THE PROTEST OF MACAA TUULAMAA ASSOCIATION AGAINST AN ATTEMPT TO UPROOT OROMOS FROM THEIR ANCESTRAL LAND FINFINNE

In the past, in Ethiopia, it was the conquest of Minilik, which gave power over our ancestral homeland, Finfinne to the conquerors thus enabling them to populate the territory with settlers from their own ethnic group. The wrongfully implanted settlers became masters on the land of the indigenous Oromo people they have evicted by brutal force.

By the adoption of the new FDRE Constitution, it was the expectation of all those who have been victimized that the past historical wrongs would be rectified by redressing those people who have been wronged. The FDRE Constitution provides that the right of nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia to self-determination is the foundation stone of the constitution.

Article 49(5) of this Constitution provides that "The special interest of the State of Oromia in Addis Ababa, regarding the provision of social services or the utilization of natural resources and other similar matters, as well as joint administrative matters arising from the location of Addis Ababa within the State of Oromia, shall be respected.

The special interest of Oromia first and foremost has to do with its historical homeland and existence as a people with a separate ethnic identify. It is our interest to preserve, maintain and strengthen our distinctive cultural, linguistic characteristics and separate ethnic identity of the significant number of Oromo people living in Addis Ababa. Even if we rely on the census officially acknowledged by the government, more than 19 percent of the population of Addis Ababa is significant enough to justify special representation, as it is the second largest ethnic group. It is our legitimate right to take part in the administration of the City Government, and use our language in Finfinne.

On the basis of this Constitution, as one of the nations of this country, it is our legitimate right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct people on our historical homeland and territory. Besides, Article 1(1) of the International Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Provides that "[A] all people have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".

Ethiopia is a party to this Convention which under Article 27(1) also provides that" In those State in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community which the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language."

Regarding the status of Finfinne, as soon as the question of changing of the seat of Government of Oromia from Finfinne to Adama was raised, the Maccaa Tuulamaa Association, an Association established to defend Oromo interests, was at the forefront in vehemently opposing the very idea and this position has been made known to all appropriate bodies. Since then the Association has consistently and fearlessly be expressing its concern to the concerned authorities that chose to ignore our concern. This Association believes that Finfinne is Oromo homeland; it had historically been part and parcel of Oromo homeland and this has to be preserved. Once again, we want to express our disapproval of the attempt by any force to separate Finfinne from Oromia in any form. The current attempt that is underway to compulsorily remove Oromia Government Offices from Finfinne constitutes a clear violation of Oromo peoples right to self-determination. Oromos are entitled to have their national institutions or establishments that represent them in Finfinne, the heartland of Oromia. Any attempt, which aims at removing Oromo Government and any of its national institutions, has the intent of detaching Oromo and Oromia from Finfinne.

We consider the move as an evil design being carried out by the enemies of Oromo people to uproot us from our homeland. How much it may disguised, whatever the pretext may be, the decision to forcibly remove Oromo Institutions and Offices from Finfinne is a move that brings under direct attack the very existence of Oromo people, with our distinctive cultural and linguistic characteristics. The removal under the disguised name of transfer of Capital is being done under duress since it being carried out against the manifested protest of those who work in the several offices of Oromia Government. It is a violence aimed at the continued existence of Oromo identity. In short, it is intended to destroy our separate identity in Finfinne.

As Oromos, we deserve that right to be placed at the forefront in being the beneficiaries of the services being offered to people living in Finfinne as we have made contribution of a great magnitude to the development of Finfinne in all forms. In effect, this move deprives us of this benefit that we are entitled to get from Finfinne and in so doing undermines the special interest of Oromia, which has been provided in the FDRE constitutions.

The move is designed to alter by way of demographic manipulation the population balance in Finfinne against the indigenous Oromos and in favor of the settlers. The transfer of such a huge number of people from a single ethnic group is nothing but an ethnic cleansing.

Hence, the Macaa Tuulamaa Association, having carefully and seriously considered the whole exercise, has come to the conclusion that the move, what ever the pretext may be, in effect constitutes an ethnic cleansing. Consequently, as a result of this move, the intent to destroy, the Oromo ethnic group from Finfinne, in whole or in part, from its historical homeland, is going to be achieved. That is why this Association thinks the move is a premeditated criminal operation that is designed to bring about the physical removal of Oromos from Finfinne, what ever the pretext may be.

Even though the Macaa Tuulamaa Association has made its appeal to the concerned Federal authorities, the concerned authorities have chosen to disregard our plea. Evidently, this shows that the Federal Government is well aware of what is going on. Having considered the move as a violation of the FDRE Constitution on the part of the State of Oromia, which endangers the constitutional order as, provided under Article 62(9) of the Constitution, the Association has appealed to the House of the Federation. In its acquiescence, a this House and the concerned Federal Government seems to accept the validation of the domination of the wrongfully implanted settlers over the forcibly evicted and subjugated Oromo people.

Therefore, we protest against this move because:
It has the aim and effect of destroying our separate existence as a distinct people with our cultural values and ethnic identity. We have legitimate right not be forcibly removed from any part of our ancestral lands. The move is designed uproot us from our ancestral lands by forcible removal of a huge number of Oromo people. This is in violation of our right to our ancestral land; it is a violation of our right to live in freedom, peace and security as a distinct people in Oromo territory.

The move has the aim and effect of intentionally altering the demographic composition of Finfinne in order to enhance the security of the settlers and consolidate their control over the indigenous Oromos. In the name of the Oromo people, what this Association wants to bring to the attention of the international community, international organizations (both governmental and non-governmental), to members of the diplomatic communities residing here in Finfinne, and to all freedom-loving people of the world is that we are exposed to the danger of being wiped out from our ancestral land, Finfinne. As a people with distinct identity, we have become defenseless and insecure. The Government of Oromia has betrayed the entire Oromo people in general and the significant number of Oromo people living in Finfinne by relinquishing the right of Oromo people to their homeland. The Government of Oromia does not have the mandate to give up Oromo people and Oromo homeland in such a dubious way.

Ultimately, under such circumstances, we have been forced to appeal to the international community, all diplomatic communities in Ethiopia and all international and regional organizations (Governmental and non-governmental), which have their offices in Addis Ababa to be aware of the appeal of our people and make all the necessary attempt to dissuade the Ethiopian Government from the move it is taking. We call upon all those who can help our people by way of advising the Government of Ethiopia against forcibly uprooting us from Finfinne, which is our ancestral homeland.

As a final point, the Macaa Tuulamaa Association, in the name of Oromo people once more wants to advise those who attempt to uproot us from our ancestral lands what ever their pretext may be, to reconsider their action. We demand the concerned authorities to withdraw their move. If the act of uprooting Oromos from Finfinne does not stop immediately, the Oromo people will have no other option but to make use of any possible means to regain their ancestral land, which they are giving up against their will.

We wish success to the struggle of all nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, who fight for the preservation, development and defense of their distinct ethnic identities.