of Oromo hopes and aspirations. The TPLF is very much mindful of this fact. According to TPLF even the few Oromos holding membership in “legal” opposition organizations, when scratched reveal the OLF in them.
So what is the purpose of changing the OLF political program to realizing “New Federal Republic of Ethiopia.” knowing fully that other Oromo organizations who are working for the same ideal have not gained their people’s love and support after twenty years of existence?
The purpose is to kill the OLF; deprive it of the love and support of the Oromo people it enjoys by changing its political program to one the Oromo don’t particularly care for. A “Trojan Horse” in the form of Kemal Gelchu & Co. was constructed and sent on this mission. Will they succeed? Only time and how the Oromo will react to these enemy spies’ actions will tell.
This is the third evidence of Kemal Gelchu & Co.’s clandestine work for TPLF from within the Oromo movement for freedom.
Continued in Part IV (Read Here).
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