Oh, ya ya…
Protesters during an historic Ethiopian Student Movement (ESM) of the 1970s chanted two popular slogans among others: መሬት ላራሹ ለላብ አፍሳሹ፤ ሃገሩ ለባለ ሃገሩ, i.e., land to the toiling tiller; politico-administrative rights over counties to their ancestral land owners (rough translations mine). Given the historical contexts, both slogans can now be said to had been pinned on some “nationalist cum nativist perspectives”. And, so what?
In fact, the historical slogans targeted to dismantle the two structural pillars on which Empire State of Ethiopia had been established during the fourth quarter of the 19th century: 1) The chisegna land tenure system (an extremely brutal system of land administration worse even than slavery) in which the neftegnas (armed and settled soldiers with no salary from the imperial govt) were allowed to brutally exploit indigenous peoples living on their ancestral lands to depend, for all economic demands, on officially assigned cohort of serfs in what’s today southern Ethiopia — including Oromia. 2) A sedimented settler colonial system of societal power structure constructed within some of the military garrison towns, like the empire’s capital Finfinne, whose legacy still lingers to this date among some urban settler sentimentalists.
What’s more, the first slogan “መሬት ላራሹ” (land to the tiller) has been, more or less, addressed by Derg’s an historic proclamation of February 1975 — an historic for Ethiopia’s Southern Hemisphere at the very least. However, the other slogan of the era of the student movement “ሃገሩ ለባለ ሃገሩ” — a slogan that underpins some of the universalist concepts like peoples’ rights not to be forcibly uprooted from their ancestral lands in the guise of urbanization/urban development, and self determination — has never been addressed. And that’s the very essence validating the need to defend the ideals of a multinational federalist dispensation in Ethiopia, dubbed “ethnic federalism” by its detractors, today. By the way, one of Derg’s fatal failures was a failure to genuinely act on the ideals underpinning this second demand of the ESM.
Moral of the story: it’s ridiculous that #EZEMA, a quasi-political Party anchored on advocating for the rights of monolingual urban settlers in the city at the cost of the Oromo (on whose ancestral land the city stands) comes up with a “study” claiming that Oromia state govt whose capital is the city itself gave out some plots of residential lands or condos to some of its employees in its own bureaucracy.
Did #EZEMA undertake such a “study” to find out whether or not other regional states’ govt’s in the Ethiopian federation like Tigray, Afar or Amhara, among others, did provide plots of residential lands or condos to their own state employees in their own capitals like Mekelle, Asaita or Bahirdar? Can even such a party-commissioned propaganda report be considered as a “study” given a clear conflict of interests that the party got on the issue?
Well, why should they even worry about all these? By the way, given these sorts of stuff, I have to yet find out if there is a single sensibly conscious Oromo member of this political party.