FOR BETTER OROMIA

Oromia Today

Background :

The Oromo were colonised during the last quarter of the nineteenth century by a black African nation – Ethiopia- with the help of the European colonial powers of the day. During the same period, of course, the Somalis, Kenyans, Sudanese and others were colonised by European powers. The fact that the Oromo were colonised by black African nation makes their case quite special.

During the process of colonisation, between 1870 and 1900, the Oromo population was reduced from ten to five millions. This period coincides with the occupation of Oromo land by the Ethiopian emperors Johannes and Manlike. After colonisation, these emperors and their successors continued to treat Oromo with utmost cruelty. Many were killed by the colonial army and settlers; others died of famine and epidemics of various diseases or were sold off as slaves. Those who remained on the land were reduced to the status of gabbar (a peasant from whom labour and produce is exacted and is a crude form of serfdom).

consolidated Johannes and Meniiek’s gains and with the use of violence, obstructed the process of natural and historical development of the Oromo society – political, economic and social. In all spheres of life, discrimination, subjugation, repression and exploitation of all forms were applied. Everything possible was done to destroy Oromo identity – culture, language, custom, tradition, name and origin. In short Haile Selassie maintained the general policy of genocide against the Oromo.

The 1974 revolution was brought about by the relentless struggle over several years by, among others, the Oromo peasants. The military junta, headed by Mengistu Haile-Mariam, usurped power and took over the revolution. This regime has continued on the path of emperors Yohannes, Menilek and Haile Selassie in the oppression, subjugation and exploitation of Oromo, the settlement of Abyssinians on Oromo land and the policy of genocide.

Forced to fight against Eritreans, the Somalis and others, many Oromo have fallen in battle. Many others have died on the streets of cities and towns during the so-called “Red Terror” period and in a similar programme that has been expanded in the countryside since then. Massacres in towns and villages coupled with bombing and search and destroy programmes have caused the destruction of human lives, crops, animals and property, have driven Oromo from their land and forced them to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Not surprisingly, this ruthless oppression and persecution of peoples has resulted in the largest flight of refugees in Africa. A very large proportion of the refugees in the Horn of Africa are Oromo.

In its attempt to oppress and eliminate the essential elements of Oromo culture, the present regime has used cover-up words such as ‘development, relief, settlement, villagization and literacy campaign’ to mislead the world. In fact most of these programmes and projects have been aimed at displacing Oromo people and denying them freedom, justice, human dignity and peace, thereby hastening the process of Amharization or de-Oromization.

The struggle of the Oromo people, then, is nothing more than an attempt to affirm their own place in history. It seeks equality, human dignity, democracy, freedom and peace. It is not directed against the masses of a particular nation or nationality, nor against individuals, but rather against Ethiopian colonialism led by the Amhara ruling class and the naftanyas  and against feudalism and imperialism. Thus it is the Ethiopian colonial system and not the Amhara masses or individuals which are under critical consideration.

Today when nearly all of the African peoples have won independence, the Oromo continue to suffer under the most backward and savage Ethiopian settler colonialism. All genuinely democratic and progressive individuals and groups, including members of the oppressor nation, Amhara, who believe in peace, human dignity and liberty, should support the Oromo struggle for liberation.

Although the Oromo nation is one of the largest in Africa, it is forgotten by or still unknown to the majority of the world today. Unfortunately even the name Oromo is unknown to many, and this should not be allowed to continue.

Map, Oromia and the Oromo people

People: Oromo
Country: Oromia (also phonetically spelled as Oromiyaa)
Area: 600,000) sq.km   ( 375,000 sq.mi approx.)
Capital City: Finfinnee also called Addis Ababa
Population: 35 million (2007 estimate)
Language: Oromo language, Afan Oromo or Oromiffa
Economy: agriculture :coffee, several crops, spices, vegetables cereals and Animal       husbandry, Mining industry; Tourism trade; Medium and small-scale industries:textiles, refineries, meat packaging, etc

 Many varieties of these important crops occur naturally in Oromia. These diverse crop plants are very valuable natural resources. Oromo farmers have contributed to world agriculture by cultivating and developing some of the worid’s crop plants and in this way have discovered new domesticated varieties. The main cash crops are coffee and chat (a stimulant shrub). Coffee, a major cash earner for many countries, has its origin in the forests of Oromia and neighbouring areas. Specifically, Kafa and Limmu are considered centres of origin for coffee.


 It is from here that coffee spread to other parts of the globe. Coffee was one of the export items of the Gibe states.

 Wallagga and llubbabor regions of Oromia exported coffee to the Sudan through the inland port of Gambelia on the Baro river and border towns of Kurmuk, Gissan, etc. Hararge, because of its favourable location for communication with the outside markets through the Red Sea, has been producing one of the finest coffees for export. Coffee has remained the chief export item, representing more than 60 per cent of the foreign earnings of successive Ethiopian colonial regimes.

The country is also rich in wild animals and plants. Many different species are found in the waters and forests of Oromia: different kinds of fish, hippopotami, and crocodiles. Land animals include lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, wild ass, zebra, columbus monkey and elephant.

There are a number of wild animals that are found solely in Oromia, such as nyaala, bush-buck (special type), fox (from Baale), etc.

Various types of birds, many of them unique, are found around lakes and elsewhere. These creatures are a source of attraction for tourists and natural scientists alike.

The forests of Oromia are a source of excellent timber. Although the major portion of the forests has been destroyed since its occupation, some still remain in the south and west. However, this is threatened by mismanagement, particularly through the fast the expanding state farms and resettlement programmes. At the time of colonisation a large part of Oromia was covered with forest. This has been reduced to the present 5-7 per cent. In addition to timber trees, medicinal plants and trees producing different kinds of gums, grow in abundance. gum Arabic are gathered from the wild trees. Forests, besides being a source of timber, medicine and gum, are useful in the conservation of water and soil, and as shelter for wildlife. They also have an important aesthetic value.
Religion: Waaqqefata :the traditional belief in Waaqa or God, Islam, and Christian :Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.

Map Reference:Africa

Geographic Coordinates: Oromia is approximately located between 3 degree and 15 degree N latitude and 33 degree and 40 degree longitude.

The physical geography of Oromia is quite varied. It varies from rugged mountain ranges in the centre and north to flat grassland in most of the lowlands of the west, east and south. Among the many mountain ranges are the Karra in Arsi ,Baatu in Baale ,Enkelo in Arsi ,Mulataa in Hararge  and Baddaa Roggee in Shawa Similarly, there are many rivers and lakes in Oromia. Many of the rivers flow westwards into either the Blue Nile , and others flow eastwards to Somalia and Afar land. Among the large rivers are the Abbaya (the Nile), Hawas (Awash), Gannaalee, Waabee, Dhidheessa, Gibe and Baaroo.

For the peoples of Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia, life would be impossible without these rivers. They carry millions of tons of rich soil to Egypt, the Sudan and Somalia every year. Somalia depends heavily on the Gannaalee (Juba) and Waabee (Shaballe) rivers which come from Oromia. In fact Oromia supplies almost 100 per cent of the fresh water for Somalia, Djibouti and Afars. At present the Ethiopian government depends heavily on  Awash water as a source of electric power for its industries and irrigation water to grow sugar cane, cotton and fruits. The Wanji and Matahara sugar estates are good examples. There is a great potential in all these rivers for the production of electric power and for irrigation. Qoqaa, Fincha, Malkaa Waakkenne, Gibee Tiqqaa dams are examples of where hydro-electric power is already being produced or in the process of being harnessed.

Among the Oromo lakes are Abbaya, Hora, Bishofitu, Qoqaa, Langanno and Shaalaa. Many of these lakes possess a great variety of fish and birds on their islands and shores.

The climate is as varied as the physical geography, although close to the equator (to the north of it), because of the mountain ranges, high altitudes and vegetation, the climate is very mild and favourable for habitation. Snow can be found on the mountains such as Baatu and Karra. In the medium altitudes (1800-2500 m) the climate is very mild throughout the year and one of the best. Up to 80 per cent of the population lives at this altitude and agriculture flourishes.

The low altitude areas (below 1500 m) in west, south and central part are relatively warm and humid with lush tropical vegetation, and although few live there permanently most graze their cattle and tend their beehives there. Although there is little agriculture at this altitude at present, it has great potential for the future. As the highland areas are already eroded and over populated, people are gradually moving to the lowlands. The low altitude areas in the east and south-east are mostly semi-arid and used by pastoralism’s seasonally

Geography

LandBoundaries /Bordercountries:Kenya,Somalia ,Ogadenia,Afar,Amhara,Sudan,Gamebella and Southeren People

Location: Horn of Africa; in what is today Ethiopia or Eastern of Africa ,North of Kenya and West of Somalia

Size /Area:Larger than France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium & the Netherlands combined.

Population:35 million of 77 million or 40% of 77 million of the estimated population of Ethiopia, 3rd. largest nationality in Africa; single largest nationality in East Africa.

Religion:Waaqa, Islam, Christian.

Natural Resources :Breadbasket of the Horn of Africa -cereals including wheat, barley,    sorghum, maize, tafi; exports includes coffee, oil seeds, hides and skins; it has the largest livestock holding in Africa; forestry – houses all the forest and wildlife reserves of the Horn including unique species like Nyala-lbex, Colobus monkey and the red fox. minerals – two of three mineral belts of the region including gold, silver, platinum, uranium, marble, Nickel, natural gas(unexploited) ,Potash and salt

Language
The Oromo nation has a single common mother tongue and basic common culture. The Oromo language, afaan Oromoo or Oromiffa, belongs to the eastern Kushitic group of languages and is the most extensive of the forty or so Kushitic languages. The Oromo language is very closely related to Konso, with more than fifty percent of the words in common, closely related to Somali and distantly related to Afar and Saho.

History

The history of Oromia begins with Lucy. Lucy Or Chaltuu in Oromiffa was a female hominoid who lived in what is now called the Awash Valley in Hadar some 3.2 million years ago. The skeleton was discovered in 1974.
Oromia refer to her as “Dinqnesh” which means Wonderful. She is also classified in Hadar as AL 288-1.When she was discovered only a little over half of her skeletons were found. She probably did not live more than 20 years and weighed around 60 pounds and stood three and a half feet.Lucy is kept fully preserved at the national Museum in Addis Ababa; an exact plaster replica is also displayed.

But why was she called Lucy? Donald Johansson, the anthropologist from Chicago University who discovered her, tellsus why: “Surely such a noble little fossil lady deserved a name.

As we sat around one evening listening to Beatles’ songs, someone said, ‘Why don’t we call her Lucy? You know, after “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. “’ So she became

Locale of the 3.5 million year old Lucy, or Chaltu in Oromo, Croatia of the Upper Nile known and recorded in history by such names as Punt, Cush, and Ethiopia, has hosted numerous pioneering human achievements including the development of the earliest pebble tools (circa 70,000 BC), the domestication of animals (circa 5000 BC), and regional trade in antiquity in gold, ivory, myrrh and frankincense with Pharoahnic Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia. Early in history, the Oromo developed an indigenous democratic system similar to the Grecian Polls called Gada in which elected officials including the Abba Gada(President), the Abba Dula (Commander of the Army), the Abba Hori (Chief of the Treasury), and nine Hayyuus (Judges) assumed public office for non-renewable 8 year terms. With universal male training in warfare including equestrian skills, archery and the martial arts, the Oromo remained independent until the last decade of the 19th century, when Abyssinians from the North aided by modern European arms, managed to conquer them. Since then, successions of autocrats from Menelik to Mengistu have systematically suppressed Oromo culture, looted Oromo resources, divided the people by region and religion in the idiom of Ethiopian unity, thusly fostering instability, war and famine.

Political Objective:The fundamental political objective of the Oromo people is to exercise their inalienable right to national self determination to liberate themselves from a century of oppression and exploitation, and to form, where possible, a political union with other nations on the basis of equality, respect for mutual interests and the principle of voluntary associations.

Overview

Environment-current issues: Deforestation, deliberate burning down of forests

Terrain: High plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Population below poverty line is 50 %( 2004 estimate)

Population:The Oromo make up a significant portion of the population occupying the Horn of Africa. In the Ethiopian Empire alone, Oromo constitute about 35 million of the77 million inhabitants of the Ethiopian Empire. In fact, Oromo is one of the most numerous nations in Africa which enjoys a homogeneous culture and shares a common language, history and descent and once shared common political, religious and legal institutions. During their long history, the Oromo developed their own cultural, social and political system known as the Gadaa system.

Unique socio- political system:Gaddaa System is a uniquely democratic political and social institution that governed the life of every individual in the society from birth to death.

Ecologically and agriculturally Oromia (Oromo country) is the richest region in the Horn of Africa. Livestock products, coffee, oil seeds, spices, mineral resources and wild life are all diverse and abundant. In spite of all these advantages, a century of colonisation by Ethiopian Empire a backward nation itself has meant that the Oromo people have endured a stagnant existence where ignorance and famine have been coupled with ruthless oppression, subjugation, exploitation and above all, extermination. Thus for the last one hundred years under the Ethiopian rule, the Oromo have gained very little, if anything, in the way of political, social and economic progress.

have strongly advocated the use of the Roman script with the necessary modifications. It has thus been adopted by the Oromo Liberation Front some years ago.

A number of Oromo scholars in the past attempted to discover scripts suited for writing Oromiffa. The work of Sheikh Bakri Saphalo is one such attempt. His scripts were different in form but followed the symbol-sounds forming patterns of the Sabean system. Ever. though his scripts had serious shortcomings and could not be considered for writing Oromiffa now, it had gained popularity in some parts of eastern Oromia in the 1950s, before it was discovered by the colonial authorities and suppressed.

Oromiffa has been not only completely neglected but ruthlessly suppressed by the Ethiopian authorities. a determined effort for almost a century to destroy and replace it with the Amharic language has been mostly ineffectual. Thus, the Amharization and the destruction of the Oromo national identity has partially failed.

Culture

Oromo have a very rich culture, fostered by the size of the population and large land areas with diverse climatic conditions. One highly developed self-sufficient system which has influenced every aspect of Oromo life is the Gadaa system. It is a system that organizes the Oromo society into groups or sets (about 7-11 ) that assume different responsibilities in the society every eight years. It has guided the religious, social, political and economic life of Oromo for many years, and also their philosophy, art, history and method of time-keeping.

The activities and life of each and every member of the society are guided by Gadaa. It is the law of the society, a system by which Oromo administer, defend their territory and rights, maintain and guard their economy and through which all their aspirations are fulfilled.

The Gadaa system has served as the basis of democratic and egalitarian political system. Under it the power to administer the affairs of the nation and the power to make laws belong to the people. Every male member of the society who is of age and of Gadaa grade has full rights to elect and to be elected. All the people have the right to air their views in any public gathering without fear.

There follows a brief description of how the Gadaa system works: there are two well-defined ways of classifying male members of the society, that is the hiriyya (members of an age-set all born within the period of one Gadaa rule of eight years) and Gadaa grade. The Gadaa grades (stages of development through which a Gadaa class passes) differ in number (7-1 1) and name in different parts of Oromia although the functions are the same. The following are the Gadaa grades:-

1.Dabballee (0-8 years of age)
2.Folle or Gamme Titiqaa (8-16 years of age)
3.Qondaaia or Gamme Gurgudaa (1 6-24 years of age)
4.Kuusa (24-32 years of age)
5.Raaba Doorii (32-40 years of age)
6.Gadaa (40-48 years of age)
7.Yuba I (48-56 years of age)
8.Yuba II (56-64 years of age)
9.Yuba III (64-72 years of age)
10.Gadamojjii (72-80 years of age)
11.Jaarsa (80 and above years of age)

We will briefly describe the duties of a Gadaa class as it passes through the above grades.

The Dabballee are sons of the Gadaa class who are in power, the Luba. They are boys up to 8 years of age. Thus this is a stage of childhood. Upon reaching their eighth year, they enter the Folle grade. At this age they are allowed to go further away from their villages and to perform light work.

At 16 years old, they enter the Qondaala. They may now go long distances to hunt and perform heavy work. Three years before the Qondaaia ends, those of the Gadaa class come together and nominate the future group leaders (hayyu council) who eventually will constitute its presidium and thereby the executive, judicial and ritual authorities. The final election is preceded by an often lengthy campaign of negotiations. After nomination, the candidates tour the region accompanied by their supporters to win the backing of the people before election, The individuals will be elected on the basis of wisdom, bravery, health and physical fitness.

In the Kuusa grade, the previously elected leaders are formally installed in office, although they do not yet assume full authority except in their own group. This is one of the most important events in the life of the individual and the Gadaa system over all.

In the next grade, Raaba Doorii, members are allowed to marry. This and the Kuusa grade constitute a period of preparation for the assumption of full authority. At the end of this period the class members enter Luba or Gadaa, the most important class of the whole system, attain full status, and take up their position as the ruling Gadaa class. At this stage the system comes to a stop momentarily and all men move to the proceeding class vacating the last class which is the immediately occupied by a new class of youth who thus begin their ascent of the system’s ladder.

The former ruling class, the Luba, now becomes Yuba. The Yubas, after passing through three separate eight-year periods, are transferred to the Gadamojjii class. Then they enter the final grade called Jaarsa and retire completely.

As described briefly above, when the Oromo man passes from one stage to the next, his duties and way of life in society change. For instance, during the grades of Qondaala, Kuusa and Raaba Doorii, the individuals learn war tactics , Oromo history, politics, ritual, law and administration over a period of 24 years. When they enter the Gadaa class or Luba at the age of about 40 years, they have already acquired all the necessary knowledge to handle the responsibility of administering the country and the celebration of rituals. It ends with partial retirement of the whole, group of elders to an advisory and judiciary capacity.

The following are the Gadaa officials and their duties according to the Tuuilama Gadaa practice:

1. Abbaa Bokku – President
2. Abbaa Bokku – First Vice-President
3. Abbaa Bokku – Second Vice-President
4. Abbaa Chaffe – Chairman of the Assembly (Chaffe)
5. Abbaa Dubbi – Speaker who presents the decision of the presidium to the Assembly
6. Abbaa Seera – Memoriser of the laws and the results of the Assembly’s deliberations.
7. Abbaa Alanga – Judge who executes the decision
8. Abbaa Duula – In charge of the army
9. Abbaa Sa’a – In charge of the economy

Thus, the entire presidium consists of nine members, called “Saigan Yaa’ii Borana” (nine of the Borana assembly). The Abbaa Bokkus are the chief officials. (Bokku is a wooden or metal sceptre, a sign of authority kept by the Abbaa Bokku, the president). The Abbaa Bokkus have counsellors and assistants called Hayyus who are delegated from the lower assemblies.

There are three level of assembly – intercian, clan and local chaffes, chaffe being the Oromo version of parliament. The chaffe assembly was held in the open air in a meadow under the odaa (sycamore) tree. The chaffe made and declared common laws and was source of the accumulated legal knowledge and customs. In the hierarchy of Gadaa chaffes, the assembly of the entire presidium of the ruling- Gadaa Class is the highest body whose decision is final. It, is the assembly at which’reipresentatives of the entire population come together, at predetermined times, to evaluate among other things, the work of those in power. If those in power have failed to accomplish what is expected of them the assembly has the power to replace them by another group elected from among the same Gadaa class or Luba. And this was one of the methods of checking and balancing political power in the Oromo society. The second highest Gadaa assembly is the clan chaffe. It is from these assemblies that special delegates to the higher assembly are elected. The lowest Gadaa chaffe is the local chaffe. This is made up of local members of the Luba from among whom representatives to clan chaffes are elected.

The holders of these responsible posts can remain in office for eight years only, in normal times, and are then replaced by a new group of officers. The power is handed over at a special ceremony at a special place and time. The office-holders conduct government – political, economic, social, ritual and military – affairs of the entire nation for this period. During war time all capable men fight under the leadership of the group in office. During the eight year period the officials live together in a village (yaa’aa village) and when necessary travel together.

Sport and truism:

Oromia  is well known by athletics.Abebe Bikila ,an Oromo athletes, was well known for running bare-foot and setting and several times breaking world records especially Marathon records.In the Rome Olympics, in the Tokyo Olympics.Abebe Bikila put Oromia on the world athletics map at the moment in time he was the first African to win an Olympic gold medal.Almost all of the outstanding athletes who have represented Oromia at international sporting events have been Oromos.The following are the best athletes of Oromia.

Eigahehu Dibaba               Tirunesha Dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba delivers Herculean performance

Osaka, Japan – Spectators were treated to what must be one of the more Herculean performances of all time Saturday night (25) in Osaka asOromia’s Tirunesh Dibaba successfully. >>

Kenenisa Bekele finds happiness again after tragedy

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — Ethiopian track heavyweight Kenenisa Bekele on Saturday married 22-year-old Dannawit Gebregziabher, an up-and-coming actress in Ethiopia’s fledgling film industry.
Five hundred wellwishers, including fellow Oromian track star Haile Gebresellasie, joined the 10,000m world champion and world record holder and his bride at a plush ceremony in the Sheraton hotel.
Tragedy struck Bekele in January 2005 when his then fiancee Alem Techale, a world champion runner, died while they were out training together in the hills near the tiny trading post of Asela. An autopsy blamed a heart defect.
Bekele, 25, told local media that he would not compete in any more athletics meetings this year because of his marriage but would be ready for 2008 World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh next March.
Source: AFP

Mamo Wolde

Meseret leads 5000m sw

eep bid for Ethiopia OSAKA, Japan – Olympic champion and world-record holder Meseret Defar produced a powerful sprint finish to spearhead Ethiopia into the 5,000-metre final at the World Athletics Championships on Wednesdayet Daefar

Geti Wami

Gete Wami $500,000 Richer 
Ethiopia’s Gete Wami finished second in the Women’s Marathon in New York City on Sunday November 4, running the grueling marathon just weeks after she defended her title at Berlin Marathon. A half million dollar was at stake and Gete Wami successfully completed the New York City marathon, the last of the world major marathons, ahead of Latvia’s JELENA PROKOPCUKA to claim the biggest prize in her career. Paula Radcliffe of Britain won the race in 2:23:09. Gete Wami’s time was 2:23:32.>>

Daraartu Tullu

Some who are famous  world -wide in athletics :

  • Wami  Biratu
  • Kebede Balcha
  • Daraje Nadhi
  • Gelete Burika
  • Abebe Dinkessa
  • Derba Bedada
  • Silishi Sihine
  • Gezahegne Abera
  • Tesfaye Tola
  • Berhane Adere
  • Kutre Dulecha
  • Elfenesh Alemu
  • Ambessa Tolossa
  • Tariku Bekele
  • Teyiba Erkesso
  • Zenebech Tola
  • The Sof Omar Cave

    Sof Omar Cave

    Sof Omar is one of the most spectacular and extensive underground cave systems in the world. Formed by the Wabi River as it changed its course in the distant past and carved out a new channel through limestone foothills, the Sof Omar systems is an extraordinary natural phenomenon of breathtaking beauty.

    The cave which is now an important Islamic Shrine was named after the saintly Sheikh Sof Omar who took refuge here many centuries ago. The cave has a religious history that predates the arrival of the Muslims in Bale – a history calculated in thousands of years.

  •  The Rift Valley

    The Oromia Rift Valley, which is part of the famous East African Rift Valley, comprises numerous hot springs, beautiful lakes and a variety of wildlife. The valley is the result of two parallel faults in the earth’s surface, between which in distant geological time, the crust was weakened and the land subsided. Oromia is often referred to as the ‘water tower’ of Eastern Africa because of the many rivers that pour off the high tableland. The Great Rift Valley’s passage through Oromia is marked by a chain of seven lakes. Each of the seven lakes has its own special life and character and provides ideal habitats for the exuberant variety of flora and fauna that make the region a beautiful and exotic destination for tourists.Most of the lakes are suitable and safe for swimming and other water sports. Lakes Abiata and Shalla are ideal places for bird watchers. Most of the Rift Valley lakes are not fully exploited for tourists except lake Langano where tourist class hotels are built. The Rift Valley is also a site of numerous natural hot springs and the chemical contents of the hot springs are highly valued for their therapeutic purposes though at present they are not fully utilised. In short, the Rift Valley is endowed with many beautiful lakes, numerous hot springs, warm and pleasant climate and a variety of wildlife. It is considered as one of the most ideal areas for the development of international tourism in Oromia.

                                                       Golden backed woodpecker

The Awash National Park

Lying in the lowlands at the east of Addis Ababa and striding the Awash River, the Awash National Park is one of the finest reserves in Oromia. The Awash river, one of the major rivers of the horn of Africa, waters important agricultural lands in the north of Oromia and eventually flows into the wilderness of the Danakil Depression. The dramatic Awash Falls, as the river tumbles into its gorge, is the sight not to be missed in the national park. Awash national park, surrounding the dormant volcano of Fantale, is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and savannah, with riverain forests along the Awash river. Forty six species of animals have been identified here, including beisa oryx and Swayne’s heartbeest. The bird life is prolific especially along the river and in the nearby lake Basaka and there are fine endemic amongst the 392 species recorded. A special attraction is thebeautifulclear pools of the Filwoha hot springs.

Access to the park is best from the main Addis Assab highway, and there is a caravan lodge called Kereyu Lodge at the edged of the gorge.

                     Yellow-fronted parrot

  • At about 275 km from Addis Ababa a gravel road on the right runs along the shore of Lake Awasa.  and the more interesting Belle Vue du Lac (also with swimming pool and a tennis court) is quite adequate. Fishing and boating are favourite pastimes on Lake Awasa, although again the bird watching, if not as spectacular as Abyata, has its own special attractions.

Harwood’s francoln

                                         White-collared pigeon

:

The soft brown waters of Langano are set against the blue backdrop of the Arsi Mountains soaring4,000 metreshigh. A few birds make Langano their home but this resort is less for the nature lover than sportsman and sunworshipper. Here you can waterski and sail, swim or bask in the blazing sun on the sloping sandy beach. European food is served in the hotel restaurant but the tilapia is good and cooking freshly caught fish over the camp fire has its own special attraction. The local Oromo women are often prepared to sell jewellery or utensils; copper bracelets or brass; bead necklaces and cowrie shell decorated milk pots.

Before reaching the turnoff to Langano lake, the road passes over the Bulbula river. Just before the bridge and the village, there is a track to the right (at the top of the slope) which leads to the lake edge. At certain times of the year the greatest congregation of birds is to be found here. However, before the next bridge, over the Horacallo river (connecting Lakes Langano and Abyata) a turning to the right leads to the more usual area of exceptional bird viewing.

Thousands of flamingos create pink carpets in the blue bays of the lake; great white pelicans soar in from Lake Shala to enjoy the fishing and execute their fantastic ballet; pied kingfishers hover and dive; fish eagles protect their territory with their eerie cry; cormorants and darters fill the dead acacia trees silhouetting strange and beautiful shapes against the sunset. Here are tall marabous, sacred ibis, dwell sometimes in the hundreds of thousands, snipe, stilt, avocet, and the black heron searching the shallow water in the shadow created by his black umbrella

Flamengo’s

Spot-breasted plover

A huge volcanic cone set isolated in the surrounding plain and rising 600m Zuquala’s crater is still perfectly preserved. Two kilometres across and sixty meters deep the crater is occupied by a shallow lake, well known as a holy lake. For many centuries the rim has been the site of a monastery. Mohammed Gragn destroyed one of the buildings but it was rebuilt and is still in use today. The inside rim of the crater is covered with juniper forest, the frequent swirling mists encourage a heavy growth of trailing lichens and the beautiful black and white colobus monkey can sometimes be seen, adding yet another dimension to this already picturesque place. To get to Zuquala, it is possible to turn off the Addis Ababa-Bishoftu road at Dukem 35 km. from the city, or to turn off near Bishoftu at Dirray. The latter is probably the more used track at the present time, it is about three hours walk or fifty minutes drive to Wember Mariam at the base of the mountain. It is possible to drive to the top, but check conditions before driving it as it can

Colobus Monkey

  • Lake Zway is 26 km. long and 18km, wide and several islands dot the surface of the largest of the five lakes. There are several turnoffs leading to the lake shore Tall fig trees line the original shore, but in recent years the level of the lake has dropped to such an extent that several hundred metres of grassland and reeds come between you and the water. Marabou storks roost on the tops of the acacias in the evenings, and many other birds have made the grassy stretch their feeding area. On the north side of the lake where the Meki river flows in lies Hippopotamus Bay. To reach the far shore or any of the islands it is necessary to bring a boat.
  • Agapornis taranta

White-collared pigeon

 

  • Ababa :(the name means ‘new flower’) is of fairly recent origin – Menelik 11 founded the city in 1887. Situated in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and standing 2,400 metres above sea level it is the third highest capital in the world. The city has a population of about fife million.
    Before moving to the present site of Addis Ababa, Menelik had established temporary capitals at six different locations caused by exhausting the fuel wood at each of these sites. Addis itself was in danger of being abandoned until the introduction of fast-growing eucalyptus trees from Australia provided the city with a regular source of fuel.
    Addis Ababa is an important administrative centre not only for Ethiopia but also for the whole of Africa. The headquarters of the UN Economic Commission for Africa was established here in 1958 and it is the site of the OAU’s secretariat.

Harar:

The city of Harar is an ancient (1520) and holy city. Always an important trading centre, the city is famous for its ancient buildings, its great city walls and as a centre of learning muslim scholarship ( the town has 99 mosques). The city is well known for its superb handicrafts that include woven textiles, basketware, silverware and handsomely bound books, Harar has been a place of pilgrimage from all over the world for many years.

Harar’s attractions are:

– The City Walls

The City Walls, and the narrow streets lined with traditional Harari gegar houses.

– Rimbaud House

A Fine building traditional house dating from the period when the French poet Rimbaud lived in Harar

The Community Museum, also in the town centre, has displays relating to the way of life in earlier times.
The 16th century Grand Mosque, with is beautiful twin towers and slender minaret lies on the road to the Erer Gate Women are not permitted inside the mosque.
The vibrant market place is regarded as one of the most colourful in all Oromia.
The Ahmar Mountains around Harar produce some of the best coffee in Oromia.

The Hyena Men of Harar collect offal and bones to feed to the wild hyenas usually about 100 metres outside the Fallana Gate of the old city walls of the town. Hyenas appear just after sunset to take food from their hands. There is a charge for watching The display starts about 1900 finishing at about 2000.

Shopping 
Harar is famed for its silversmiths, and there are beautiful necklaces, bracelets and chains to be found in the market. The basketry is also impressive. There are two colourful markets in Harar, the Christian and the Muslim, which are separated from one another

Dire Dawa

Dire Dawa is city in Harar region, Oromia. It is a commercial and industrial center located on the Addis Ababa–Djibouti railroad. Manufactures include processed meat, vegetable oil, textiles, and cement. There are also railroad workshops in the city. Dire Dawa was founded in 1902 when the railroad from Djibouti reached the area, and its growth has resulted largely from trade brought by the railroad.

The natural beauty of Oromia amazes the first-time visitor. Oromia is a land of rugged mountains ( some 25 are over 4000 meters high) broad savannah, lakes and rivers. The unique Rift Valley is a remarkable region of volcanic lakes, with their famous collections of birdlife, great escarpments and stunning vistas. We must rank as one of the greatest natural spectacles in Africa today. With 14 major wildlife reserves, Oromia provides a microcosm of the entire subsaharan ecosystem. Birdlife abounds, and indigenous animals from the rare Walia ibex to the shy wild ass, roam free just as nature intended. Oromia, after the rains, is a land decked with flowers and with many more native plants than most countries in Africa. Among the many natural tourist attractions only the principal ones are briefly given below.

The Mountain Nyala was the last of the great African antelopes to become known to science, and still today very little is known about its habits or the full extent of its range. It was first collected by Major Ivor Buxton in 1908 and at that time seemed to be fairly widespread throughout the Arsi and Bale regions. Large numbers of them lived at very high altitudes, between ten and thirteen thousand feet, in the mountain forests where it was cold and wet much of the time, until the pressure of the human population destroyed vast tracts of their forest habitat. In Arsi the population is now reduced to a remnant.

Fortunately in Bale, despite a certain amount of burning of the heath, great tracts of mountain giant heath forest and hagenia were left unspoiled and the Nyala were never seriously threatened with extin- ction. They were so much hunted that they became even more wary and shy than is their nature and one rarely caught more than a glimpse of them as they melted away into the bush.

Belonging to the same family as the Mountain Nyala, the Kudu, the Bongo and the Eland, the bushbuck shares with them the family characteristic of shy and elusive behaviour. Over forty races of bushbuck have been identified, which vary considerably both from the point of view of colouration and from the type of habitat they frequent. Most of them are forest- living animals inhabiting dense bush, usually near water, though this is not an essential, as some of them have been known to go without drinking for long periods when necessary.

Of the two Ethiopian races, meneliki and powelli, the latter is the more common and somewhat smaller. But Menelik’s is also fairly widespread and can be seen in much of Ethiopia’s highland forest up to the treeline at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft.) They are com mon, for example, in the cedar forests of Menagesha and parts of the Entoto range, even ir, eucalyptus groves as long as there is still some ground cover. No accurate estimate has been made of their total population because of their nocturnal and furtive habits. Like the Mountain Nyala, they are easier to observe in the Bale Mountains National Park where they are fully protected and therefore a little less shy. Powelli inhabits the lower lying country, so between them they cover almost all types of habitat, from highland forest to savanna woodland – with the exception of open country.These creatures are  source of attraction for tourists and natural scientists alik

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE IN OROMIA

An Oromo ex -MP exposes atrocities DR. Getachew Jigi, Demekssa who was intimidate and forced to fled his home land Oromia , He has witnessed the following.source  of all google,oromiatimes extra.

According to his view “It was with strong belief that the Constitution of the land will be respected and supremacy of law will prevail, that we decided to join the legal political system. It was also our firm belief that democracy and working federation would solve the problems of Ethiopia . Unfortunately all our aspirations were dashed, hopes turned sour and our morale crashed within few months after May 2005 elections. We learned in the hard way that there is democracy or supremacy of law in Ethiopia

democratic and human rights are grossly violated, the rule of law is trampled upon by none other than the ruling party. The regime is doing everything it can to stay in power that it lost in May 2005 elections, in which it was totally defeated. The regime is purposely instigating and fanning religious and inter ethnic conflicts. The situation in Ethiopia is very dangerous. There is disaster looming over the country. Finally I call upon OFDM members and supporters, the Oromo people in particular and the Ethiopian peoples in general, opposition party members to stand up in unison to avert this looming disaster. And remind the international community to play a constructive role expected of them rather than continue to appease a tyrannical regime”

Press release from Mr. Hunde Dhugassa Nov 11, ’07 9:23 PM
for everyone
Press release from Mr.Hunde Dhugassa

ex-president of Jimma University Students and

Ethiopian Higher Learning Institutions Students Union

In my stay in Jimma University for the past five years studying law and serving the students union in different levels for two years in extracurricular activity, I have been through the horrible human right abuse in Ethiopia in general and Oromiya in particular.

The trauma of the TPLF(Tigray peoples liberation front) led EPRDF government cruel and inhuman treatment of  citizens dates back to its inception to power when they killed, torched, imprisoned and dismantled families under the guise of OLF (Oromo liberation front) supporters.

Then after the past 15 years TPLF followed the shot to hit and different methods of torching strategy to civilians raising the question of the right to self determination of Oromo people.

I remember the yearly students protest on this government just after it come to the power until this time but it is always boasting on its monopolised media about the extra judicial killings to families every time promising some more shot for more protest; accordingly TPLF led EPRDF government is responsible for the death ,causality and imprisonment of thousands of Oromo students and other nations in Ethiopia .To this end the TPLF house made party OPDO is serving as supporting hand to this cruel government act of murder and other inhuman acts for the past 15 years in Oromiya .

Almost all schools in Oromiya at all levels have experienced the bloody hand of TPLF government at different times and at some places every year.

On the protest of the decision to transfer the Oromiya capital from finfinne {Addis Ababa} to Adama alone; they have killed, imprisoned and dismantled thousands; a decision by which they regretted latter for a political benefit of getting the favour of the Oromo people in the post 2005 election. From Addis Ababa University alone more than 350 Oromo students were fired from school; letting other socio-economic, political and human crisis aside including the banning of Macha and Tulema Oromo self help association.

Oromo’s in different University of Ethiopia are facing serious challenges for being an Oromo alone ;killing, imprisonment ,torching ,refusing degree without due process of law and complete dismissal are some of the measure commonly taken every year until I left the university in July  2007 .

There is no academic spirit and freedom in universities for other nations too; even if it is not to the extent of Oromo students.

Forced membership in the hand made OPDO {Oromo people’s democratic organization} is hot issue now in almost all university hoping that will reduce the support of OLF from the students’ community. Denial will result in tag of OLF member which will come up with its own pack of inhuman treatment to the extent of death and lose of job after graduation is very common; which is very serious punishment in a country like Ethiopia.

The commissioned intelligence peoples in universities are increasing in alarming rate; having the power to take identity card and firing students from the campus to the extent of torching students at gun point in the campus.

They have evil strategy of creating a conflict between students of different nations hoping lack of unity in the student community will minimize the questions and pressures the students pose on the undemocratic government in one voice.

In the time of my presidency I have tried to expose the deceptive and cruel nature of this government to influential ambassadors and other human right organizations in Addis Ababa in different occasion’s. I have also condemned different unlawful acts of the government in different tactics including bold briefs to accountable organs.

In return I received very destructive messages and warning  at gunpoint from securities  more than 3 times while I was in Jimma, Awasa and Gondor universities for official purpose. After graduation; seeing no one is behind me, they started fierce persecution under the pretext of publishing Oromo graduation bulletin of 2007 (which is banned by the TPLF government) and my research paper entitled the right to secession in Ethiopia, the case of Oromiya (which exposed the realities they do not want to hear They call both the agendas of OLF, while it belongs to the Oromo people at large).

But the whole tactic was to avoid my contribution in Ethiopian in general and Oromiya in particular. In fact that is impossible as I will go for it, even if it is not on the same way.

After this and other severe persecution of TPLF government I decided, to fight this government joining the  Oromo liberation front (OLF) to bring the democratic option to the people of Oromo and other nation in Ethiopia as I have been denied the right to work on the idea I believe to my respective people in my country.

Lastly while I appreciate the US government initiation of revising its policy on Ethiopia and the horn; setting aside the honey covered poison of the EPRDF government act and propaganda, I call upon the African union, European union, the human right organizations and international media to have a concern for the harassment of Oromos and other nations of Ethiopia in the capital of the African union.

“No matter how long the night is the day is sure to come”.

Mr. Hunde Dhugassa /LL.B, LAW/

(the ex-president of Jimma University Students’ Union and Ethiopian Higher Learning Institutions Students Union)

November 9, 2007

Detentions and killings in the regions

In the Oromia region, there were large-scale arrests in different areas during anti-government demonstrations, particularly by school and college students. Some protesters called for the release of Diribi Demissie, a Mecha Tulema Association community leader on trial since 2004. He and his co-defendants were charged with supporting the OLF, but AI considered them prisoners of conscience. Hundreds of Oromo people detained in November 2005 were reportedly still held during 2006 without charge or trial, as well as others detained in previous years for alleged OLF connections.

.

Martin Adler, 47 yr old father of two, was shot from behind by a hooded gunman who then melted into the crowd. His Oromo acquaintances also believe that an Ethiopian government agent was responsible. A Dutch NGO employee met a similar fate in Dire Dawa in the mid 1990s.

Martin Adler, moments before he was shot dead on 23 June.

.

According accounts from refugees and visitors and according to reports by investigators from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the widespread detention and mistreatment of civilians who criticise or oppose the government in Ethiopia continues, undiminished.  About 35 000 prisoners of conscience remain in detention without trial, accused by the government of supporting the Oromo Liberation Front, or other opposition groups. A large amount of information regarding abuses following post-election disturbances and related arrests is available. Although much more reports of abuses which have taken place in remote areas are received by ORAB and OSG .The  Oromo Relief Association in Belgium  is a non-political organisation which attempts to raise awareness of human rights abuses in  Oromia (Ethiopia.)

According to OSG  report 2007  3,874 extra-judicial killings


 


and 925 disappearances of civilians suspected of supporting OLF opposing the government. All of these have been Oromo people. 35 000 of civilians have been imprisoned according to reports of 2007.Torture and rape of prisoners is commonplace, especially in unofficial or secret  detention centres, often in military camps.

Lack of democracy and accountability of government in Ethiopia is the single most important factor in the poverty, under-development and low quality and length of life in OROMIA.

Today

Torture and ill-treatment

Torture was reported by methods including electric shocks and beatings on the feet while tied upside down. The victims were political prisoners, particularly those detained on suspicion of supporting armed political groups such as the OLF and ONLFy there are more than 250,000 Oromo refugees throughout Africa. 


,.

 Some sources suggest that up to 35,000 Oromo people are still political prisoners.

The Ethiopian government continues to deny many of its citizens’ basic human rights. Police and security forces have harassed, illegally detained, tortured, and in some cases, killed members of the political opposition, demonstrators and suspected members of Oromo Liberation Front. 

Food Security
Ethiopia has a chronic food insecurity problem, and in recent years failed rains have left millions of people in need of food aid.  
A planned resettlement of 2.2 million people from drought-prone areas to relatively fertile and underpopulated land. However, appalling logistical failures have left many of the 350,000 who have already moved without access to clean water, health care, shelter, education, or even food. Many resettled populations suffer from unacceptably high levels of morbidity, malnutrition, and child mortality. These problems may worsen as the pace of resettlement accelerates in the next 2-3 years. Many settlers have been induced to migrate to the new sites by false promises of schools, clinics, wells, food aid, and new houses.

Populsation:  40% of  77 million  Ethiopan population.estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)

Comparison human development basic indicators Ethiopia/Oromia versus Belgium

Indicators       country     Ethiopia/Oromia           country       Belgium

Population growth rate      2.7%                                     0.12

Birth rate                  44.68births/1000 pop    

Death rate                17.84/1000 pop                 10.29/1000 pop

Net migration rate 0.13/1000 pop                          1.2/1000

Infant mortality rate 99.96 deaths/1000 pop         4.56/1000
Life expectancy at birth          44.68 years         78.92 years

Fertilty rate          7childrenborn/woman        1.64childrenborn/woman

HIV/AIDSAdult prevalence rate  10.63%       0.2%

People living with HIV/AIDS       3 million   10 000

Deaths                                    280 000        less than 100(2003)

Literacy rate read &write  15 age   35.5%    99%

GDP real growth rate                 2%            3%

GDP purchasing power parity   $600            342.5 billion

Popultion below poverty line    50%         4%

Note on the comparability of country-specific data: . For example,While the information published by some governments may initially appear identical, the different concepts used can affect the comparability of the data. Because of these differences, it is necessary to exercise caution when drawing conclusions based on the comparison of migration statistics of several countries. The Country and Comparative Data Tool presents country-specific data published by governments worldwide. The table choices available in the Country and Comparative Data Tool are limited by the countries’ preferred data formats as well as the general availability of the data.

Country: Belgium

repatriation of Oromos who fled to Kenya for refugee from war and famine in earlier years is expected to continue for several years; small numbers of Sudanese and Somali refugees, who fled to Ethiopia from the fighting or famine in their own countries, continue to return to their homes

Nationality:  noun: Oromian(s) adjective:Oromian
Ethnic groups:  Oromo 40%, Amhara and Tigre 32%, Sidamo 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1%
Religions:  Muslim 50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 30%-35%, animist 20%, other 3%-8%
Languages: Oromiffa, Amharic, Tigre, Guaragige, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)

GDP – composition by sector:  agriculture:  45% industry:  12% services:  43% (1999 est.)Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%:  3% highest 10%:  33.7% (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):  5% (2000 est.)
Labor force – by occupation:  agriculture and animal husbandry 80%, government and services 12%, industry and construction 8% (1985)
Budget:  revenues:  $1 billion expenditures:  $1.48 billion, including capital expenditures of $415 million (FY96/97)
Industries:  food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metals processing, cement
Electricity – production:  1.625 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity – production by source:  fossil fuel:  3.08% hydro:  96.92% nuclear:  0% other:  0% (1999)
Electricity – consumption:  1.511 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture – products:  cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, sugarcane, potatoes, qat; hides, cattle, sheep, goats
Exports:  $460 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports – commodities:  coffee, gold, leather products, oilseeds, qat
Exports – partners:  Germany 16%, Japan 13%, Djibouti 10%, Saudi Arabia 7% (1999 est.)
Imports:  $1.25 billion (f.o.b., 1999)
Imports – commodities:  food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles
Debt – external:  $10 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid – recipient:  $367 million (FY95/96)
Fiscal year:  8 July – 7 July

Belgium

The Human Development Index – going beyond income

Each year since 1990 the Human Development Report has published the human development index (HDI) that looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being. The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income). The index is not in any sense a comprehensive measure of human development. It does not, for example, include important indicators such as inequality and difficult to measure indicators like respect for human rights and political freedoms. What it does provide is a broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being.The HDI for Belgium is 0.945, which gives Belgium a rank of 13th out of 177 countries with data (Table 1).
Table 1: Belgium’s human development index 2004
HDI value Life expectancy at birth
(years)
Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio
(%)
GDP per capita

Oromia Health Bureau

 

Health Infrastructure:  According to the 2000 (EFY) Health and Health Related Indicators published by FMoH, Oromia has 31 Hospitals, 242 Health Centers and 3,758 Health Posts.
Capital City: The capital city for the Oromia Regional State is Finfinnee.

Population: Based on 2000 (EFY) figures from the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia, Oromia has an estimated total population of 28,067,000, consisting of 14,008,000 men and 14,059,000 women. 86.2% of the population is estimated to be rural inhabitants, while 13.8% are urban.

Area: An estimated area of 353,006.81 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 75.22 people per square kilometer.

Contact Information 

Oromia Regional Health Bureau
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone: +25111-5-521198
Fax: +25111-5-533629
Email: ohbhead@ethionet.et ohbhead@ethionet.et

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