Sunday, January 10, 2016
Ethiopia a failing state the case of the Oromo
The Oromo people (Oromo: Oromoo; Ge'ez: ኦሮሞ; ’Oromo) are an ethnic group inhabiting Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and parts of Somalia. With around 25 million members, they constitute the single largest ethnicity in Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa, at approximately 35% of Ethiopia's population according to the 2007 census. Oromos speak the Oromo language as a mother tongue (also called Afaan Oromoo and Oromiffa), which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. The name was given as Ilm’ Orma ("Sons of Men" or an eponymous 'Orma') in the 19th century; the present form is probably an obsolete plural of the same word orma ("person, stranger").
Most Oromos do not have political unity today due to their historical roles in the Ethiopian state and the region, the spread out movement of different Oromo clans, and the differing religions inside the Oromo nation. Accordingly, Oromos played major roles in all three main political movements in Ethiopia (centralist, federalist and secessionist) during the 19th and 20th century. In addition to holding high powers during the centralist government and the monarchy, the Raya Oromos in Tigray played a major role in the revolt inside the Tigray regional state, known as "Weyane" revolt, challenging Emperor Haile Selassie I's rule in the 1940s. Simultaneously, both federalist and secessionist political forces developed inside the Oromo community.
Presently, a number of ethnic based political organizations have been formed to promote the interests of the Oromo. The first was the Mecha and Tulama Self-Help Association founded in January 1963, but was disbanded by the government after several increasingly tense confrontations in November, 1966. Later groups include the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), the United Liberation Forces of Oromia (ULFO), the Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia (IFLO), the Oromia Liberation Council (OLC), the Oromo National Congress (ONC, recently changed to OPC) and others. Another group, the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO), is one of the four parties that form the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition. However, these Oromo groups do not act in unity: the ONC, for example, was part of the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces coalition that challenged the EPRDF in the Ethiopian general elections of 2005.
A number of these groups seek to create an independent Oromo nation, some using armed force. Meanwhile, the ruling OPDO and several opposition political parties in the Ethiopian parliament believe in the unity of the country which has 80 different ethnicities. But most Oromo opposition parties in Ethiopia condemn the economic and political inequalities in the country. Progress has been very slow with the Oromia International Bank just recently established in 2008 though Oromo owned Awash International Bank started early in the 1990s and with the first private Afaan Oromoo newspaper in Ethiopia, Jimma Times, also known as Yeroo, recently established. Though the Jimma Times – Yeroo newspaper has faced a lot of harassment and persecution from the Ethiopian government since its beginning. Abuse of Oromo media is widespread in Ethiopia and reflective of the general oppression Oromos face in the country. University departments in Ethiopia did not establish curriculum in Afaan Oromo until the late 1990s.
Various human rights organizations have publicized the government persecution of Oromos in Ethiopia for decades. In 2008, OFDM opposition party condemned the government's indirect role in the death of hundreds of Oromos in western Ethiopia. According to Amnesty International, "between 2011 and 2014, at least 5000 Oromos have been arrested based on their actual or suspected peaceful opposition to the government. These include thousands of peaceful protestors and hundreds of opposition political party members. The government anticipates a high level of opposition in Oromia, and signs of dissent are sought out and regularly, sometimes pre-emptively, suppressed. In numerous cases, actual or suspected dissenters have been detained without charge or trial, killed by security services during protests, arrests and in detention."
According to Amnesty international, there is a sweeping repression in Oromo region of Ethiopia. On December 12,the reputed German Paper Deutsche Welle reported violent protects in Oromo region of Ethiopia in which more 20 student were killed. According to the report, the students were protesting against the governments re-zoning plan named 'Addis Ababa Master Plan'.