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Why are the Orommumas unstable in leading a country of 120 million people?

Abiy Ahmed meeting Jawar Mohammed (Photo: file/SM)

By Dr. Tibebu Abdisa Aga

Why is Ethiopia on the verge of self-destruction and division under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed and his ethnic Oromo elite gangs?  This is a million-dollar question. To answer it, one has to understand the history, group and individual psychology, and cultural practices as the roots of these elites. It might need experts in various fields like anthropology, psychology, history, politics, and sociology for a deeper understanding. However, in this short piece, short analysis from different perspectives is provided to pave the way for deeper analysis by the experts in each field.  

Historical Perspective.  There is considerable debate about the origin of the Oromo people in general. Some say that they came from Madagascar and settled in northern Kenya and southern part of Ethiopia. They later migrated (expanded) towards central and eastern modern Ethiopia during and after the Grange Mohammed time. This expansionist mindset helped them to conquer the area until the river Mereb, on the borders of Eritrea in the past. They claim that the names of places like Mekele, Raya, Werbabu, Were Ilu, Were Hemeno, Bati, and so on have Oromo roots. However, others claim that these places, including Finifine (Addis Ababa), had original names before the expansionists forcefully changed them. The expansionist mindset still exists within the Oromo elites. That is why they are now calming the Red Sea’s and Indian Ocean’s presence.  It is important to remark that the majority peace-loving Oromo population does not have such ambition as their political elites, though. 

Cultural  Perspective. The Oromumma elites complain that they are forced to adapt to a culture of the Semitic group including the Christian and Islam religion. They murmur that they are forced to study the Amharic language without their consent. They complain that the northern people  the Semitic people, including the Amhara, Gurage, Tigray people, and others)  dominate the culture in the country. They stand against the Orthodox church since most of the clerics are from the Northern people, and the church is perceived as a means for dominance by the Northerners over them. They complain that these people take their land. Even though many famous people, in many respects, in the country come from the Oromo (mixed Oromo) ethnic group  (Tilahun Gesese, Abebe Bikila, Abdisa Aga, Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Gobena, Mengistu Hailemariyam, …), they complain that these are Ethiopianized people who do not represent the Oromo people. Especially the existing Oromo elites have nostalgia towards Amharic as a national language and school subject while they grow up. They even preferred the flag that was suggested to them by one German missionary over the three colors,  green-yellow-red, based flag that symbolizes freedom for many African countries.  They seem allergic to the green, yellow, and red flags in general.

Psychological Perspective. The Oromummaa politicians as a group show a common psychological disorder. They all exhibit an inferiority complex with the Semitic groups, especially with their neighbor elites from the Amhara ethnic groups. Hence, through time, they have developed resentment, hatred, and rejection towards the Ethiopians, especially the Amharaized Ethiopia.  This shapes their daily actions.  This hatred and complexity is seen every day by killing the people from Tigray, Amhara, and other ethnic groups, even if they are children or women. This is a psychological status that needs help before it is too late. They claim that the Oromo culture is inclusive, but their action contradicts their claim.  

Cognitive Perspective.  The present Oromumma leaders from the OPDO (now PP)  and OLF (OLA) use a very low-level strategy that can be defined as a short-sighted, ineffective, inconsistent, and non-rigorous method. For example, they asked the Eritrean govt,  Fano, and Afar to join them in fighting TPLF, and in a short period, within a few months, they changed their alliance with TPLF and started to attack FANO. They also ask Eritrea to join their operation against FANO. When they get a negative response, they are now planning to attack Eritrea in the name of getting a port and controlling the Red Sea politics. One day they claim that they are friends of the western bloc, and the next day they brag about their BRICS membership. Such instability, መንቀዥቀዥ, is a result of low-level, non-rigorous, non complex thinking. It seems they are led by emotions (ደመ ነፍስ), void of cognitive complexity. Such instability has cost them trust in the country; almost all the ethnic groups are building momentum against their leadership. It is just a matter of time before enemies surround them and 360 degrees around the region. Even beyond the borders of the country, among the Horn countries, east African countries, African level, and further at the international stage, such void of cognitive complexity is observed, and everyone is detecting/sensing/smelling rats about them. 

Political Perspective. In politics, one has to build coalitions to get momentum across the country. They managed to do so when they cooperated with the Amhara elite to overthrow the Tigrean elite from 4-Kilo in Addis Ababa. After they defeated TPLF in the two-year war (with the help of Afar, Amhara, and Eritreans),  they abandoned the Amhara PP and planned to create the Oromo hegemony in the country. They blocked the democratic rights of the Amhara people in many ways. When resistance from the people built against such dominance, they used the Pretoria agreement as a basis to destroy the strength of the Amhara people. Remember, they got political power mainly due to the Oromo-Amhara elites’ coalition. They abandoned that coalition to pursue the Oromo empire in eastern Africa. However, they face massive resistance from FANO. The FANO victory is galvanizing the whole country.  Even the whole world heard about the discipled freedom fighters. የቆጡን አወርድ ብላ የብ ብቷን ጣለችው አንደሚሉ, they soon are losing their political power due to the massive defeat by FANOs. On top of all these,  they are also claiming to get a Port on the Red Sea.  They want to go to war with neighboring countries for it.  The army is losing its strength day by day, let alone going to war with Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.  ትለብሰው የላት ትከናነበው አማራት አንደሚሉ !

Advice for Oromummas. It is good to ask genuine questions for yourselves. What did not work yesterday does not work today or tomorrow. Justice, freedom, and equality are the sustainable way forward. It is good to reconcile with history to act wisely today and shape the future. Please think critically and constructively. Everything you complain that has happened to you,  will not be acceptable by others. Prefer the way of fairness. This unstable way of jumping here and there will hurt you much. Come to your senses. Heal your mind and soul. Try to collaborate with other fellow citizens in the country to build a beautiful nation that includes everybody.  Sustainable way of life is attained by planning to live together with others via the rule of law and justice. Ethiopia is enough for everyone. The Oromo people will not be a loser if a fair Ethiopia is built for every single Ethiopian in the country. 

However, now you are nervous and unstable since you are thinking day and night: “We should not lose this chance,” “This is our time,”   “We should not do like TPLF,” “4-kilo is ours, the bank is ours;  the tank is ours; the intelligence is ours; the political powers are ours;  this chance should not get out of our hand. Overthinking this makes you madder.  Please come out of this “Teregnnet” mindset! Abandon this ethnic-based politics and save the people in the country from the next massacre. Repent! Change your course Before it is too late!

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of 


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  1. Feudalism was brutal and outdated for 20th century and the common people got rid of that in 1974. The students, the teachers, the workers and the army together made sure it was removed. If we could only go back to that period and start all over again? The ethno-fascist parties weren’t even created yet when that happened; but they now want us to believe they were the ones who abolished feudalism. They arrived 17 years too late for the celebration and they’ve been nothing but pure evil ever since.

    When the great Abdisa Aga passed away in late 1970s, he received a hero’s state burial he deserved. Heard ‘seemed like the whole city had turned up, including students from high schools.’ He was in the school curriculum (fourth grade?) Abdisa was unique among his peers of Fannos of the late 1930s and 1940/1. He escaped from Fascist Italy’s prison and fought them in their own land. [Ras Immiru and his aide Lij Yilma Deresa (both spared from being imprisonment and execution for their service in that war, Yilma was a fresh graduate from UK with a degree in economics and one of the most able finance minister for several years) were in prison in Sardinia too after their resistance with Gore town as their Eth-gov’t seat was broken in 1937, but they couldn’t escape and join him. Zeray Deres was not in jail but in Italy abd he was enraged when he saw the stolen statue from Ethiopia being made fun of and went on a rampage and couldn’t meet Abdisa before he was killed] Marshal Tito is said to have sought after him when he came on state visit to Ethiopia. By then Abidsa was an army officer. The partisans in the Balkans had a lot of memories of him and he might be the reason that Yugoslavia was such a great friend of Ethiopia. They built infrastructure like power lines and port facilities for Ethiopia among other things and gave out scholarships to Ethiopian students in their universities. At least two of the cabinet ministers during the Derg era were educated in that country and one or both had brought wives from there, too. Yugoslavia was also one of the best looked-for country during the socialist era to Ethiopian students who wanted to study medicine.

    General Nega Tegegn reserved a whole chapter for the great Abdisa Aga in his memoir which he wrote in exile. That general was one of the old schools from the academy of the Royal elite force and later commander of the third division and still later governor of Gondar province before he joined EDU and became the leader of its rebel army. Abidsa has retired by then but was called back as a war adviser during the Siad Bare invasion in 1977. Gen Nega had tried to get Abdisa a few perks before he retired while he was commanding the third division but didn’t specify (probably out of modesty or maybe because he didn’t succeed in that effort.) Nega had Abdisa in mind when he became a rebel army leader himself, but unlike Nega Abdisa Aga led an all-white rebel army in Europe that successfully helped defeat Italian Fascism. Nega was quite a great admirer and they could’ve easily fought each other in Ethiopia hadn’t EDU decided to unilaterally stop the fight when the country was being attacked by a foreign invading force and separating ones. And despite that chance of being leaders of opposing forces, general Nega didn’t spare a word in his praise for the national hero Abdisa Aga in his book.

    Those were the days of dignified people leading the disciplined Army. Today generals don’t need to go to military academies or show any signs of excellence in battle to get up to 3 500 square meters of prime land in Addis Ababa. They get rewarded excessively to wage war of ethnic dominance of Tigre or Oromo elites. They killed over a million between them in just two years and want to kill tens of thousands more civilians with drones and artillery fire in their homes. 3 500 sq ms of Addis real estate is worth millions of USD but that is not enough for them. Berhanu Jula for e.g. is using army helicopters to smuggle out millions of USD to Djibouti where he has dollar accounts in a bank. The private soldiers that are being led by corrupt and incompetent officers which are being killed in Amhara tribal land unnecessarily, you ask? They only get paid less than thirty dollars a month-IF that. And when they die their wives and children are told to leave the army barracks and are kicked out if they don’t. In contrast, even Derg used to ship-out war orphans to Cuban boarding schools and had another one at home for the same purpose. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the ‘child king’ of Oromumma wants to march them to certain death on his quest to the Red Sea. Shemelis wants to celebrate his IRREECHA at the sea shore but he is not going to war for it himself, there are the dispensable soldiers who will die for his Oromumma empire which will never come true.


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