Ethiopian hypocrisy of killing Oromo elders meeting in traditional democratic councils

Night Shot Of Karrayyu Tribe People Gathered Around The Gifts Offered To The Karrayyu Tribe Families For The Gadaaa Ceremony, Metahara, Ethiopia

Apparently the Abiy Ahmed regime feels threatened by longstanding democratic practices of the Oromo people. Whilst saying it wants an African solution to an African problem they kill Oromos trying to do just that. The extrajudicial killing of members of an elder council  of Karrayyu Oromo in the East Shewa zone of Oromia this week apparently by elements of Amhara militia is an attack on the Oromo culture and tradition. Unfortunately much of the discontent of the Oromo people in Ethiopia gets little attention in the current conflict. For sometime the Oromos have practiced legal pluralism with a mix of traditional practices and more modern governmental functions. Researchers on these practices have found them to be effective in reducing violence and helping local populations prosper peacefully. Interestingly Ethiopian Prime Minister in his claimed PhD thesis discussed elder councils as a way to solve conflicts but now seems to have dumped the concept. Although spokespersons for Abiy Ahmed deny their involvement, many Oromos point to the recent history of executions by Amhara militia documented on published videos and history of domination.

The Karrayyu Oromo who once numbered over 200,000 in population are a subgroup of the Oromo people, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia numbering 33 million or 32% of the Ethiopian population. Their origins in what came to called Ethiopia goes back many hundreds of years. They are mostly nomadic pastoralists who came under Amhara domination during the reign of Menelik II at the end of the 19th century. Like many Oromos they complain of a history of discrimination and deprivation under Amhara rule.

The Karrayyu and their fellow Oromos practice the gadaa system which involve different generations rotating local government responsibilities in social, political, economic, and religious life. Western political scientists have recently studied and noted this form of democracy as potentially predating the Greek concept of democracy.

There are longstanding bonds between many Sudanese and the Tigray

A soldier walks past girls looking on in the village of Dukouli within the Quraysha locality, located in the Fashaqa al-Sughra agricultural region of Sudan’s eastern Gedaref state on March 16, 2021. –  (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP) (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images)Photo taken from Egyptian Al-Monitor which reported that Ethiopia falsely blamed Tigray forces for the attack on Sudanese forces now escalating into conflict between Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Sudanese forces.

This week I had a 2 hour discussion with a Tigray diaspora who grew up in Sudan during the Derg Regime with many connections still present there. This person just spent almost 2 months visiting Sudan especially the two main refugee camps holding more than 70,000 people mostly from Western Tigray. I will not identify this person because he/she still has relatives in the occupied region.

Some refugees are still coming in sometimes at 30 a day sometimes none. At first at the beginning of the war some where able to bring trucks or cars but now its only on foot. Over many years the Tigray have traded with the Sudanese and some older Tigrayans have stayed living in Eastern Sudan along the border. These Tigrayans who grew up in Sudan most if not all speak Arabic which is not too different then Tigrayan for many words.

This diaspora was friends with many prominent local Sudanese and one high ranking officer in the military who expressed concern for the welfare of the Tigrayans and a sense of kinship for a neighbor different then for Ethiopians in general right now. They are also upset about the failure to come to agreement on the use of the Nile with Ethiopia and feel that the Tigray have been mistreated.