Response # 3

By Obbo Tokkumma*
April 1, 2006

Thank you Mr. TDA for sharing you’re opinion on the problems our country is currently facing at the hands of the tyrannical regime in Finfinne (Addis Ababa). Let us look at this very critically from different perspective as opposed to every individual nation coming to its own conclusions, resulting in an inevitable situation in which we may butt heads. I will start with the point that was raised by Mr.Ojulu regarding the goals and visions of CUD.

Off the bat I would like to state that I don’t believe religion plays a big role in Ethiopian politics. Today nations find themselves asking the same questions we’ve been asking since the after math of the “colonial scramble for Africa” in which dozens of nations have been forcefully incorporated into a state called “Ethiopia”. There is no such thing as an Ethiopian nation, but rather a state of different peoples, consisting of 80 nationalities and 83 different spoken languages. Naturally there will be differences politically. So today the question is not economic development. We are not there yet. 1st and foremost how can we make this work. How can we answer the questions being raised by these 80 nations in an effective manner. How do we include them in deciding their destiny, controlling their affairs, and making their voice heard on the federal scale. Simple solution is to transfer a lot of the federal responsibility to a legitimate regional administration . For the past century the regimes of Haile Selassie (1930-1973), Mengistu Haile Mariam (1973-1991), and Meles Zenawi (1991-____ ), have all used the “ignore” tactic which has landed them in the same predicament. This is the root of what TDA has proclaimed to be “ethnic politics”. The current regime is a bit different and that is what I want to get to right now.

What sets the regime of Meles Zenawi apart from his predecessors is that, his TPLF (Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front) movement itself, which seized power in 1991 with the help of, is a movement that was born out of the neglect by the federal government to the question of nations and nationalities. Logically this would be the right man to address the issue, but he failed immediately. He didn’t fail in recognizing the problem and proper solution. The constitution drafted in 1994,article 39 in particular which effectively insures the rights of nations and nationalities, has been widely accepted by the majority of movements fighting the regime in Finfinne (Addis Ababa), including the largest rebel movement in Ethiopia, the OLF (Oromo liberation Front) which is the voice of 40 million Oromo nationals, as well as other nationalist movements which enjoy massive popularity among its people, such as ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation front ,and GLF (Gambella Liberation Front). The current regimes failure was in implementing its own constitution. They have failed in doing so for the past 12 years. They have instead used the concept of ethnic federalism to rob other nations in an effort to build their own (Tigrai).

The current constitution, if implemented can help us climb this mountain. But for CUD alone to declare article 39 as “anti-ethiopian” portrays this party as a nuisance to say the least. Nobody has given them this exclusive right. This declaration sets them on a collision course with countless popular movements and organizations that have been barred from participating in a free and fair elections in Ethiopia.

Article 39 is the most prominent piece of legislation in Ethiopia. When considering the manner in which the state of Ethiopia was formed, you cannot simply disregard it as “anti-ethiopian”. It depends on how you see Ethiopia. Those who oppose this legislation, most likely favor backtracking and returning to the old Ethiopia established by the colonial powers of the time. Old Ethiopia means the following- “One language”(amharic), One culture (amhara), One religion (orthodox), “ One people” (Ethiopian). This neo nazi agenda must be changed. As the Oromo scholar Obbo Leencho Lata once said, "In 1994 the forward progress in Ethiopia came to a halt." We have been frozen in time ever since. We are not moving forwards, but at the same time we are not moving backwards. We are just sitting still. CUD appears to have the intentions to take us out of this time warp, unfortunately in the wrong direction. Backwards. This may have disastrous consequences for the Ethiopian people.

* Obbo Tokkumma is an Oromo college student and community activist residing in the Canada.


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