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OROMOS LIVING IN PERPETUAL DILEMMA

By Golicha T. Dima

Oromo cannot forever live under perpetual fear of Northerners, the Amhara and Tigray yet combined Amhara and Tigray population is less than that of Oromo. Apart from being the single most populous nation in Ethiopia, Oromos are centrally located in Ethiopia. Oromo has the most fertile and productive land. Almost 80% of Ethiopian highland are owned and occupied by Oromo.

Despite the geophysical location and numerical strength Oromos, continue to be preoccupied and even ruled by perpetual fear of Habesha and Tigray domination, leave alone other time but even when one of their own is at the top. When the chief of General Staff is an Oromo and several sons and daughters of Oromo occupy and control key positions in the federal government.

Immediate former Minister of defence was an Oromo yet the Oromo nation, both within and in diasporas continue to manifest all kinds of phobia -the fear of Amhara.

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So the fact that Oromo being at the top of state power does not guarantee them safety and security, to those who know the history of Oromo, whatever they are experiencing is neither new nor surprising to those who know Oromo history. The infamous quote ” Labanille Qabat Gallan Gallumaa “ seems to be fulfilled.

2005 Election Conundrum

The 2005 general elections in Ethiopia was another moment of dilemma. It was a tough race between Amhara and Tigray’s EPDRF. The most populous nation of Oromia found themselves on the horn of the dilemma. They had to make difficult choices between Tigray and Amhara. Choices have consequences so they had to choose between the two northerners. Oromos frustration, confusion and fear were evidently manifested. Aden Harun, an Oromo musician captured the Oromo dilemma in his song ” Warrabo and Qerramso “,

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“Warrabon Nara buue, Qerramso narrat bau, benesi binesuma tokkolon wanaa inau, Nyatamu Kiyya Innolu Dhedhule Duraa Imbau…….umna koo jabefadhe…Tiya koo karorfadhe lachu ufiira dhau…..×2. Aden Haro helped Oromos to make a wise choice by describing the feeding habits of the two carnivores, and that Qerramso after drinking blood it will not finish the prey, there will be sufficient left over for others, but Warrabo cannot spare even the bones and the hide hence there is no leftover for their offspring. (Warrabon Amba inqabu), that was how Oromo voted in 2005 general elections, of course, Amhara won but EPDRF rigged the elections, all 27 parliamentary and other elective seats in Addis Ababa went to the opposition, each side claimed victory but EPDRF rigged, killed, jailed and terrorized Amhara. Of course, Oromos had gone for the lesser evil, Qerramso,( Qerramso dhiga tute tuffe laft daraba, sanyyi ilman Issaniti nyatta irra afte ambani)

For how long will Oromos continue mulling over the fear of hyena and Leopard? While Amhara and Tigray were competing, Oromos were not part of the competition, it is not there in the race but rather they are nursing frustration and dilemma over the two choices they have to make, the frustration is all about the consequence of the outcome of their choices.

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Even during the 21 days operation or rather ENDF and Tigray war, many Oromos again found themselves at a crossroad. The dilemma was who to support between Tigray (Qerramso) and Abiy (Naftxanya/ Warrabo), the Oromos are back to square one, choosing between their two predators again.

Self Determination for the Oromos

If this is Oromos mindset, where will this nation ever reach? A nation whose choice is always dictated by phobia, where choices are made after studying the feeding habits of the predators, surely, where is Oromo headed?

The Map of Oromia Region | Photo Courtesy

Do this community have present and future? If today is not their time and today is not their day, which is this future that Oromos are expecting? Or Maybe the day Oromia region’s Map with Oromia flag bearing Odda in the middle is erected and Oromia declared an independent new state in Africa?? Realistically, will such day ever come?

The flag of Oromia Region | Photo Courtesy

The crux of my argument is that the Oromos problem is neither Amhara nor Tigray dominance, the Oromos, two Northerners dominated and colonized the Oromos because they got a willing subject.

Amharas never colonized Oromos against their will. Only a small population of Amharas and Tigray reached out to Oromia, the Oromos with their usual clan-based division willingly collaborated with Amhara or Tigray and accepted to be colonized. They then helped in expanding the Amhara sphere of influence from the centre to the periphery where highlander Oromos colonised low land Oromos under the pretext of being Amhara descent and agents.

Oromo willingly adopted the Amhara culture and language. Until today, the Amharic language is the official government and business language spoken in all urban centre in Ethiopia, many Oromos have only recently accepted their identity as Oromos, just a few years back Oromos conceal their identity, they accepted to be “Ahmaranized” because they believed that Amhara culture and language is superior.

Clan Hegemony

Oromos will not accept one of their own even if he or she has taken power thru armed struggle or through democratic elections as long as that person is not from their region or religion and sub-tribe.

This is simply because of extreme clanism amongst the Oromos, they always see each other as Oromo Arsi, Wallaga, Showa, Wallo, Hararghe, Guji, Borana, then each of this Oromo subsection has stereotype feelings and attitude towards the other. Stereotyping perception is often regional and religious-based.

Arsi and Hararghe cannot accept Shawa and Waallaga leadership because they have strong stereotype belief about the two as Amhara agents, so are the Shawa and Waallaga about the Arsi as most divisive, selfish and propagandists. This is the problem with Oromos and simply these divisions are what Tigray and Amhara exploited in turns.

Dr Ahmed Abiy, the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia | Photo Courtesy

It is just because of the same divisive and propagandists stereotypes that Arsi, Hararghe and section of Wolllaga are rejecting Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali. It is not that Abiy is intoxicated with Amhara (Naftxanya ideologies) Abiy is not the problem, the problem is Oromos’s nature and attitude, they can easily accept colonization by Amhara and Tigray rather than accepting a legitimately elected Oromo son.

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Why should Amhara, Somali, Benshanghul Gumuz, Afar, Sidama, Gurage, and all 80 plus nation, nationalities and the people’s republic accept Abiy but Oromos reject one of their own? The problem is not Abiy, the problem is Oromos clanist nature and their stereotype towards each other. Arsi will only accept if it is either Jawar Mohamed or Kamal Galchu is at the helm, Wallaga will be happy if the Prime Minister is Lemma Megersa, Prof Merara Gudina or Daudi Ibsa but not Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali. This is the typical mindset of people used to colonisation by outsiders, they will never accept one of their own but it is very easy for them to accept outsiders like Amhara or Tigray.


Mr Golicha T. Dima is the Chief Officer for Agriculture, Marsabit County Government

About Admin

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach. Whispers from the North hopes to mitigate these challenges through the raising of community awareness, enhancement of participation, building capacity, creation of opportunities and assist communities in the management of change.

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