By Oromo Scholars and Professionals
We write to alert the peace-loving peoples of Ethiopia, the global community, governments, NGOs, concerned individuals, groups, and Oromos to the fact that a hate group, that calls itself “Vision Ethiopia,” capable of causing a genocidal destruction of immense proportions, has been born out of the political chaos in Ethiopia. Notwithstanding its name, this group has clearly demonstrated that it stood to saw and promote Amhara hatred and attack on the Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia. Hence, the views of this group can be called “Vision Amhara.”
On 22 April 2021, “Vision Ethiopia,” a group claiming to be “a non-partisan association of Ethiopian scholars and professionals,” published a “statement on the current crises in Ethiopia.” The group accuses the Oromo people of engaging in violence and extremism with the support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Additionally, it accused the prime minister of only appointing Oromos to top government positions and of controlling the army, the security and the economy. Furthermore, it outlandishly accuses the Oromo of committing crimes of historic proportion compared to German Nazis, Italian Fascists, and the Rwandan Interhwame. It vilifies Oromo culture and identity and blames them for their efforts to nurture their identity and culture. It labels the Oromo, the largest national group of over 40 million people, as terrorists.
Earlier, on October 27, 2020, “Vision Ethiopia” issued a press release supporting the extremist Amhara national movement’s destabilizing incursions in Oromia and Benishangul states.
In another press release on the Tigray conflict issued on November 5, a day after the Prime Minister launched an attack on the people of Tigray, “Vision Ethiopia” did not only express its support for the genocide the Amhara militia unleashed on the people of Tigray under Abiy’s command, but it also called on the Prime Minister to “apply the same yardstick [that he used on Tigray] to punish … Oromia and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, including government officials and regional leaders…”
In its 19 December 2020 call for a conference on post-TPLF Ethiopia, “Vision Ethiopia,” acting as an advisory body to the Ethiopian government, called upon the leaders to label the Oromo Liberation Army a terrorist organization while supporting the massacre of the residents of Mai-Kadra in Tigray by Amhara militia. In fact, it accused the victims of perpetrating the massacre by unashamedly blaming the Tigrayans of committing “atrocious crimes against Amharas and other ethnic groups in Mai-Kadra and neighboring villages.” This wild accusation is tantamount to defending the Amhara militia who did not only massacre people but engaged in gang rapes on hundreds of Tigray women. The European Union, the United States, G-7 countries, the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Aljazeera, confirmed that it was the Amhara militia who committed the genocide and gang rapes in Mai-Kadra as well as in other Tigray regions and called for their immediate withdrawal. These same Amhara militias have been perpetuating the same crimes in Oromia and Benishangul states for which “Vision Ethiopia” blames the victims.
In its 22 April 2021, “Vision Ethiopia” stated that the Prime Minister is “an enabler of [what it called] the Oromumma aggression against the rest of Ethiopia,” and requested the Ethiopian people to “boycott the upcoming elections,” in retaliation. And yet the Oromo people are victims of the Prime Minister’s military aggression under an illegally imposed Command Post. Amnesty International and several reliable documents could be cited as evidence to substantiate this fact. Abiy’s forces have been unleashing a reign of terror on the Oromo in Guji and Wallaga through indiscriminate killings, looting and burning of property, and gang raping Oromo women. Today, the Amhara militia have joined Abiy’s forces in Wallaga and other parts of Oromia and are committing genocide which their compatriots have been doing in Tigray since November 2020. And their grandparents did during the conquest of Oromia in the late nineteenth century. To cover up the genocide in Tigray, “Vision Ethiopia” with supporters of the Eritrean dictator, Isayas Afeworki and other hate groups staged series of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and other world capitals in support of Amhara militia genocides and gang raping of women in Tigray.
In its statement, “Vision Ethiopia” also made a baseless claim that Abiy and the Oromo colluded against Amhara interests, a claim that has no merit whatsoever. Instead, the evidence shows the existence of a collusion between “Vision Ethiopia” and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. When the prime minister visited Washington, D.C., in July 2018, it was not the Oromo but Vision Ethiopia who dined, wined and danced with Abiy. “Vision Ethiopia” coordinated and controlled Abiy’s schedule in Washington, D.C., to the exclusion of the Oromo. “Vision Ethiopia’s” agents harassed Oromos, who were dressed in Oromo traditional attires and prevented them from entering the hall where Abiy was scheduled to make a speech. Likewise, “Vision Ethiopia” completely controlled the evening banquet. It proudly boasted that it organized the banquet but, while this is true, insiders say that poor Ethiopia’s treasury covered the expenses. One after another, leaders of the group praised Abiy Ahmed as their hero, as the Ethiopian Moses, the same person they now accuse of colluding with the Oromo.
Furthermore, this group exposed its open hatred for the Oromo people when it attacked their cherished identity, Oromummaa. Let it be crystal clear to “Vision Ethiopia” and their foot soldiers thatOromummaa is Oromo culture, identity, history, and nationalism rooted in the democratic Gada system of governance that the Oromo people developed and lived under for centuries. Oromummaa promotes peace, freedom, equality, love, and respect, not only for fellow human beings but also for all things natural. Unfortunately, this indigenous and radiant African culture and identity was destroyed when the Oromo people were colonized by the Amhara towards the end of the nineteenth century. We will leave the brutal consequence of the conquest on the Oromo and other peoples of Ethiopia to historians. In this brief rebuttal, we would like to expose the hypocrisy of Amhara supremacists and their pathetic lies and deceptions about Oromummaa.
We have been closely watching the activities of “Vision Ethiopia” for quite some time, hoping against all odds that they are scholars and professionals who can potentially contribute to the development of a democratic system in Ethiopia. Regrettably, we were proven wrong time and again. Their latest statement falsely blames Oromummaa for “ethnically targeted violence” in Ethiopia. As Oromo Scholars and Professionals, we unequivocally denounce any action by any group that targets civilians for their ethnicity. To that effect, we call for an independent body to investigate all atrocities committed in Ethiopia based on one’s ethnic background or political views.
In conclusion, the above cases clearly demonstrate that a hate group of scholarly calibers with media access has taken a center stage in Amhara politics of Ethiopia. The group skillfully sets the Amhara political agenda to terrorize the Oromo population for two reasons, 1) to remain beneficiaries of looted resources and land grabbed from indigenous people over the past decades, and fearful that there is a coalescing opposition to this unfair economic dominance, and 2) to buttress an Amhara dominated Ethiopia, a country of one culture, one language, one nation, and one history. To accomplish these, it is willing to go any distance, including perpetrating massive genocide on the people that opposes them. In the same scenarios we shared above to show how “Vision Ethiopia” blames the victims, it blames the Oromo who struggle for justice as terrorists. We write to put the world on notice that “Vision Ethiopia” and its Amhara enablers including PM Abiy who spread hate and false propaganda are responsible for driving the country to the brink of collapse.
 Their website lists 1) Ashenafi Gossaye, 2) Beshawered Ayele, 3) Demissie Alemayehu, 4) Getachew Begashaw, 5) Gizaw Legesse, 6) Messay Kebede, 7) Minga Negash, 8) Seid Hassan, 9) Yilma Bekele, 10) Yilma Zerihun, 11) Yohannes Zeleke as founding board members.