Statement of the Oromo Qeerroo on the Market Boycott and Stay-at-Home Campaign in Oromia

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August 25, 2017

The Oromia-wide economic boycott and stay-at-home campaign announced by Oromo activists, popularly known as Qeeroo Oromoo, commenced throughout Oromia as scheduled on August 23, 2017. The campaign completed its third day and is expected to remain in place as planned until August 27, 2017.

As planned, the campaign started on the scheduled day throughout Oromia. In some areas, it actually commenced at dusk on the eve of the scheduled days. For three days, businesses in large and small towns, daily markets in rural villages and inter-city transactions remained closed. Transport services leading to Finfinne, the main arteries of economic activities and supply lines to the center were discontinued. City buses and transport within cities and between cities were not in service. In short, the Oromia region came to a standstill soon after the boycott commenced and remain in effect for three days throughout Oromia.

The campaign was launched following the lifting of the state of emergency that was introduced in October 2016. Contrary to the regime’s claim that the state of emergency succeeded in suppressing the Oromo protests, we made a conscious decision to use time to regroup and strategize the next phase of the struggle after an arduous year of sustained resistance against a brutal totalitarian regime. At the end of the state of emergency, we deemed it necessary to counter the regime’s claims and demonstrate the protests have resumed in a different form.

The campaign was launched to achieve measurable objectives. First, it was meant to send an unmistakable message to the regime that the Oromo protest cannot be suppressed and that the struggle will continue until its longstanding demand for self-determination is achieved. Second, it was designed to deny the regime its undeserved claim to legitimacy on the basis of economic performance by slowing down economic activities without severely damaging people’s livelihoods. Third, it was intended to affirm the unity Oromo nation and the popular base of Oromo nationalism by showing that the Oromo people can rise in unison and act in concert at a time of their own choosing. Forth, it was planned to demonstrate that the Oromo struggle has shifted from resistance mode to a focused struggle for victory.

At the end of the third day, we have determined that these objectives have been fully achieved. The economic effect of the boycotts was felt in the major cities of the neighboring countries. The success of the campaign is so complete and comprehensive that a reassessment was deemed necessary. Having determined that the campaign has achieved its goals in record time and that the campaign has proven the Oromo qeerroo’s capacity to strike at the strength of the regime, we have decided to declare victory and call off the campaign at the end of the third day. This means, the boycott campaign and stay-at-home campaign will end at 6 PM Finfinne time on August 25, 2017.

As we end this campaign, we want our adversaries to know that this generation of Oromo nationalists will respond in way that its commensurate to the enemy’s egregious actions. We are satisfied that the campaign has driven home a message that we will not rest until the longstanding goals the Oromo national movement have been achieved. We want the adversary to know that we were deeply outraged at the public humiliation of our respected and august political leaders, Dr. Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba and we will not accept further humiliation our leaders and our nation. Second, we will not tolerate the dismemberment of Oromia. The government has been given sufficient warning that the arming of mercenaries to murder Oromo residents of Oromia and carving out of Oromo lands under any circumstances, whether that land is around Finfinne or in eastern and southeastern Oromia or southern Oromia. Third, we will not accept the attempt to drive Oromo businesses into bankruptcy and Oromo street side peddlers and vendors out of existence.

Finally, we want the Oromo people to consider this campaign as an instance of rededication to the longstanding Oromo demands. The Oromo struggle will continue until the Oromo people have established full control over their governance, the resources of Oromia and their individual and collective identity. Oromo protesters didn’t die in the thousands so that the surrogates of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front can become the legitimate champions Oromo nationalism and reformers who would return civil administration to Oromia. The Oromo struggle will not be completed until genuine self-rule has been established in Oromia and all of Ethiopia. The Oromo struggle will not complete its journey until its representatives have achieved full control over Oromia’s resources, including Finfinne. Investors must know that their investments are welcome on condition that they are legal, incorruptible and undisruptive of indigenous livelihoods. The Oromo struggle was not waged to witness tampering with the main achievement of this generation: the use of qubee alphabet in written afaan Oromo. The Oromo resistance will continue with determination and dedication.

Victory to the Oromo People
Qeerroo Oromoo

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