Statement by the Union of Oromo Gadaa Councils on Current Affairs in Oromia
Issued following the conclusion of a three day extraordinary assembly held from 24- 26 August 2016 by Abba Gaddas representing all Oromia provinces
Place: Sodere Resort Hotel
We, Oromo Gadaa elders, have been working with the government and the community to solve the societal, economic and political predicaments facing the Oromo nation. Yet, none of the recommendations we presented to the government – particularly on issues that have caused lack of stability in the country- has been implemented. The government’s decision to violently suppress legitimate questions raised in peaceful rallies instead of dealing with them calmly and in accordance with the law has failed to solve the problem. Persecutions, killings and imprisonments as a result of this are worsening, even on mere suspects whose involvements in protest activities have not been established. In the light of this, and while having regard to our earlier recommendations, we have issued the following 13-point resolution.
- The people of Oromia- regardless of zones, districts or localities we hail from or our religious & political differences- will stand in unity under the umbrella of The Gadaa and uphold our customs, values and traditions.
- The national defense army that should be guarding the outside borders of the country has, in clear contravention of the constitution, entered into the territory of our regional state and stationed in different parts of Oromia. The army’s inability to communicate in the local vernacular and lack of awareness of the customs, culture and traditions has created a huge problem for the people. We would like to state our position that we should be able to resolve any problems within Oromia in line with the principles and structures of the Gadaa constituting the Abbaa Duulaa (a military commander with the highest authority), Kuusaa, dabballe and foollee. We would also like to call on the federal government to withdraw its army from the territory of Oromia.
- We demand that the government immediately release innocent people unlawfully held in prisons
- To Oromo agents of the government who collaborate/collaborated in killings, betray/betrayed and bore/bear false witness on your own people, we plead with you in the name of the noble people of Oromia to turn from your immoral ways, to plead for forgiveness and to stand with our people from now onwards. If you refuse and continue to stand on the wrong side of history, you will be held responsible for infringement of the moral and ethical order laid down in the Gadaa rules of governance.
- We request that the government return the Oromo who have been displaced from areas surrounding Finfinnee back to their land and dwellings.
- We demand for the ban on Lake Finfinne as a gathering point for Irreecha (thanksgiving) celebrations to be lifted and for our right to celebrate at this location be respected. We would also like to inform the authorities of the intentions of the Gadaa elders and people of Oromia to celebrate the upcoming Irreecha on the 24th of September 2016 at Lake Finfinne and request for this to be confirmed by the government.
- We request that the evictions of our farmers from their ancestral lands with the pretext of investments and city master plans be ceased.
- To keep rising levels of unemployment in Oromia, regional towns and Finfinnee in check, we request that the government provide the necessary support to college & university graduates struggling to make a living and create better opportunities for them.
- We –the people of Oromia- would like to live in harmony with other nations and nationalities in the country. However, encroachments on our borders are giving rise to skirmishes between our people and other nations and nationalities. We, therefore, call on the government to look into this matter and rectify the problems.
- We urge members of the Oromo public to strengthen and take a keen interest in the Gadaa system of governance, which plays a crucial role in terms of dealing with societal challenges in a peaceful and orderly manner, preserving and helping flourish the cultures and values of the Oromo as well as ensuring the society’s resource ownership.
- The Gadaa system has its own unique badge: Black, Red and White. We urge the people of Oromia and other Irreecha festival participants not to bring flags representing any political organization in future celebrations other than the Black, Red and White badge.
- We request that Afaan Oromo become a federal working language.