Subject: Request to support the establishment of an all-inclusive Transitional Government of Oromia and to intervene to resolve the Ethiopian Constitutional Crisis.
We, the undersigned members of the Oromia Global Forum, are writing to request your support for the formation of a Transitional Government of Oromia as proposed by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as the only way to bring peace and stability to the region. We also request you to urgently intervene and avert the impending constitutional crisis in Ethiopia which, if left unattended to, can most likely result in a civil war with potentials for genocide and refugee crisis.
On October 5, 2020, the term of office for both federal and regional governments in Ethiopia will expire. However, the regime in power has unconstitutionally and forcefully postponed national and regional elections indefinitely. Rejected by the Oromo and other nations and nationalities, the government is engaged in conducting vindictive, politically motivated, imprisonments, extrajudicial killings, looting of properties in Oromia.
The Oromo people have endured unprecedented brutality, deprivation, expropriation of their ancestral lands, enslavement, and relentless attack on their cultural heritage, language, institution, and national identity ever since the Abyssinian (later named Ethiopian) rulers invaded and conquered Oromia and southern Nations and Nationalities between 1880 and 1913. Erving E. BeaureGard (1976, PP24) vividly described Menelik II of Abyssinia conducted wanton aggression and invasion of Oromia using weapons purchased from the French adventurers . In the article published by the New York Times on February 26, 1895, under the title of “Menelik’s terrible expedition,” the newspaper describes that an expedition sent by king Menelik of Shewa Amhara (1866-1889), and later the emperor of Ethiopia (1889-1913), against the “Galla tribes” (the then reference to the Oromo people by Amharas and Abyssinian rulers) slew 70,000 tribesmen and captured 15,000 men . The brutal attack continued and decimated the Oromo population from 10 million by half to 5 million resulting in the extermination of millions of the Oromos, according to Martial De Salviac, a French missionary who lived among the Oromos [3, 4].
Abyssinia had neither the knowledge nor the capacity to conquer neighboring free nations if it were not for the firearms and military advice emperor Menelik received from European colonial powers including Great Britain, France, and Italy, during “the European scramble for Africa”. There was practical consanguinity between other African colonization and invasion of Oromia and similar states neighboring Abyssinia. European colonizers and Abyssinians used identical tools and pursued a similar objective of dominating and exploiting others’ economic and human resources.
With the continued advice and support of European colonial powers, the Abyssinian empire joined the League of Nations as a junior colonial partner, to gain protection and to consolidate its expansion into Oromia, southern, and eastern states, under the reign of king Haile Selassie. Later, the Abyssinian empire was renamed to the Ethiopian empire under the leadership of Haile Selassie in 1931. Both king Menelik and Haile Selassie turned Oromos into serfs, dispossessed them of their properties, lands, and human rights for over eight decades until the communist military junta regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam rose to power in 1974 following the civilian disobedience led by the Oromos and other oppressed nations.
It is unfortunate that the United Nations that replaced the League of Nations and promoted freedom and the independence of nations following World War II chose to turn a blind eye to the subjugation of the Oromo people in contravention of its own policies elsewhere and the Charter of the United Nations which affirms the Right to Self-determination of all peoples. Throughout history, UN and Western Powers have protected the Ethiopian empire with no regard for the Oromo people’s welfare and their right to self-determination, thereby perpetuating their subjugation. Regardless, Oromia has never voluntarily accepted the union with Abyssinia. It is involuntarily kept in Ethiopia and endures continued violence and tyranny.
In 1991, the Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military regime was removed from power by the bitter struggle of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), and the Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF) which was followed by the London Conference, led by the United States government, which ended by rewarding the Eritreans with their independence, and TPLF with “state responsibility” of forming the Ethiopian Transitional Government. The Oromo and other nations and nationalities accepted the Transitional Charter that outlined the formation of a multinational federal arrangement that recognized the nations’, nationalities’, and peoples’ right to self-determination and self-rule. However, in practice, they were denied these rights. The OLF was eventually forced out of the Transitional Government in 1992, and Oromia has been subjected to military rule ever since.
Before it assumed state power, the TPLF had created the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) from Afaan Oromo-speaking prisoners of war, with the mission of suppressing dissent in, and exploiting, Oromia. It had also created the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which included OPDO and its other servile parties that it controlled, and in whose name it ruled the country with an iron fist, before it was forced to retreat to Tigray by Oromo non-violent revolution.
The Oromo non-violent revolution which started in 2014, culminated in the expulsion of TPLF from the seats of federal power in 2018, and was hoped to usher in freedom for the Oromo and other peoples of the country. Despite costing the Oromo nation thousands of lives, the revolution was hijacked by Afaan Oromo-speaking Neo-neftegna group led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed within the OPDO. To hide its true colors, the Neo-Neftegna team promised to respect human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of press, abide by the constitution, rule of law and transition to democratic governance. The promised reform and transition to democracy was derailed by the backward-looking imperial ambition of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to become the 7th king of the empire and to stay in power against the will of the peoples of Ethiopia.
As a result, Ethiopia is on the verge of becoming a failed state under the visionless, Machiavellian style leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. While Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is busy with glorifying and building statues for the most barbaric brutal feudal kings of Abysinia, the whole world is demolishing statues of such brutal figures everywhere. He is working hard to dismantle the multi-national constitution currently in place and to take back Ethiopia to the feudal era instead of crafting a forward-looking system that could hold together the diverse multinational empire of Ethiopia. To this end, he has fully deployed military rule (command post) by commanding the army, national security and police forces to silence all progressive Organizations that support transition to democracy, self-determination and respect human rights in all parts of the country.
Furthermore, to remain in power indefinitely, the neo-neftegna group led by Abiy Ahmed has illegally and forcefully postponed national and regional elections indefinitely, and beyond its five years term of office ending on October 5, 2020, thereby creating a clear constitutional crisis.
To resolve the constitutional crisis and to bring about a solution to the Oromo people’s long-standing political demands, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), independent Oromo opposition parties that are legally registered with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, had formally called for a political solution to the constitutional crises to avert the crisis the country is in. Unfortunately, instead of heeding their advice, the government of the PM Abiy Ahmed decided to extend his power through an unconstitutional interpretation of the constitution.
As a result, on October 5, 2020, due to the absence of a constitutionally mandated government in Oromia and Ethiopia, chaos and civil war are very likely to ensue, resulting in refugee crisis and potential genocide by the illegitimate military government of Abiy Ahmed. To avert this impending catastrophe, we agree with the Oromo Liberation Front that Oromia urgently needs to form a Transitional Government of Oromia.
The Tigray region has been enjoying absolute freedom since 1992 and held a regional election as stipulated in the constitution and formed a legitimate regional government of Tigrai. The Amhara region also enjoys autonomy. Its leaders advance the Amhara people’s interests both in their region and at the federal government level. Oromia, however, has been transformed into a battlefield by this regime through the imposition of an illegal state of emergency. There is no local government in Oromia. Instead it is under military rule. Since the invasion and occupation of Oromia by Abyssinia, the Oromo have never been allowed to choose their representatives and form their own government. All rulers of Oromia, including the current pseudo-government led by deputy president Shimalis Abdissa, have been installed and imposed on the Oromo people by the central government.
Taking the gravity of the situation into account, the Oromo Liberation Front proposed the establishment of Transitional Government of Oromia involving all Oromo stakeholders, and have called for support and intervention of global powers and your leadership.
As a coalition of 45 Oromo civic, professional, human right, and faith-based organizations, the Oromo Global Forum calls on the UN, US, EU, AU, and all global stakeholders to intervene in the political and constitutional crisis of Ethiopia, and to support the formation of a Transitional Government of Oromia as a first step in averting the looming crisis.
We believe disregard for this call and continued indifference to seek a permanent resolution for the Oromo political demands will be regrettable. We consider all global powers who have contributed to emboldening the regime in power through financial and military support are equally responsible for the ongoing crimes the regime in power is committing against Oromos and other nations and nationalities in the Ethiopian empire.
The global powers should learn from the consequences of ignoring the national crises in Somalia, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Ruanda, etc. Early intervention in the impending crisis in Ethiopia can save millions of human lives, can avert the enormous refugee crisis and human misery of the local populations, and can also save humanitarian aid costs to international organizations and governments.
Thus, as advocates for the Oromo people, we reiterate our call for your intervention and support for the establishment of a Transitional Government of Oromia.
We sincerely hope you will take our advice seriously and play a leading role in ending the suffering of the Oromo and other marginalized peoples in Ethiopia preventing a potentially devastating civil war.
With best regards,
The Oromia Global Forum
- Bilal Oromo Dawa Center
- Canaan Oromo Evangelical Church
- Charismatic International Fellowship Church
- DMV Oromo Islamic Center
- Gaadisa Sabboontottaa KP
- Global Gumii Oromia
- Global Oromo Advocacy Group
- Global Waaqeffannaa Council
- Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
- Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa
- International Oromo Lawyers Association
- International Oromo Women’s Organization
- International Qeerroo Support Group
- Network of Oromo Studies
- Mana Kiristaanaa Fayyisaa Addunyaa
- Oromo Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church
- Oromo Communities’ Association of North America
- Oromo Community of Bergen
- Oromo Community of Columbus Ohio
- Oromo Community of Oslo
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Los Angeles
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington DC Metropolitan Area
- Oromo Evangelical Lutheran Mission Society
- Oromo Human Rights and Relief Organization
- Oromo Legacy, Leadership and Advocacy Association
- Oromo Lutheran Church of Baltimore
- Oromo Parliamentarians Council
- Oromo Political Prisoners Association
- Oromo Relief Organization, ORA in USA
- Oromo Resurrection Evangelical Church
- Oromo Scholars and Professionals
- Oromo Seniors Welfare & Benevolent Association In Victoria (OSWBAV) Inc
- Oromo Studies Association
- Oromia Support Group
- Our Redeemer Oromo Evangelical Church
- Tawfiq Islamic Center
- Tawhid Oromo Islamic Center in Minnesota
- Tumsa Sochii Haqa Oromoo
- Union of Oromo Communities in Canada
- United Oromo Chirstian Church in Australia
- United Oromo Evangelical Church
- Wabii Maccaa Association
- Washington DC Metropolitan Oromo SDA Church
- https://www.nytimes.com/1895/02/26/archives/meneleks-terrible-expedition.html (please see the attached image of the NY Times article)
- De Salviac, Un peuple antique au pays de Ménãik, 86-87, 278.