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Gabcast! Gotoota Oromo Haa Yaadannu. #17 - Wallee.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Mockery of Justice

Mockery of Justice

On January 25, 2006 jailed university students and leaders of the Macha and Tulama Association (MTA), the oldest Oromo NGO in Ethiopia, appeared in court after over two years of detention without hearing. The accused were arrested for protesting against the transfer of the regional state capital Oromia from Addis Ababa (Finfinne) to Adama (Nazareth) in August 2002. Following a serious setback and popular unrest of the May 2005 elections, the Ethiopian regime reversed its decision to change the capital of Oromia. However, the accused individuals continue to face prosecution.

The prosecutor produced a long list of witnesses. Their testimonies baffled not only the presiding judge but also those following the proceedings in the court. It was quite a spectacle. The discussion between the judge and two witnesses provided below is indicative of the mockery of the court of justice.
Presiding Judge: Who are you testifying against?
Witness #1: Mr. …. (Reading a name from a piece of paper)Presiding Judge: Could you please identify the accused?
Witness #1: I do not know him
Presiding Judge: Why are you here then? (Judge was smiling)
Witness #1: I was asked by the police to be here
Presiding Judge: Did you see the accused committing the alleged crime?
Witness #1: I did not see a crime being committed. However, we were taken to Sidist Kilo by the police where they demonstrated to us how the crime was committed and it was taped. I also overheard the police talking about it.
Presiding Judge: How could you testify then that you saw the accused committed a crime?
Witness #1: (no answer, looking down to the floor)
Presiding Judge: Do you know where the accused secured the item with which the accused allegedly committed the crime?
Witness #1: I personally do not know, but according to what I was told he got it from Ambo. The MTA gave out 2700 birr and the item was bought with 500 birr.
Presiding Judge: What is the “Maccaa Tulama?”
Witness #1: They say it is an OLF organization
Presiding Judge: Who bought the item?
Witness #1: I do not know the person who bought it, but Mr. (once again reading a name from the same piece of paper) opened it and showed those who used it on how to use it to commit the crime.
Presiding Judge: How did you know all this? More specifically where were you when this was happening?
Witness #1: I was told by the police. I was not at the crime site.
Presiding Judge: How do you testify then about something you did not see or hear happening, just based on a hearsay?
Witness #1: (no answer, looking down to the floor)

Presiding Judge: (the judge took some notes and went on to question the next witness)

Presiding Judge: after some remarks: which cassettes did you see (the police had produced a pile of cassettes)
Witness #1: This one (picking up one from the pile)
Presiding Judge: I see that it is a cassette, what language was it in, if there is a record on it?
Witness #1: Afaan Oromo (the Oromo language)
Presiding Judge: Did you listen to it?
Witness #1: No, your honour
Presiding Judge: How did you know it is in Oromo language then?
Witness #1: They told us it is in Oromo language
Presiding Judge: How do you know what it is about? How did you identify this particular cassette from the rest? Could you show the court some identification marks you used to pick up that particular cassette?
Witness #1: (no answer, looking down to the floor)
Presiding Judge: What did you see?
Witness #2: CDs, computers, written literatures, pictures...
Presiding Judge: What is in the CD and the computers?
Witness #2: I do not know
Presiding Judge: What was the picture you saw about?
Witness #2: They said it is a picture taken during a celebration (a meeting of the MTA)
Presiding Judge: The literature you read, what language was it in? Did you read it?
Witness #2: I did not read it, but I know it is in Afaan Oromo.
Presiding Judge: Who do you think wrote it?
Witness #2: I don’t know.

Deception, conniving and black mailing is the disposition of the Ethiopian Government

Deception, conniving and black mailing is the disposition of the Ethiopian government: The OLF’s response to the false allegations of the Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya.

The OLF is compelled to respond to the letter by the Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Murad Mussa that appeared on the Daily Nation on 01-02-06. His letter was ostensibly a reaction to Mr. Elly Wamari’s accurate report about the Oromo people and its legitimate struggle for the right to self-determination led by the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).

An informed reader could easily discern that the Ambassador’s letter is devoid of facts and full of intentional misrepresentation and misinformation. He has tried to misinform the readers of the Daily Nation by misrepresenting facts and black-mailing the OLF. He further desperately attempted to portray the minority based tyrannical Ethiopian Government as a democratic. The Ambassador also labored in vain to convince your esteemed readers that the right of self-determination of Oromo people is guaranteed by the regime’s constitution.

It is well known that Ethiopia is constituted of diverse nations and nationalities. What is less known is that Ethiopia/Abyssinia stands alone as the only Black power that participated in the colonial scramble for Africa. The Oromo people’s experience under Ethiopian rule is the same as other African peoples under European colonial rules. To date, this colonial relation is maintained through mere force of arms by the government that Mr. Mussa represents. Today, the subjugated peoples are struggling to reverse that order and the subjugators are acting to perpetuate the status quo.

In 1991, when Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown, leaders of various political organizations and communities, including OLF, came together and adopted a Transitional Charter and formed a transitional government. The arrangement was a departure from the previous attempts in that it recognized the existing reality, accepted the right to self-determination of the subjugated peoples. It was an attempt to replace the hitherto existing state of order with a new order where a new relationship among the peoples of Ethiopia was to be established. Unfortunately, the stiff resistance from a TPLF (Tigrian People’s Liberation Front) met that initial enthusiasm and idealism. The TPLF, instead of striving to create new and equitable relations among the peoples in Ethiopia, replaced the old order by a new type of domination, establishing the Tigrai minority political, economic and military monopoly of power. After the collapse of the transitional arrangement, TPLF pushed out all credible organizations that it deemed would challenge its determination to establish a one ethnic group/Tigrean minority tyrannical rule.

The minority led Tigrean government, through political machinations, exclusively controlled the state power and used it as an instrument to perpetuate violence and control over Oromo and other people’s lives. The ruling elite, in so doing not only failed to resolve the Oromo question but also closed off all possible avenues for redressing its legitimate grievances peacefully. Every attempt by the OLF, friendly governments, and organization to peacefully resolve the political problem between the OLF and the government has been rebuffed repeatedly by the regime.

As it is widely reported in the international media, today that the TPLF regime is engulfed in mutually reinforcing crises. Armed conflict, popular uprising, authoritarian governance, corruption, the misuse of natural resources, the pandemic HIV/AIDS and a debilitating famine are besieging the country from different angles as a consequence of the TPLF’s failed policies. The country’s grime situation is getting worse each passing day. Appallingly, despite a decade of intensive reform efforts, initiated and backed by substantial generous foreign financial assistance, the basic security and livelihood of the majority of peoples in Ethiopia remain highly deficient.

The plight and agony to which this minority regime is subjecting the Oromo people is unparalleled in history. Thousands of Oromo are currently languishing in prison for several years without charge or trial. Thousand of Oromo have been kidnapped and disappeared many were killed with out due process of law. Thousands of Oromo were and are being forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries for protection. The Ethiopian government’s acts of violence against the Oromo do not stop on the national border. Disregarding international law, the Ethiopian government in many occasions crossed into the neighboring countries to kidnap and kill innocent Oromo refugees.

In addition, the minority Tigrean government employs tactics of pitting one nation/ethnic group against the other in order to blame it on opposition. The regime continuously employs tactics that instigate mistrust among different communities. The allegation that the OLF is the cause of conflict between communities in Northern Kenya is unfounded and malicious. It is rather the Ethiopian government, which arms one community against the other and incites cross border violence. This is the regime that came to power through violence and perpetuates its rule through violence.

It is a fact that Oromo live in both Kenya and Ethiopia. The Oromo are not the only people in African and the world to live in two or more countries. The difference between the Oromo living under the Ethiopian rule and the Oromo in living the Republic of Kenya is that, the previous are under alien colonial rule and the later are free people and cherishing democracy. Contrary to the Ambassador’s malicious implication, the fact that Oromo live both in Kenya and Ethiopia has not been and could not be a factor for conflict and mistrust between the Oromo people and the people of the Republic of Kenya. Rather, the Ambassador’s baseless and unfounded allegation that the OLF has an agenda of creating a great republic of Oromia is intended to create mistrust and saw discord between the Kenyan authorities and the OLF. No reasonable and fair minded person would be misled by such blatant hoax.

We would like reiterate in an unambiguous terms that the OLF led struggle of the Oromo people only targets the Ethiopian minority tyrannical Tigrean regime. The OLF believes that the Oromo citizens of the Republic Kenya have been liberated with their other Kenyan brothers and sitters from the colonial British rule decades ago. The OLF has no hidden agenda against the Republic of Kenya except respect and admiration. We are mindful that Kenya is an island of peace and democracy surrounded by states like Ethiopia where the violation of human rights are the norm. Kenya is a heaven for refugees from neighboring repressive regimes.

The Ethiopian regime’s tactic of pitting one community against the other and choosing and picking one community for its own political expediency will have a long lasting dire consequences on historical and friendly relationship of the neighboring people and it should be combated by all peace loving peoples. In our part, we are committed to building peaceful, brotherly and sustainable relations among the different communities of the Horn and East African and all over our continent.

Mr. Mussa seems to be ignorant of the fact that at this very moment political and civil unrest is shaking the country. There are ongoing savage attacks by government security forces on students in schools and colleges across the country. The large number of political leaders and supporters, journalists, and members of the civic society are locked up on charges of treason lays bare the false claim of Mr. Mussa that the regime he serves is democratic. In today’s Ethiopia, journalists are charged with treason for reporting events and expressing their views. In fact, the international journalism watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, has labeled the Ethiopian prime minister one of the worst enemies of free press.


Fido Ebba
Diplomacy Division, DFA
Oromo Liberation Front

Map of oromia

Map of oromia