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Resistance is not for Reform, Critique is not for Replacement

Resistance is not for Reform, Critique is not for Replacement - Dr. Tsegaye Ararssa

The struggle was not for re-forming and empowering the OPDO. After all, initially, the struggle was actually AGAINST OPDO as OPDO was collaborating with TPLF thugs to permanently disempower, subdue, and subordinate Oromos to the regime.

If at any time in its history, OPDO sides with the people, their rights, and their interests, the people never hesitate to support it. If, in contrast, it sides with the enemies of the people, the people will fight it as relentlessly as they fight their other enemies.

In the years after late 2016, when OPDO dared to heed the people’s demands–and even appropriated the language of the Oromo Protests and adopted their demands as its own–the vast majority of the Oromo people supported them and assisted them in their tactical (internal power) struggle against TPLF. The protests put pressures on OPDO thereby forcing them to talk intensively about ‘deep reforms’ (which, by the way, is still more a rhetoric than a reality).

But the goal of the Oromo struggle was not–and IS NOT–to reform OPDO, or to put some of its officials in the Menelikan palace.

To those who think that “now that OPDO is reformed” (i.e., now that OPDO is in power), we all need to rally behind it no matter what, we would like to remind them that:

  1.  It wasn’t Oromo people’s interest in the first place to reform an authoritarian regime. Ours was a protest to remove authoritarianism in its entirety. Nothing sums up the message of the struggle as does the slogan, “DOWN DOWN WAYYAANE!!!”
  2. OPDO hasn’t been, and isn’t, reforming yet. It is either unwilling or unable to pursue its own reforms. Under these circumstances, it needs to be pressurized, challenged, critiqued, and interrogated so that it can deliver for the Oromo public. It needs to be prodded into addressing the demands of the Oromo Protests.
  3. Above all, any gesture OPDO may have made towards change so far is regressive in content, especially when it comes to the assertion of Oromo rights and interests.

Evidently, soon after coming to the helm of power, OPDO’s leaders have turned their back on Oromo demands and have, in most cases, judging from the speeches and decisions of the OPDO Prime Minister, acted in ways prejudicial to the very survival of Oromos and Oromia.

OPDO needs the Oromo people more than the Oromo people need OPDO. If OPDO wants to succeed–and deliver for the people–it should serve the interest of its people. If not, the very people that helped it oust TPLF from the dominant position it had in the EPRDF will oust OPDO/EPRDF from the palace and uproot them from Oromia.

An OPDO that works against Oromos and Oromia is the enemy of Oromos and Oromia–whether it works with or without others. An OPDO that works against Oromos and Oromia will be resisted, challenged, and fought as an enemy, and fought to the very end. This kind of OPDO I shall always critique, resist, and fight.

The goal of our resistance is not to reform OPDO. The goal of our critique was not, and is not, replacement of one authoritarianism with another. In fact, critique is not even about replacement.


Tsegaye R. Ararssa

Tsegaye R. Ararssa

I like to die teaching. ...Living on the edge, exploring the borders... in self-estrangement...on exile... never too grounded physically or epistemically...always coming, always longing to arrive...ever in love with words...trying to find voice in/through them...trying to make sense,...ever trying to see the light, and to comprehend the same, and to find enchant. ...and more...for there is always more in/to life...And the EXIT, yes, the Exit. Perhaps relief at last, arrival, ... finally, in and through EXIT...
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