A Cover Note for The Fanno Manifesto
(Unedited First Draft for Discussion)
This proposal is prepared to address three critical gaps in the Fanno Movement. My hope is that it will encourage further discussion that will lead to subsequent improvements and ultimate adoption by the Fanno movement and its support ecosystem at home and abroad.
First, there is a time-honored diplomatic decree that the Fanno movement needs to pay heed to. In and of itself, truth has no currency unless it is widely heralded both at home and abroad. If Fanno does not frame its movement’s agenda and articulate its narrative, its enemies will have the honor push their “ስልጣን ልቀቅ-ስልጣን ልንጠቅ” narrative to point Fanno as outlaw. Obviously, an effective narrative must be undergirded by a legitimate endgame embodied in a robust strategy,
a clear roadmap with sufficient flexibility, and an achievable and adoptable endgame.
Second, the Fanno movement must present itself as a stabilizing force with a clear strategy, roadmap and a reasonable endgame that is flexible to build consensus with all stakeholders. It must communicate and engage local and international actors to address their concerns, earn their confidence and win their support. Key local constituencies include, but are not limited to, political actors in all tribal regions, the military and civil society organizations. On the international forum the key constituencies are the Ethiopian Diaspora and the international community, most importantly, the AU, UN, US, and EU.
Third, the Fanno movement must break the EPRDF, EPRDF 2.0. and EPRDF 3.0 cycle. Let us use an example to drive the point home. In an email distribution, someone from the Southern People tribal land wrote the following:” The Amhara have legitimate grievances that must be and can be resolved through dialogue. The Amhara resistance currently underway has the potential to dismember the country into mini states if it is not nipped in the bud. What makes this resistance very dangerous for Ethiopia is that this is a leaderless and backward-looking revolt that will not get much support from outside of Amhara circles.”
Whether this is true, or it is the writer’s perception is not material. What is material is that it needs to be addressed. The thinking that such concerns are baseless, or Amhara will form a broad-based coalition after it takes power is wrongheaded for two reasons. First, the road to success is shorter if a broad coalition is formed. Second, if Amhara is not interested or able to listen to others, address their concerns and build consensus now, how can it be trusted to form a coalition government after it grabbed the levers of power?
Ethiopians remember there was the EPRDF (led by Tigrayans), EPRDF 2.0 (led by Oromos) and are not keen to give EPRDF 3.0 (led by Amhara) the benefit of the doubt. The problem with the Oromo, Amhara and Tigray political class is that they want to dictate their views on others. This is the time to break that cycle and the Fanno Movement must do it both for its own and Ethiopia’s sake.
The Fanno Manifesto
Prepared by Yonas Biru (PhD)
August 14, 2023
(Draft for Discussion Only)
“Those who make peaceful change impossible, make armed protest inevitable” ~John F Kennedy
This draft was prepared as a proposal in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders both within the Amhara community and outside of it. Its purpose is to encourage further discussion, subsequent improvement, and ultimate adoption by the Fanno movement and its supports at home and in the diaspora.
The draft has four parts. The first part is an exposé of the current spiraling crisis: The Oromo Prosperity Party (Oromo-PP) undergirded by a 16th century Oromummaa tradition that has been resurrected and adulterated as the master ideology of the Oromo national movement.
The second part provides facts on the ground reflecting the inevitable existential outcomes of the forceful and violent imposition of 16th century Oromo culture and traditions on 80 plus ethnic groups in Ethiopia.
The third part provides a way forward for a peaceful resolution.
Part four concludes with a clarain call for support to all Ethiopians at home and in the diaspora and to the international community at large.
I. Oromummaa: A Backward Ideology of Domination
The ongoing armed conflict is not between Amhara and Oromo. It is between right and wrong. What is wrong is that the Oromo-PP (Ethiopia’s governing party) and Oromummaa (the master
ideology of the Oromo national movement) are destroying the nation in a futile attempt to create a 16th-century-inspired hegemonic “Greater Oromia.”
Lencho Bati, one of the founding members of the Oromo liberation struggle, and former senior advisor to the Prime Minister Abiy, put the motive behind the long-standing destructive Oromummaa ideology succinctly: “During our struggle as an Oromo liberation front, we systematically deconstructed Ethiopia in order to construct Oromo.”
He is now of the opinion that “Since the Oromo are in power, Oromo needs to play a different role of uniting different regions of the country.” Unfortunately, his view is in the minority in current Oromo politics. He was conspicuously pushed out of the Prime Minister’s office and exiled to a largely irrelevant Ambassadorial post in Saudi Arabia.
The project to construct Greater Oromia on the ashes of Ethiopia is in full swing. Oromo-PP political leaders and their Oromummaa ideologues are on the record asserting their goal to resurrect and institutionalize the 16th century Oromo governance system of Gadaa.
During its heyday over four centuries ago, the Gadaa system encompassed the political, social, cultural, economic, religious, and military affairs of the Oromo people. The adulteration of the 16th century tradition as a 21st century political ideology has made its adversarial religious ethos and boundless ambitions for military supremacy existential threats to Ethiopia.
The President of the Oromo region, who is second only to the Prime Minister in the Oromo-PP architecture, (Shemelis Abdisa) is on the record announcing that the future of Ethiopia is “The Gadaa System.” In another speech, he revealed that as part of this grand strategy the “Prosperity Party is built in such a way to advance the interest of Oromo. The head of the Party will always be an Oromo or an Oromo plant.”
He upped this in a different speech, stating: To rejuvenate and spread the Gadaa system, the Oromo government is “spending billions and erecting Oromummaa markers in Addis Ababa.” The ultimate goal is to “slowly, but surely, transform Ethiopia to Gadaa democratic Ethiopia, i.e. de facto Greater Oromia.”
I.1. The Gadaa Religious Agenda
The Gadaa indigenous religion is Waaqeffanna that is followed by only 3.3 percent of the Oromo population. According to Waaqeffanna, the first man that God created is an Oromo and he was made of water. Little, if any, is known about its foundational tenets, institutional settings, or organizational architecture.
One thing is for sure. Waaqeffanna does not have scriptures or a holy book. Professor Tesema Ta’a, one of the leading Oromummaa intellectuals, brough to light a research work that documented: “The Whites, the Arabs and the Abyssinians [Ethiopians], each one has a book given to them by God. In the beginning Waaqa also gave the Oromo a book but a cow
swallowed it. Waaqa got angry and did not give them a second book.”
Oromummaa advocates see Christianity and Islam as a threat to the resurrection and growth of Waaqeffanna. They condemn the two Abrahamian religions as instruments of “Ethiopian colonial terrorism.”
The alleged terrorist acts are highlighted in two articles penned by the Godfather of the Oromummaa ideology. They include: “suppressing indigenous Oromo religion in order to psychologically control and dominate them”; and “Changing an original Oromo religion and taking Habasha and Arab names, religions, values, and norms.” The same sentiments are reflected in books published by the Oromo government.
The President of Oromo is vehement that Islamic and Christian names are undermining the Oromummaa identity. Oromos named after Prophet Mohammed or the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, are guilted and shamed. This has led many Oromos to abandon such names as Yohannes (John) and Musa and take indigenous Oromo names.
Oromos who resist taunting and shaming campaigns and continue to embrace their Ethiopian heritage and revere their Christian or Islam religion are under attack. This is how the leader of the “Oromummaa ideology” stated it. “Oromos, who like their Habasha masters have been the defenders of the Habasha culture, religion, and the Amharic language and haters of the Oromo history, culture, and institutions.”
Oromos who wish to live in peace need to submit to the political tenets of Oromummaa, which takes precedent over the “borrowed [Abrahamic] religions.” The working political principle is: “All Oromo religious institutions, including the church and mosque, must reflect Oromo centered culture and values.” Accordingly, the Oromummaa literature requires accepting that “the concept of Waqaa [Oromo God] lies at the heart of Oromo tradition and culture, which shapes the basis of Oromummaa.”
The Oromo nationalist allegiance has become “I am an Oromo first before I am Christian” and “I am an Oromo first then Muslim.” What makes this dangerous is that the 16th century Gadaa military tradition is the force behind its implementation.
I.2. The Gadaa Military Tradition and Ambition
The Gedaa military tradition is known as Mogassa. Mogassa was the force behind Oromo’s 16th century success in forcefully absorbing non-Oromos into the Oromo tribal structure, first as serfs and slaves and eventually as equal members. Professor Mohammed Hassen (the most renowned Oromo historian and a leading Oromummaa ideologue) acknowledges that the Mogassa assimilation process was “inspired by political, military, and economic considerations.”
In his widely quoted book published by the Cambridge University Press, the good professor meticulously documented that the Mogassa practice “included absorbing defeated tribes as clients or serfs into the [Oromo] tribal structure… The vanquished, still owners of their plots of land became the serfs or clients of the pastoral Oromo, who demanded service and tribute from them. The Oromo term for the conquered people was Gabbro.”
Furthermore, Professor Mohammed documented the use of slavery during the Oromo expansionary reign. Here is how he explained it. “While the Gadaa leaders marched with men and cattle from pasture to pasture as soon as the forage of a place was consumed, the wealthy individuals settled permanently on the lands. Their cattle were looked after by Oromo servants and non-Oromo slaves. By the beginning of the nineteenth century in the Gibe region of western Oromo land the term Borana had already acquired the meaning of noblemen, rich in cattle and slaves.”
C. F. Rey’s article published in 1924 on Journal of the Royal African Society (Vol.23, No. 90) stated: “It must be borne in mind that Oromos are and have been for nearly four hundred years, invaders on strange soil… Their methods of warfare were cruel even for that age, and it was they who introduced the horrible practice mutilating the dead, and even the wounded and prisoners.”
Pedro Paez added: “The Oromo slaughtered many people and carried out extraordinary cruelties, because they cut to pieces the men and many of the boys and girls that they seized, and they opened up pregnant women with their spearheads and pulled the babies out of their wombs. The people of that land therefore came to fear them so much that nobody dared resist them.”
It is this Gedaa military domination mindset of centuries past that the Oromo-PP and Oromummaa ideologues wish to resurrect and use to absorb 80 plus ethnic groups under the Oromummaa political architecture. The aim is a 16th-century-inspired subjugation. The practice is Mogassa 2.0.
In an unmitigated zeal for a hegemonic supremacy, Oromo-PP see the Amhara as a stumbling block. Therefore, Amhara is marked as enemy number one. The Amhara Fanno is fighting for survival against such a force that is hellbent on subjugating or annihilating the people of Amhara.
II. Mogassa 2.0 is in Full Display with Mogassa’s Signature Cruelty
The Abiy administration and the Oromummaa ideologues allege the current crisis is caused by (a) Amhara’s desire to revive the Ethiopian Colonialist Empire, and (b) Amhara’s refusal to disarm. The people of Ethiopia know the truth. Protest against the Oromo tribal domination is echoed in every nook and cranny of the nation.
The world needs to hear the cry of helpless women in Harar: “Who will stand up for Harar. They [the Oromo] have chased us. It is Over. At this rate, we won’t find means to even be buried.”
The World should not turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the Amarro [a small tribe in Southern People Region] representative who appeal to the Prime Minister at the 11th Ordinary session of the national Parliament: “The people of Amaro are surrounded by Oromo on three directions. We are denied access to other regions. It is hard to explain our suffering in words. We are invaded and butchered, and our existence as an ethnic group is in peril.”
One can also see with horror a three minute video clip about Gurage women in labor and those nursing after labor evicted and their husbands crying. We can list numerous similar cases of Ethiopians of all ethnic groups, religions, and traditions suffering under Oromo subjugation.
Apart from cruel mass evictions, hanging people upside down and pelting them to death with stones and hacking the necks of children and elderly with machetes have become the signature political tools of Oromummaa’s subjugation.
Graham Peebles, a British freelance writer and charity worker, has it right when he wrote “the only force currently being disarmed/dissolved is the Amhara Special Force (ASF), and the reasons are clear: It is not to dismantle an inherently flawed security apparatus, but to leave the Amhara region vulnerable to attack.”
The international media has reported many mass murders that the Amhara community has suffered in the Oromo region. Sadly, the savagery has become so common, not every mass murder is reported.
Notable cases of mass murders reported by the international media include, the Guardian report that documented “more than 200 Amhara people killed” by Oromo extremists. The Human Rights Watch also documented another round of mass killing, noting “heavily armed assailants shot and killed about 400 Amhara civilians, including many women and children.”
The report quoted a grieving Muslim father: “My 8-month-old child started crying. I heard an attacker say, ‘Look there, look there …’ before they shot in our direction. They shot my baby dead. I wrapped the dead body with some clothes I was wearing. My other child was shot in her back; the bullet came out around her neck … I then pressed my injured child against my chest, and I prayed to Allah to save her life.”
Further, as Amhara freedom fighter, we cannot let Ethiopians and the world at large ignore the cry of hundreds of thousands of Amhara children who are evicted from their homes and left homeless. Oromo landlords are threatened with 15,000 Birr and 3 months in prison if they rented their property to evicted none Oromos.
This is done at the order of the President of the Oromo region and the full knowledge of the Prime Minister. Watch and listen to a crying girl below and multiply it by 100,000 times to imagine the horror Amhara children are faced with. “When I returned from school, our home was ransacked and emptied. For a couple of weeks, my family stayed with friendly families. Then when we tried to rent, it was prohibited. This is when my family came here (to the displaced camp at Debre Birhan in Amhara Region.”
These are not isolated cases. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, 111,118 families were forcefully displaced by the Oromo government, over the last 6 months alone. The Ethiopian Statistics Service suggests that one-quarter of households are headed by women and the average household size is 4.6 members. This means well over half a million people were forcefully displaced by the Oromo government in the last few months alone.
Before the recent round of forceful evictions, according to the Voice of America report in January 2023, the number of Amhara expelled from the Oromo region was close to a million.
This is not all. As Yohannes Buayalew (the Amhara representative to the Ethiopian Parliament) lamented at the Amhara Congress meeting, Amhara’s are not only evicted out of the Oromo region. Their movements are also restricted.
As Representative Buayalew stated: “There are five gateways into Addis Ababa. Two of which link the Amhara region to Addis Ababa. The government routinely blocks these gateways to isolate the Amhara population. Amhara traders cannot transport their merchandises into
Addis and through Addis Ababa to southern parts of Ethiopia. Gravely ill Amharas are not allowed to enter Addis to get treatment in big hospitals with lifesaving medical equipment.
The so-called Oromo Sheger City that encircles Addis Ababa in all directions is designed not only to evict on-Oromos from the surroundings of Addis Ababa, but also to control who is entering and leaving Addis Ababa. When the President of Oromo and the Second most powerful official of Oromo-PP was asked the purpose of building Sheger City, his response was “our enemies understand our intentions.” Amharas know that they are the enemy.
PM Abiy has publicly justified the roadblock policy, accusing Amhara of instigating conflict in the capital city to remove his government. In 2021, he accused the Amhara of conspiring to remove him from office and threatened them stating that they would see “the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people over night.” In 2023, he upped his threat, stating “the consequence will be deadlier than the red terror in the 1970s.” According to the African Union, “more than 700,000 people were killed” during the red terror.
One of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Rank Senior Advisor had it right when he warned the world on April 3, 2023 stating: “Today’s Ethiopia is at a juncture similar to that of Rwanda when it found itself at the dawn of genocide.” Soon After the Minister’s public notice, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention issued a red flag alert for genocide, stressing the Amhara are “in a perilous discursive position that could easily devolve into genocide.” It is to avoid such an existential threat that Fanno raised arms.
Furthermore, as home to devoted Christians and Muslims, there is nothing more that the Amhara region cherishes and protects than its religious leaders and houses of worship. Over the last few months alone, the Oromo government has demolished over 200 Churches and Mosques. Additionally, over 600 more churches and mosques are marked for demolished. He has instructed church and mosque leaders to do the demolishing themselves.
The government has two justifications for the mass demolitions of churches and mosques. The first explanation is that the demolished houses of worship were built illegally. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has rejected this claim.
The second explanation is “Muslim and Christian houses of worship are demolished to clear space for the new Sheger city.” This is an outright lie. The City plan, as described by the President of the Oromo region, is to build a city that will house as many as 30 million people. When new cities are planned, the first requirement is water availability. Water resources in the Sheger area are not even sufficient for the current population of Addis Ababa and its
surroundings. Sheger city is used as an excuse to implement Oromummaa’s anti-Amhara, anti Christian, anti-Islam agenda.
There is nothing sacred in the belief system of the two destructive forces of Oromo-PP and Oromummaa. They slap Orthodox Priests and beat up Muslim Imams in public, They kill religious leaders and desecrate religious books, and throw teargas at Orthodox Christians while they pray and sing hymns of praise to God.
During Mengistu the butcher’s era, there was a short poem a grieving mother uttered that remains etched in the memory of that generation. “ሻለቃ ተፈራ የእግዜር ታናሽ ወንድም፣ የዛሬን ማርልኝ ሁለተኛ አልወልድም.” In a sardonic twist of irony, the mother was Amhara. Today, her iconic description of diabolical cruelty is replaced by an iconic cry for mercy uttered by a little Amhara girl pleading with her killers: “የዛሬን ማሩኝ ሁለተኛ አማራ አልሆንም.”
In two generations, Ethiopia has transitioned from a mother’s promise of “ሁለተኛ አልወልድም” to a child’s vow of “ሁለተኛ አልወለድም” Words cannot describe the savagery. Pictures may.
The picture below shows masse demolitions by the Oromo special forces (regional army) and eviction by the Oromo government with the full knowledge and approval of the Prime Minister.
The pictures below show victims of mass murder. The picture in the middle is a satellite imagery of demolished structures (houses) taken by the Amnesty International. The satellite shows fire damage. Other news sources have reported people were burned alive in their huts.
What makes the crime dangerous is that it is not only tribe-based, but also religion based. The below picture on the right shows Muslims praying Infront of what used to be their Mosque, after it was demolished. The picture on the right portrays an Orthodox priest being paraded on the streets by Oromummaa mobsters with a dead chicken hanging from his neck.
It is against such anti-Christian, anti-Islam, anti-Amhara, and anti-Ethiopia campaign that we are defending our religions, our families, and our basic human rights by raising arms as a matter of self-defense and survival.
II.3. Beyond Mere Survival
As Ethiopians we believe we have the right to economic freedom and equal access to resources the federal government controls. As reported by the US based Heritage Foundation, the nation’s “Economic Freedom Index” is deteriorating. What the Heritage Foundation has not looked at is how much economic freedom varies across Ethiopia.
Businesses predominantly owned by Amharas face disruptions for days on end without legal proceedings as was the case with Bajaj taxis in Addis. Nearly 10,000 Bajaj owners who were legally operating with government issued licenses were left without work or income after the government stopped them without prior notice. The Bajaj restriction was ultimately lifted after public uproar exposed the decision was aimed at targeting people from Amhara and Southern Peoples who constitute the majority of Bajaj business.
The most damage to the Amhara economy is attributable to restrictions on free movement of goods and services to and from Amhara regions. Though the Amhara are the targets of the policy, other tribes have become collateral victims as Addis Ababa is transit city connecting different regions. For example, a businessman from Southern People region who travels to Amhara region through Addis Ababa to sell his merchandise faces restrictions to return to his home base through Addis Ababa. Similarly, Amhara businessmen are finding it increasingly difficult to take their produce to Addis Ababa and to other regions through Addis Ababa.
Businessmen and women are forced to buy three billion Birr (US$58 million) worth of the Prime Minister’s latest book. Depending on the size of the business, a business entity is required to spend up to 2 million birr or nearly $US39,000. A large part of the 3 billion Birr extortion is expected from Amhara businesses. Those who do not want to or cannot afford to face economic sanctions including cancelation of their business licenses.
More importantly, the Prime Minister’s obsession with vanity projects (including the $15.3 billion palace) that are financed by printing money is destroying the nation’s economy. In January 2022, Ethiopia’s inflation was amongst the worst 10 inflationary countries in the world. For 2023, IMF’s projection for Ethiopia is 31.4 percent. By 2024, the projection is 23.5 percent.
The median inflation for Africa is projected to be 5 percent by the end of 2024.
In 2018, there were 7.88 million Ethiopians in need of international food assistance. Today, as the Prime Minister goes on a Dubai-inspired binge for flashy vanity projects, 22 million Ethiopians need international food aid of which 4.6 million are internally displaced living in makeshift camps. More than 2.3 million children are out of school, as they wait for the
reconstruction of schools destroyed by the war. Furthermore, three million people have slipped below the absolute poverty line.
In 2023, the Prime Minister chose to export wheat, deepening the food crisis in Ethiopia. The consequence is a very high food inflation rate of 33.6 percent that is 17 percent higher than the general inflation rate.
Another crisis area is the unprecedented corruption and the total collapse of the bureaucracy because of it. The PM have thrown the proverbial towel and promised on TV not to prosecute corrupt officials if they agree to use their loot to open businesses. The running joke in government offices is that they will continue to loot until they have enough money to open a five-star hotel. Corruption has reached a point where government officials steal international food aid while the people to whom the food aid is intended die from starvation.
Morality is not the only thing that is “dropping sharply lower.” In general, “dropping sharply lower” has become the theme for every sector of the nation’s economy. Since Oromo-PP came to power, government capital expenditure (money spent on long term development projects such as roads and bridges) has dropped sharply and consistently. A Cepheus Capital report quoted by Ethiopia in Data shows, in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, government capital expenditure was 6.5% of GDP. In 2022/2023 it was down to 2.9%. In 2023-2024, it went down to 1.8%.
Perhaps the most saddening line item in the “dropping sharply lower” column is poverty targeted government expenditure. According to the UNDP Quarterly Economic Profile, poverty targeted expenditure for 2022 was 2.9% of GDP, the lowest since 2017. The report that three million people have slipped below the absolute poverty line is due partly to the decline in government support.
Manufacturing is another sector in the “dropping sharply lower” column. According to Melaku Alebel, the Minister of Industry of Ethiopia, in 2022, 446 manufacturing industries stopped production. He attributed the problem to the shortage of finance, infrastructure, the absence of coordinated support from the government, and lack of skilled manpower.
The agricultural sector is another crisis area, suffering because of shortage of money to import fertilizer.
As critical areas of the economy drop sharply, the nation’s resources are prioritized to the Prime Minister’s $15.3 billion palace that the French flagship newspaper, Le Monde described as “pharaonic taken by delusions of grandeur.” The palace is glamoured up with a waterfall, three artificial lakes, a zoo, and futuristic luxury villas rivaling Dubai’s iconic high-
rises. What is even more concerning is that the $15.3 billion palace (14% of the nation’s GDP) is built without the approval or constitutionally sanctioned oversight authority of the nation’s Parliament.
According to the UN-OCHA report, “about 80 percent of the land has been cultivated across all Meher dependent areas; however, only about 50 percent has been planted in Amhara, 80 percent in Oromia, 48 percent in Benishangul Gumuz, 50 percent in SNNPR, and 30 percent in Tigray, according to the Agriculture Cluster.” The Oromo 80% figure shows it has
better access to fertilizer than other regions.
Our struggle is not only a struggle for survival but also for economic freedom and equal opportunities. Our and our children’s future is closely tied to the nation’s economy. The nation must change course in the way the economy is managed. The economy is one of the reasons why the entire Amhara population is behind our movement.
III. A Way Forward for a Peaceful Resolution
Fanno is faced with the tension between two conflicting end-goals. First, is our uncompromising position for self-preservation and democratic rights, while being cognizant and careful not to allow the crisis turn into a civil war. Second, we are determined that a potential civil war should not mean allowing the current status quo to continue without a transformative change.
The question that is imposing itself on us is: How do we delicately balance this tension? The need to avoid a civil war requires it, and the nation’s political transformation depends on it. Our goal is to be a catalyst for a transformative political reform without escalating the tension to a civil war.
Sadly, the Prime Minister’s solution for every and all political crises of his own making is sending troops, establishing command centers, and ultimately abandoning them in haste. The cycle continues as Ethiopia slips into a political and economic abyss. Below we provide a path for a peaceful transformative change.
III.1. A First Critical Step
The first critical step is for the government to accept the current Fanno movement is embraced by the entire Amhara population. Our strength comes from the people who are behind us not from the arms we raised in self-defense. The Prime Minister needs to be remined that he
cannot silence 40 million people. He needs to also be reminded that his promise and confidence to wrap-up the war with TPLF in two weeks lasted two years.
It is current history that the Prime Minister established a command center to administer the Tigray region only to abandon it and retreat in haste and humiliation. He established a command center in parts of the Oromo region with nothing to show for it. One of the booming economic activities in the Oromo region has become kidnapping truck-drivers and business owners for ransom.
We wholeheartedly believe every step needs to be taken to avoid pushing the country into a disastrous civil war. Below are our demands for a ceasefire and peace talk.
We ask the international community to put political and economic pressure to bring the Prime Minister to a negotiating table. Failing that, the international community must realize the risk of a civil war is caused by the Prime Minister’s intransigence and refusal for a transformative change, not by Fanno’s uncompromising drive for justice, democratic rights, stability, and security.
III.2. Preconditions for a Transformative Change
We would like to stress that all the demands are within the constitutional order.
1. Immediate withdrawal of all Ethiopian National Défense Forces (ENDF) from the Amhara region. We are referring to those who have been brought in to contain the Fanno Movement. Those who are stationed in the Amhara region must be ordered to return to their barracks.
2. Immediate suspension of the disarmament program until confidence building measures are taken and the existential threat against Amhara is removed.
3. Maintain the Welkait and Raya current status quo and suspend any plan to transfer the contested lands from Amhara to federal government administration. This issue must be the last item on the region’s political agenda. First come the region’s security, peace, and stability.
4. Organize immediate national and international humanitarian support for forcefully displaced Amhara people. The effort must be monitored by the international community. This is critical considering the report by the UN and US government
that regional and federal government officials were involved in stealing international food aid.
5. Allow access to international investigations of mass killings, mass evictions and demolitions of Mosques and Churches. The investigation must be unfettered and time bound – no more than six months followed by full accountability based on the findings of investigations.
6. Hold a vote of confidence for the Amhara Prosperity Party-led government in the Amhara region. The aim is either to establish confidence in the Amhara-PP leadership or recall them followed by new elections if the recall through a constitutional means leads to the removal from office of Amhara-PP leaders. This may be done in other regions as well if there is demand for it by the people of respective regions. The recall process must be monitored by international organizations.
7. Hold vote of confidence for the Oromo-PP led government in the Ethiopian Parliament. This must be held after a vote of confidence in the Amhara region and other regions (if the people in the other tribal lands so choose). This opens the door to replace the Prime Minister if the majority Parliamentarians so choose.
IV. Call for Support
We call up on the people of Ethiopia at home and in the Diaspora to support our movement so that we can together build a consensus on the path that our nation must take to create a democratic, unified, peaceful, and secured nation. We need to be united and chart our future together. No region can bring about a lasting and transformative change by itself. We need to raise our voices together. Only then can we be assured every Ethiopia’s human dignity and rights are honored and protected.
IV.1. Call for Ethiopians in All Regions of Ethiopia
First and foremost, we should pay homage to the people of Oromo who stand with Ethiopia. They, too, are victims of the radical Oromummaa political agenda. There are many unsung Oromo heroes who resist Oromo-PP’s pressure and threats and protect victims of the Oromummaa cult politics. We cannot forget Oromos who housed evicted Amharas and others
and protected Christians and Muslims alike. We call upon all conscientious people of Oromo to be a part of the protest for a democratic, just, and peaceful Ethiopia.
We call upon all Ethiopians from all regions of the country to join us to develop a common agenda and a common strategy. In the meantime, we call up on your support in our struggle. Your support may come in the form of petition letters, demonstrations, published articles, and international campaigns through your support groups in the diaspora.
IV.2. Call for Members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces
The military y has sworn obligations to defend the nation not only from foreign forces but also from local forces who are undermining the integrity and sovereignty of the nation in pursuit of creating Greater Oromia.
We are confident that as military officers you understand your oath is to support and defend the Constitution, not to serve an autocratic individual who is abusing his office and using the military as a political instrument. We call up on all defense forces to not be an instrument of Oromummaa inspired political suppression and subjugation.
The military is the last bastion of the nation’s unity and security. The Oromo-PP’s plan to wage war on Amhara is bound to create tension and friction between Amhara members of the military and others. The army needs to keep this in mind before following the Prime Minister’s self-destructive war on the people of Amhara.
Furthermore, high brass military leaders have duty to protect the rank-and-file personnel who are paying the ultimate sacrifice to defend their nation. The military has suffered more than any part of society under the current Prime Minister. The military has paid a steep price in life and limb because of the trigger-happy Prime Minister. Those who were wounded during the war with TPLF are begging on the streets, with no government assistant. The PM is focused on vanity projects to fan his fancy and feed his ego rather than addressing the needs of veterans and their families.
Military leader must refuse to be involved in the PM’s war against the people. They need to remind themselves that in most cases they are the ones who face war crime and genocide charges in international courts. Recent cases in Guatemala, Myanmar, and Serbia provide a red flag of warning.
It is with confidence that we call upon all military forces to rise to the occasion and defend protect the constitutional order being usurped by Oromo-PP and Oromummaa ideologues.
IV.3. Call for Ethiopians in the Diaspora
In terms of generating foreign currency, remittance and diaspora travel to the motherland generate more per annum than international aid and export revenues combined. If well organized, the diaspora community has sufficient leverage to make a difference. Think of every dollar you send or spend in Ethiopia when visiting is blood money that the government uses to buy drones and bullets to kill your people.
Some people think international sanction will “do serious damage to the economy [that is] already on the precipice.” What they fail to understand is that without intervention the economy will collapse. We believe the cost of action in the form of conditional sanction to bring about change is lower than the cost of inaction that allows the Prime Minister to stay the course and cross the tipping point of economic meltdown.
We also ask you to organize a centralized support group for our proposal with branches in different cities and countries you live in. This will help us to develop a robust international strategy and effective campaign to influence international policies.
IV.4. Call for the International Community
Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention has issued a red flag alert for genocide in Ethiopia, stressing the Amhara are “in a perilous discursive position that could easily devolve into genocide.” The Prime Minister is on the record threatening to “slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people over night.” He has also threatened his political opponents of a
“consequence deadlier than the red terror of the 1970s.” According to the African Union, “more than 700,000 people were killed” during the red terror.
The international community that promised “Never Again” after the Rwanda genocide has moral obligations to intervene. The Oromo-PP and its Oromummaa ideologues have shown that their cruelty has no bound and there is no savagery that is beyond them. They are one spark away from plunging the nation into a cascading collapse. A dual tipping points for economic collapse and the impending Oromummaa genocide is rapidly approaching. The time is now to do everything possible to avert a civil war.
The most important tool in the international community’s arsenal is sanction. It must be fully used, barring humanitarian aid. The threat of sanction is what forced him to negotiate with TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Front. Sanction is the only viable tool that can disrupt the Prime Minister’s narcissistic fantasy of absolute autocracy.
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