Oromo Liberation Front has to choose peaceful struggle or violence, says Abiy

In what is said to be one of his stern statement since he took over office, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed warned Oromo Liberation Front leader that it can not combine peaceful and legal political activity with armed struggle

Oromo Liberation Front _ Ethiopia
Oromo Liberation Front leader, Dawud Ibsa during the meeting with Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed last week. Photo : screenshot from EBC video

borkena
May 2, 2020

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been criticized for being too soft on the radical Oromo nationalist groups like Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). But this week, he warned the leader that they must choose between a peaceful struggle or an armed struggle one.

He spoke about it this week when he met with opposition party leaders to discuss how to go about organizing the next general election after the scheduled one was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

While recognizing the COVID 19 had made the election difficult, OLF leader, Dawud Ibsa, did not hide how he felt about the cancelation:  “With all its shortcomings, we were hoping that the election would bring something, But COVID [19] happened,” he said while framing his question to the Prime Minister.

Yet, he emphasized that the government needs to avoid using “loophole” to the situation. Moreover, he criticized Abiy Ahmed’s government for what he called “an ongoing violation of human rights during the COVID 19 state of emergency. Not only in Oromia but also outside of it,” he told PM Abiy Ahmed.

He framed his question in a way to claim that Abiy Ahmed’s government is deliberately violating human rights violations by exploiting the state of emergency.”

In his response, Abiy first tried to explain how “complicated” it is to enforce preventive measures against COVID 19. A little later, he demanded specificity: “if there are any specific issues that your members are experiencing, we can discuss it.” 

He then strongly warned Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a radical ethnic nationalist party, to end playing double games in politics. “You can not stand on the peaceful and legal struggle and armed activity.”

He went further to condemn what he called fifty years of intrigue and conspiracy politics in Ethiopia. Hinting that there is a risk of military aggression against Ethiopia which he unspecified, he condemned some political forces for working with enemies of Ethiopia. He boldly called them “banda” – a term coined to describe those who stood on the side of fascist Italy when Ethiopia was invaded in the 1930s.

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as an armed movement was based in Eritrea for decades and returned to Ethiopia in September 2018 after Abiy Ahmed’s government invited all opposition groups to return home and operate in a peaceful politics.

Soon after returning to the country, OLF leadership flouted the government’s demand to disarm and operate peacefully until about mid-2019.  There are still armed activities in the college area of Western Ethiopia but OLF claims that it has nothing to do with the armed group in the region.



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12 Responses to "Oromo Liberation Front has to choose peaceful struggle or violence, says Abiy"

  1. Worqu Belayneh   May 3, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I have never heard and/or read any specific policy alternatives by OLF (and cohorts) to address the ‘bread and butter’ issues of the population or sub-group that they purportedly represent. To make it easier for them to understand, here are samplings of questions they need to address: what would be your policy to improve the livelihoods of farmers through sustainable agricultural development? what would you do to promote sustained economic development in all sectors, such as transportation, rural transportation, rural water supply, energy, health, higher and basic education, public finance, etc? how would you promote growth in export trade and manage use of scarce foreign exchange between investment and consumption? how would you generate employment particularly to the growing generation of unemployed/unemployable youth?

    Continuously beating over a dead horse for over 50 years would not do any good to address the current and priority needs of the population. Other examples of diversionary tactics used by such groups to stay relevant but which have no relevance in addressing the priority needs include perceived lack of democracy whose deeper meaning they really do not understand, elections without specifying how those would better deliver better answers to bread and better issues, languages as if use of their chosen languages would better address those issues, economic inequities among different groups as if poverty is not evenly distributed among the entire population, etc, etc, etc.

    Of course, neither OLF nor other purported opposition parties can/do offer their alternatives to address the bread and butter issues. I am not even sure they have the competence and professional expertise to do so. And hence they purposely choose to continue propagating inflammatory rhetoric to stay relevant pretending to believe heir purported supporters/followers would not see through their rhetoric. They are all collections of hog wash, and utter failures in their own lives. Those who could not even manage their own households would not and can be expected to do better for large nation with diverse population and immense problems.

    Reply
    • Ayatolla   May 3, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      Good point. But unless a whole new movement that is legitimate enough to address these questions comes into the picture, OLF and similar parties will continue to gain support from their public.

      Reply
      • Worqu Belayneh   May 4, 2020 at 9:15 am

        No need for endless “whole new movement”….The Prosperity Party is enough for now. Give the party a chance to evolve and prove or disprove itself, at least for five years (after all the monarchy had the chance for about 50 years, Derge had 17 years, and TPLF had 25 years). Proliferation of ‘new movement’ will not solve the country’s immense sociological, cultural, political, and economic problems; instead that would exacerbate them. No doubt in my mind!

        Reply
        • Ayatolla   May 4, 2020 at 11:48 am

          The PP looks good on paper for sure. But it is an open secret that it lacks the vigor to lead the nation in any specific direction. Any of its major ethnic affiliated members are ready to abandon it when push comes to shove. But let’s wait.

          Reply
          • Worqu Belayneh   May 4, 2020 at 3:43 pm

            If I am not mistaken, that was (is) exactly what TPLF has been (is) propagating. For that purpose, TPLF seems to have recruited foot soldiers marauding as ethnic ‘opposition parties’ such a fellow who looks, acts, speaks like a child crying for attention and an older cohort one Bekele Geleba (pardon the play in words borrowed from one Donald Trump)

            Reply
  2. Ethiopoles   May 3, 2020 at 4:50 pm

    The “Borkena & ITS’ Cohort like Worku” are very skewed towards the Bilginna (PP) & its’ slot of chains who are chasing for a “CHEATED POWER” in the name of just ‘ETHIOPIA’. As to me, these power seekers are not interested in an ordinary people or any ethnic group either of Tigire, Amhara, Oromo, etc. Simply, they are sniffing for the rotten & decayed road maps to modernize the footsteps of ‘Monarchs or Atse’s’. The cohort of Borkena are just flaring their amputated tongues with out balancing the multiple poles.

    Reply
    • Ayatolla   May 4, 2020 at 11:52 am

      It is either a strong central power, or some bickering power hungry regional lords. Modernizing the monarchs, i.e. strong democratic center, should be acceptable as long as it does not infringe on the ethnic groups.

      Reply
  3. Bisrat Yinesu   May 3, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Abiy was hoping he would hold election and create a dispute so he can start a civil war which he can declare a state of emergency with and exert a military rule on Ethiopians , when election got postponed he came up with the peacock to create civil war .
    For OLF or anyone else to choose peace the instigator must be removed . Otherwise the people will not have peace even if they choose peace because the constant instigator is going around the country creating violence while at the same time the Sudanese Government soldiers head towards Ethiopian GERD with just in the last three weeks Sudan occupying between five to ten kilometers of Ethiopian territory all across the Sudan-Ethiopian border while the so called PM of Ethiopia is busy decorating his palace with peacock and running his mouth to OLF about peace rather than asking OLF for help to get the Ethiopian Sudan border respected. OLF got better leadership skills to fight Sudan than PP and Abiy knows it too. The Oromo generals got no care if Ethiopia is invaded unless it affects Oromia directly.

    Abiy is instigating people to fight against people so Prosperity Party goes around killing innocent civillians.He still got the peacock then he is planning to destroy Mesqel Square , in a country of all these instigations peace is being lost with the blind PM telling the people about situations on the ground . OLF chose peace when OLF left Eritrea with none of the promises Abiy made to OLF materializing . Abiy is not a man of his words not only to OLF but to every party so who is he to tell OLF what to do ? TPLF’s volunteer slave Abiy got no authority to tell the honorable OLF what to do.

    Let him go tell his bed partners in slaveship or his mistresses what to do if he wants besides that he got no authority over OLF. Even Prosperity Party got no respect for him because he is making things worse for Prosperity members rather than making it any better , he is making prosperity members loose any last hope they had of leaving a legacy they can be admired for , while he makes things better for his masters the TPLF. TPLF right now got a blank check to do whatever they want , About not even dares to tell them such a thing but he runs his mouth about OLF.The way he is going he is trying to create a major chaos before September so the formation of the transitional government by other parties becomes impossible to do.

    Reply
  4. Feisel Ahmed   May 4, 2020 at 4:28 am

    OLF had been Reformed at oda bultum during the fell down of elemo at xirro west hararghe carcar zone habro warada , by wich carying constitution of nation deffence at the prasant leader eauality freedom army and Ethiopian international nation govermental administration , although this government part has been winner and made ethiopian and all nation freedom with oromo peopel had sign civil servant under mantioned no.
    Any one coming to this chairhave right over OLF rrformec means ufet lined for tge ciuntries terforist in any organisation more over for all citizen of tge country easy africa have to bei g u der OLF tegormed flug dedicated to have right i dividualy like Gahna; Tanzania; Kenya;Eathiioia ;Somalia…!!!!

    Reply
  5. Ittu Aba Farda   May 5, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Hey Abiy Ahmed,

    I am gonna tell you something about me and you better listen to me with undivided attention. You were not born or even not conceived when I entered politics. I was 10 years old when I came up with a well laid plan to get rid of your idol and neftegna king Haile. I was the one who single-handedly overthrew your Emperor Haile in 1974. I was the one who wrote the land reform in 1975 by giving your cousin Mengistu an ultimatum. Then a few of cousins snitched out on me when I was just a few inches away in getting rid of Mengistu in 1979-80. He threw me in jail and had his trusted guard poison me with potassium cyanide everyday for 9 months but it was not me who got sick and died from it but I was the one who made the cyanide sick. When the guards failed Mengistu himself came to my cell and fed me a bottle of the potassium cyanide specially prepared for me in the former East Germany’s chemical warfare laboratory. He tried to feed me by spoonful but I grabbed to the bottles and swallowed the entire cyanide with no effect on me. He ordered his guards to burn me alive the next morning. But I made them go to sleep that night and slipped away to join my comrades. I was the leader of the liberation army who overthrew Mengistu in 1991. You see that is why I have been telling that I am bad and beautiful.

    I have been fed wisdom and valor with a giant silver spoon,
    I am so beautiful I made Halle Barry, Lena Horne, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Julia Roberts swoon.
    I’ve wrestled with alligators,
    I’ve tussled with a whale.
    I done handcuffed lightning
    And throw thunder in jail.
    You know I’m bad.
    just last week, I murdered a rock,
    Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
    I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
    I don’t count days but I make days count!!!
    I’m still young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.
    I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.

    So be careful young man. It seems you don’t know who you talking to. I am barely inches away to give you the same fate I bestowed on your neftegna grandpa King Haile in 1974 and uncle Mengistu in May 1991. Watch your language whenever you talk to me and don’t forget to put ‘Sir’ behind it whenever you are looking at me!!! Be careful!!!

    Reply
    • Ayatolla   May 8, 2020 at 11:38 am

      Reveal yourself if you are who you say you are. Or give evidence.

      Reply
  6. Ittu Aba Farda   May 6, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Make that: Then a few of your cousins snitched out on me….

    Reply

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