Today: July 23, 2024

CECA Condemns OFC’s Unlawful Incitement of People-on-People Violence Against the Amhara

July 8, 2024

Press Release: July 3, 2024

The Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), established a decade and a half ago as an ethnic-regional party committed to Ethiopian democratic unity, has recently morphed into an advocate of murderous ethnic supremacy. Its leaders (including Dr. Merera Gudina, Mr. Jawar Mohammed, and Mr. Bekele Gerba) have, at various venues and forms over the past two years, promoted people-on-people violence, especially against the beleaguered Amhara residents of the Oromia Regional State.

We categorically reject OFC’s recent conversion into an Oromo supremacist political party championing collective punishment for what it considers are second-class citizens of the so-called Oromia. In so doing, it has abandoned humanity and Ethiopian unity by joining the likes of the OLF and other Oromo extremist groups who support the total capture of the state, territorial expansion, annexation of Addis Ababa, demonizing of the Amhara as “neftegna” colonizers and settlers, peddling a self-pitying narrative of manufactured victimhood, and flirting with secession if political domination fails.

The strident calls it has been issuing to the Oromo people to arm themselves against the Abiy Ahmed government seeking a power-sharing concession and to prepare for inter-communal violence to root out what it considers the enemy within (all non-Oromo residents) is a dangerous prelude to an ethnic pogrom. This is what the world witnessed in Yugoslavia, Myanmar, and Rwanda.

Consider this excerpt from OFC’s press release of December 8, 2022:
Arising from the neighboring region also, the infamous paramilitary group known as Amhara Fano (better known for the heinous crime it committed during the war in Tigray, 2020-2022) and Amhara regional militias clandestinely armed and organized by multiple Amhara stakeholders in parts of Oromia are encroaching into Oromia territories… They were seen abusing dead bodies of Oromo young men in ways that is (sic) outrageous and contrary to normal human behavior and the culture (sic) norms of our society.

These assertions are pure fabrications. The Amhara Fano, as a movement, did not exist until the Summer of 2023. The special policy and the militia of the Amhara Regional State did not enter Tigray proper, limiting themselves to Wolqait and Raya. The claims of Fano’s presence in Oromia is a baseless attempt to divert attention from the well-documented atrocities on Amhara farmers in Oromia, which OFC blatantly never mentions despite credible reports by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council and Human Rights Watch.

OFC has been relentlessly campaigning for the liquidation of the Fano (whom it has long labeled ፅንፈኛ) and the Amhara paramilitary forces. In early 2023, it urged the federal government to disarm the Amhara unilaterally, portraying it as a threat to Oromia and the federal government. The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) heeded OFC’s advice for Amhara demobilization in the summer of 2023, which triggered the ongoing civil war.

The OFC has now defamed Fano fighters, without evidence, for the attack on a wedding party in Nono, western Shewa. The party makes several unsubstantiated claims in a press release issued on June 25, 2024 (available on its Facebook page). It also issues a chilling call to arms to cleanse the Amhara of Oromia:
እነዚህ ፅንፈኛ ታጣቂዎች በተለያዩ ጊዜ በወለጋ የተለያዩ ዞኖችና ወረዳዎች ነዋሪዎች ላይ ተመሳሳይ ጥቃቶችን ሊያደርሱ እንደነበሩና እንደዚያም እንዲያደርጉ የልብ ልብ የሰጣቸው ደግሞ በሰሜኑ ጦርነት ወቅት እስክ አፍንጫቸው የታጠቁት የጦር መሳሪያና ያገኙት ሎጂስቲክስ እገዛ እንደሆነ ይታወቃል … በኦሮሚያ ክልል ውስጥ ተጠቁ በሚል ትርክት መታጠቅ እንዳለባቸው በሚል ሰበብ ባለፉት አመታት በመንግስት ከፍተኛ ባላስልጣናት ጭምር መታጠቅ እንዳለባቸው ሲነገር መቆየቱም ይታወቃል … በኦሮሚያ ክልል የአማራ ተወላጆችም በስሙ ተደራጅተው ንጹኃን ላይ ጥቃት የሚያደርስ ፅንፈኛ መሸሸጊያ እንዳይሆን አጥብቀን እንመክራለን።

OFC boldly states here that (1) extremist Fano fighters have been committing widespread attacks on the Oromo; (2) they built up their worrisome fighting capability with the help of the federal and regional governments during the civil war in Tigray; (3) they benefitted from calls to arms by the Amhara residents of Oromia based on the false narrative that the Amhara are victims of ethnically motivated violence; and (4) we strongly warn Amhara residents of Oromia not to give refuge to Fano murderers.

We do appreciate OFC’s relentless defense of Oromo civilians being victims of state-organized terrorism. And yet, its selective indignation, a complete denial of the Amhara plight, and implied support for the federal and OLA attacks on the Amhara deserve the condemnation by all Ethiopians committed to justice and unity.

CECA regretfully concludes that the OFC has degenerated into an instrument of political violence that goes against democratic principles, advances an exclusionary political agenda that undermines Ethiopian unity, and issues vitriolic statements that do not represent Oromo sentiment. Because of its aggressive ethnocentrism, it can no longer be a credible partner in an Ethiopia-wide political transition to a citizen-based democratic constitutional order. Thank you.

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