October 4, 2020
It has been over two years since Dr. Abiy Ahmed became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Abiy came to power after the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that has dominated the Ethiopian politics for almost three decades, was toppled by the struggle of the Oromo people, visibly by the Oromo Youth Movement also known as Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromo. When TPLF was forced to give up power and Dr. Abiy Ahmed took over the premiership, many, including the Oromo people, were optimistic that the Ethiopian Government will transition into a democratic state where citizens of all nations and nationalities will eventually be treated equally and with respect and dignity. Most welcomed this change with open arms, for they believed this would bring the much-needed changes including ending inequality, injustice, and human rights violations. Therefore, Abiy’s premiership position was to transition the country into an all-inclusive democratic political system. With believes, multiple opposition parties have also participated in the nation’s political realm.
Unfortunately, Abiy’s Government has been doing quite the contrary to his assignment and took an unexpected turn transitioning the country towards lawlessness, turmoil and complete lack of peace and stability. Abiy’s failure to uphold his promise and responsibilities led the country to where we are today, unstable and on the verge of collapsing. The political, economic and social crises in the country, particularly in Oromia, is at its worst juncture. Although Oromia has been under tight military command post rule for over two years, since the death of the prominent Oromo singer Hacaaluu Hundeessaa, the grip of the military and security forces and the extents of oppression on the Oromo people worsened. Military and security forces indiscriminately crackdown on innocent civilians, political dissent, activities, journalist and prominent Oromo community and religious leaders have intensified like never before. As we speak, hundreds of thousands of Oromo prisoners, including Oromo opposition party leaders, executive members, Oromo journalists, and civilians are suffering behind bars. Most of these detainees, especially the civilians, have not been brought to court or charged with any crime. Though the Abiy Government publicly condemned his predecessor, the TPLF, for terrorizing the Oromo people, he has been doing exactly the same since he became the Prime Minister.
A country should only be governed by a civilian government elected through fair and free election, not by a fully armed military. Command post should only be implemented temporarily in a valid state of emergency circumstances or during a time of war to ensure the safety and wellbeing of civilians. Therefore, in the current situation, the citizens of Oromia and other nations and nationalities do have a sovereign right to request and facilitate a transitional government in Oromia as well as at Federal level.
According to the Ethiopian constitution, Abiy’s Government was supposed to hold a national election in May 2020. However, with a pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national election was postponed indefinitely. Using COVID-19 as a reason, when in fact the number was not significantly high, to postpone an election is not a valid reason. According to the constitution, the legal term of Mr. Abiy government ends on October 5, 2020 and as of today, no announcement is made about the next steps. As a result, while we get closer to the end date of the term, uncertainty and anxiety are particularly rising in Oromia. At the same time, the government continues its propaganda and exclusion of Oromo political opponents, such as the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which have a significant number of supporters, from key political dialogues.
Regardless of the political exclusion, intimidation and imprisonment of its high-ranking officials, the OLF has released a press statement detailing what should be done to thwart the current constitutional crises in the country. In this press statement (click here to read the details), released on September 13, 2020, OLF laid out solutions focused approach for the current crises and called for the international communities, governments, AU, EU and the UN to put utmost pressure on the Abiy’s government to implement the resolution. We, the undersigned Human Rights Advocates, human rights organizations, and civic institutes also genuinely believe that the political solution OLF puts forward, which is also supported by Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), would resolve the current political crises in the country.
Since, for the past two years, the Oromo people were illegally deprived of their rights to elect their leaders democratically. We believe, as also stated in the Charter of the United Nations, the Oromo people have the right to self-determination. Therefore, to form a transitional government for Oromia is a matter of human rights, to stabilize the country and facilitate proper policies, institutions and to ultimately provide the citizens the rights to elect their own government and provide a better run nation.
We, the undersigned human rights organizations, support the call of the major Oromo political parties, OLF and OFC, who have a majority number of supporters, for a transitional government in Oromia. A political crisis can only be resolved through a political process. Therefore, to ensure peace, security and order in the region, we believe that establishing an all-inclusive transitional government is crucial, and it will require the support of all peace-loving entities. A government attempts to quash the formation of this transitional government in Oromia will be unproductive, and therefore, we call for the Abiy government to refrain from such endeavors.
We would also like to call for all nations and nationalities in Ethiopia to support the OLF’s call to peacefully resolve these crises in Oromia and beyond. A peace in Oromia ensures peace in our neighbor’s state, and the vice versa. We are currently at a very critical juncture. Failure to wrap up this chapter of our struggle in a way it ensures our freedom and liberty will have huge consequences for our future. Therefore, we, the undersigned Oromo human rights organizations and civic institutes call upon the Oromo people residing in different parts of the world to support the call for a transitional government in Oromia. Your collaboration and support at this crucial time will lead to a peaceful transition paving the way to our freedom.
With these notions that all Oromos should play our part (Oromummaa), we invite and encourage everyone who is concerned about the well-being and safety of the Oromo people and the stability of Oromia to participate according to their capabilities and interest. When the current government becomes void or illegitimate as of October 5th, 2020, we should understand the fact that there will not be an official government in Oromia. Therefore, we the Oromo communities, civic and Oromo human rights organizations and elites in the diaspora should not simply sit back and watch when Oromia falls in disarray and becomes a lawless country. It is our moral and Oromummaa obligation to step up and play our roles in assisting the establishment of a peaceful transitional government called by OLF and OFC paving the way to a democratic, fair and free election. This will be realized only through our collective efforts and assuming our due responsibilities of Oromummaa.Thus, we pledge to contribute our part according to our own mandate, and we also call for all Oromo organizations, whether political or non-political, to do the same.
Justice for All
Advocacy for Oromia
Global Oromo Advocacy Group
Horn of Africa Genocide Watch
International Oromo Women’s Organization
International Qeerroo Support Group
Oromo Parliamentarians Council
Oromo Political Prisoners Association
Oromia Support Group – Australia
United Oromo Christian Church of Australia