Ethiopia of Abiy Ahmed’s ODP is a Prototype for Future African Federation
Ethiopia (Great Oromia), a multi-national state in Africa (i.e. a state formed based on ethnic regions), in contrast to the mono-national states of Europe, is one of the countries still suffering from sequel of an attempt by European colonization in the region and from an impact of Abyssinian colonization over other nations like the Oromo. We all know that the name Ethiopia is a contaminated and abused name. It has got different meanings: according to the Bible, it is Cushland; according to Greeks, it is land of blacks (burned face); according to Tigreans, it is Axum empire; according to Amharas, it is Abyssinia; and according to Ethiopianists from the southern nations, it is the current geographical state. For Oromo nationalists, it is a symbol for the system of domination. Ethiopia existed as feudal monarchy till the rule of Teferi Mekonnen, as military dictatorship of Mengistu, and as dictatorial revolutionary democracy of Mele and co. Will the next step be forging of democratic federalism by ODP (Oromo Democratic Party of Abiy Ahmed – transformed OPDO to serve Oromo interest, instead of obeying the hegemonist TPLF) and others? According to program of ODP, it is understandable that the move is towards democratic true ethnic federation in contrast to TPLF’s dictatorial fake ethnic federation.
Regarding ODP’s program on fantastic administrative structure, it supports the right of all nations and nationalities to be organized in their territories at community, district, province (zone) and state levels. What a structure! This can be a good example for the whole of African multinational states. To tackle the problems of nations in Africa and to deal with the present global challenge, Africans are trying to come together and forge USA (Union States of Africa). Till now, we are looking at U.S.America or EU (European Union) as an example. For instance, Amhara democrats, who want to get rid of ethnic federation and want to establish Ethiopia as a melting pot (melting all nations in to Amharic speakers), do look at U.S.America. as a model, whereas Oromo liberation forces, who want to establish an independent democratic republic of different nations, which may further forge union of free peoples based on free will, do like the model of EU. But both US and EU can not be good examples for Africa. US is melting pot for all nations around the world migrating to America and learning English language. EU is union of well developed and independent mononational states, all using their own respective languages.
Africa can be neither melting pot nor union of developed mononational states. The nations in Africa are diverse in development and size. What is good for Africa is to build union (federation) with autonomous national areas for all nations aka “ethnies”. Based on their size and development, some nations can forge mononational state like Oromia region. Others, which are too small to have their own state can forge multinational state like SNNP, with all nations having their own province, district or community as autonomous national areas based on their size. Relatively bigger nations like Sidama can have their own autonomous province, nations smaller like Alaba can have autonomous district, and the smallest nations like Dorze can have their own autonomous community. Based on their geographical position, certain small nations like Agaw and Harari can join the bigger neighbor nations like Amhara or Oromia, but have their own autonomy, be it as province, district or community. Such five tier organization (African federation — mono-/multinational states — mono-/multinational provinces — mono-/multinational districts and mono-/multinational communities) is the best way of administrative arrangement for Africa.
In Short, ODP’s Ethiopia model can be used as a prototype for African future federation, just changing the current ethnic federation’s fake status under TPLF to a very genuine one, for which ODF, ODP and OFC are struggling. Then, we will have not only an integrated Ethiopian union, but also an integrated continent Africa, which will be build on the center called Oromia with Finfinne as a capital. Oromia will be a sovereign state in United States of Africa, so can be Amharaland, Tigrai and other nation-states. The only question we people need to ask ourselves is that, at which administrative level are we thinking, talking and walking when we try to deal with politics? If we are ready to accept and think at level of the above five tiers, then we can look at the fact that ethnic federalism or language-based federalism, rather than geography-based federalism, is a panacea for regional union of Ethiopia and continental integration of Africa.
In respect to the development in this direction, thanks to CUD and OLF, formation of AFD was the first nightmare TPLF ever experienced. The formation of similar alliance at home (Medrek) by the OFC and UDJ with parties of other nations was the second nightmare. But if and only if parties like the UDJ would accept and respect ethnic federation, then the move of Negasso Gidada to join UDJ instead of OFC was not disappointing for the Oromo. Otherwise, ODP’s vision is a better hope in comparison to TPLF’s fake federation, but not the best hope; PAFD definitely will be the best hope for the nations in the empire. Having Ethiopian union of nations as envisioned by ODP, OFC and ODF is really good, whereas PAFD fortunately will have the same result based on referendum by the concerned public. PAFD’s action will lead to the lasting result and the end-goal (regional union of nations per referendum), owhereas that of ODP is only temporary and leads us only to a mid-goal of nations in Ethiop, i.e to union of nations per consensus of the involved parties without taking into consideration the will of the concerned public.
The fulfillment of the above mentioned hope is because of the fact that both ODP and PAFD are on the same middle line (in the political spectrum of the empire) trying to establish union of peoples, on the contrary to the ultra-left liberation fronts needing to achieve only unconditional national independence without a possible union and the ultra-right political parties striving for unconditional integration in form of assimilating all nations in to Amharinya speakers. Also ODF is sending a shocking wave to TPLF circle. According to its leaders, even AG7 is pursuing to achieve the goal of a union of nations per public verdict in the future union per referendum. If this is true, then ODF cooperating with AG7 and forming an alliance called Ethiopian National Movement (ENM) is almost the same to supporting PAFD. The only difference is that ODF wants to get freedom from TPLF fascists peacefully, whereas PAFD tries all-inclusive method. Then, the future political move in Ethiopia will be from the status quo (position of TPLF with its fake ethnic federation), first to position of ODP forging true ethnic federation (self-administration) and then to position of PAFD to realize the right of nations to self-determination!
According to the recent interview given by leaders of the different Oromo liberation fronts, their organizations are moving towards a united front, then further together to revive AFD (PAFD + ENM), the alliance with democratic forces and freedom fighters of other nations. This will be a very good move to strengthen the struggle against fascist TPLF. I hope this alliance in Diaspora will be reactivated soon and will galvanize the struggle for freedom and democracy at home being cooperated and coordinated with the struggle of ODP ans Medrek.
As far as other African multinational states formed by colonial powers are concerned, they should learn from ODP’s Ethiopia two things: firstly, they need to accept and respect the God-given right of their nations and nationalities in order to help them have self-administration and self-determination, so that they can use and develop their own respective national languages instead of still worshiping colonial languages. Secondly, they need to foster ethnic federation with different administrative levels of five tiers as described above to promote cultural, economic and political autonomy of all nations and nationalities in Africa, which will be democratic bases for the future United State of Africa, the continent being free from negative influence of both the hitherto colonial borders and colonial languages.