The need for Institutions
(Originally prepared for launching event of MWMF)

The Oromo had institutions for all activities and knew their importance. There was a process for an institution to be reformed or developed. According to Gadaa tradition legislation is to be reviewed every eight years. They very much understood that law had to be adjusted to conditions of the time. Institution that goes with time is indispensible for a nation. It is only peoples’ quest for freedom that does not change with time.  Kaayyoo or objective principle is a guide to reach an intended goal.  For instance the objective of Greek democracy which most tongues praise was to assure adherence to people’s government. That means each citizen of a city had to participate directly in the decision making for all things of their concern. When territories start to expand and population increased it became difficult to practice direct democracy and so representative democracy was introduced. But the basic objective of empowering each citizen to have the right to vote was not altered. The colonizer destroyed Gadaa system, which had both direct and representative democracy.

It has been long since Oromo started to look for their own ways to reconstitute their destroyed institutions. By institution we mean an organization one founds to carry out a planned task. Mission and vision of such organization is determined by one that founded it. Institutions are like human child. The environment of its upbringing can influence and change the character intended for it. Norms in society like care for public opinion, shyness, moral considerations or safuu, abstinence, rejections, fads, challenges and   threats can influence it change from the intended purpose. An institution is not only formal but also can be informal as well.

Not all institution reaches their goal. An institution is said to be dependable if those running it have proved themselves in their previous undertakings or after they prove themselves in practice. The history of Oromo organizations of the past ten years could be a lesson for those who had followed them. Some showed left and turned right after arousing the people to frantic applauds. What were their shortcomings? Investigating that could save those who are planning for new projects from similar debacle.  

Institutions are built to overcome shortcomings in society. People who take that mission should not only know the shortcomings but also must be determined and have commitment for their undertakings. They must also be vigilant to protect their institution from hidden and open enemy attack. Slogans do not prove commitment until one goes ahead and implement it. The Oromo had never lived for over hundred years by their own will but by the will of the colonizer. Therefore an institution founded on their name will be weighed against how much it contributes towards the realization of the nation’s right to national self determination.

The Oromoo people had a wide ranging struggle in which several were sacrificed and great gains were registered. Those gains were achieved by sacrifice of nationals whom unbearable humiliation on Oromummaa agitated them to rise. Majority were peasants‘sons and daughters. Except for inborn bravery they had no higher education or specialization but their sweat and blood to offer. But incapacity of the leadership to protect the organization from different pressures and in changing their ways of thinking paralyzed the political organization the nation counted on. Whether it is from ignorance or design they are unable to take it out of the doldrums. The Oromo in foreign lands had wounded each other for long by either keeping on throwing rocks on the paralyzed or supporting it. This time when they are unable to help it they seem to have left it to its fate. Since short comings in Oromiyaa are tremendous, it seems they have chosen to professionally handle in teams those things that cannot create controversy among actors. But except for the moment the future of OLF, the vanguard of Oromo struggle is not a point of worry for it has gone beyond being destroyed internally or externally.

Now the upcoming Oromo generation is gaining consciousness that they have started to device how to reinstitute all that had been destroyed. For those who want to work, the field is boundless. Recently we have seen how the movement called “Afaan” had succeeded in its mission. For this reason it is good to handle strongly in all fronts. Otherwise there could come a time when one is under prepared in having economic and socially institution by only focusing now on political organizations. The need for political organization in coordinating what present institutions outcomes is obvious. But we cannot be a non partisan and a political organization at the same time.  

Among institutions being founded at present Madda Walaabu Media Foundation (MWMF) is moving to make life radio broadcast to Oromiya and the Horn in Afaan Oromo and English from January 1, 2014. Judging from their documents on bylaws, articles of incorporation, rules and regulations, and mission and vision, the way they have started is convincing. What remains will be observing them in practice. For that all have to give them benefit of the doubt. The documents assure supporters that they favor no particular organization or would they create any obstacle to Oromo organizations other than supporting them. For this reason Gubirmans Publishing stands with them as long as they stick to those principles. It will participate to its ability in their activities. We also wish success for the movement that has according to the writer’s understanding announced “We are Oromo first” before “region, religion, tribe etc.” renewing the slogan their elders used to campaign for Oromo consciousness half a century ago. It would be wise to understand that it is advantageous to move in cooperation with those having similar objectives and start to create conducive atmosphere to that end. As long as all move with clear, matured objective in good faith there is no reason for not being successful. 

If Oromo professionals move all together or in teams what they could achieve have no limits. Those, who this time are preparing something, that help to teach and contribute towards each other’s consciousness are the blessed. If that is to develop Oromo capabilities and empowering the nation it would earn happiness for all. It could also enable to overcome existing shortcomings by creating social and economic institutions that do not make class and outlook distinctions.  The Oromo are long fed up of nauseating alien propaganda. Therefore for those who had announced to reach them it is essential to hurry up. It is said “a slow lover gives chance for the husband’s arrival.”

The Oromo are majority in the Horn of Africa. They have potential markets not only for nonprofit institutions but also for those working for profit. For this size to be noticed they lack strong economic and social organizations and weakness in political ones. An institution that delivers fast and effectively what it promised is not only a pride for supporters and members but also gives all confidence to talk about it. The role of members are not only contributing ideas, money, labor, capabilities, and knowhow and raising morale but also rallying support from possible sympathizers.  An institution could be ground for participants to gain experience and a place to train futures leaders for several fields and for developing ones culture.

What greater happiness could be there for a nation than hearing the gift of independent media for the New Year, at a time like this, when people had lost contact of each other and alien propaganda is confusing them? What best wish message could be there greater than this short of independence? Reaching their people will be of great pride for Oromo in Diaspora. To make people conscious of their health, their activities, and their living is what the time demands. These days those who can guide public opinion as they like are those who own media. They use it to advance their national and corporate interests. The movements we are seeing nowadays have to advance the interest of Oromo and other downtrodden. We are hearing that all their messages are based on Oromummaa. The only independent radio that reaches Oromiyaa was the voice of Oromo liberation (SBO). Its purpose is to advance the political program of Oromo liberation. Institutions being built these days could have a greater benefit if they focus on the economy and social affairs. Neutrality to existing intra Oromo political division could save from the cog mires their predecessors fell into. Not giving political education but the matter of political organization must be separated from present movements. MWMF deserves special thanks for having clear stand on this issue.  Let all put pressure on all of them from behind to keep them from faltering. As long as they contribute for the realization of Oromo right to national self determination, they all remain our common institutions. We hope they will work towards better understanding and find for us new techniques rather than allowing minuscule differences to keep them apart.  We would like to once again congratulate MWMF for its declared success. Let us keep up the spirit of Oromummaa ever alive. Qabsoon itt fufa!

Honor and glory for the fallen heroines and heroes; liberty equality and freedom for the living and nagaa and araaraa for the Ayyaanaa of our fore parents!

Ibsaa Guutama
December 2013

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