Posted: Bitootessa/March 19, 2015 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com |
By Geresu Tufa | Facebook | March 19, 2015
As we have learned from different media outlets, the ODF entourage, led by Obbo Leenco Lata, has flow to Shaggar/Finfinne. If my source is accurate, they are in Shaggar/Finfinne as I am writing this short comment. The news has triggered a lot of ado among Oromo and Ethiopian activists at home and in Diaspora. Given Obbo Leenco’s role as a former dominant figure in the OLF and the longstanding controversies about his different political moves, it was not difficult to expect such kind of fuss. There are some optimists who are expecting/hoping for some kind of Black Swan (miraculous ending) as an outcome of the move while, at the same time, their/his detractors are asserting that this is a realized “conspiracy theory” which they have been prophesying for so long, and its result will have an apocalyptic impact on the Oromo struggle for freedom and justice.
Most people seem to be either mesmerized with the move or in a situation of wait-and-see now.
There are also fears and concerns from non-Oromo opposition elements that this move may end up “legitimizing” the regime.
As per Obbo Leenco’s interview with Radiyoo Bilisummaa Oromoo, a podcast/radio (ODF’s organ), so far, there is no formal/informal or concrete agreement between ODF and the TPLF-led Ethiopian government. As I have learned from Obbo Leenco’s interview, ODF has been trying to reach out to the regime directly and indirectly (through different interlocutors); however, as he said on his latest interview, the regime has not yet given any response whatsoever for ODF’s proposal of going back to participate in the political business at home.
Obbo Leenco has not hidden that the ODF leadership has unilaterally resolved to move home since they are frustrated by the refusal/delay of any reaction from the regime to resume talks. Hence, according to Obbo Leenco, their current decision to go back home, without any formal or official consent from the regime, is an attempt to talk to them directly, and to get ODF formally registered. Based on the information we have so far, what can be concluded at time is that ODF’s fate at home is at the mercy of the regime. For those who know the nature and characteristics of Ethiopian politics, the move appears to be unusual, if not adventurous.
As to how the regime will treat them, it depends on the regime’s tactical and strategical calculation. Given the regime’s longstanding repressive character; its excessive suspicion and hostility toward anything Oromo and Oromo political activists; its unquenchable thirst to rule forever; its control freak behavior; and its insecurity (especially, after they had lost their Prophet-like leader), at this point in time, it is very difficult to forecast the rationale that would influence their calculation or decision. What one can honestly and realistically say is it is very very difficult to be an optimist.
Even though it was not clearly spelled out, most of ODF supporters and some leaders have been hoping that there would be some kind of formal understanding through formal talks, not because of ODF’s political pressure and clout, but based on strategic political calculations of finding out some kind of “rational third” way to the Oromo/Ethiopian political gridlock. Some of them were also hoping that a “third party,” or maybe some governments in the West which have the interest of political stability in the region, might use their leverages on TPLF to make some concessions for the sake of stability in the future. What has been ignored from this calculation was that, ODF has no stick, or what negotiation experts call BATNA (Best Alternative To Negotiated Alternative), which they can use as a bargaining chip, if the regime refuses to give the required concessions. Let alone in Ethiopia, where most political business is characterized by violence, it is even unrealistic to secure some kind of tangible political concessions in the so-called advanced countries, solely based on “the merit of one’s idea or rational.”
Hoping that the Oromo people will remain cautious and resilient to continue their struggle for freedom and justice in all forms, I will forward the following questions for discussion.
– Do you think ODF will be formally register in Ethiopia?
– How will the people react?
– Can they participate in the upcoming election, given the short time that remains?
– What negative or positive impacts will this bring on Oromo political forces at home and in Diaspora?
– If the regime refuses to register ODF, what will be their fate?
– Would they end up oblivious in the future if they couldn’t participate in the upcoming election?
– How can it impact the Oromo political landscape?
– Would ODF’s move have negative impacts on the existing or future armed struggle?
– What will be the reaction of the “traditional Amhara political forces”?
– Can we expect some kind of Black Swan outcome from this move?
– What will be its short-term and long-term impacts?
– Can the “presumed glory and myth of/around some ODF’s political leaders” might have some seismic impact on the outcome as some are hoping?
– What kind of precautions the Oromo people at home and in Diaspora should take to avert the possible ramifications of the move, if any?
– Does this move break and change forever the attitude and political rituals of Diaspora that has been considering ‘staying in Diaspora’ – by itself – as a form of “passive resistance”?
– What kind of tactically and strategically positive and negative impacts will this have on Oromo political movements at home?
– Does it give some kind of “legitimacy coat” for the repressive regime?
These and many more questions need to be discussed and answered in the days to come.