By Awol Kassim Allo
This is highly significant and it is not a convenient face-saving gesture aimed at disguising the true reasons for his exit. If media reports are true, this resignation is a public confirmation of the quiet desperation that has been incubating within the OPDO. But most importantly, it is a conclusive evidence of the unraveling of EPRDF’s vassal configuration.
For a quarter of a century, OPDO played a pivotal role in the TPLF/EPRDF vassal system – it was and still is the pearl in the EPRDF’s crown. Abba Dula’s departure is the first powerful indication of EPRDF/TPLF losing this ‘gem’ that gave an oppressor the face of a liberator. Without this gem, the center cannot hold, and without the center, things could fall apart, and fall apart rapidly.
Abba Dula’s resignation is also timely. As TPLF leeches itself onto Abdi Ille and turns to brinkmanship, OPDO is demanding respect for itself and for the Oromo people. No self-respecting organization or individual can crawl along another ungrateful organization in the face of the groundswell of movements for change that has brought about a rupture in the governing narratives and a fissure in the prevailing balances of forces.
It is time for the OPDO to respect itself, to redeem itself, and transform itself into an autonomous and responsible agent that can defend the interest of the Oromo people and the Ethiopian state. This process is not straightforward and easy but OPDO cannot continue business as usual. Abba Dula’s resignation is a clear indication of the change that is unfolding at the highest level of the OPDO and EPRDF.
The conflict on the Eastern front is extremely concerning. The bizarre and genocidal rhetoric by Abdi Ille against Oromos and Amharas is a sign of something sinister but the conspiracy threatens to unleash forces that neither Abdi nor its handlers could control and might ultimately cripple the Ethiopian state and the federal arrangement. As OPDO tries to free itself, it is important it reaches out to other members of the EPRDF, mainly the ANDM. The sheer number of people you represent within the current arrangement means that you have a leading responsibility to reach out and rally others towards building a country that works for everyone, not for the few.
(Awol K Allo is Lecturer in Law at Keele University, UK.)