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THE OLF CONTROVERSY: VETERAN OLF HARDLINER IBSA GUTEMA BACKS DAOUD IBSA AGAINST “MODERATE” OROMOS

May 22, 2011

Ibsa Gutema is no novice to hate politics. Back then in the 1960s he did write a poem called “Manew Ethiopiawi” (who is the Ethiopian) that was positive and far from the hatred and poisoned words that characterize him these days. A critic puts the mentioned poem as “a caustic critique, in one sense, of ethnicism, which the system used for its divide-and-rule scheme.” Ibsa does not want to be reminded of that time. As one of the founding members of the Oromo Liberation Front he has always been on the far side of the political spectrum, attacking the “ Habeshas”, claiming the non existence of a country called Ethiopia, denying the Oromo people have ever been Ethiopians. While most of the OLF leaders worked with and for the Mengistu regime (which was of course Ethiopian!)—forgetting their “we are not Ethiopian” position– the alliance did not last long. Both Daoud Ibsa (the present OLF chairman and Ibsa Gutema landed in prison along with the revolutionaries they had helped suppress in the service of the ruthless colonel Mengistu.

When the TPLF took over power, Ibsa and his friends again forgot their political program and joined Meles Zenawi in a programmed transition that assured Meles full control of the process. It was none other than Lencho Letta (the then strongman of the OLF) who raised his hand in the conference to support that the TPLF (Tigrean) army become the army of the transitional government in Ethiopia. Ibsa Gutema became the minister of education of the Meles government and is one of those responsible for the mess that the Ethiopian educational system finds itself in. Ibsa played a prominent role in the abandonment of the Geez Alphabet and the adoption of the so called Quubi and he is so blinded by his hatred for things Ethiopian that (as you can red in the following article) he writes even Amharic words like Neftegna and Teklai Gizat in his Qubbi at the risk of being misunderstood by many. Ibsa Gutema, from his exile in New York, also penned a forgotten book that argued that Oromos would have been better off had they been colonized by Italians (Ibsa never met Eritreans who lived under Italian rule!). When the TPLF turned against the OLF Ibsa Gutema and other OLF leaders were given an exit visa by Meles and sent packing into exile at the same time as thousands of their members and supporters went to the prisons and labor camps. The first in Ethiopian history!

It is no secret that despite massacres of Amharas (from Assossa to Beddeno), the OLF has not achieved its separatist objectives and does not also enjoy the support of most Oromos. Its secessionist and extremist position do not sit well with most Oromos who want a democratic deal within the Ethiopian polity. This has led to several splits within the organization. Gaalaasa Dilbo was the first one to split. The old guard (Lencho, Dimmaa, etc) were laid to pasture. Daoud Ibsa flirted with working with Ethiopian organizations for a while (early 90s and in the AFD flop) but failed to engage seriously with others. Presently, there are at least two prominent OLF factions—one led by Daoud Ibsa and the other by General Kemal Gelchu and Hassan (Daoud’s previous right hand man and secretary at the Utrecht meeting which formed the ill fated AFD). Attempts to bring various OLF factions together have failed and this could perhaps be because some of the elders are the likes of the hardliner Ibsa Guteam. Recent reports indicate that attempts by Ethiopian opposition delegations that are in or have gone to Asmara to engage the Daoud faction in a positive unified struggle have failed despite Shabiya call on Daoud to opt for this path. Is Shabiya serious? Can Daoud say no to Isayas if the latter puts real pressure on him? Isn’t Shabiya itself behind the attempt to marginalize genuine Ethiopian organizations that it considers “nationalist” and “independent”? Valid questions to pursue.

Recently, the two factions of the OLF met in Boston (USA) to work out their differences under the chairmanship of Ibsa Gutema. They failed. Ibsa walked out in anger and wrote the article below in anger and backing the hardliner Daoud faction. We post his article here to show that

(1) Those who claimed the factions have reconciled were spreading false information

(2) those who claim that they, in their wisdom, have pulled the Daoud OLF unto Ethiopian rails, are spreading falsehood, and

(3) the ongoing unnecessary argument and squabble over whether the Daoud OLF should be embraced or not is irrelevant and a smoke screen by those who do not want us to focus on the real and vital question of uniting pan Ethiopian forces.

The reality that we observe indicates that the claims made and the assertions propagated by certain circles be it on the mellowing of the Daoud OLF or the reconciliation of the OLF factions are baseless. This said it is important for Ethiopians to observe that the reported preparation by Americans for an eventuality (both Meles and the Americans estimate that an uprising in Ethiopia is inevitable) of replacing Meles with another Tigrean general in this case Tsadkan Gebre Tensai. With the dim witted Seye Abrha duped and sent o Harvard for a year Tsadkan will face little competition to win over the loyalty of the Tigrean (TPLF) army. In such an eventuality, the OLF of Daoud Ibsa will once again abandon its “ we are not Ethiopians “ or “the Empire has to be dismantled” stances and rush to Addis to take part in a power sharing Made in America 1991 type fiasco. And Ibsa, old as he is, may go for another ministerial position.

Can we leave all this diversion and irrelevancy aside and focus on forging the cooperation of real and genuine Ethiopian forces?

Here below is Ibsa Gutema’s article presenting the real stand of the Daoud Ibsa OLF. (Click the following link and read his article)

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8 Comments
  1. Mr/miss blogger,
    your “article”, do i say article, it is conflicting each other.
    1.when you say OLF, you don’t know what OLF stands for.
    2.when you mention the name of Ibsaa Guutama, Dawud Ibsaa and G.Kamaal Galchuu, you don’t have any idea even clue about this people.
    i can’t find any relevant information, what you wrote is just a piece of trash!

  2. Gaachana Lola permalink

    Those who learn to lie always write about the reality that they fear will happen.
    Hey, you think you are moderate thinker, unifier,true Ethiopian….
    Why you cry because the Oromo children has started learning by thier language? By the way if you believe that the Ethiopian education system gets messed when the children of the majorities learn by thier language,why don’t you declare Amahara Indendence and teach pure Amaharic to your people without any mess? Which Oromo Party You think can work people of hell minded like you who has tried to hunt and abolish few and prominat Oromo elliets. For some innocent people it may seems that your aim is to bring diffrent nationalities together and build a strong nation; but your hidden ego tells that hate and revenge is buring from deep inside you to your head; to live in fake Ethiopia without understanding and solving the core problems; for an advantage, which has long known that instead of due respect and mutual considerations, just only for the sky-rocketing needs of its land’s resource. Your common thought: Galla, Falashaa, Walaamoo, Shanqilla… to geniune groups of people in one Empire has dug deep cave you will be buried in soon.
    You telling my people who forgave those who masacred 5 million men and women, who lined up and amputated Mother’s breasts, seniors genitalias, raped kids in front of thier parents,as Oromos took revange against Amaharas at Asosa and Baddanno. Idiot!

    Its not any group or indiviual, its you and who has same thinking; push to fructure Ethiopia.
    Don’t call our prominant people’s name on the wake of your night mare. Galaasa, Ibsa, Lencho, Dawud, Gemmachuu, Hassan,… any body who speaks for real causes are respected by Oromos not by anti- Oromos.

  3. Burqaa permalink

    Your pathetic screed is nothing more than the usual Abyssinian canards about the subject peoples of the Empire and their leaderships. You did not have even a semblance of facts when you scribbled this contemptible drivel. Ibsaa Guutama did not chair any meetings in Boston nor in Washington. He is a prolific writer and thinker on issues relevant to the Oromo nation and the Empire. Do not make-up stories that never took place.

    Oromos just like any society that engaged in resistance do have occasionally differences and this often leads to bickering and divergent views of the struggle against the Abyssinian colonialists! Oromos can sustain/support more than one OLF. Even our traditional Gaddaa assemblies have five parties of different views and ethos about Oromo culture and cosmology! Those differences of perceptions did not hinder the openness of our culture and kindness of our people and your Abyssinian settlers will testify to the generosity of our people and the tolerant spirit we’ve bestowed upon them when they settled among us, on our lands!

    You alluded to the Massacre of the Amharas by the OLF? You must be a Wayannee in disguise, pretending to be an Amhara? Everyone within the Ethiopian political movement knows for a fact that the OPDO and the Wayannee army under Siye Abraha committed the gruesome acts to smear and tarnish OLF so that it will lose the support of the vast majority of the Empire’s populace! It never lost the support of the Oromo nation and even those OPDO guys are, as someone recently joked, “they are closet OLFers!… so much for the nefarious Wayannee deeds!

    That said, your wicked stance to delegitimize Oromo leaders by spreading libel statements will not work! It may give you temporary gratification but will not redress the intractable political conundrum confronting the Empire/ Horn of Africa!

  4. Lemma Dagne permalink

    Wow! the OLF cabal is screaming.Nothing new but the same old vile shout against Ethiopia, Amhara and the sad dream of an independent oromia. Look at Eritrea. what independence! they are in a pile of mess not to say s….t. you want that? You are pathetic. wake up and leave the 18th century and learn times have changed.Oromos are Ethiopians except for a few disgruntled petty bourgeois missionary and foreign duped elements from one particular area.

  5. boona permalink

    This is the first time that I visited your web page and I am an avid reader of Ethiopian politics.

    That should show you how “relevant” your organization is to Oromo politics in particular and Ethiopia in general. We have also known the stance of EPRP from the get go about Oromos and Oromo politics. You have no idea how far we have come. We had been in the fore front when you guys declared war on Oromos in the early years and we have grown by bounds while you have been diminished to owning few apartments in the name of your organization in the west. That should bother you a lot.

    For your information, we are moving. Our struggle is catching fire with a new generation of Oromos and the fire will consume your policies in Oromia. Past and present day Ethiopia has provided a just cause that no one can refute. Where on earth have you seen such a large single Ethnic group in a country being subjected to a second class citizenship and live in peace.

    Ibsa’s position rings a strong sentiment in the Oromo youth than what you think.

  6. Demissie Hailu permalink

    Boona, if you represent the Oromo youth than May God have mercy on the Oromo people!

  7. Qabsawaataa yoo walin galluu dhadhabanii Qabsoo ummata oromoo hangaa bilisumaa ittifufaa seenaa Umataa oromoo harrefamaa , oromian kan oromoo nitatii !!!!

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