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Change comes from struggle. We shows the struggle towards the violated rights and freedoms by others body. By Behailu M.

Ethiopia Rushes to Implement a Genocide Master Plan Against the Oromo

Under the excuses of “joint development” for cities of Oromia and Finfinne[1], the Tigirean minority regime of Ethiopia has secretly created a master plan it calls “Addis Ababa and the Surrounding Oromia’s Special Zone Common Development Master Plan.”[2]   Using buzzwords of “ urban development”, “investment” and “industrialization” as  “benevolent” justifications, the Tigire People’s Liberation Front is in a feverish campaign mode to implement the next large-scale genocide it wishes to invisibly commit on the Oromo people. The plan to depopulate cities and rural areas inhabited by Oromo farmers and urban residents in and around Finfinne (Addis Ababa) is under way. addis_oromia_sp_zone

The plan is explicit about the regime’s intentions to incorporate over 6 Oromia’s cities and 8 rural Aanaalee (Counties) in the vicinity of Finfinnee into Fininne against the will of the Oromo people.  Sululta, Bishoftu, Sabata Dukem, Holeta and Ambo are among the cities planned to be gobbled up by Addis Ababa. Regime authorities  estimated that Finfinne, which currently sits on 54,000 hectares of Oromo land obtained through 19th and 20th century crimes of genocide, now wants to gain 1.1 million hectares of land from Oromia by the same criminal method—genocide.[3]

The plan comes in two forms based on the kind of thrust TPLF wants to make into grabbing  Oromia’s rural and urban lands: (a) the plan that allows to make inroads into Oromia in all directions by 140 kilometers from the centre of Addis is set to expire in 25 years; (b) the plan that will be used to make inroads into Oromia by 30-40 kilometers in all directions from the centre of Addis is planned to last 10 years.[4]

The Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) members, which forms one of the four arms of the TPLF-run Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, is being cowed into affixing   the entire Oromia region’s name as the “co-creator” of the master plan when in fact the plan was co-created with knowledge of a few high-ranking opportunist members of OPDO who served on the master plan’s board members, inclduing …Kuma Demeksa, mayor of Addis Abeba; Abdulaziz Mohamed, deputy president of Oromia Regional State and Umer Hussein, head of the Oromia Special Zones…”   This means corrupt and non-Oromo ODO officials were complict in the plan and the majority of OPDO cadres (foot soldiers) were presented with the plan as as a surprise for implementation upon which they showed signs of resistance or so they pretended.  TPLF members in the Addis Ababa city government unveiled the secret plan  in April 2014, 3 years after they first started to work on it (in 2011.)

Except top level vetran OPDO collaborators, the people of Oromia have unaynmously objected to this draconian plan.  Some are facing imprisonment, including in toruture chambers such as Maekelawi, for allegedly resisting [or as GOE calls, it “standing in fornt of the plan”]. TPLF security forces also arrested and tortured Jimma University students of Oromo origin who have protested the master plan to annex Oromia’s cities and the spectre of genocide hanging over Oromia all over again.

It is obvious that the master plan’s goals are to enrich Tigirean elites and their collaborators at the expense of slowly exterminating Oromos from the area.  Some Oromo lawyers, politicians and academics like citing TPLF/EPRDF’s  constitution of 1994 (specially article 39 on self-determination) and article 49 (5) to say that the implementation of the master plan proves once again that TPLF officials are above the constitution and the law, and that Oromia region lacks any form of autonomy to rule itself and develop its own cities. Yes, but it really doesn’t matter citing provisions in this sham document because everyone knows that the TPLF elites have always been above the law (and that they are the law). They have been committing the ultimate crimes of genocide against the Oromo people using OPDO as a glove for the last 24 years, pretending that they would not leave fingerprints behind at the crime scenes. Ironically, on its 24th anniversary, OPDO condemned the 19th century genocide perpetrated against the Oromo by Menelik II, but it wimply accepted its 21stcentury version under TPLF.

Enhanced Master Plan to Continue Committing the Crime of Genocide

The master plan described above is nothing short of adding another layer of committing genocide under misleading and false labels of  connecting Oromia’s cities to  fictitious development “benefits” from Finfinne.  How can Abyssinian elites benefit Oromia by dispossessing Oromia of over 1.1 million hectares of land under the pressures of military occupation?   What is clear is that “development” has become a new terminology for genocide in Oromia.

Evicting farmers because of membership in a group is an internationally recognized crime of genocide under the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide Article II (A-E).[5]  The land grab in Oromia, which has had genocidal characteristics, started in the last quarter of the 19th century and it is ongoing.  While crimes listed under the UNGC are being committed against the Oromo people on a daily basis, including “killing members of the group,” (Art 2(A) and “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” (Art II (B), a provision that is specially applicable to the mass eviction and impoverishing of  Oromo famers is UNGC Article II (C) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”[6]

The research conducted for this article indicated that almost all ethnic Amhara and Tigire sources never mention the negative consequences of the master plan.  They deliberately avoid talking about the crimes the regime they support has been committing and is about to commit some more through the master plan. In fact, a lot of the headlines of newspaper articles and online articles reviewed from northern Ethiopian media glorify and propagate the master plan as some kind of successful “land reform in Oromia Regional State”[7], stating “The Oromia regulation will have land given out through auction and assignment and avoid inheritance and succession, which had been part of the practice in the region.” They celberate the destruction of indigenous land tenure system along with its population in Oromia.

The Habesha press has fully avoided talking about the people inhabiting the cities and the rural counties (Aanaalee) on which further genocide is being implemented.  Their audiences, of course, are the Abyssinian millionaires and billionaires who are interested in acquiring Oromia’s lands through complicity with the actions of the Tigire government of Ethiopia. They are telling the so-called investors that they can lease a square meter of land from as high a rate as 1011.50 Br (USD 52)  to as low as 160.69 Br (USD 9)  for a lease of 99 years depending on the location and the quality of the land.  None express concerns about the Oromo population already on the land.

Link to OVR: http://oromovoice.org

Oromo Actors Oppose the Genocide Plan

Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), the only lawful Oromo opposition party in Ethiopia, was among the first Oromo political actors to issue a statement and to condemn the master plan as a plan created in order to to incite conflict between Oromo natives and Abyssinian settler colonialist self-identifying as “investors.”   OFC clearly understood that the master plan is part of the TPLF culture of condemning Oromo rural and urban communities to lethal poverty “in the name of investment and development” for those with links to the totalitarian ruling party, EPRDF.  The OFC contextualizes the master plan as follows[8]:

In the countryside, Oromo farmers are being evicted from their plots of land without compensation and without any employment guarantee. In cities, the houses and properties of [Oromo] persons are being demolished and the owners are rendered propertyless and sanctioned to perpetual poverty. In contrast, it is seen that individual supporters of the regime (EPRDF/TPLF) are amassing wealth upon wealth by acquiring land in urban and rural areas using their connections, relatives and group memberships to get 30-40 maps  and then trading in those maps to generate profit.

The OFC statement doesn’t call the massive evictions genocide, but the rate and conditions under which Oromo farmers are evicted and exposed to poverty-stricken and diseases-infested calculated life conditions that will cause their demise is clear.  It is also clear that this is centrally (by state) planned in the name of “development.”

OFC’s statement also notes that the severity of the consequences of the master plan goes beyond land grabbing in Oromia.

It is not only land that is going to be taken from the people [the Oromo], it is also the right to speak and learn his[9] own language [Afan Oromo], the right to be judged in courts in his own language, the right to develop one’s own culture…all of these will be gone. As a result, the harm that will be inflicted on the region [Oromia], on the people [Oromo], and the farmers around these areas will be very heavy [difficult].

Of course, a good genocide scholar would look at this and infer: this paragraph from the OFC statement is talking about cultural genocide, sometimes, also termed “assimilation” under previous Ethiopian regimes.

The TPLF is determined to pass the master plan onto OPDO to implement. OPDO is under pressure to persuade people in coerced meetings to accept the terms of the genocide without reading or writing anything in the master plan for it directly.  One arrogant Tigrean official was heard at the venue of Oromia state delivering a veiled threat that OPDO had no choice but to accept the master plan for genocide against Oromo:  “we have no problem implementing the master plan from top-down.”[10] By “we”, he meant TPLF/EPRDF and by the lack of problem he was boasting the military power of the group to impose the order it wants, including genocide.

The amount of international visibility we can garner to stop this master plan and the genocide that has been ongoing prior to the master plan depends on our concerted political muscle on the ground. We need to organize people to resist Abyssinian genocidal campaigns in the 21st century.  The Oromo liberation camp needs to step up from issuing statements of condemnation to organizing relevant collective actions that shall meet the challenges of these difficult times for the Oromo people who are trapped under imposed life conditions threatening their survival as a nation. Issuing statements are good to create publicity about ongoing plight, but statements alone cannot serve the purpose of freeing our people.

Source: http://oromopress.blogspot.de/

Link to OVR: http://oromovoice.org

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Finfinne is the indigenous Oromo name for the colonial city of Addis Ababa built on depopulated Oromo villages and tribes during the last quarter of the 19th century.

[2] Zenebe, W. (2013, September). “What are the benefits of Addis Ababa’s and the surrounding Oromia Special Zone common master plan?” [Translated title from Amharic]. Retrieved February  January 10, 2014, from

[3]Zenebe, W. (2013, April 2014). “The master plan created for Addis Ababa and Oromia raised governmental questions” {Title translated from Amharic.] The figures cited about the sizes of land were excerpted from Wudneh’s news article in The Reporter.

http://bit.ly/QiHQsF

[4] See endnote number 1 page 2.

[5] UN. 1948. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  Retrieved April 16, 2014 from

https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%2078/volume-78-I-1021-English.pdf

[6] Emphasis added.

[7] Endale, A.  (2013, July). “ Land reforms in Oromia Regional State.” Addis Fortune. Retrieved on April 15, 2014, from

http://addisfortune.net/articles/land-reforms-in-oromia-regional-state/

[8] Gadaa.(2014, April).  “Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) Sounds Alarm about the Ongoing Land-Grab in Oromia; Condemns the Ethiopian Govt’s Land Policy Being Enforced in Oromia Without Oromo’s Participation as Plan to Ignite Violence between Oromo Farmers and Investors.” Gadaa.com. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from

http://gadaa.com/oduu/25385/2014/04/15/oromo-federalist-congress-ofc-sounds-alarm-about-the-ongoing-land-grab-in-oromia-condemns-the-ethiopian-govts-land-policy-being-enforced-in-oromia-without-oromos-participation-as-plan-to-ignite/

This is a news item from Gadaa.com based on the statement by OFC. Quoted translation of parts of the statement  from Afan Oromo into English is by the current author.

 

[9] “His” is possessive for the Oromo people. The noun “Oromo” is masculine- gendered in Afan Oromo grammar.

[10] YouTube video of Oromiya television news: “Addis Ababa-Finfinnee surrounding master plan faces fierce opposition from Oromos.” Via Oromia Times. Retrieved on April 16, 2014 from

http://oromiatimes.org/2014/04/14/addis-ababa-finfinnee-surrounding-master-plan-fac

 

11. Bulcha, M. (2013). “A Decade after the Aborted Oromo Eviction from Finfinnee: A Persistent Story of Expropriation, Humiliation and Displacement.” Retrieved  April 16, 2014, from

http://gadaa.com/oduu/25321/2014/04/13/a-decade-after-the-aborted-oromo-eviction-from-finfinnee-a-persistent-story-of-expropriation-humiliation-displacement/

12. Map Credit : Addis  Fortune. The same map also appears on Gadaa.com.

http://addisfortune.net/articles/land-reforms-in-oromia-regional-state/

  1. Endale, A. (2013, June). “Plan to connect Addis Abeba with surrounding special zones.” Addis Fortune. Retrieved April, 16,2014 from

http://addisfortune.net/articles/plan-to-connect-addis-abeba-with-surrounding-special-zones/

 

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This entry was posted on April 20, 2014 by in Home, News letters and tagged , .
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