Abiy Ahmed: The 7th Oromo Prime Minister of Ethiopia

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Restoring the record. (A. Alemayehu)

Following the recent Islamic Oromo genocide on Christian Ethiopians and the genocidal calls of Oromo Extremists for the murder of innocent Amhara/ Orthodox civilians, the debate as to Abiy’s ethnic identity is raging. Just as Obama was forced to publicly refute Trump’s attack of his American birth, PM Abiy was forced to address this ridiculous ethnic identity charge in public.

When Abiy took office as prime minister of Ethiopia just over 2 years ago, Western writers and journalists intentionally or through ignorance, described him as the first Ethiopian Prime Minister / Head of State of Oromo extraction. This blatant lie has not been rebuffed and has, therefore, misled millions. In fact, this false assertion has been repeated many times over the last two years. When one can verify the inaccuracy of this claim by just checking widely available resources, the enormousness of the error gets even more magnified.  One begins to wander if it is an erroneous statement or a malicious claim. Without needing to do a lot of research, just looking at Wikipedia and doing a little fact checking, one can see Abiy Ahmed is actually the 7th Ethiopian Prime Minister of Oromo extraction.

Wikipedia includes 13 names of people who held the position as President of Council of Ministers, Prime Minister etc. in modern Ethiopia. Of those listed, 7 were of prominent Oromo parentage. Please see table below.

NamePositionOromo parentage?
1.Habtegiorgis Dinegde(President of Council of Minsters)Oromo
2.Teferi Mekonen*(President of Council of Minsters, as Regent)Son of Mekkonnen H/Mikael Gudisa (Oromo)

 

3.Abebe Aregai **(President of Council of Minsters)Grandson of Ras Gobena Dachie (Oromo)
4.Endalkachew Mekonnen***(Prime Minister)Grandson of Ras Mengesha Atikem (Oromo)

 

5.Mikael Imiru ***(Prime Minister)Grandson of Ras Mengesha Atikem (Oromo)

 

6.Tesfaye Dinka(Prime Minster)

 

Oromo
7.Abiy Ahmed(Prime Minster)Oromo

List of Oromo Prime Ministers of Ethiopia****

*Ras Mekonnen, Tefri’s father was a famous a Selale/Doba Oromo general and administrator. Teferi Mekonnen is H.I.M. Haile Selassie’s name before crowning.  Teferi’s maternal grandfather was also a Muslim Wollo Oromo.

**Abebe Aregai’s grandfather is the renowned Oromo General Ras Gobena Dachie who is also grandfather to PM Mikael Imiru’s mother **Endalkachew and Mikeal Imiru share Atikem (Atikemi) (a Gojjam/Wellega Oromo).  Atikem means where are you from? In Oromiffa. ****In an ancient country like Ethiopia, it is only reasonable to accept that most people have multiple identities. Someone’s being Oromo does not exclude their having other ethnic identities.

If we scan the same historical period for a listing of Ethiopian Heads of State, we will find that out of the 7 Heads of State, 4 had prominent Oromo ancestry. Thus Iyasu, Haile Selassie, Mengistu and Abiy Ahmed were all born to Oromo fathers.

However, if people can deny the Oromo identity of Abiy Ahmed today, it should not be surprising to see them strip the Oromo heritage of political personages of yesterday.

Such misrepresentation is harmful to the history of the gallant Oromo people, the history of Ethiopia and the history of Africans all over the world. The myopic projects of politicians to dwarf the giants of yesterday will only create a defeated, hateful generation suffering from an undeserved inferiority complex. The Oromo have dominated Ethiopian politics for the last four hundred years.  The Oromo have been instrumental in the defeat of colonial forces at Adwa. Oromo intellectuals and military personnel were at the forefront of the Ethiopian Revolution. Oromo individuals have broken so many world records and do not need your false history. Abiy Ahmed is the first Oromo, first Ethiopian and first East African to win the Nobel Peace Prize. However, Abiy Ahmed is not the first Oromo prime minster or head of state of Ethiopia.

 

25 Comments

  1. Let’s not forget Emperor Hailesselasie was 50% Oromo , 25% Gurage and 25% Amara.

    Mengistu Haile Mariam Wolde Ayanais 50% Oromo and 50% Konso

    Hailemariam Desalegn is 50% Wolayta and 50% Konso.

    Meles Zenawi was 100% Tigre with Eritrean and Tigrayan mix blood, closely related to Isayas Afeworki.

    Abiyot-Abiy Ahmed’s mother is disputed , some say she was Amara from Gondar while others say she was Oromo from Burayu, his father was a muslim Oromo who passed away in June of 2019 due to complications which arose from high blood pressure and gastritis diseases.

  2. Endalkachew Mekonnen’s father, Ras Bitwoded Mekonnen Endalkachew was also a prime minister.That makes eight Oromo prime ministers.
    Brigadier General Teferi Benti was also the head of Derg for more than three years. He was the fifth Oromo head of state.
    As a matter of fact, Oromos were at the cener of Ethiopian politics.
    All the landlords like Ras Mesfin Sleshi, Endalkachew Mekonnen, Leul Ras Kassa, Ras Biru, etc. were Oromos, but people thought they were Amharas and blamed us as oppresors while they were oppresed by their own people. Due to ignorance I used to feel guilty because of these suckers.
    How ironic for Oromos to tell the world they were marginalized from politics.

  3. The list mentioned above is selective and incomplete. Included below are some of the most well known Ethiopians of Oromo origin in politics, military, arts, literature, athletes, academia and other fields:

    Politicians

    Ababiya Abajobir
    Abadula Gemeda
    Abdullahi Yousuf
    Abiy Ahmed Ali – Prime Minister of Ethiopia
    Addisu Arega Kitessa
    Alemayehu Atomsa
    Aster Mamo
    Birtukan Mideksa
    Bulcha Demeksa
    Dawud Ibsa Ayana
    Diriba Kuma
    Getachew Jigi Demeksa
    Girma Wolde-Giorgis – President of Ethiopia[135]
    Jawar Mohammed – Activist and member of OFC[136]
    Junedin Sado
    Kuma Demeksa
    Lemma Megersa – Ethiopian Minister of Defence
    Lencho Letta
    Merera Gudina
    Muktar Kedir
    Mulatu Teshome – President of Ethiopia[135][137]
    Negasso Gidada
    Negeri Lencho
    Shimelis Abdisa
    Sinknesh Ejigu
    Tafari Benti
    Takele Uma Banti
    Tesfaye Dinka
    Workneh Gebeyehu

    Royals

    Abba Bok’a
    Abba Gomol
    Abba Jifar I
    Abba Jifar II – Governor
    Abba Jofir
    Abba Magal
    Abba Rebu
    Bekere Godana
    Kemeria Abajobir Abajifar
    Kumsa Moroda
    Malik Ambar – Governor[138]
    Scholars
    Gebisa Ejeta
    Mohammed Rashad Abdulle

    Military

    Abebe Aregai
    Ali II of Yejju
    Balcha Safo
    Belay Zeleke
    Birhanu Jula Gelalcha
    Dori of Yejju
    Gobana Dacche – Governor
    HabteGiyorgis Dinagde Botera – Governor
    Jagama Kello
    Mikael of Wollo

    Arts, literature, scholars and others

    Ali Birra – Artist
    Bakri Sapalo – Historian and Artist
    Boonaa Mohammed – poetry
    Hachalu Hundessa – Singer-songwriter
    Shantam Shubissa
    Thomas Gobena
    Tilahun Gessesse – Artist
    Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin – Artist
    Yadesa Bojia – Graphic Designer and Artist
    Liben Eabisa – Co-Founder of Tadias Magazine
    Gebisa Ejeta
    Mohammed Rashad Abdulle
    Abebech Gobena – Humanitarian
    Abune Petros – Bishop
    Ahmad Taqi Sheikh Mohammed Rashid – Hero
    Aster Ganno
    Baro Tumsa
    Elemo Qiltu – Hero
    Haile Fida– Hero
    Iyasus Mo’a
    Jaarraa Abbaa Gadaa – Hero
    Juneidi Basha
    Kelbessa Negewo
    Mohammed Zakir Meyra
    Onesimos Nesib – Historian
    Tadesse Birru – Hero
    Waqo Gutu – Hero

    Athletes

    Abebe Bikila – Athlete
    Abebe Dinkesa
    Abebe Wakgira
    Abera Kuma
    Almaz Ayana – Athlete
    Asha Gigi
    Asrat Megersa
    Bekana Daba
    Belaynesh Oljira
    Bilisuma Shugi
    Bizunesh Urgesa
    Derartu Tulu – Athlete
    Deresse Mekonnen
    Deriba Merga
    Ejegayehu Dibaba
    Elfenesh Alemu
    Emebt Etea
    Fate Tola
    Fatuma Roba – Athlete
    Feyisa Lilesa – Athlete
    Firehiwot Tufa Dado
    Gelete Burka
    Genzebe Dibaba
    Gezahegne Abera
    Gudisa Shentema
    Guye Adola
    Ibrahim Jeilan
    Imane Merga
    Kenenisa Bekele – Athlete
    Lelisa Desisa
    Lencho Skibba
    Mare Dibaba
    Meseret Hailu
    Meseret Mengistu
    Mestawet Tufa
    Metiku Megersa
    Mohammed Aman
    Netsanet Gudeta
    Sifan Hassan – Athlete
    Sileshi Sihine
    Tilahun Regassa
    Tariku Bekele
    Tamiru Demisse
    Tesfaye Tola
    Tesfaye Abera
    Tiki Gelana
    Tirunesh Dibaba – Athlete
    Worku Bikila (born 1968), long distance runner
    Yacob Jarso
    Yomif Kejelcha

  4. The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia (34.5% of the population), numbering about 37 million.[55] They are predominantly concentrated in Oromia Region in central Ethiopia, the largest region in the country by both population and area. They speak Afaan Oromo, the official language of Oromia.[56] Oromos constitute the fifth most populous ethnic group among Africans as a whole and the most populous among Horners specifically.

    Oromo also have a notable presence in northern Kenya in the Marsabit County, Isiolo County and Tana River County Totaling to about 470,700: 210,000 Borana 110,500 Gabra 85,000 Orma 45,200 Sakuye and 20,000 Waata. There are also Oromo in the former Wollo and Tigray provinces of Ethiopia.[58]

    The Oromo are divided into two major branches that break down into an assortment of clan families. From west to east. The Borana Oromo, also called the Boran, are a pastoralist group living in southern Ethiopia (Oromia) and northern Kenya.[59][60] The Boran inhabit the former provinces of Shewa, Welega, Illubabor, Kafa, Jimma, Sidamo, northern and northeastern Kenya, and a small refugee population in some parts of Somalia.

    Barentu/Barentoo or (older) Baraytuma is the other moiety of the Oromo people. The Barentu Oromo inhabit the eastern parts of the Oromia Region in the Zones of Mirab Hararghe or West Hararghe, Arsi Zone, Bale Zone, Debub Mirab Shewa Zone or South West Shewa, Dire Dawa region, the Jijiga Zone of the Somali Region, Administrative Zone 3 of the Afar Region, Oromia Zone of the Amhara Region, and are also found in the Raya Azebo Aanaas in the Tigray Region.

    The Oromo speak the Oromo language as a mother tongue. It belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic family. It is the most widely spoken language of the Cushitic languages and the fourth most widely spoken language of Africa after Arabic, Hausa, and Swahili.[61] The Oromo language’s main linguistic varieties are Borana-Arsi-Guji Oromo, Eastern Oromo, Orma and West Central Oromo.

    Modern Oromo writing systems used to transcribe in Latin script.[63] Additionally, the Sapalo script was historically used to write Oromo. It was invented by the Oromo scholar Sheikh Bakri Sapalo (also known by his birth name, Abubaker Usman Odaa) during the 1950s.

    Religion:

    The Oromo people followed their traditional religion Waaqeffanna and resistant to religious conversion before assimilation in sultanates and Christian kingdoms.[12][14][43][44] The influential 30-year war from 1529 to 1559 between the three parties – the Oromo, the Christians and the Muslims – dissipated the political strengths of all three. The religious beliefs of the Oromo people evolved in this socio-political environment.[43] In the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, Protestant or Catholic missionaries efforts abled to create Oromo Protestant or Catholic followers.

    In the late 19th century, Orthodox was endorsed by the state. Tewodros and Yohannes were known for their intolerance towards other religions. The religion hostile to that of Amhara race who lorded over them helped the expansion of Islam. The first to accept Islam as a resisistance ideology were the Wollo Oromo.[67] The Arsi Oromo also accepted Islam in response to the war and massacre by the Christian state under Minilik.[68] Although Minilik baptized by force the Oromo of Shewa, the emperor felt he had to tolerate the Islam in areas like Jimma and Harar after the use of force in the past turned out to be dangerous.

    In the 2007 Ethiopian census for Oromia region, which included both Oromo and non-Oromo residents, there was a total of 13,107,963 followers of Christianity (8,204,908 Orthodox, 4,780,917 Protestant, 122,138 Catholic), 12,835,410 followers of Islam, 887,773 followers of traditional religions, and 162,787 followers of other religions. Accordingly, Oromo is 48.1% Christian (8,204,908 or 30.4% Orthodox, 4,780,917 or 17.7% Protestant, 122,138 Catholic), 47.6% Muslim and 3.3% followers of traditional religions.

    According to a 2009 publication of Association of Muslim Social Scientists and International Institute of Islamic Thought, “probably just over 60% of the Oromos follow Islam, over 30% follow Christianity and less than 3% follow traditional religion”.

    According to a 2016 estimate by James Minahan, about half of the Oromo people are Sunni Muslim, a third are Ethiopian Orthodox, and the rest are mostly Protestants or follow their traditional religious beliefs. The traditional religion is more common in southern Oromo populations and Christianity more common in and near the urban centers, while Muslims are more common near the Somalian border and in the north.

  5. This is a good topic to educate each other about. Owing to the fact that the recent ethnically and religiously motivated attacks in the Oromia region by some vicious and criminal elements in the region, in the last few months the most misunderstood Oromo term on the social media has been the word Qeerroo. There is a great recent essay published on Ethiopia Insight by Worku Burayu that explains the true meaning and origin of the common word therefore helping to lift the ignorance surrounding it:

    “Who is Qeerroo?

    Qeerroo is an Afaan Oromo word literally meaning ‘unmarried young man’, as Qaarree is for ‘unmarried young woman’.

    In Oromo’s Gadaa socio-economic and political system, Qeerroo represents the youth in the social strata of Gadaa structure that signifies the potential force of the Oromo society who are full of energy, enthusiasm, and defenders of the dignity of the Oromo people and their homeland Oromia.

    Qeerroo played a vital role in the organized Oromo struggle of the early 1970s.

    For example, the song Gaaddisaa Abdullaahii sung titled ‘Qeerroo-mataa-tuutaa, hin jarjartu suuta’ in 1970s was to signify that Qeerroo is the engine of the Oromo Struggle. Since 1991, Qeerroo has re-occurred as what is called the “Qubee generation” to mark the era of introduction of Qubee script and Afaan Oromoo as medium of instruction in schools for the first time in Ethiopian history. This was the result of decades resistance spearheaded by the OLF and realized during the brief period that the OLF participated in the transitional government of Ethiopia.

    Unlike its traditional meaning, the origin of the Qeerroo term in Qeerroo Bilisummaa Oromoo’s setting, is derived from the word “Qeerrensa/Qeerramsa” whose literal meaning is “tiger,” to symbolize a fierce fighter, a dignified being, active and defenders of survival and dignity. “Qeerrenso” and “Jaajjabee” are very common terms in OLF and Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) often used to adore those fierce young fighters.

    In short, as Qeerroo represents the dynamism of the Oromo youth in a peaceful struggle against tyranny, Jaajjabee represents an admirable special young force in Oromo armed struggle. Hence, in this context, Qeerroo and Jaajjabe are gender neutral. Qeerroo is an idea of cultured resistance, represents a relentless pursuit of liberty, equipped with mental readiness and resilience which leaves no stone unturned to get what it pursues.”

  6. Since when Abebe Bikila and Belay Zeleke became Oromo?
    Abebe Bikila is a full fledged Amara, people make a mistake because he use his step father name as his last name. Belay zeleke as an Oromo is fabricated by Tesfaye Gebreab as usual.

  7. The Oromos are some the greatest and less appreciated defenders of Ethiopian sovereignty and independence. It is well understood by all generals in 1896 including by the king himself that if it was not for the bravery of the oromo contingency and the gallant horsemen Ethiopia would not been victorious at the battle of Adwa, which would have altered Ethiopian history as we know it today. It’s tragic that the so called modern Oromo intellectuals neglect that part of their proud Ethiopian history. Hope the future generation will correct them

  8. The premise of this article is extremely dangerous and faulty. It makes an argument about some raging topic of Abiy’s Oromo heritage which none except the Oromuma Onegawian extremists bring up. No one should care to respond to Onegawians because what they say in the morning they will not repeat after lunch. Oromuma Onegawians are the cadres of Abiy and Shimelis and OPDO. Gurage Amhara Konso Oromo Tigre etc… are all but limbs on a body called Ethiopia. Those great Ethiopians that came before these ethnic extremists like Abiy weren’t confused about their identity. This article by labeling them as Oromo only degrades them and what they stood for. They themselves did not self identify as one Ethnic group they identified as Ethiopian. They were Tewahedo Ethiopians which is why they didn’t have the hatred politics which Abiy and his Pentecostal Prosperity Gospel Party are instigating. Abiy is a Europeanized individual who is unable to understand his own identity since he himself was raised by his Masters the TPLF. As an identity politician he has an inferiority complex so he has to overcompensate by trying to Gada/Oromize and homogenize Ethiopia. It makes no sense to say I am only Konso or Gurage… if somewhere in my lineage my grandfather was from that ethnicity. We exists in nature as a synergy of many many identities. And if we want to live in peace we must embrace all of them and learn how to use Tewahedo to live in harmony. The European dualists (Plato Aristotle Hagel Locke Martin Luther Marx etc..) who influence modern day politics and religion in the Europe/America couldn’t understand the Tewahedo concept so they believed in materialistic duality. It is unnatural and makes no sense. Which body part are you? a foot or an arm or a neck or a what. This is a silly argument and as long as we have these know nothing Europeanized/Americanized Ethiopian leaders we will continue to have the same identity political problem they themselves are having. We don’t have their type of problems our backgrounds and our country context are vastly different. African and Ethiopian philosophy is based on Tewahedo Synergy not Gada/Oromuma homogenization of a people. Gada failed in the 16th century and will also fail miserably today.

  9. Here we go!!! There gonna be a rash of suicide in Minnesota after reading this article. Hey Brother Al. You just cost yourself a lawsuit. This bigot lawyer will be coming at you!!! How dare you write this article to tell us there were Oromo prime ministers!!! Your name is gonna be raised with loud mouthed slogan ‘Down, Down Al!!’ in Seattle this weekend where these bigots will be holding a military drill in preparation to liberate my people!!! Not your people, mine!!! The new commander-in-chief is the West Point graduate and lawyer who was fired from his job after he was caught lying on his resume/application. He is a wounded sore loser. The 7 names you mentioned are not Oromos but all of them were the ‘N’ people, they will go! In fact the first 6 individuals were Filipinos, they may quip!! When was the last time my Oromos were leaders of the ‘Abyssinian Empire’? O’Boy. You are in deep trouble. Also don’t you dare mention the word ‘Ethiopia’ because there was no such country, ever, they will lambast! Abyssinian Empire was, they will gargle! And get your record straight, they grumble! Abiy has no Oromo heritage. He is 100% black/white Puerto Rican, they will roar in laughter! Hayi-like-that!!! Oromos were never inter-married with other ethnic people. Oromos are the only pure race around anywhere in the world, they will accost you with it! Hayi-like-that too!!!
    Me? I’m gonna report you to Minnesota as a habitual ‘Settler’!!!

  10. Oromo is not majority. it’s made up, our videos likes and dislikes shows it. The negative comments are not even big we outnumber them. There are many Amhara people all over the world, I go around the world they are not big they just like to feed hate and hold umbrellas to show they are big lol they are small stop tell us lies. When we go out we are big they just few thugs that gets pay by Ethiopia enemies to yell outside Ethiopia embassy. What happened to the millions lol keep doing us wrong I think you’re asking us to become leader. Like I said the hate we see it so small they don’t even have big numbers anywhere expect in Minnesota.
    Like I said they get pay by Egypt to travel all over USA and yell, you know where they do after they yell lol they go Amhara restaurants lol majority makes businesses that’s clear indication we are majority, when minority set business insulting us they won’t make no money period. I facking hate people who repeat the TPLF education stop saying things like this ethnic is large this ethnic is this your statement don’t pass the what majority is.

  11. Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed is the Abebe Bikila of Ethiopian politics. He is the Gold medal winner with his amazingly calm, cool and collected personality and the right leader for the moment. Can you think of anyone else who is capable of taming the restless Oromo youth while building bridges with the rest of Ethiopia? And that’s what Ethiopia needs right now to survive as a country despite the fake news propaganda and other conservative (backward looking) outlets and individual politicians and agitators. May peace be up on you.

  12. I forgot to mention Tesfaye Dinka as a Prime Minister of Ethiopia. That means there were nine Oromo heritage PMs, and five Oromo heritage Heads of State. Debunks marginalization political outcry.

  13. Dear Yetarik Astemari

    This ethic politics irritates me, but the debate around this article would probably help to clarify and ridicule the lies of the ethnic politicians in particular – TPLFites, OLFites, Jawarites and the Qerro lot.

    For whatever it is worth, I think you need to make some corrections in your list. At times it looks an arbitrary compilation, it would help if you could indicate sources. Further you list Tafaroi Benti and Negasso Gidada under ‘Politicians’. They were more than just politicians; they were Head of State and President of the country respectively.

    Plus, I suggest you add one more category, that of ‘Anarchists’. That is where Jawar’s name should appear.

    Having said that with a few exceptions I love and respect those in the list. Great Ethiopians!!

  14. Fitawrari Habte Giyorgis Dinagde was Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Ministry of Defense during the reign of Menelik II.

    Historically, Afaan Oromo-speaking people used their own Gadaa system of governance. Oromos also had a number of independent kingdoms, which they shared with the Sidama people. Among these were the Gibe region kingdoms of Kaffa, Gera, Gomma, Garo, Gumma, Jimma, Leeqa-Nekemte and Limmu-Ennarea.

    The earliest known documented and detailed history of the Oromo people was by the Ethiopian monk Abba Bahrey who wrote in 1593. After the 16th century, they are mentioned more often, such as in the records left by Abba Pawlos, Joao Bermudes, Jerorimo Lobo, Galawdewos, Sarsa Dengel and others. These records suggest that the Oromo were pastoral people in their history, who stayed together. Their animal herds began to expand rapidly and they needed more grazing lands. They began migrating, not together, but after separating. They lacked kings, and had elected leaders called luba based on a gada system of government instead. By the late 16th century, two major Oromo confederations emerged: Afre and Sadaqa, which respectively refer to four and three in their language, with Afre emerging from four older clans, and Sadaqa out of three. These Oromo confederations were originally located in south-central Ethiopia, specifically the northwest of the Borena region near Lake Abaya, but started moving north in the 16th century in what is termed as the “Great Oromo Migration”.

    According to Richard Pankhurst, an Ethiopia historian, this migration is linked to the first incursions into inland Horn of Africa by Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim. According to historian Marianne Bechhaus-Gerst, the migration was one of the consequences of fierce wars of attrition between Christian and Muslim armies in the Horn of Africa region in the 15th and 16th century which killed a lot of people and depopulated the regions near the Galla lands, but also probably a result of droughts in their traditional homelands. Further, they acquired horses and their gada system helped coordinate well equipped Oromo warriors who enabled fellow Oromos to advance and settle into newer regions starting in the 1520s. This expansion continued through the 17th century.

    Both peaceful integration and violent competition between Oromos and other neighboring ethnicities such as the Amhara, Sidama, Afar and the Somali affected politics within the Oromo community. Between 1500 and 1800, there were waves of wars and struggle between highland Christians, coastal Muslim and polytheist population in the Horn of Africa. This caused major redistribution of populations. The northern, eastern and western movement of the Oromos from the south around 1535 mirrored the large-scale expansion by Somalis inland. The 1500–1800 period also saw relocation of the Amhara people, and helped influence contemporary ethnic politics in Ethiopia.

    According to oral and literary evidence, Borana Oromo clan and Garre Somali clan mutually victimized each other in seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly near their eastern borders. There were also periods of relative peace. According to Günther Schlee, the Garre Somali clan replaced the Borana Oromo clan as the dominant ethnic group in this region. The Borana violence against their neighbors, states Schlee, was unusual and unlike their behavior inside their community where violence was considered deviant.

  15. Awash,

    Noted. Sources are Jimma Times, Wikipedia, VOA Afaan Oromo, BBC News, OMN, Ethiopia Insight, Tadias, Addis Standard, World Athletics and other sources.

    Here is another bit of interesting information from Harvard University’s Beekan Erena (Passion,Love & Faith makes all things possible), He taught the Oromo in 2016 in Harvard’s African Language Program. In 2018 he served as a native speaker consultant in the Harvard linguistics department. He was an adjunct lecturer in literature at the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2017. He has published numerous books and articles in his native language, Oromo. Before joining Harvard, he was a Lecturer at Ambo University, Oromia and taught Oromo literature and Folklore. Beekan has earned his BA and MA degree in Oromo Education in 2006 and 2009 from Jimma and Addis Ababa Universities. He studied for his Ph.D. in documentary linguistics and culture at the same University. His study was disrupted because of the political turmoil in the country and he joined Harvard in 2015 as a visiting scholar. Beekan is experienced in higher education and, skilled in E-learning and numerous forms of media and multimedia. He loves to learn new things which inspire him and others to fulfill the dream of the dreamers.

    Beekan Erena: “Oromo have several clans (gosa, qomoo). The Oromo are said to be of two major groups or moieties descended from the two ‘houses’ (wives) of the person Oromo represented by Borana and Barentu (Barenttuma). Boranawas senior (angafa) and Barentu junior (qutisu). Such a dichotomy is quite common in Oromo society and serves some aspects of their political and social life. The descendants of Borana and Barentu form the major Oromo clans and sub-clans. They include Borana, Macha, Tuullama, Wallo, Garrii, Gurraa, Arsi, Karrayyu, ltu, Ala, Qalloo, Anniyya, Tummugga or Marawa, Orma, Akkichuu, Liban, Jile, Gofa, Sidamo, Sooddo, Galaan, Gujii and many others. However, in reality there is extensive overlap in the area they occupy and their community groups. And since marriage among Oromo occurs only between different clans there was high degree of homogeneity.

    The Oromo make up a large proportion of the population of llubbabor, Arsi, Baale, Shawa, Hararge, Wallo, Wallagga, Sidamo and Kafa. They are also found in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Somalia. Out of the 50 nations of Africa, only three have larger population than Oromia. (Excerpted from “Oromia: an Introduction,” by Gadaa Melbaa, Khartoum, Sudan 1988.)

  16. Let’s not forget the ethnic Oromo Tesfaye Gebrekidan who led Ethiopia for a short period of time after Mengistu Hailemariam fled and until TPLF got to power.

  17. Nobles of Oromo Descent Who Ruled Ethiopia
    October 1, 1992 – EthiopianReview.com — 17 Comments ↓
    By Fikre Tolossa

    Ethiopia has not always been ruled by “pure” Amhara and Tigre Monarchs. The fact is that some Oromo blood did indeed flow in the veins of Ethiopian monarchs since the 18th Century. By then the Oromo had already consolidated their power after their rise in the 16th Century.

    I will indicate in this paper some of the personalities of Oromo descent who exerted extraordinary influence on Ethiopian history and governments. The Oromo were important figures throughout the last four hundred years. Crowned as emperors and empresses and granted military and nobility titles, they directed many of the historical events of Ethiopia.

    The first close contact between the Oromo and the Ethiopian monarchy occurred when Prince Susenyos, born in 1571, was captured in his youth by the Boren tribe in a battle. This was the beginning of a relationship that marked the political and historical future of Ethiopia.

    Prince Susenyos learned the Oromo language and grew up in accordance with the Oromo culture. The Oromo treated him amicably as a prince amongst them.

    He joined his relatives at the age of eighteen when he was retrieved in exchange for Oromo captives. When Atse Sertse Dengel died in 1597, some people who feared that Susenyos would ascend to the throne tried to kill him; and he returned to his old friends, the Oromos, for protection and shelter. They welcomed him as a prince once again, and even made him their leader. With the help of his Oromo soldiers, he fought many battles against the Amhara who took over the throne. He was crowned in Gojjam in 1604. He garrisoned two Oromo regiments, Ilmana and Denssa in Gojjam, and made his Oromo soldiers Chewawoch (equivalent to Neftegnoch) over the Amhara peasants. Ilmana Denssa exists to this day as the name of an area in Gojjam.

    Atse Susenyos trusted only his time-tested Oromo soldiers. He promoted a number of them to high ranks and filled his palace with them. At times he was so busy with his Oromo friends that he hardly found time to see the Amharas. Inspite of this, some of his Oromo followers who had seen him as their leader felt betrayed when he became an Amhara emperor and left to fight him. The rest remained loyal to him and served him until the end. Even though the Oromo became part of the ruling class during the reign of Atse Susenyos, it was not until the first three decades of the 18th Century that they were able to sit on the Ethiopian throne directly.

    The first Oromo empress of Ethiopia was Wabi, whose throne name was Welete-Bersabeh, the daughter of an Oromo chieftain from Wollo. She joined the Solomonic Dynasty when she married Emperor Iyasu Berhan- Seged who ruled Ethiopia from Gonder between 1723 and 1747 Ethiopian Calender. After the death of her husband, Empress Bersabeh’s son, Iyoas, became the emperor of Ethiopia.

    Emperor Iyoas appointed Oromos to higher positions like Emperors Susenyos and Iyasu did. He preferred his Oromo kinsmen from Wollo to the Gondere relatives of his grandmother, Empress Mentewab. He brought his Oromo uncles Lubo and Birele from Wollo, and made Lubo his inderasse (viceroy), and appointed Birele as a dejazmach and governor of Begemdir. This was the third time in Ethiopian history when the Oromos and their language dominated the court of an Ethiopian emperor.

    A Yejju Oromo chieftain by the name of Ali Gwangul, popularly known as Ali The Great, defeated Atse Tekle-Giorgis I, Emperor of Ethiopia in 1784 and became the ruler of Ethiopia without crowning himself. After his death in 1788 his brother Ras Aligaz succeeded him and ruled Ethiopia for three year.

    Around 1802, another Yejju Oromo named Grazmach Gugssa, later called Gugssa The Great, became Ras and reigned over Gojjam, Lasta, Begemdir, Semen, Yejju and Wollo from his capital city Debre Tabor. Upon his death in 1825, his son Ras Imam or Yemam succeeded him and reigned over Ethiopia for three years. His brother Ras Mareeye succeeded him in 1828 and ruled until 1831. Ras Mareeye was succeeded by his brother Ras Dori in 1831. In the same year he marched to Tigrai, took over Axum and defeated Dejazmach Sabagadis, the ruler of Tigrai at the Battle of May Islamay. Before Ras Dori succeeded his brother, he was the governor of Damot. When he left his governorship of Damot, another Oromo by the name Ras Gobena ruled Damot.

    Dembia and Quara, the birth place of Emperor Tewodros II in Gonder, were ruled by another Oromo, Dejazmach Alula, the eldest son of Ras Gugssa.

    After the death of Ras Alula, his son Ras Ali ruled Gonder. His widowed mother was Weyzero Menen, the daughter of Liben Amede, an Oromo ruler of Wollo. When Atse Yohannes III married her she became Itege, and as such, and Ethiopian empress.

    When Atse Tewodros subdued all the Ethiopian princes in his effort to unite Ethiopia, his wife, Itege Tewabech, who was one of the daughters of Ras Ali II and the grand daughter of Itege Menen, became an Oromo empress of Ethiopia.

    Ras Gugssa’s grandsons, Merso and Betul (The father of Empress Taitu, Emperor Menelik’s wife), were important noblemen of Oromo descent. When Ras Ali was defeated by Ras Wube, Merso and Betul captured Wube. As a result, Ras Ali rewarded Merso with the governorship of Semen. As the brothers were heading for Semen, Ras Ali changed his mind and arrested the brothers for a while. After a short while he reconciled with them and made them governors of some districts in Gojjam.

    Ras Betul had a son named Wele. Emperor Menelik II favored Wele so much that he promoted him to Ras and appointed him to be the governor of Gonder and Yejju. Ras Wele Betul was one of the heroes of the Battle of Adwa. Ras Wele’s son, Ras Gugssa married Queen Zewditu, the daughter of Emperor Menelik, who became the empress of Ethiopia a few years after the death of her father. Upon her ascension to the throne she divorced Ras Gugssa Wele. He retreated to Gonder which he continued to govern.

    Negus Mikael of Wollo, whose name had been Muhamed Ali before he was converted to Christianity, was the Oromo king of Tigre and Wollo respectively. His son, Lij Iyasu, who was the grandson of Emperor Menelik, reigned over Ethiopia without crowning himself for three years (1913-1916.) Lij Iyasu’s mother, Woizero Shewarega Menelik is said to be half Oromo through her mother Desta, who was supposed to be an Oromo from Wollo.

    An Ethiopian empress of Oromo descent who played a vital role in Ethiopian politics and history in the 2nd half of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century was Taitu Betul, the wife of Emperor Menelik II. It is true to say that she reigned with Menelik in that unforgettable era of Ethiopian history. She was Menelik’s counselor, as well as policy maker in many state affairs. As a matter of fact, it was she who encouraged Menelik to fight the Battle of Adwa against the Italians, in order to save Ethiopia from European colonization and humiliation. She herself fought at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. She was brilliant and her determination discouraged the Europeans who had colonial schemes for Ethiopia.

    Dejazmach Wolde-Mikael Gudissa was another great nobleman of Oromo descent who ruled Gola, near Ankober in Shoa. Negus Sahle-Selassie, the great king of Shoa, was his grand father. Emperor Menelik was his cousin.

    The Oromo also functioned as military and administrative leaders. Fitawrari Habte-Giorgis Dinegede, was an Oromo who was raised to noblehood by Emperor Menelik II who esteemed his merit very highly. He became a counselor in the government and commander-in-chief of the Ethiopian army in 1896 at the end of the Battle of Adwa. Even though many prominent Amharas, including Liqe-Mequas Abate, wished to be in that post, Menelik appointed Fitawrari Habte-Giorgis.

    Fitawrari Habte-Giorgis was known for being a wise statesman who played a vital role in Ethiopian politics. It is true to say that it was because of his influence that Lij Iyasu was replaced by Tefferi Mekonen (Haileselassie I). Had he not been loyal to Emperor Menelik, he had the power and influence to crown himself after the overthrow of Lij Iyasu.

    Dejazmach Balcha Aba Nefsso was another great Oromo general who fought in the Battle of Adwa. He ruled Sidamo and Harer and died at the age of eighty fighting against the fascist Italians in 1936.

    Ras Gobena Dachi was one of Emperor Menelik’s highly revered generals. As the commander Menelik’s army, he participated in several military campaigns to the south. He was famous for being a great military strategist. He is the most controversial figure among Oromo intellectuals. Some Western-educated Oromos do not even want to hear his name blaming him for conquering the south. Others defend him stating that, after all, he was a great soldier who believed in Ethiopian unity, and who acted in a fashion appropriate for his time to achieve that goal.

    The most recent example of Oromo genealogy involves Empress Menen Asfaw and her husband Emperor Haile Selassie. The last Oromo Empress of Ethiopia, Itege Menen Asfaw was the granddaughter of Ras Mikael of Wollo and the niece of Lij Iyasu. Crown Prince Asfawossen, is her son.

    A leader of an Oromo descent who reigned over Ethiopia longer than any monarch was, believe it or not, Emperor Haile Selassie I, whose given name was Teferi Mekonen. His father Ras Mekonen was the son of Dejazmach Wolde-Mikael, the governor of Gola, near Ankober, who was the son of (Ato?) Gudissa. Teferi Mekonen was reputed for being fluent in the Oromo language, even though he spoke it only when the need arose. I believe his mother Yeshimebet Ali, too, was an Oromo whose father was a Muslim. The name of her mother is said to be Wolete-Giorgis. It seems that HaileSelassie was not interested in having the genealogy of his mother revealed for reasons known only to himself. Maybe, it was to conceal the fact that his maternal grandfather was a Muslim. That could be one reason why his biographers, when he was still alive, mentioned only his mother’s first name dropping her father’s name.

    There was a rumor that she was a Gurage. However, as I pondered upon the name of her father Ali, I suspected that Ali was an Oromo from Wollo, as there were a number of Alis from there who played a vital role in Ethiopian history. As I posed this question to an elderly lady who happens to be a relative of Emperor Haileselassie, she informed me: “I have heard that Ali was an Oromo from Wore Ilu, Wollo, where my relatives come from. The mother of Yeshimebet was indeed Wolete-Giorgis. She had a half-sister by the name of Mamit Balcha. Balcha was an Oromo.”

    From all these facts we can see that those leaders who ruled Ethiopia during the past 250 years were not “pure” Amharas or Tigreans. They were nobles of Oromo descent. Some pseudo-historians do not accept these leaders as Oromos arguing that the mentality and ways of life of these leaders were the same as the Amhara rulers. Others refute this argument saying that all rulers, regardless of their ethnic background, are the same. It is the nature of power which determines their mentality, behavior and ways of life and not their ethnic identity. Still others assert that Emperor Iyoas, Ali The Great, and Ras Aligaz at least, ruled in a purely Oromo fashion, if there was ever such a fashion.

    In spite of these arguments, one fact still remains unchallenged. Ethiopia was also ruled by people of Oromo descent. The Oromos, both nobility and commoners, have influenced the Amhara in a number of ways as evidenced by linguistic, cultural and religious assimilation for the past 400 years.

    (Fikre Tolossa, Ph.D., is Assistant Dean of Faculty at Colombia Pacific University in San Rafael, CA and Associate Editor of Ethiopian Review.)

  18. Dear YeTarik Astemari

    Thank you for your informative reply to my comment. I tried to be constructive and hope you have seen it as such. But as such writings are done in haste I forgot even to thank you and the other contributors.

    I’m really impressed by the quality and amount of information this article has generated. Truly educational. The usual bloggers whose only contribution is to insult are visibly absent. Hope they will stay away!

    I am also impressed by the profile of Beekan Erana and hope to read his works. I’ve read Gadaa Melbaa’s book which you cited. Honestly, I was not impressed. Yes, some interesting information but full of fictitious claims and at times based on hearsay. It seemed to lack objectivity, and its main aim appears to support certain political positions. I hope more objective scholars (the likes Fiqre Tolossa) would come forward.

    OK, historical accounts of the populations of the country in context of killils are great but can writers also focus on the contemporary affairs and relations of people, communities, places, towns and cities without the shackles of this killil thing? I just wonder.

  19. Awash,

    Hi there, we all wonder about the same thing. Welcome to the club.

    Based on the assessment of UNPO (The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization), which is an international membership-based organization established to empower the voices of unrepresented and marginalized peoples worldwide and to protect their fundamental human rights, the political crisis in Ethiopia is not showing signs of abating. Ongoing riots in Oromia and Wolayta; state fragmentation in the Amhara region, and the standoff between the federal government and the Tigray region have put the survival of the government in question.

    To address this crisis, the African Union has been called upon to mediate between prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Similar in tone, a US-based Ethiopian working group has urged Washington to play a more vocal role in the deepening crisis.

    Most recently, some members of the US Congress wrote a petition calling on the US secretary of state to encourage the Ethiopian government to engage in an open dialog with the opposition for a peaceful transition.

    These are all encouraging signs. But there needs to be greater clarity on the nature of the crisis for an informed and meaningful intervention.

    For a meaningful dialog to start, the federal government should take some unilateral confidence building measures.

  20. Thanks for the response and the interesting opinion. Internationalising the situation by involving other governments is really a shame. To hope that Trump’s America will play a positive role seems to me madness. My hope is the problems could be overcome within the dynamics of the country’s political and social systems, leaders and wise men (an women).

    It is so ironic, Ethiopia has been at the forefront in the fight against Apartheid in S. Africa. It is now the only country in Africa, indeed in the world, where apartheid system reins.

    Killil federation = Ethnic federation = Apartheid.

    “When the South African Prime Minister D. F. Malan instituted the system of Apartheid in 1948, he was asked what the term meant; he replied, ‘Apartheid means nothing more than an ethnic federation’.”

    From Asfa-Wossen Assrate, King of Kings, 2017. p.360.

  21. Unbelievable all of this back and forth to prove Oromo descent Nobility really??? jeez…. I guess inferiority complex does make people bonkerz…. I suggest to better to spend time with your fellow Ethiopians as brothers and sisters instead of trying to prove Some non existent Oromo DNA bloodline. But if you do insist on this Oromo Oromo wailing one only has to read history to know how the behavior and habits of Oromo tribes until their encounter with Ethiopian civilization. Again most of these people you mention considered themselves Ethiopian. your context is twisted and appears to want to be copy cat of nobility and bloodlines that you’ve read about in the Bible, Kibra Negist, Zena Abew etc.. as well foreign writers. Let it go guys its going to be OK breathe breathe she’s called Ethiopia

  22. Hi Guys

    Those of you who claimed that Abiy is Oromo (those who want to see details Oromo father and Amhara mother). Think again! There is now proof that he also has Gurage blood.

    If you have seen recent social media posts a photo appeared Abiy busy shoe-shining!

  23. Hmmm guys I don’t have knowledge about politic more but I am very Emphasis about Ethiopian politic I also participation sometimes on Oromia media Network I am sure my honourable Oromo people are have alright There have a good environment and rich however there are still under colony I don’t believe Abiy Ahamd Ali is Oromo Ethnic I was heard precise information He is Adoption by Ahamd Ali .please trust me He doesn’t has father . the Oromo. people are very Compassion Group there do any human being Adoption Abiy Ahamd also like that but now He is enemy of Oromo people he want to back plotting bad system his uncle on Oromia therefor Ethiopian people against him just he has supporting Ahmara ethnic

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