June 30, 2015

Individual and group rights: a dichotomy or a duality?

Whether the relationship prevailing between individual and group rights is a dichotomy or a duality centrally figures in the ongoing pre-election inter-party debates in Ethiopia.

Leenco LataThis would strike other democracies as rather strange because the settlement of this issue is normally part of the constitutional process that necessarily precedes scheduling and conducting periodic elections.

The fact that such a basic principle is the subject of debate clearly demonstrates that the incumbent and some of the opposition parties hold differing opinions about the present Ethiopian constitution. Hence, those critical of the present constitution aim not only to unseat the incumbent party if they win the upcoming elections but to restructure the country once again to fit their imagination about Ethiopia. This in turn drives the incumbent to equate its remaining in power with the preservation of the current political order. It is a quintessential zero-sum game. Read More

Bobbaa gara Finfinnee Irratti Ibsa Adda Demokraatawaa Oromoo (ADO)

Bitootessa 22, 2015
ODF StatementAddi Demokraatawaa Oromoo (ADO) dhaloota isaa irraa aansee mirga ummata Oromoo deebisuu fi ummatoota Itoophiyaa maraaf birmaddummaa fi demokraasii iggiteessuuf karaa nagayaa fi qabsoo siyaasaa filate. Kanaafis, deebisee biyya isaa irrattii fi ummata isaa keessatti of hundeessuu dursa laate; ammas itti jira; borus itti fufa. Akeeka eebbifamaa kana dhugoomsuufis, humnoota polotikaa Itoophiyaa mara, keessattuu paartii mootummaa fi mootummichallee, dubbisaa ar’a gaye. Haa ta’u malee, tattaaffiin keenya kan mootumicha wajjiin haasa’uun dhibdee nu gidduu jiran furuu fi biyyatti deebi’iinsa dhaaba keenna aanjessuu akka hawwametti jalqabamuu hin dandeenne.

Ijibbaata waggaa lama guutuu alarraa gochaa turameen booda, nagayaaf jecha tarkaanfii gama tokkoo fudhachuun jilli hooggana ADO ol’aanaan tokko kan Prezdaantii dhaabichaa, Jaal Leencoo Lataan durfame, haasa’a harkifate jalqabuuf gara Finfinnee bobba’e. Jilli kuni Bitootessa 19, 2015 Finfinnee ga’uun haasa’aaf baallama argachuuf aanga’oota mootummaa adda addaa kallattiin qunnamuutti seene. Hatta’uu malee amaan kanatti moottumman nu haasofsiisuuf qophii waan hinta’iniif jilli keenya Bitootessa 22, 2015 gara Awrooppatti deebi’uuf dirqamee jira.

Kan hundaaf mirkaneessuu barbaadnu kuni kan agarsiisu dhuma karaa kanaa miti; jalqaba malee. Carraaqqiin dhaaba keenya ummata isaa keessatti hundeessuu dachaa dachaan itti fufa.. Daandii nagayaa dheeraa, daddabaa fi xaxaa kan gufuun lakkaa’amee hin dhumne irratti nama mudatu akka ta’e sirritti hubanna. Kanaaf humnoota polotikaa biyya keenyaa cufa wajjiin haasa’uun sirna dhugaan demokraatawaa fi misooma itti-fufa qabuu fi qooda haqaa qabu kan hunda ruruma hiyyummaa keessaa baasu argamsiisuuf carraaqqii gochaa baanee fi jirru haga fullaanii argamutti obsaan, malaa fi murannoon itti fuulleffanna.

Itoophiyaan ammallee akka deeboo isii qaxxaamura seenaa irra geettee jirti. Of-booddee shirgigaachuu hanqisuu fi biyyattii karaa nagayaa, dimokraasii fi misooma waaraa irratti fuuldura tarkaanfachiisuun gootummaa murtii siyaasaa hadhaawaa fudhachuu gaafata, keessattuu paartii biyya bulchaa jiru irraa. Kanaaf, kutannoo jijjiirraakaraa nagayaa fi demokraasiin argamsiisuuf qabnu irra deebinee mirkaneessaa, humnoota hundaaf, keessattuu paartii biyya bulchuu, akkasumas hawaasa addunyaa keessaa kanneen isa waahelfatan carraaqii keenya kan nagayaa kanaaf deebii eehumsaa akka kennanii fi gaaffii ummatoota keenyaa kan bilisummaa fi ulfinaan biyya isaanii irra jiraachuu akka deeggaran waamicha goona.

Birmadummaa fi haqni hundaaf!

Koree Huji Raawwachiiftuu
Adda Demokraatumaa Oromoo
Bitootessa 22, 2015

PDF Version
ODF statment on Finfinne_Afaan Oromo 3-22-15

ODF Statement on the Recent Visit of its delegation to Addis Ababa

March 22, 2015

Official ODF Logo

A senior delegation of the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) was dispatched to Finefinne (Addis Ababa) on March 18, 20015 to kick-start stalled peace talks with the Ethiopian government. Regrettably, despite verbal overtures, no face-to-face talks could be held. Hence, our delegates had to return prematurely to Europe on the 22nd of March 2015. After two years of relentless efforts to engage the Ethiopian government from outside, the ODF took the unilateral action of sending a high-level delegation led by its President, Mr. Leenco Lata. The delegation arrived in Addis on 19 March 2015.

The Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) decided from its inception to pursue the path of peaceful political struggle to defend the rights of the Oromo people and secure freedom, democracy, and prosperity for all peoples in Ethiopia. Accordingly, basing itself in the country and establishing itself among its constituents at home, and registering and legalizing it as a political party able to play its part in the country’s democratization has been and continues to be ODF’s highest priority. To this principled end, we have been trying to engage all political actors in Ethiopia including the ruling party and the government. But, despite out best efforts, negotiations with the government to resolve outstanding issues and facilitate our re-entry into the political process could not commence in earnest.

This incident does not mark the end of the road but rather only the start of our efforts to ground our organization among our people in our country. Acutely realizing that the road of peace is long, treacherous, and complicated and paved with innumerable obstacles, we are determined more than ever before to stay the course. Accordingly, we would relentlessly continue with our efforts to engage all political actors in our country, in order to establish a just and genuinely democratic order and a sustainable and equitable development in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is once again at a crossroads. Preventing a relapse and moving the country along the road of peace, democracy, and sustainable development requires political will, especially on the part of the ruling party. Reaffirming our unwavering commitment for peaceful and democratic transformation, we therefore call upon all actors, the ruling party in particular, and its supporters in the international community to respond to our efforts positively and support the just demands of our peoples to live in freedom and dignity in their country.

Freedom and Justice for All!

The Executive Committee
Oromo Democratic Front (ODF)
March 22, 2015

Here is a PDF version…

Statement of ODF on Finfinne (Addis Ababa)

The origin of ethnic politics in Ethiopia (by Leenco Lata)

The Reporter – March 21.2015Leenco Lata

Controversy has been dogging the policy of structuring Ethiopia as a multinational federation ever since it was publicly aired almost twenty- five years ago.

There are those who vociferously and persistently condemn the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) leaders for introducing the politicization of ethnicity by embracing this policy.

On the other hand, there are those who like wise consistently commend EPRDF leaders for the same reason. However, putting the adoption of this policy in an historical perspective would prove that both stands are wrong. Read More

OLF Founder Leenco Lata Returns to Ethiopia

March 20, 2015
by William Davison

(Bloomberg) A founder of a banned self-determination movement for Ethiopia’s most populous ethnic group, the Oromo, returned to the Horn of Africa nation to try and re-enter democratic politics, a spokesman for his splinter group said.

Landing

Oromo Democratic Front President Leenco Lata arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday, Lencho Bati, a spokesman for the group, said in an e-mailed response to questions. The group held inconclusive talks with Ethiopian officials over the past two years, Beyan Asoba, the head of the U.S.-based ODF’s foreign relations department, said in a separate e-mailed statement. Leenco began the Oromo Liberation Front in 1973 before leaving to join the ODF in 2013. Read More

Electoral absolutism in Ethiopia (By Leenco Lata)

Electoral absolutism in Ethiopia
By Leenco Lata

Passions are understandably rising as election time, once again, draws nearer and nearer in Ethiopia.

This should not come as a surprise since the heating up of raw passions routinely accompanies elections elsewhere as well. What is distinctly Ethiopian is the fact that absolutist choices are inevitably pitted against each other during the upcoming elections, as has happened in previous ones.

In Ethiopian elections, it is not right or wrong policy proposals that confront each other but supposedly absolutely “virtuous” and absolutely “evil” ones. Perhaps the underlying cause of offering electoral choices in such a starkly polarizing manner is the mentality of the Ethiopian elite, shaped by a long history of living under a succession of absolutist regimes.

What is disheartening is the refusal of the surviving members of the generation entering its twilight years to draw an appropriate lesson from their own disastrous recent history. One recalls how at the end of the imperial era political choices confronting the country were posed in a similar stark manner with catastrophic consequences.

Rival leftist parties with ostensibly competing platforms, indistinguishable to outsiders, demonized each other, eventually culminating in each other’s physical liquidation. The military merely embraced this approach to settling political differences spearheaded by civilian leftist parties and brought it to conclusion by eliminating the rivals that pioneered it. The ultimate outcome of this tragic policy was the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

Are members of that generation intending to bequeath this disastrous approach to political competition to the upcoming generation? Their handling of electoral competition appears to attest to their determination to hand this disastrous “virtuous-versus-evil” approach to offering political choices to the new generation.

Electoral choices have been offered as being between defending the status quo or working to revive its antecedent in most previous and present round of general elections in Ethiopia. This confrontation between the political status quo and the status quo ante has many shortcomings including drowning out the voices of those aspiring to realize the next breakthrough in refining both democracy and federalism.

The deeper cause for the confrontation between defending the political status quo and aspiring to revive the status quo ante ultimately boils down to disagreements regarding Ethiopia’s nationhood. The defenders of the political status quo envision Ethiopia as a “Nation of nations” while those aspiring to revive something similar to the status quo ante are absolutely convinced that it is composed of a single Amharic-speaking nation.

This disagreement regarding Ethiopia’s nationhood in turn translates into absolutist stands regarding democracy. Democracy being the rule of the “people,” whoever appropriates the right to define the “people” category would definitely have the upper hand. And this divergent definitions of the “people” category comes to the fore at every general elections in Ethiopia in an absolutist manner.

Those who envision Ethiopia as a single Amharic-speaking nation are absolutely convinced that a single Ethiopian “people” should be allowed to exercise its popular sovereignty by going to the polls every five years. And those who conceptualize Ethiopia as a “Nation of nations,” on the other hand, are similarly absolutely convinced that the Ethiopian “People is composed of numerous peoples.” For the political operatives in this sector, the exercise of popular sovereignty at the centre is the aggregation of the sovereignties of the various peoples constituting the Ethiopian People.

Elections clearly are not the appropriate mechanism for resolving these fundamental disagreements regarding Ethiopia’s nationhood and peoplehood. Forging a political order having the confidence of a significant sector of society is similarly not achievable at the polls. Forging such a consensus necessarily precedes and paves the way for the commencement of periodic elections.

Forging a democratic political order would fail as long as absolutist positions continue to confront each other, for democracy results from an impasse among competing elements of society, which requires hammering out a compromise. When a political order results from such a compromise, all contestants would have to learn to uneasily live with it because it does not perfectly match any sector’s favourite alternative.

Seeking and arriving at such a compromise democratic political order is possible only by subscribing to a couple of basic propositions. First, those seeking to preserve the status quo need to recognize that accepting some changes could serve such a purpose because the only thing unchangeable in human history is the inevitability of change. And second, those seeking change should similarly realize that preserving constructive aspects of the status quo could ease the process of bringing about change.

Hammering out such a compromise underpinning a democratic political order could succeed only through conducting protracted dispassionate debates by all stakeholders without resorting to the emotive posing of political choices. Here is where the obsession of Ethiopia’s political class with posing political choices in absolutist terms needs to be revised. All concerned could perhaps draw a lesson from the protracted and open debate that accompanied structuring the US as a successful federation.

In the meantime, the heated debate pitting those whose stand is the absolute defence of the status quo and those whose absolute aspiration is the revival of something akin to the status quo ante would likely continue. This binary configuration of debate, however, should not continue to drown out the voices of those wishing to work for the next breakthrough in refining both democracy and multinational federation. This is why it is necessary for those subscribing to this more responsible reformist position to make sure that their voices are heard.

Ed.’s Note: Leenco Lata is a prominent Ethiopian politician and President of Oromo Democratic Front (ODF). The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter. He can be reached at leenco.lata@yahoo.com.

Miseensotni Birkii ADO Awuropaa Walgahii Geggeeffatan!

Sadasa 16 biyya norway magaala Oslotti misoonsotini Ado walgahii waggaa bakka hoggantootni olaanoon Dhabicha argamanitt geggeeffamee jira.

Norway Meeting

Walgahii kana irratti kan qooda fudhatan miseensetoo fi gafatamtoota sadarkaa addaa addaa kan biyya german, switzerland , Swedin , Holland, England fi Norway irraa kan keessatti argaman ta’uunis beekamee jira.

Akeekni walgahii kanaas ,akkuma beekkamu ADOn erga akka jaarmaa/dhaaba siyaasaatti ijaaramee ganna tokkoo darbuu isaa sababeeffachuun dhaabni kun erga ijaaramee kaasee jechuun waggaa tokkoon kana keessatti maaltu godhame, maaltu raawwate, maaltu hir’atee fi maaltu ammoo guutuu akka qabu fuulduraaf akkeekkachuuf wal mari’achuu akka ta’e ibsamee jira.

Walgahii kana kan dura taa’ummaan geggeessan miseensa koreegidduu fi gaafatamaa birkii awurooppaa kan ta’an ob.Habiib A/jobir hojii fi milkiilee hanga ammaatti ADOn qabsoo ummata oromoo jabeessuuf godhe ibsuun bu’aan kun hundi kan argamuu danda’e ijibbaata miseensii fi hoogganni ADO of qusatnaa tokko malee haga danda’e beekumsa ,humna, maalqaa fi yeroo isaa
dabarsee kennuun wareegama godhaniin akka ta’e ibsanii, deemsa haga ammaatti godhame keessattis gufuu fi dadhabbinni addaa addaa akka tures eeranii jiru.

Itti aansuun ammoo Dr.Alamuun akkaataa jaarmiyaa /dhaaba ADO itti jabeessuu fi daran tarkaanfachiisuu danda’u irratti barnoota bal’aa kan kennan yeroo ta’u ,miseensi dammaqiinsa, hamilee fi kaka’umsa mataa ofii fudhachuun akka mul’ata ADO sirriitti hubatee bakkaan gahuuf socho’uu qaban irratti hubatnaa ammayyaawaa kennannii jiru.

Dhuma irrattis prezidantiin ADO obbo Leencoo lataa fi I/Prezidanti Dr.Diima Nago haala sochii walii gala dhaaba gama biyya alaa fi keessaa irratti ibsa bal’aa miseensotaaf godhanii jiru.

Ibsa kenname keessattis sagantaa yeroo ADO kanta’e dhaabaa fi qabsoo oromoo ala kanatti geggeefamaa ture bakka uummati isaa jiraatu keessatti deebisuu ka jedhu dhugoomsuuf ijibbaata addaa addaa akka godhamaa jiruu fi haga ammaatti haala abddachiisaan akka jiru hubachiisanii jiru. Achumaanis gaaffiilee miseensi gaafate maraaf deebii quubsaa kennuun walgahiin miseensaa kan xumurame yeroo ta’u , hafeerraa marsaan ADO oslo hawaasaa fi deggertoota magaala oslo jiraniif godhame irratti argamaniifis presidantiin ADO dhaamsa qaban dabarsanii jiru.

Waamicha Walgahii Ummata Oromoo Nannoo Minnesota Jirtaniif

Jijjiira bikka fi guyyaa walgahii
Guyyaa: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Bikka: Central High School of Saint Paul,
275 Lexington Parkway North, St Paul, MN 55105
Yeroo: 3:30wb

Haala Qabsoo Bilisummaa Oromoo,  Sochii yeroo ammaa Oromoonni biyyaa keessaa itti jiranii fi fuul-dura Qabsoo Bilisummaa Oromoo irratti marii bal’a geggeessuuf ADO/ODF Waamicha walgahii kabajaan  isini goodha.

Updated_ODF Public Meeting MN_Final

IN CHOOSING SECURITY OVER DEMOCRACY IN ETHIOPIA, U.S. WILL GET NEITHER

Kerry misses chance to press Addis Ababa on political liberalization

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Thursday in the first leg of his three-nation trip to Africa “to encourage democratic development.” He came to a country rocked by mounting student protests against the government and vicious military crackdowns that left scores dead and wounded, as well as the troubling imprisonment of dissident journalists and bloggers.

To his credit, Kerry raised concerns about the tightening of press freedom in Ethiopia. “I made clear to Ethiopian officials that they need to create greater opportunities for citizens to be able to engage with their fellow citizens and with their government by opening up more space for civil society,” Kerry told reporters in Addis Ababa.

However, his discussions with Ethiopia’s leaders were overshadowed by South Sudan’s implosion — with continuing fragility in next-door Somalia, and souring Egypt-Ethiopia relations stirred by Ethiopia’s construction of the Great Renaissance Dam over the Nile, in the background.

This focus was unfortunate but hardly surprising. For over two decades, despite fleeting statements expressing “concern,” Washington has shied away from seriously engaging Ethiopian authorities on the need for genuine democratization. Without the latter, the country’s extended prosperity is in danger. “To support economic growth for the long term, the free marketplace of ideas matters just as much as free markets,” Kerry noted in his remarks. But he failed to underscore how rising instability could erode Ethiopia’s standing as a linchpin to the otherwise volatile Horn of Africa region’s stability and damage its newly minted image as an emerging economic powerhouse.

Growing dissent

Reports of the number of dead vary, but in clashes with security forces over the last few days, locals say at least 20 protesters have been killed and many others wounded in Ambo and Robe towns. The government acknowledged 11 deaths, adding at least 70 students were wounded in a bomb blast at Haramaya University in Eastern Oromia. Swedish and U.K. embassies in Addis Ababa updated travel warnings for their nationals urging those in Ethiopia to avoid visiting the area.

Ethnic Oromo students are protesting against a new urban development plan unveiled in April by the Addis Ababa city administration. Protesters say the city’s master plan, devised by ruling party functionaries without public input, would allow the sprawling metropolis to swallow up surrounding Oromo towns and rural villages.

Protesters fear the new plan would facilitate the eviction of thousands of farmers from their ancestral lands without proper compensation — an unjust process that has been happening since the city’s founding a century ago. Their land would be sold at dirt-cheap prices to foreign and domestic investors, exacerbating the country’s growing income inequality and diluting the Oromo national identity. In addition, the plan would condemn the Oromo, Ethiopia’s single largest ethnic group, to being an agrarian population in a fast-urbanizing country and balkanize their homeland into an eastern and western half — in a manner reminiscent of occupied Palestinian territories — leaving the state of Oromia with only nominal control.

The ongoing protests and crackdown on freedom of expression are the latest signs of growing discontent and Addis Ababa’s increasing authoritarianism. The U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report, released by Kerry on Feb. 27, details Ethiopia’s worsening human rights situation. In recent years, the country’s adoption of a spate of draconian laws, including its Charities and Societies Proclamation and Anti-Terrorism Law, has given security and intelligence forces and the vengeful judiciary carte blanche to criminalize all forms of dissent and to arrest opposition leaders.

While the student protests have so far been confined to college campuses, they echo a long-simmering popular grievance. The Oromo make up close to 40 percent of Ethiopia’s population of 94 million, but are conspicuously marginalized in that country’s political, economic and social life. The government’s refusal to address their complaints is a major bottleneck on the country’s democratization.

Read full story here…

Protests Grow Over Addis Ababa’s Expansion

Ethnic Oromo students in Ethiopia are ratcheting up opposition to the territorial expansion of the Horn of Africa nation’s capital, Addis Ababa. Thousands of students at all eight regional universities in Oromia, the largest of Ethiopia’s federal states, turned in recent days to demand an immediate halt to the city’s so-called “Integrated Development Master Plan,” unveiled earlier this month.

Today, Tuesday 29 April, an estimated 25,000 people, including residents of Ambo town in central Oromia, participated in a city wide demonstration, in the largest show of opposition to the government’s plans to date. A handful of students have been injured and others arrested in protests at the campuses of Jimma, Haromaya, Ambo, Wollega, Metu, Bolu Hora, Adama and Maddawalabu universities, according to local reports. Read More