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CAN DEMOCRATIC PLURALISM DELIVER A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION TO A

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CAN DEMOCRATIC PLURALISM DELIVER A COMPREHENSIVE SOLUTION TO A

    Proceedings of the 2007 Oromo Studies Association

    Annual Conference

    Held at

    The University of Minnesota Coffman Memorial Union

    Great Hall

    on

    July 28-29, 2007

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Edited by Abebe Adugna, Ph.D

    OSA Vice President

    July 2008

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    Table of Content

1. Editor‘s Note ................................................................................... 4

    2. Keynote Speech I ............................................................................. 5

    By Dirribi Demissie Bokku, Matcha-Tullama President ....................................5

    (Read out by OSA President) ............................................................................5 3. Keynote Speech II .......................................................................... 12

    By Zegeye Asfaw Abdi ................................................................................... 12 4. Human Rights Violations by the Ethiopian Government: The Inquiry

    Commission Report ....................................................................... 16

    y Frehiwot Samuel ....................................................................................... 16 B

    st5. Applying Gada Principles in Constructing the State in the 21

    Century Oromia ............................................................................. 24

    By Asafa Jalata, The University of Tennessee Knoxville .............................. 24

    6. Can Democracy Deliver A Comprehensive Solution to A Multi-

    Nation Ethiopia? ............................................................................ 41

    By Alemayehu Biru (Ph.D), Berlin, Germany ................................................. 41 7. The Challenge of Establishing Democratic Governance for

    Development in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa: The Critical Role

    of the Oromo in the Development of Ethiopia ................................ 52

    By Sisay Asefa, Professor, Western Michigan University................................ 52 8. Some of the Challenges and Solutions for Oromo‘s Self-stDetermination in the 21 Century .................................................. 57

    By Daba S. Gedafa, Ph.D. Candidate, Kansas State University ....................... 57 9. Deforestation is Putting Fresh Water Resources at Risk in Oromia 67

    By Tolessa Deksissa, University of the District of Columbia, and Bula Atomssa,

    Metropolitan State University ......................................................................... 67 10. A Grassroots Oromo Organization: Activities of the Saphalo

    Foundation in Kenya ...................................................................... 72

    By Berdri Kabira Mohammed ......................................................................... 72 11. Comparison Of Oromo‘s Gada System With Maasai‘s Age-Set

    System ........................................................................................... 77

    By Daba S. Gedafa, Ph.D. Candidate, Kansas State University ....................... 77 12. Hugo Chavez: The Bolivarian Revolution...................................... 92

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    By Beka Jalata, University of Tennessee ......................................................... 92 13. Oromo Heroes and Heroines .......................................................... 97

    By Kulani Jalata .............................................................................................. 97 14. The Pen is Mightier than the Sword: The Role of Waldhaansso and

    Ejerssa Journals in Promoting and Propagating Oromo Struggle in

    North America ............................................................................. 100

    By Jimma D. Tufa ......................................................................................... 100

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    Editor’s Note

     stThis publication contains the 21 Annual Conference Proceedings of the Oromo

    Studies Association, held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 28-29, 2007.

    As has been OSA‘s tradition for the last twenty years, I am honoured to follow in footsteps of many before me to present to you, as the Vice President of OSA, a collection of papers and essays discussed during the two-day conference.

    The theme of 2007 Annual Conference was "Challenges and Opportunities for Oromo Quest for Self Determination in the 21st Century". It was rich and diverse in its coverage: it included issues ranging from human rights and democracy in the Horn of stAfrica, to challenges and opportunities for Oromo self-determination in the 21 century,

    to education and health in Oromia, to Oromo entrepreneurship and business opportunities, to women empowerment, to Oromo music and culture. It was also marked by a higher than usual participation of the Oromo youth in the discussion of these issues, thereby injecting a lot of fresh ideas and perspectives into the discussions.

Notwithstanding the rich discussions, this edition presents only some not all--of the

    papers discussed at the conference. Following past tradition, I made a request to all conference participants to send in their full paper for publication by May 31, 2007. Included in this edition are thus only those papers, which were submitted at this due date.

    The papers are presented to you in the order in which they were discussed at the conference. Please note that the last paper by Jimma D. Tufa was presented and discussed during the 2006 OSA Annual Conferencea carry-over from the previous

    year that nonetheless contains useful insights on the useful role that two previous Oromo journals played in the Oromo struggle.

    You will note that this is a new presentation format as well. OSA is publishing, for the first time, its proceedings on a CD-ROM. The rationale for this has to do both with the desire to reduce the financial costs associated with such publications as well as to make it easier for our members to file and store the useful data, research, and analysis contained in these proceedings. I would like to thank Dr Mesfin Abdi for providing the technical support needed to publish it on a CD-ROM.

    Finally, just as the human soul animates the human body, so too the pursuit of knowledge and advancement nourishes the soul of a nation and defines its status. For the past twenty years, OSA has been in the forefront not only of researching and understanding the soul of the Oromo people, but also of assessing its status as a nation. The papers in this edition, modest as they may be in terms of quality and coverage, can nevertheless be seen as a continuum in that worthy effort.

Abebe Adugna, Ph.D.

    Vice President, 2008

    Oromo Studies Association

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    Keynote Speech I

    By Dirribi Demissie Bokku, Matcha-Tullama President

    (Read out by OSA President)

I would like to join fellow speakers in congratulating OSA for organizing its 21‖

    Conference. Above all I wish to congratulate those dedicated officers of OSA who worked to promote the goals of OSA in general. I am grateful to OSA‘s current

    president Dr.Gobena Huluka and all Executive Committee Members for their concern and timely invitation as a keynote speaker. I remain grateful for your understanding the work of Matcha and Tulama Association (M.T.A) and its current executive committee leadership. The current M.T.A. leadership tried its level best to carry on the struggle initiated by Oromo heroes like the late Haile Mariam Gammada who was a foresighted and talented organizer of the Oromo people. I am honored to make a keynote speech on stthe 21 Annual Conference of OSA about the history of M.T.A., self-help Association, and the role of NGOs in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, I couldn‘t

    participated in this conference representing M.T.A. because of the rejection of my request for entry visa at USA embassy. Before I say a few words abut history of M.T.A. and its future plan, I would like to state the historical conditions that led to the creation of Matcha-Tulama, Oromo Nation eldest self-help Association.

    By mare geographical coincidence, Oromos are close neighbors of the birth places of the three Semitic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). These religions have been competing to get more followers using all means including brutal military aggression. The brunt of the problem fell on the Oromo people and hindered their political, economic and cultural development for more than 500 years. Typical example is the Abyssinian king Zerayakob (1434-1468) who killed four of his sons and three daughters who refused to accept Christianity (T. Mekuria 1951:158). The Semitic

    ideologies forced the Oromo people to reject its Gada democratic system of administration and imposed the Solomonic dynastic rule. They also forced the Oromo (Cushitic) people to reject their traditional religion Waaqeffanna and imposed Christianity on them. The Oromo people resisted the imposition of political, economic and religious system of Semitics by organizing themselves under the famous Gada thorganizational leadership. Of the 16 century‘s Oromo resistance, Gada Michelle‘s

    (1554-1562) is worth mentioning what they did at Dego against Christian army that were supported by Portuguese artillery and at Azalo against Muslims army which were thsupported by Turkish Musketter (Bahire, Getachew Haile, 1997 E.C., 82). In the 19

    century, after European interference, Oromia was conquered and our political leaders (Hayyus), our religious leaders (Ayyantus) were systematically hunted and killed. Oromo‘s invaluable historical, cultural and religious knowledge‘s were also destroyed.

    The young and strong men and women were sold as slaves. Historical and religious artifacts of Oromo origin such as Chaachu, Kaallacha, Challe, and Bokku were destroyed by Semitics religion leaders. They changed names of persons and places to Semitic names. After Oromos were colonized, the self- identity of individuals as being Oromo primarily remained on individual and group levels and any mention of Oromo national identity was forbidden. Oromos identity was targeted for destruction by the colonial administrative regions that were established to suppress the Oromo people and exploit their resources. As the result, Oromo relational identities have been localized, and not strongly connected to the collective identity of Oromumma. Oromos have been

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    separated from one another and prevented from exchanging ideas and information for

    more than a century.

    Gada ceremony at Chaffee under Odaa tree was outlawed. People were forbidden to go to Dirre Muuda or Ardaa Jilaa. Odaa tree of the Gada Assembly was cut down and military garrison were built on its site. They destroyed our Galma and Ardaa-Jilaa. Holy places were replaced by church and mosque (Qullabbil, Dirre Shek Husein). Thus,

    Oromo and Oromumma were systematically destroyed for a century. Ororno elites, who realized the deteriorating situation of Oromumma designed the way out of these difficulties. Hence, M.T.A was founded in 1962. Before the formation of M.T.A., there were two Edirs in Finffine (traditional association to help each other especially on burial ceremony). Tulama is the indigenous clan of Finfinne, while Matcha is indigenous of central and western Oromia. These two major Oromo clans were under one Gada administration under Odaa Nabe. In the good old days, they were competing to take slate power, until the Abyssinian regimes banned the Gada system and created suspicion and enmity between them. The designer of M.T.A. first merged these two Edirs and named it Matcha and Tulama Edir that advanced the formation of wide self-help association.

    Since it was impossible to be organized in the name of all Oromos, the founding fathers of M.T.A. started their organizing projects safely under the guise of reconciling and pacifying these two ―opponent‖ Oromo clans. Under this reconciling guise, they got

    permission to gather people at one place and teach Ororno history for a short while. They also advised other Ororno clans to be organized or to join M.T.A. with