Press release – Qeerroo: Oromo Youth Movement for Freedom
Since their subjugation fall under the Ethiopian empire about 150 years ago, the Oromo people are waging a liberation struggle to regain their freedom back and build its nation. To this day the Oromo continue to suffer under the most barbaric and cruel government system of the empire. To regain its freedom and bring an end to its suffering, the Oromo people have rallied behind the Oromo liberation struggle, spear headed by the OLF, and have fought the colonizers for over a century. Though the challenges are immense, and the terrains our struggle walked through are extremely steep, the OLF has managed to overcome them all patiently and unflinchingly to bring our struggle these far. During this long journey to freedom, the Oromo people have rallied behind OLF a just cause. They never waged their struggle for the sake of supporting individuals OLF leaders or to protect them from any political adversaries. The Oromo people rallied behind OLF and its leaders for their selfless commitment to the struggle, unwavering stand, perseverance, and willingness to abide to the rules and regulation of the organization.
Over decades of bitter struggle, the OLF has had brave and unflinching leaders, but also cowards and sellouts who betrayed the people and joined the oppressors. This is what we faced today at this juncture of our history. The Oromo people have never and will never be shaken by of the departure of some purposeless traitors from the leadership of the Front.
Undeniably, in the past decades, multiple breakups have occurred in the OLF. This is not unique to the OLF – it is rather a common phenomenon in most liberation movements. Such departure of few individuals from the Front have happened in the past, could happen in the future. Few who do not have the stamina to tolerate the hardships and bitterness of the struggle, those incapable to persist in the struggle and those who have no sense of purpose will always depart from the organization. Also, the Ethiopian government has always been trying to infiltrate OLF through its security apparatus often by paying or corrupting few individuals and use them to collect information on the inside operation of organization. Often, the Ethiopian government condemns those who they believe have a firm stand to the Oromo cause and try to smear their reputation by propaganda using the inside sellouts who don’t care for the people and their nation they pretend to fight for, but only for their belly and personal gains.
Regardless of all these odds, those committed and selfless Oromos have carried all the burdens, fought the fights and brought the Oromo cause thus far under the OLF leadership.
Two years has passed since the OLF returned home to pursue a peaceful struggle based on the agreement reached between the Front and the Ethiopian government in 2018, in Asmara, Eritrea. During these two years, the government has incarcerated countless members and supporters of the OLF. While many members and supporters of the OLF are still suffering in prison, thousands others were killed or disappeared by the Ethiopian military, security and police forces. Indescribable amounts of properties of the Oromo public have been either destroyed or looted by the government security and military forces. Unimaginable sacrifices have been paid and still the Oromo people are paying to bring its struggle to the current chapter.
To resolve the problems between the OLF and government through the Empire’s legal system, the OLF has requested the government multiple times, but OLF’s request has never received the attention it deserves from the government side. OLF still continues to ask the government to resolve the current crises through peaceful dialogue.
For all internal issues that arise within the party, OLF has a culture of resolving them following its internal rules and regulations. OLF has been doing this for long time. However, recently, we noticed that the government has been interferring in OLF’s internal matter. As we all recall, some members of the OLF leadership have held an illegal meeting from July 26 to 27, 2020 in the OLF’s main office in Finfinne. Following this internal incident, while the OLF’s internal legal and audit committee was working to resolve the issue, the government in an utter disregard for the rule of law has engaged on a false propaganda on social media through its officials and on media networks like FBC, Ethiopian press agency, EBC, OBN, etc. We condemn this interference in the OLF’s internal conflict resolution mechanism by disseminating unfounded propaganda and creating disbelieve among the OLF leadership. Such interference of the Ethiopian government in OLF’s internal matter is unacceptable and the Oromo people and all oppressed people should condemn such an act of the government interference in any pollical party internal matters. For the last two years, the OLF knew the sinister acts of those individuals who the government have been using to create a conflict within OLF. At different time and capacity, these individuals were advised to stop their relationship with oppressors but they refused to listen. As such, it has been more than two years now since the OLF and its structure has cut any information and secretes of the organization from those individuals.
Using those traitors, the government is trying to create a conflict within OLF, and these traitors have been releasing false statements to create a confusion among the Oromo public. Therefore, the Oromo people, especially the Oromo Youth, strongly condemn these traitors and the government act of interfering in OLF’s internal matter. Also, the Oromo Youth will never allow the government to mess up with OLF’s internal legal system of resolving conflicts. We warn the government and its official to refrain from meddling into OLF’s internal issue.
On August 1, 2020, the government security forces forcefully removed the OLF chairman Mr. Dawud Ibsa from his office in Gulallee, the head quarter of the OLF party, Finfinne, and sent him back to his home. Since then, the OLF office has been closed and the government military forces rounded the office and do not allow anyone to go in and out of the office. This significantly affected the OLF leadership to carry out their daily political activities. To resolve this issue following the legal system, OLF has reported the closure of its headquarter to National Election Boards of the Ethiopia (NEBE) on August 10, 2020. Although the NEBE has requested the Finfinne and Oromia police commissions an explanation as to why the OLF office is closed by a letter written by the Board on August 31, 2020, the Finfinne and Oromia police commissions did not respond to the inquiry of the NEBE.
Regardless of the fact that the government and its security apparatus often target the OLF and political dissent, OLF still believes that Ethiopia’s complex problems will be resolved only through political dialogue. And that is why the OLF has notified the government, particularly called multiple times for the government of the Oromia regional state to rather seek a political solution.
Contrary to our call and advise, the Ethiopian government rather chose to form an alliance with the Habesha elites and continue its mass killings, imprisonment and looting and distraction of properties of the Oromo people. In doing so the government and its affiliates assume that the Oromo people will surrender. The Oromo youth would like to advise the OLF and the government to resolve their issues through legal process. Those who are creating conflicts within the OLF should also follow the legal process to tackle their issues following the legal system of the party.
The Oromo Youth movement has closely been following what the government have been imposing on OLF, the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and the Oromo public in general and this government intimidation of the Oromo political parties and the Oromo people must stop. Therefore, we, the Oromo Youth movement, would like to call upon;
1) Members of the OLF: Our organization, the OLF, has gone through various challenges to get where it’s now. It is not like any other organization that can easily be dismantled with corrupt traitors that work hand-in glove with the government against the interest of the Oromo struggle. And therefore, we would like to notify members of the OLF to not have any work relationship with those traitors. As declared on August 11, 2020 by the office of the OLF, five members of the executive committee and a member from the central committee have been suspended from any OLF related responsibilities. The Oromo youth movement hope that all members of the OLF and its structure has already cut their ties with those individuals and if not, we take this opportunity to inform you that any OLF related work relationship should be suspended immediately.
2) Members of the National defense force, Oromia and Federal police and the Oromia special force: You should realize that your salaries come from taxes collected from the public. And therefore, you should feel accountable to the public than to the autocratic government and thus must refuse to executive any command that comes from the dictatorial government. This is the time when you stand up and fight the Habesha government system along with the people, particularly with the Oromo youth (Qeerroo). Don’t allow yourself to shot and kill your own sisters and brothers.
3) Oromo businessmen and businesswomen and all citizens residing in Oromia:
As you all are aware of, the Ethiopian security forces have been killing, imprisoning and raping your sisters in day light. The Oromo youth would like to call upon you, the Oromo businessmen and women and all citizens residing in Oromia, to stop supporting this cruel government and lend your support as usual to struggle of the Oromo Youth. If you fail to support the Oromo youth struggle and allow Abiy’s government to continue, your fate will not be that different from what this government has done to Mr. Dinku Dayas, an Oromo businessman. Abiy’s government plan is to weaken, if possible, or destroy the Oromo businessmen and women and allow the businessmen and women of Habeshas to flourish in Oromia. To stop this before it’s too late, the Oromo youth count on you to stand with us with everything possible, financially or by your knowledge, to bring an end to this regime and its sinister plan. We would also like to advice our Oromo businessmen and women residing in Oromia to limit your business to Oromia and shouldn’t make any trading, specially food crops, fruits and vegetables beyond Oromia.
4) Oromo farmers and farmers who reside in Oromia: Unless otherwise for critical need, the Oromo youth advises all Oromo farmers not to sell your farm product, especially cereal crops. Only market perishable fruits and vegetables crops in Oromia cities.
5) All Oromo students: The contributions of the Oromo students in our struggle are huge and continuing to be very critical, especially at this juncture. Our fate is becoming a matter of life or extinct and therefore, you should stand up boldly and defend your organization, the OLF, from the Ethiopian government’s name smearing campaign as well as safeguard against any existing or upcoming enemy attacks. Though our struggle is in its last chapter and yet not wrapped up, our students should prepare themselves for the worst to come.
6) Teachers/Educators at all levels: Teachers/Educators share a great deal of the work in the Oromo student movement; from advising, organizing, giving direction to directly participating in the movement. Our teachers/educators still have the responsebility to continue to prepare yourself and students for the final stages of our struggle.
7) Health professionals, lawyers and all other professions: The Oromo people, particularly, the Oromo youth, appeal to you to stand with our just struggle with anything possible including your profession.
8) The Oromoo people in the diaspora: As you are aware of the Abiy Ahmed government continue to kill, harass, mass arrest and incarcerate and destroy the properties of the Oromo people in Oromia. While appreciating your support to our struggle by exposing the Abiy government cruelty to the international community, the Oromo youth still count on you to continue to be a voice and an advocate for our people on international stages in unity. In addition, we would like to ask you to continue to financially support our people and our just struggle.
In summary, the Oromo youth movement warns the Habesha government headed by Abiy Ahmed to immediately halt its sinister plans and actions to destroy the OLF and OFC by disseminating a false propaganda among members of these political parties. We also warn those corrupted government agents to immediately refrain from their unwelcomed political activities.
The Oromo youth movement has learned that the OLF higher officials and members were detained with information conspired and given to the government security forces by those who have defected from the party. These innocent OLF members are still suffering in prison. Though the court has granted the rights to be released on bail, all the OLF higher officials and members remain in prison as the government security forces refused to abide to the court order. If the government cares for the peace as it talks on media platforms, the government must immediately release those falsely accused and imprisoned OLF members and officials.
Realizing the current crises in the country, the Abiy movement must release all members and leaders of the OLF and OFC without further delay. We call upon Mr. Abiy to sit down and hold a genuine dialogue without any preconditions with Mr. Dawud Ibsa and Prof. Merera Gudina about how to resolve the current political crises in the country, particularly in Oromia. We also call upon the Oromo people to pressure the government of Abiy Ahmed to negotiate with the OLF and OFC leaders.
Lastly, we call upon all members of the OLF in Oromia and in diaspora to stand together and defend your leader, Mr. Dawud Ibsa, from any smear campaign by those traitors. This is the time when all members of the organization show your commitment to the Oromoo cause by stand in unity and working toward strengthening the OLF party and its leadership.
The Abiy Ahemd government has chosen not to resolve the crises in the country in a peaceful and civilized manner by discussing the issues around the table. Therefore, we would like to inform our people and the people of other nations and nationalities that the Abiy Ahmed government will be responsible for the revolutionary movement about being exploding in Oromia.
Victory to the Oromo People
Qeerroo: Oromo youth Movement
September 13, 2020