Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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SHIMELLIS Hailu, Wollo University, Ethiopia

The first organized Oromo nationalism in modern times was begun by the Mecca-Tulama self-help association around 1960s. At this time, the Oromo political question had a single centre and its end goal is accommodative self-determination. By the 1970s, however, following the dismantlement of the Mecca-Tulama self-help association and the imprisonment of its architects, political party formation gradually began in Oromia in particular and Ethiopia at large. The first Oromo based political party with a colonial thesis was the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Then, during the Derg regime, the political parties, political groups and scholars concerned with the Oromo cause divided into two perspectives. Some Oromo organized under the All Ethiopian Socialism Movement, which largely advocated the national oppression thesis, while others organized under OLF, which at the time advanced the colonial thesis. These debates between the two perspectives – the colonial and the national oppression theses – continued, though the colonial thesis began to fade at the end of 1990s. To verify this, the researcher drawn an analytical approach and secondary data sources. Based on the evidence, it can be concluded that labeling the Oromo’s political history in Ethiopia as colonialism and proposing secession as a panacea for Oromo nationalism, is a myth born out of political grievance or a political game to hijack Oromo causes. The existing reality is accommodative nation building. The real solution for Oromo nationalism is to re-establish the Ethiopian polity in which all nations, nationalities and peoples share equal political, economic and social equality. The colonial thesis with its solution of Oromo secession is theoretically premature and practically inapplicable