Democracy: Liberty, Security, & Prosperity

Why Oromos should care about the Nile Politics

Posted by Jawar on December 16, 2010

Responding to my latest article , some readers questioned why the Nile issue should concern the Oromo people. There seem to be a strong assumption that the conflict over the Nile is essentially an affair between the northerners ( the Abyssinian proper) and the Egyptians. As such, it is suggested that, the Oromo have no reason to take sides, if they do, it should be as the ” enemy of my my enemy”.In this piece, I am going to argue that not only do the Oromo have a crucial stake in these affairs, but they should in fact be at the forefront of  the struggle for fair and equitable use of the Nile.

On Nile Basin, Oromia is an Upper riparian

Lake Tana is the most popularly known source of the Blue Nile. In Ethiopia, the Nile River is referred to as Abay. As the result, it is erroneously assumed that the Nile River comes from the Abyssinian highlands only. In reality, most of the water and the sediments carried by the Nile originate from Oromia. Blue Nile’s biggest tributaries – Gojjab, Jamaa, Dhidheessa, Abbayya, Muger, Guder, and Dabus – originate from Oromo land and wash away its soil. Due to the ever-increasing drought, Lake Victoria is in rapid decline. This makes Baro the most reliable tributary to the White Nile – and Baro’s main tributaries; Birbir and Gebba originate in Oromia. The Oromian Rivers are biggest contributors to the Nile water. Clearly, the Nile affects and shall concern the Oromo as much if not more as it does the Abyssinians.

Oromia and the Future of Nile Politics

In shaping the future of Nile politics, tributaries originating from Oromian (as well Gambella, Benishangul, and SNNP) plateaus will play a more critical role than those from the Abyssinian highlands. The tributaries originating from the highlands mostly flow through deep gorges, making them less cost effective for irrigation purposes. At best, their use is limited to generating hydroelectric power. In contrast, rivers originating from Oromian plateaus are ideal for irrigation use as well as generating energy.

Setting up hydroelectric power plants upstream uses considerably less water than developing irrigation projects. Not only does irrigation consume most of the water and sediments diverted to farms, it also often leaves remaining drainage contaminated with chemicals for farming. On the contrary, most of the water used for hydropower circulates back to the basin, and as little external chemicals are added, it causes less pollution. Therefore, downstream countries such as Egypt would be more negatively affected by upstream countries’ development of irrigation projects than hydropower dams. For instance, Ethiopia has constructed several large dams in the last few years, yet Egypt is most agitated by the prospect of irrigation projects in Ethiopia. Egypt’s primary objective is then basically to block developments on Oromian Rivers rather than rivers coming from the highlands. This puts Oromia and Egypt on a colliding path.

Why now?

Some might argue that since Oromos are being repressed and exploited by the Ethiopian regime, the logical move is to side with the regime’s enemies in order to weaken it. Thus, in the fight for the Nile, why stand in the way of a potential ally for our struggle over a river that we do not even control?

The old Realpolitik tactic of befriending enemy of an enemy should not be adopted when the benefit gained from such tactic is lower than the cost. For any upper riparian interest group, taking side with Egypt against another upper riparian state means, prolonging Egypt’s monopoly over the Nile.  The sooner Egypt is pressured into fair and equitable use of the Nile the better. The longer such agreement is delayed as a result of upstream countries’ inability to assert their rights, the less likely for a truly fair agreement to be reach.

Conflict, instability and lack of unity among upstream riparian countries gives Egypt more and more time to develop further projects in order to assert acquired rights through prior usage. Eventually Egypt might be able develop enough projects to permanently foreclose future use of Nile by upstream constituencies, including the Oromo. At this likely event, even independent Oromia would be unable to use the rivers that flow through its land. As discussed above, due to the irrigable nature of Oromian Rivers, Egypt will do everything to make sure Oromia does not touch the water. How will they do so? In addition to pitting us against our neighbors, they will replicate the strategy they have been using against Ethiopia – they will use our diversity against us.

Conclusion

It is widely predicted that water will become the next rare commodity that will play a key role in human relations. The Oromo struggle is not simply about getting rid of the current regime, but also about paving a way for a just, secure and prosperous future for the generations to come. As one of the least developed parts of the world, our nation’s only wealth is its natural resources. Hence, while fighting for political rights, it’s also very important to regain, protect and preserve the natural resources inherited from our ancestors so that we have something  useful to pass on to the next generation. In addition to fighting against the ongoing land robbery, we must also be vigilant about geopolitical affairs that will affect our water resources.  The wise Oromo says, lafti bishaan malee, marqi carree malee hin tolu.

As far as protecting our water interest is concerned, nature forces the Oromo to take side with its upstream neighbors, some of whom are our past and present adversaries. The future, I would argue, is more important than the present or the past. It will be a mistake to overlook our long term interests focusing only on the injustices of past and challenges of the present. That is why I believe the Oromo not only support the campaign for fair and equitable use of Nile water; in fact, we ought to be the leading voice.

*The writer  can be reached at jawarmd@gmail.com, you can also read more of his articles @ www.dhummuugaa.wordpress.com

Advertisements

13 Responses to “Why Oromos should care about the Nile Politics”

  1. abisinoromia said

    The most rasist, useless, ridiculous, meaningless, lame and idiot analysis I have ever encountered. you oromia ‘intellectuals’ please try to be with your conscious.

    • Faaya oromo said

      You the socalled Abisioromia, please try to present a convincing argument rather than just insulting and using very bad words which indicates your backwardness and nonsenseness. The writer presented his views scientifically and if you have opossite idea , then you can argue. More over do not speak about a community as a result of indivioduals.

  2. Sada said

    Nelson M. said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 2:44 am

    Months ago I did have an idea about the left bank tributaries of so called Abay, mostly from oromia, Thanks to Wikipedia!
    But the same time I questioned myself; why they concentrate on the main stream? Which one of the tributaries from the left bank has got a project being done on it? Ans. NONE

    Jawar seems logical when he say ‘In the fight for the Nile, why stand in the way of a potential ally for our struggle over a river that we do not even control?’
    But I disagree because the fight going on is not only for the wise use of resources but there are lot of causes or rights that the people lost, which is weigh too much, at least for me. In order to correct these causes and gain the right lost, one should look at any way out necessary.

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Dimbilaal Dibaabaa said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 6:07 am

    The whole issue of the Nile is being raised simply for sheer propaganda purposes and attention diversion from the MAIN ISSUES by the tplf minority dictatorship, in power for the last 20 years, monopolizing and owning the entire Ethiopian empire’s human and material resources but increasingly facing opposition, challenges and outrages from the impoverished 80 million Ethiopians. This strategy of attention diversion and drumming empty war drums directly and by paid proxies against imaginary or real external enemies for the purpose of shoring up INTERNAL supports for failed dictators in failed banana sates is an old and worn out self serving political game of encamping the internal opposition and destroying them.

    Otherwise why these monopoly power holding minorities couldn’t at all use the entire human and material sources that are abundant with fertile land and natural resources for the last 20 years which it is now generously distributing for irresponsible money men while Ethiopian farmers are robbed their lands and dying from hunger? Oh yes, because Absolute monopoly over the Nile is lacking? Qiqiqiqiqiqi… laughable! War with Eritrea. As the result of that war, over one hundred thousand young and bright Ethiopians out of life and out of sight. War with Somalia. some hundreds and thousands of Ethiopians out of life and out of sight. Internal wars with various Ethiopian oppositions. Hundreds of young and bright Ethiopians out of life and out of sight. Starvation, underdevelopment, bad governance, corruption, mismanagement, etc. Hundreds and thousands of bright and young Ethiopians out of life and out of sight. The rest majority lots hanging between life and death wretchedness as well as populating the dictator’s medieval dungeons and or roaming the world as refugees while foreign money men are roaming their home communities and villages exploiting their virgin resources.

    Additionally, the cunning fox’s call for war with Egypt and the Nile scapegoat for that war is for maneuvering and organization of the northern military forces possibly with DUMB and unconscious habitual merecenary southerners to reconquer the already conquered southern people’s with the help of the foreign powers just like King Menelik have done in capturing and enslaving the south. Araat Nexxib.

    Here, my argument and the arguments of other opponents to the war cry is not that the affairs of the Nile should be only the affairs of the people in the north as Jawar likes to distort, but the Nile issue is not an urgent issue because even if you have a thousand NILES you may never come out of poverty, wretchedness and dehumanization while being ruled and dictated by a frightened and scared brutal minority bad governance. Otherwise Diamond, fertile tropical rain forest and other resources super rich African countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo would have been models prosperity, while small natural resources but rich Scandinavian countries of GOOD GOVERNANCE would have been as poor as poor as church mouse and the wretched of the Earth.

    Come on folks! WE need to use our heads and keep away from habitual manipulators. Why should we trust our ears more than our own eyes that sees what is actually going on?

    “A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood” ~William shentone

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Tula said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 8:03 am

    Thanks obbo Jawar for your prompt action in presenting this article to make us undurstand your point of discussions from the previous similar article on Nile river.
    I liked your arguments and I agree on the point u raised about most of the tributeries of blue Nile river are originating from Oromia.
    IMy question to you is, from the priority point of view, are we really in a postion to defend Blue Nile river? when we are under sevier repression and our survival is at stake.

    It doesn’t seem realistic to me to think about engaging ourselves in fight for the Nile river when we don’t even own our motherland Oromia. And from the complicated nature of our struggle aginst tyrany, I dont think it is possible to consider fight for the Niile as first priority.

    If the Egyptians are ready to help our struggle in any way neccessary they should be morethan wellcomed and that should not be considered as a move aginst Abyssinians!

    Anyways I would like to thank you for your time and your concern.

    Thanks

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    you don’t have to respond said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 9:45 am

    I agree with you jawar. some of as who give negetive comment we know that you have got the chance to attack jawar. don’t bring your internal hide heat to devide us jawar is well respected “ijole oromo ” our future, we will bring more —abdul jawar ,mohamed jawar, …. lalu jirta. jalates jibites.

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Baayisa said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    In my previous comment about the Nile river and Jawar, I tried to show that Jawar M. (some call him Jawar Midhekessa) is inconsitent and always shift sides (theorotical sides) depending on the point of discussion. Here is one good example:
    Above Jawar said “even an independent Oromia would be unable to use the rivers that flow through its land”
    In the past especially when he participates in Abyssinian’s discussion forums (meetings, internet, radio, etc) he bluntly rejected the idea of Independent Republic of Oromia. From what one can see these two (what he said above and his past stands) are on a “colliding path” (to use the term he used above)

    In fact, if we can go back and investigate Jawar’s filp flapper trends, we can expose a lot of inconsitencies, and lies. What puzzling to me is that why this guy engaged in such act? Is there another force behind it? Is it his personality? I say it again time will reveal. As for me, I wish at least Oromos ignore his “analysis” and spend time and energy on our priority–how can we free ourselves from slavery and be a master of our future destiny?

    Thank you all

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Yoonaafan said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    Obbo Jawar I think this idea is not from oromo intellectual. Let alone water we lost our minerals, land and even our identity. We lost all we have to the colonizers; we lost our language, our culture, our law of governance. What is the relevance of Nile to me to my father and to my children when they are under colony? Let alone water that goes 24/7 throughout century we should sell what is based today, even part of our body to come out of colony. Do you know that Eritrean women were selling their body to Ethiopian military and political authorities to spy for the then freedom fighter? What about Tigray spy girls? Our rivers are not our now and they are under colony like our people; they serve the best interest of our enemies. Do you know that Finca’aa power was first taken to Mekele before going to the near towns in Oromia? Please do confuse our people and do not act in the interest of our enemies. We need to get our rid of this colony insult and then we can think of the resources. Just let me remind you one thing. Our precious gold from Legedenbi is dug and cheaply sold by the colonisers you write for. We need ourselves our identity and our respect first. Oromo struggle leaders should and must cooperate with any country or group that oppose the Ethiopian colonisers. Your article is an absolute foolishness. Oromoon amma garraamii akkasii hin qabuu nurraa dhiisi. Kan madaa’etu dhukkuba magaa beeka!!

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Yoonaafan said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 10:34 am

    Obbo Jawar I think this idea is not from oromo intellectual. Let alone water we lost our minerals, land and even our identity. We lost all we have to the colonizers; we lost our language, our culture, our law of governance. What is the relevance of Nile to me, to my father and to my children when they are under colony? Let alone water that goes 24/7 throughout century we should sell what is basic today, even part of our body to come out of colony. Do you know that Eritrean women were selling their body to Ethiopian military and political authorities to spy for the then freedom fighter? What about Tigray spy girls? Our rivers are not our now and they are under colony like our people; they serve the best interest of our enemies. Do you know that Finca’aa power was first taken to Mekele before going to the near towns in Oromia? Please do not confuse our people and do not act in the interest of our enemies. We need to get rid of this colony insult first and then we can think of the resources. Just let me remind you one thing. Our precious gold from Legedenbi is dug and cheaply sold by the colonisers you write for. We need ourselves, our identity and our respect first. Oromo struggle leaders should and must cooperate with any country or group that oppose the Ethiopian colonisers. Your article is an absolute foolishness. Oromoon amma garraamii akkasii hin qabuu nurraa dhiisi. Kan madaa’etu dhukkuba madaa beeka!!

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Gadaa said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 11:19 am

    Jawar,
    I gave you a short comment and it is removed by the admin. May be I was a bit hard to you, but here is the idea I wrote in a milder form. I think the war drum Meles Zenwai beats is not as such realistic, it seems to be just an attention diversion maneuver. Now OLA is engaged with colonial forces. I don’t know if it gets help from Egypt or anyone else. But I do welcome all sorts of help from every source. Our first priority now should be liberation from colony, not negotiation on water. How can an occupied Oromia be on the side of the upstream neighbours? A nation under occupation can not negotiate. I don’t know why you called us to save the dying empire now? We know that Oromo were abused and used to save the empire at all critical times, and now your invitation sounds the same. But I must disappoint you by saying: big NO to your invitation of Oromo to fight against Egypt being lead by Meles Zenawi. I hope the leaders of our liberation movement have better political judgment than we here do have and they make a right decision in due time. However my feeling tells me, you are setting not a good priority serving the Oromo interest!

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Gaarii said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 11:23 am

    muccan JUwwar jedhamu kun joree-jawwaraa jiraa waliin hincinqamna! Maal haa godhu kannuma odddessee bulaa. Property is what you use and at time any of the rivers you metion does not belong yo us , when we own it we will deal with Egypt. Unless emancipated we we don`t have property. First freedom. Whoever help us is welcome. Tommorow is another day. When we exist as a nation and humanbeing we reach tommorow. What matters for the Oromo people right now is not Abbay but how we regain our resources from colony. You have every right to die for Abbay. Go join Meles.

    (Report this comment as inappropriate.)

    Moti said,
    December 17, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

    Gubaataa marqaa hubaataatu argaa

  3. Ethiopiawi said

    Leka wedo adelm Oromo tebab new amelekaketu yemilut, ahun min ametaw ye Oromo tikim be Nile ke atekalay ke Ethiopia tikim asibelito. Betam tigermaleh yezih tsihuf weyim hasab afilaki ena teketay.

    • Faaya oromo said

      For you it could seem “tebabinet” but the reality is that oromia is a country by itself when the time comes.

  4. Ethiopiawi said

    Leka wedo adelm Oromo tebab new amelekaketu yemilut, ahun min ametaw ye Oromo tikim be Nile ke atekalay ke Ethiopia tikim asibelito. Betam tigermaleh yezih tsihuf weyim hasab afilaki ena teketay. Ebakachihu le hagerachin ediget asitesasebachin enilewit

  5. The solil and water conservation effort should be imppliment at oromia and Gambela Region on River like didesa ,alwero,Baro and akobo to rteduce fertile soil erossion by Nile tributaries.
    thanks Juhar for this post

  6. This is a comment to commentator’s
    I strongly believe as an individual,if everyone who commented above that are opposing on an article that is based on fact truly ever for a single hour have stopped up to the Meles.Z the regime its a heroic stand. whoever, it seems like they are a braves of in-network freedom of speech.What i see is that most of you we have something in common, that is what we all are demanding but, Jawar doesn’t hold that position but he can join with us to land mark that historic dream. What Jawar’s article is stating is a fact;howsoever,if I focus on your complaint “call a war against EGYP” isn’t gonna happen by Jawar…and i do also believe most Oromo’s sons and daughters have learned whats good and bad by now even. The point i would like to make up here is that if you have a better idea agiast the article so express your self… not by judging once personality or belonging “Enyumma”; but by bringing your better idea to a table. Its a weakness to discourage one another, when yourself isn’t doing nothing.

  7. Juho, Norway said

    One of the most logical and impressive analysis. But it is by far better to cooperate with Egypt provided that the Egyptians should support the self determination of Oromos. Latter on both nations (Egypt and Oromia) shall have agreement on the way the Nile will be used.

    • Getch said

      Juho, Either you are an Egyptian or you are a moron! Do you know that Egyptians are the strategic enemies of all the riparian countries? If you are an Egyptian, Honestly there couldn’t exist even a single person who supports this kind of idea, If really this guy is Oromo then he must be a detached /unrealistic creature!
      Hard to consider this as human being.

  8. Unite for mutual benfit said

    I think it is best to stand together on this issue as the author suggested. Regardless of our differences on a unified Ethiopia we should stand together as we all could collectively gain if we unite to fight for equitable sharing of the Nile waters. Extremism only breads hate, some of the comments here are inappropriate especially from those favoring a unified Ethiopia. I think they dont have an understanding of the Oromo and lack tolerance for those who oppose their opinion. I think they fail to understand a very complex issue and force their view on others. The separatist should also look at things from a different angle not just viewing things based on past mistakes and blaming others for the current reality. Both the separatist and those favoring unity tend to over generalize. The fact is not all Oromo’s think the same way and neither do all other Ethiopians. I would like to see the author write an article closely examining the possibility of a future Oromia state. Is it realistic? How will it work when even Oromo’s are divided? Not only on opinion but even in culture. And also examining the coast of independence on those of mixed background or the interdependence with other ethnic groups. Please at least write a response if not an article, I am a fan and would like your opinion on this matter. Thank you

  9. Unite for mutual benfit said

    I think it is best to stand together on this issue as the author suggested.
    Regardless of our differences on a unified Ethiopia we should stand together
    as we all could collectively gain if we unite to fight for equitable sharing of
    the Nile waters. Extremism only breads hate, some of the comments
    here are inappropriate especially from those favoring a unified Ethiopia.
    I think they dont have an understanding of the Oromo and lack tolerance for
    those who oppose their opinion. I think they fail to understand a very complex
    issue and force their view on others. The separatist should also look at things
    from a different angle not just viewing things based on past mistakes and blaming
    others for the current reality. Both the separatist and those favoring unity tend to over generalize. The fact is not all Oromo’s think the same way and neither do all
    other Ethiopians. I would like to see the author write an article closely examining
    the possibility of a future Oromia state. Is it realistic? How will it work when
    even Oromo’s are divided? Not only on opinion but even in culture. And also examining the coast of independence on those of mixed background or the interdependence with other ethnic groups. Please at least write a response if not an article, I am a fan and would like your opinion on this matter. Thank you

  10. Getch said

    There si nothing to do with Oromo or Amhara, Tigray, etc for that matter! he river Nile from which angle of the country it originates it is just of the great country Ethiopia! I don’t see any validity in analuzing with respect to Amahar or Oromo or Tigray as we are still together and I think it is an era of globalization leavealone Oromiya the state of kenya nnd South sudan are now joining together with Ethiopia to have a united east African economic corridor. Lets be ralistic as we can go nowhere and we can take nowhere OROMIYA is here and will be here forever ir is just ETHIOPIA!
    Haters and day dreaners can write what ever their narrow mind visualizes but now the globe is becoming a single district do thoes people know about GOLBALIZATION?
    I can smell a defiant ONLF ideologies going on around. it is unrealistic talking about the Nile versus Oromiya
    hahahhahahahhaha this is laughing
    Getch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: