by Tarik Michael Tobias
It has been more than three months now since the protest in the region of Oromia begun. Its main cause is the proposed master plan to expand the city of Addis Ababa. Our fellow brothers and sisters are protesting against this master plan because the intention is not really to expand Addis but to take away their land, which has been passed on from one generation to the next, and give it to members and supporters of the ruling party. Meanwhile the original owners of the land would be hired as guards on the properties built by TPLF’s members or even worse, they would be begging as they have no other means of income anymore. The Oromo people, therefore, chose to defend their lands by paying with their dear lives. Over two hundred people were killed by government soldiers so far and yet the protest continues. The young daughters of these farmers would be forced to quit their education and involve in prostitution in order to survive. Therefore, the implication of land grabbing is not only economical but also has serious consequences socially as well.
This is not a new phenomenon as the ruling party has been displacing Ethiopians from their lands for the past several years. For instance, the TPLF has given numerous foreign businesses and its own members and supporters massive amount of land in Gambela by forcefully displacing Ethiopians from their land that served as their sole source of bread and butter. This has been documented by a number of international rights organizations and media such as the BBC.
The root cause of the problem is the political system in Ethiopia. The TPLF, since its inception, had no Ethiopian agenda. It was anti-Ethiopia then and has remained to this day. It does not have the ability, capability or the will to bring about democratic system in the country and for this reason; the political, economical and social problems of Ethiopia will further be complicated the longer this dictatorial government stays in power. In addition, the government is also purposely working to create ethnic conflict in Ethiopia by preaching ethnic politics in order to extend its power. The ruling party’s sole objective is simply to use Ethiopia as a private company and milk as much money as it can until it will be forced to relinquish power.
The ruling party is also currently dealing with Sudan to give away large amount of land bordering Sudan and Ethiopia. The idea behind this deal is to encourage Sudan not to help Ethiopian opposition forces that have raised arms against the regime. As a result, Ethiopians living in that area are engaged in a continuous fight with the Sudanese military at the same time with TPLF’s soldiers that are killing them siding with the Sudanese forces. This is unheard of as the fundamental responsibility of any government in the world is to stand up for the interests of its people. However, Ethiopians are unfortunate to have a mercenary group such as the TPLF imposed on them.
Ethiopian opposition parties have talked about the evil nature and its evil deeds of the ruling party for the past twenty five years while the TPLF comfortably continued to kill, jail and intimidate Ethiopians. It is high time now for all genuine opposition groups to come together and devise a strategy to bring an end to this monstrous regime.
The protest in the region of Oromia is crying for a leadership. Opposition parties should stand with our brothers and sisters and prove what they preach in practical terms. There is no better time than now to stand in unity and say no to injustice and tyranny.
There is simply no other means but to unite under common goal to get rid of the dictatorial regime. Ethiopia is running out of time. The situation in the country is black and white. It is a matter of choosing disintegration and mayhem or unity and peace. Let us focus on our priority which is getting rid of TPLF and building a unified, strong and democratic Ethiopia. All other problems and challenges could be addressed under a democratic system.
UNITY IS STRENGTH !!
Tarik Michael Tobias (Lidya), February, 2015