Response to the composition of Asafa Jalata

Response to the composition of Asafa Jalata
Assefa Jaleta (SM)

Tefera Dinberu

This refers to an article titled “Ethiopian Ethnic Politics. The case of Oromo nationalism”, written by Asafa Jalata in 1993 and published in Academia on April 12, 2024.

Asafa says the population of Oromia is half of the Ethiopian population. Unless a new mogasa process takes place, the Oromo population has never exceeded 35% of the Ethiopian population. In fact, the 2007 Ethiopian census shows that the Oromo population was 34.4% of the Ethiopian population. The population growth rate of 2007 compared to 1994 shows that the Oromo population grew at a rate of 34.5% in 2007 compared to the growth rate of 32.1% in 1994, while the Amhara population rate was 26.9% in 2007 compared to 30.1% in 1994. Similarly, the population rate of the Afar, Guragie, Wolaita and Somalis decreased in 1994 compared to the census conducted in 2007. On the other hand, after the loss of 7 million Amhara due to systematic genocide and forced identification change, the number of depopulated Amhara social group registration went from majority to 27%.

Asafa says that Oromo was colonized by Amharas. However, he does not point out when a sovereign Oromo state existed, its borders, its leaders or its recognition by the world.

Asafa contradicted himself by saying that the main economic resources are located in Oromia and at the same time, the Oromo are “denied equal access to economic and political opportunities; he does not want to acknowledge that the great Oromo nobles/leaders, the rich feudalists, the high level military officers had privileged roles in the country and that Oromummaa is dictating to the entire nation today; his statement implies that the Amharas continue to dominate the Oromos politically, while the opposite is true. It is questionable whether Asafa attempts to hide the leaders of the current Ethiopian state network: Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Shimelis Abdisaa, President of Oromia, Adanech Abebe, Mayor of the nation’s capital, Marshal Birhanu Jula , chief of the General Staff. , Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa, commander of the Ethiopian Air Force, as well as their cohorts who hold key positions in the army, police, import and export office of the courts and the national bank. All ministers are powerless servants of the Oromuma regime, including Tagesse Chafo, who, with the title “Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives”, is a symbolic appointee only to obey the dictates of the Prime Minister.

Asafa’s claim that the Ethiopian Empire was allied with European imperialism does not stand on its own, as he did not answer the question of why Ethiopia was surrounded by France, England, Italy and their cohorts in the 19th and 20th centuries, and why Italy directly invaded Ethiopia twice and England tried to occupy it after 1941 claiming to be its protectorate. He does not see how the imperialists do everything possible to disintegrate Ethiopia and create puppet states for their own benefit.

Asafa claimed that Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam intensified the Ethiopian colonial occupation of Oromia using “Western financial support.” However, his understanding floats in political myth, while he, as a scholar, should have delved into the fact that Western imperialism was outraged at seeing a free Ethiopian nation and this anger was interpreted by denying any support for economic development so that The nation could remain poor forever. look for dependency. Asafa seems to deny or ignore that the Mengistu regime followed the communist path and therefore he could have understood why the imperialists had not supported the regime before or after the fall of the USSR. Had the regime been supported by imperialism, the Mengistu regime could have remained more vigilant after the fall of the USSR.

Waqu Gutu’s revolt began as a shifta since he killed his adversary neighbor, a farmer who had a conflict with him in the grazing lands. He continued to hide and continued his revolt in connivance with other known friends. He joined other rebellious peasants who had grievances and led rebellions such as those that took place in Gojjam, Gondar, Wollo and Tigray. Waqo Gutu began a peaceful life when Haile Selassie’s regime declared forgiveness and Waqo, along with other shiftas, took advantage of the forgiveness to come out of hiding and live in peace. He was not politically motivated and did not join the Oromo refugees in Somalia who temporarily led a movement to establish a political organization called the Ethiopian National Liberation Front nor did he have any affiliation with the Negaso Gidada group movement before the formation of the OLF.

Waqo Gutu was named by Oromo politicians who rebelled against the central government during the 1974 revolution and appointed him as their leader. Somalia armed Waqo Gutu and other rebel groups by systematically organizing them in the name of Somali Abo, precisely as Asafa declared he would use them for his own ambition of territorial expansion.

Mecha and Tulama were two interrelated Oromo racial groups that had gone to war with each other due to territorial and power struggles during the Gada expansion. The two racial groups negotiated and lived in peace for many years. In 1963 they renewed their bond by forming a self-help organization, but they were not politically motivated until their association was banned in 1967, as the government banned all other associations for fear of political movements. Some former members of the association then joined the OLF when it was formed in 1973. Asafa’s claim that the Mecha Tulama Association, with more than two million members, built roads, clinics, schools, churches and mosques is mere exaggeration. based on lies. He reiterated an uncorroborated claim that General Tadesse entered the Oromo movement because of a secret discussion to exclude Oromo tribes from joining the national army; that was not supported by any tangible evidence. Furthermore, he mentioned that the explosion of a bomb in a theater building was a pretext to kill General Tadesse Biru and Captain Mamo Mezemir. However, he did not mention who planted the bomb. His other farce that the junta regime tortured and murdered an Oromo cultural group in the late 1970s was not corroborated. He did not mention who was killed. In fact, the Dergue regime indiscriminately shot at national protesting artists from Amhara and other social groups when, for example, an Amhara artist known as Getu Ayele was murdered. Asafa’s claim that the OLF did not have the support of the Oromo people contradicts his latest claim that the Oromo people asked the OLF to defend them from the military government.

Asafa declared the OLF to be a junior partner of the transitional government in 1991. However, although Dr. Negaso Gidada was symbolically appointed president of the nation, the OLF was prohibited from participating in the transitional government; its troops were forcibly subdued and imprisoned, and the rest fled to Sudan, Eritrea and other countries, while OPDO was formed as a surrogate or symbolic political party to form a tentacle of the symbolic EPRDF coalition headed by Weyane. His statement mentions that the OLF liberated Oromo territories, but does not specify when or what territory was liberated. After Prime Minister Abiy became leader, the OLF committed genocide against the Amhara and other people living in the Oromo region and its neighbors. If that is his release, the action was technically supported by the newly named Oromo People’s Organization in honor of OPDO. It is vividly observed that the Oromo politicians neither created unity among themselves nor were they able to lead Ethiopia using democratic equality, but instead practiced the worst type of ethnic apartheid ever seen in the world.

A brief strong message for Asafa and politicians like him

Ethnic division is a disheveled, outdated and cruel scheme that disintegrates people of the same destiny as Ethiopians from all walks of life. Ethnic division mainly helps foreign invasion and domination which ends in dependency and poverty of the large population of any country. Let’s put aside old stories since we cannot live in the past but in the future. Let us teach the new generation to advance a great nation that can compete with the United States, China, Canada, India and other great nations. Let’s not dream of being smaller and smaller but bigger and better. Let us learn from the weaknesses of the past and do our best to rectify them in the interests of equality, justice and human equity. Let’s work together to build our future since we have more in common than differences. Trying to alienate any people from their fellow citizens does not benefit them, but only a handful of native dictators who may have privileges over their people on the one hand and eventually be forced to be agents of foreign domination on the other. Ethnic advancement alienates friendly social groups and only turns them into adversaries; Ethnicity is quite prone to fascism. There is no growth or advancement of the sovereignty of the people where poverty prevails. Let us dream of developing our common human, geographical and natural wealth. Let us unite to eradicate any form of dictatorship. When we stand together, we can be better able to resist imperialism. The linguistic and cultural promotion of any community can take place in a democratic atmosphere where all politicians compete for the good of the common nation. No nation in the world promoted its development by advancing ethnicity. No nation can develop through fictional stories. Nations like Ethiopia should rather unite to prevail over international monopolies and put their natural resources to the benefit of their citizens. In short, we must stick together to survive. Divided we fall! we stay united!

Editor’s note: Article views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of


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