OLA's Propositions for Resolving the Political and Economic Instability in Ethiopia

Published April 29, 2021, 12:19 p.m. by FNN

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(OLA High Command)

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It is evident to all that the economic & political situation in Ethiopia and Oromia is getting from bad to worse. The 2018 revolution which shook the foundations of the dictatorial Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) regime, has been skillfully hijacked by the entities yearning for the return of the old political system which privileges certain communities belonging to specific ethnic groups while dehumanizing and impoverishing others. This political order, based on the neftegna-gabbar system and the socio-economic hierarchy imposed on Ethiopia during the imperial era, has proven itself to be virulently intolerant, exclusivist, militaristic, and expansionist in nature. It is anti-democratic and thrives on the violation of basic human rights. In this system, the political agenda is formulated based on a singular objective of maintaining the system and benefiting its adherents with utter disregard for the political and economic aspirations of the Ethiopian masses. We would like to emphasize that the old political order is the root cause of the misery of the peoples of Ethiopia and it is this system that has turned the country into a poster child for famine, poverty, and political instability.

 

The advocates of the ancien régime have strangulated the political space by forcefully sidelining legitimate and popular political parties such as the Oromo Liberation Front, the Oromo Federalist Congress, the Ogaden National Liberation Front, and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. In this process, they violated the Freedom of Association, which encompasses: 

(i) individual rights to join or leave groups voluntarily, 

(ii) the right of the group to take collective actions to pursue the interests of its members, and 

(iii) the right of the association to accept or decline membership based on certain criteria.

 

The OLA believes that Freedom of Association, as both an individual and collective right, is one of the essentials of human rights, which is guaranteed by all modern and democratic legal systems. The Ethiopian government's total disregard for this fundamental right is one of the main reasons why the Oromo people, among others, have taken up arms.

Economically, the country is heading towards total collapse. The government has been fixated on flashy projects such as the decoration of streets and recreational parks, the organization of costly political indoctrination events, the waging of catastrophic civil wars, and the preparation of mock elections in which the Prosperity Party is the only viable competitor. Military engagements are ongoing in Oromia, Tigray, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Afar, and Somali regional states. In Tigray in particular, the war is costing the country tens of thousands of precious human life and consuming the already meagre national economic resources, while millions of people are left to starve and scavenge. In the process of conducting these wars, the Ethiopian government violated human rights including widespread rape and summary execution of political prisoners and civilians. It has blocked the movement of food and other essential goods and services, including internet and telephone services, to punish communities with different political views. Many parts of the country are facing the possibility of famine due to the failure of economic policy. Right now, food price inflation is at an all-time high.

The longer this regime is allowed to cling onto power, the dimmer any prospect of Ethiopia’s future as a country will be. We are heading towards a disintegration that will have significant regional repercussions. It is with all this in mind that the Oromo Liberation Army proposes the following 8 point plan:

 

1. An immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities as the first step of creating an environment conducive to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

2. An immediate and unconditional withdrawal of any foreign military and security personnel.

3. An immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners.

4. The indefinite postponement of the illegal sham elections planned for June of 2021.

5. A full, independent investigation into all human rights abuses in Ethiopia blamed on

both state and non-state actors.

6. An all-inclusive transitional conference held to map a transitional charter and form a

transitional government. The key proposed activities during the transitional period are:

6.1. Recommitting to or reforming the constitution via referendum.

6.2. Granting self-determination to ethnic minorities in the present regional states to resolve the recurrent conflicts and recommit people to development.

6.3. Reforming and rebuilding institutions such as the judiciary and electoral system.

6.4. Ensuring the equality of faiths and religions and secularity of government.

6.5. Ensuring unencumbered humanitarian access and services to conflict-affected

areas.

6.6. Reform of the national defence force to develop a non-partisan and professional army that is loyal to only the constitutional order.

6.7. Clarification of the mandates of the Special Forces of Regional States with an emphasis on limiting inter-state conflict.

7. Create conditions for reviving the economy with special emphasis on youth unemployment, rehabilitation of conflict-affected areas, levelling of the economic playing field, and encouragement of foreign direct investment.

8. Enhancing peace and fraternity with neighbouring countries to diffuse conflicts.

We urge all stakeholders to act now and join us in putting a permanent end to the wanton destruction and loss of life we have seen erupt in the region time and time again. We must address these issues from their roots so that peace, stability, and respect for human rights reign supreme today and forevermore.

OLA High Command April 27th, 2021


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