OromoProtests: Its Exclusive Nature As A Push Factor

By Mike A.

Ethiopia today is at the apex of dangerous political activities. This translates as; Ethiopia is a fragile state on the brink of perpetual violence and ultimate disintegration. The role of Egypt and Sudan in supporting secessionist movements especially those of Islamic origin is not new and should not be discounted now or in the future. Therefore, the extent of Egypt and Sudan’s involvement in the current #Oromoprotests is unknown but one that needs scrutiny. Egypt and Sudan have always been adamant on destabilizing Ethiopia for many obvious reasons, and there is no sign that such a stance will cease to exist in principle or practical terms anytime soon.Oromoprotests: Its Exclusive Nature

 As A Push Factor

I acknowledge the fact that Oromos and other groups in Ethiopia have a history of oppression. But, the ideologies of OLF and other radical groups are an active and present threat to Ethiopia and her unity. As much as I want to be an avid supporter of #oromoprotests, I remain very skeptical of its nature and goal. This, however, does not mean I do not condemn the brutal killings of innocent school children and peaceful protesters. This in no interpretation should mean that I am siding with the ethno fascists leading Ethiopia today.

The framework of the current #oromoprotests is conducive for radical secessionist activists like Jawar Mohammad, who, if capable would like to create an Oromo, Islamic-dominated state. Though I do not see Jawar as a competent political leader, he still possesses a significant power through his media network (OMN) that cannot be disregarded in this era.

I think we should not lie to ourselves. There is something in #Oromoprotests that bothers us all. That is precisely why many Ethiopian scholars are urging the Amhara to join. This pressure on the Amhara, though it unquestionably is intended to broaden the scope of the resistance, it is also a desperate reach to give it an “Ethiopian” form inclusive of all groups in Ethiopia. There should be no blame put on the Amhara for not joining #Oromoprotests because the uprising carries an “Oromo only” image with no mention of Ethiopia at any point in the protests.

If the aforementioned scenario was the case of other minorities in Ethiopia, I will guarantee you that political elites will condemn it as an uprising with no Ethiopian spirit. However, as it pertains to the Oromos, we are scared. The tendency to babysit radical Oromos who wish to secede should cease. I can confidently say, as an Oromo that majority of Oromos are not in par with OLF ideology.

For the sake of overthrowing a brutal regime such as TPLF, I would not believe that any Ethiopian would risk Ethiopia’s unity, especially because the main argument against TPLF is its compromise on that precise sacred principle. The subconscious contradicting views of those who oppose TPLF, support #Oromoprotests, and shed blood for Ethiopia’s unity is shared overwhelmingly amongst ordinary Ethiopians and elites.

Does #oromoprotests reflect the foundation of future Ethiopia? According to jawar, the self-proclaimed owner of #Oromoprotests, the current Oromo uprising is one that carries the motto “Oromos for Oromia” and “Oromia for Oromos.” Are we willing to shed blood to overthrow TPLF only to replace it with such a narrow identity politics? If not, why would anyone opposed to such narrow identity politics work with radicals such are Jawar and his fame-seeking clan?

I strongly advocate for the consolidation of opposition parties. I believe that it is the only way that TPLF will weaken and the Ethiopia populist can be mobilized. However, I am also opposed to quantity over quality. It is imperative that the Ethiopian populist and majority-supported elites delegitimize regressive political forces and replace them with progressive forces willing to reconcile historical grievances in the framework of a united Ethiopia with an impartial democratic framework. Consolidating with radical forces with semi-hidden agendas in building a transparent Ethiopia will leave a red stain on a white cloth. That is why I believe that it is important, to vet out such forces early on before they become that stain on a democratic Ethiopia.

If the atmosphere of #oromoprotests continues to be exclusively conducive for an Oromo uprising only with no CLEAR IDEOLOGY, how do Ethiopian political leaders expect the Amhara to join? My analysis on #Oromoprotests suggests that it is an ambiguous uprising, which on the surface has a hint of secessionist spirit fueled by a seemingly mono-ethnic question. I want to pose several question to all those who do not negotiate on Ethiopia’s unity.

  1. Why is it odd for Oromos to pay blood for the sake of the rest of Ethiopia?
  2. What ideologies does #Oromoprotests advocate for that will entice other Ethiopians?
  3. Are there elements within #oromoprotests willing to compromise Ethiopia’s integrity?
  4. Who are the “leaders” of #Oromoprotests and what are their views and backgrounds?

These are all questions that need to be clearly defined. The rest of the Ethiopian population, mainly the majority ethnic-Ethiopians will not join #Oromoprotests unless the uprising itself makes it conducive for other groups to join in solidarity with a common aim. The deterrent factor in #Oromoprotests is not that it is fed up with TPLF/EPRDF rule but its embedded ideology of  “Oromos for Oromia” and “Oromia for Oromos.” So long as #Oromoprotests does not formally make it an uprising of interest for all of Ethiopia (within a united Ethiopia), It would be wishful thinking to expect this uprising to take a national form.