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Government must act decisively before Ethiopia descends to total chaos

Oromo Liberation Front
Photo Credit : Yemane Gebremeskel Twitter (Eritrea’s minister of information)

Cover photo : File (Ethiopian government representatives holding talks with OLF leaders in Asmara)

October 7,2018

Ethiopian government under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed has done an excellent job in terms of broadening the political space in the country. The way it went about it was commendable too. First, it passed a bold political decision to release all political prisoners. Then it reformed legislation that used to be a tool to incriminate politicians (activists and members of the free press).

The next order of business was to make peace with political actors and opposition groups who resorted to armed resistance against what was, six months ago, a ruthless TPLF government under the guise of the ruling coalition EPRDF.

Rebel movements with fighters based in Eritrea responded positively for the call to return to Ethiopia and wage a peaceful struggle from within Ethiopia and they returned to the country with their rebel fighters.

A peaceful struggle is not open for interpretation. It only means peaceful no matter how different the strategy is; there is no other way to understand it. With an implicit and explicit agreement to end armed struggle and resort to peaceful struggle, most leaders returned to the country after a long time.

The government also demonstrated commitment in terms of making the return of most of the exiled political leaders a face-saving one by dignifying their arrival in the country. Not only did it allow followers of these political leaders to organize a rally like reception ceremonies, but it also sent government ministers all the way to Bole International Airport to officially welcome the political leaders.

The reception for OLF leaders was somewhat construed rather as a show of power on the part of the party itself. In fact, it was even seen as a form of agenda setting event including the “ownership of the capital Addis Ababa. “OLF (in fact, all ethnic Oromo parties later took same aggressive position on the issue o Addis Ababa) wanted to project that Addis Ababa (the very symbol of Ethiopian identity in all its forms and seat of international organizations) is an ethnic Oromo land. A day before the arrival of OLF leader, Dawud Ibsa, supporters of the radical organization clashed with the youth in Addis Ababa as they allegedly tried to paint pedestrian route and streets in the capital with flag colors of OLF (because “Addis Ababa is ethnic Oromo Land”).

Two days later, (in fact some sources say it started days before the arrival of OLF leaders) there was a massacre in Burayu, in the western outskirts of Addis Ababa, and more than 60 people were killed, and thousands displaced. The government was not clear to the public, to date, when it comes to disclosing perpetrators of the attack.

However, it was clear for the public that the attack was launched by radicalized Qeerro (a clandestine ethnic Oromo youth.) For many, there was the understanding that the attack has something to do with OLF ideology and its political strategy. As the Youth in Addis Ababa took to the street a day after Burayu massacre to condemn it, Addis Ababa police reportedly arrested hundreds of them.

Two more ethnic-based violence took place in different parts of Ethiopia after the Burayu massacre and there are indications that they are linked to OLF. Government prosecutor has even unveiled that the June 23 grenade attack was carried out by OLF members.

Worse, Dawud Ibsa openly told Ethiopians yesterday in an interview with Walta television that the faction of OLF he leads did not return to Ethiopia for a “peaceful struggle” and that it will not disarm.

That makes it clear as to what the intent of OLF is and the Ethiopian government should stop treating OLF as a spoiled child at the expense of Ethiopia and Ethiopians. It is in fact disgusting that the government seem to be taking Ethiopians for granted as it is pursuing excessive appeasement policy towards OLF. The problem is that the policy is not even moderating OLF leaders. OLF is further radicalizing; the leader’s statement he gave to Walta is a clear testimony in addition to the ethnic based violence linked to OLF.

The ruling coalition has resolved to enforce rule of law and work for Ethiopian unity during its 11th congress which concluded two days ago. OLF is a threat both to the rule of law and the unity of Ethiopia. So the ruling party must stick to its decision and act decisively on the threat that OLF is posing on Ethiopians before this hate monger organization is dragging the country to a total chaos.

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  1. OLF is not a threat to the rule of law and Ethiopian unity. It is a threat to dictators, chauvinists, mafias and fake unity.

  2. This peace of article is highly biased. I want to raise two points:
    1. The welcoming ceremony was prepared by OLF supporters to welcome OLF leaders. The supporters of OLF did the same thing done by Ginbot 7 supporters during the ceremony held to welcome Ginbot 7 leaders.So, why some Addis Ababa youths who oppose OLF joined/confronted with the OLF supporters. In the first place, they have no reason and no right to stop OLF from holding its gathering. A normal mind must denounce those who confronted OLF supporters.
    2. As a result of the conflict there are victims from all sides. It is not legitimate to make “Qeerroos” responsible with out credible evidence.There are gangesters who make use of conflicts to loot properties. There are opportunist politicians from all sides who make use of ciaos to mobilize their supporters.

  3. Yes, Ethiopia is not out of the woods yet, as it appears the rule of law seems to be the thing of the past so far. If this country goes back to where it was pre-Dr.Abiy’s EPRDF ( I hope they will change this awful name as well.), there are many parties that will be blamed for it. The opposition parties who choose bullet over idea struggle, media that disseminates hatred and beat the drum of war might take the lions share. The government, at every level should also take responsibility. The good book tells us that “love” hanged God himself. The government should have a structure in place that will enforce the rule of law.

    Coming back to the role media plays, for example in this post, hearsay is posted as a fact when the massacre of the Burayou inhabitants is alleged on Qerros. Truth is stretched very thin, when suggesting that Addis Ababa should not be considered as part of Oromia. If there is a room in your house you cannot deny the fact that that room is in your house. Rather one can say that the room is used for this or that purpose.
    The same is true with Addis Ababa, yes it is in Oromia, it is not in Begemeder (do this generation know where this is), Harar or Tigray or anywhere else. It is in OROMIA. The argument should be, it is a seat of the federal government it is our politcal as well as economic capital. If we think otherwise, then we are stack in the past. Thinking to divide the country in ethnic lines or trying to diminish the role of and identity of an ethnic group, that too, that of the largest in the country or perhaps on the continent is like building a road to nowhere.

    Fulla efyan,

  4. Dear Editor,
    I read your articles regularly, and have been hoping (probably invain) that they’ll become more balanced over time. Reading your articles, I wonder what you’re trying to achieve – telling truth? playing the role of an activist? fear mongering? dissemination of hatred (against selected groups)? I’m asking these questions because what from the content of your writings, what you’re doing is anything but journalism.
    Allow me to state a few phrases from your current article as evidence: ‘it was clear for the public that the attacks were launched by radicalized qeerroo’…here are few questions for you: how was it became clear ? To which public? What motivated qeerroo to ‘launch the attacks’? Who are the qeerroo? And you go down and wonder why the government is not disclosing who the attackers are, which you have already identified…
    And then you claim OLF is a threat to Ethiopia and Ethiopians…let me ask you: who are Ethiopians you are worried about and asking the government to protect? Aren’t OLF and it’s supporters Ethiopians too? What kind of divisive language is that?

    Finally, you’re calling on the government to take ‘decisive action’..can you spell out what those are? Go to war? Jail them? Kill them? Will these bring peace and security and protect the Ethiopians you care about? I don’t even mention some of the labels you are attaching to the people and groups you hate..that might be your right as an individual (afterglow you have freedom to speech and freedom after speech, partly because of the sacrifice of some of the same groups you call radical) but please don’t do that in the name of journalism and an editorial. I genuinely think you’re responsible for balanced writing.

  5. Dear Editor,
    What a hypocrcy you are doing, I think u don’t care of Ethiopia and Ethiopians so long that is why u are declaring war or choas against the Ethiopian leader. personally i never expect a person like u who push communities to fight each other, out of morality and personality. Your descessive writing is good for nothing.

  6. In my life I never seen a writer who is so biased like u. Ur writing has no value in today’s condition for Ethiopia and ethiopians. It is well preferable to do a positive motive to held together all ethnic groups for their mutual benefits. But u are declaring chaos and war upon ethiopians by holding unnecessary issues. Actually ur hypocritic writing can easily explain why u are.

  7. Typical of extreme Oromo nationalist, one hand they are inciting ethnic violence and yet claiming reports exposing their barbarity is biased and unfair.

    It Ironic that, being critical of Qeerro’s, who violently attacked innocent citizens in Addis and other places translated as biased media coverage.

    Equally ironic that medias like OMN and Opride’s ethnic incitement is normal, at the same time other medias being labeled as unfair for exposing crimes perpetrated by the Qerroo’s and OLF.

    So typical of oromo extremist . All evidences indicates that Qerroos were behind the attack in Burayu and publicly lynching innocent man in Shasemene. What justification is given to OLF’s refusal to lay down arm?.

    How is that ok – and it’s not ok for an editor to expose OLF’s atrocity?? Qerroo’s misdemeanor? DOUBLE DIRTY STANDARD!!!

    The underlying truth however is that currently nearly 4,000,000 Ethiopians are internally displaced (IDP) inside their own country. This is because of the boarder conflict waged by the Oromya regional state with all most all its neighboring regions.

    OMN, Opride and other extremist channels bias is consistent across the board, at every level. The whole reporting is biased as it portrays Oromo’s as perpetual victim and other Ethiopians specially the Amharas as settlers and colonizers.

    So it’s not biased when the Oromo medias do this.


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