Marking Voice Finfinne’s Tenth Year Anniversary

December 15, 2013

Voice Finfinne, the predecessor institution to Finfinne Times, was registered on December 15, 2003, following the decision by the Ethiopian government, without public referendum, to relocate the Oromo regional state’s capital from Finfinne (Addis Ababa) to Adama (Nazret).

In opposition to that decision, Oromos across the world were galvanized. The launching of Voice Finfinne was part of that movement. Voice Finfinne published its first criticism of the decision in January 2004 under its Voice Finfinne Column, which was titled Meles Politicking in Ethiopia as Risky as his Doctoring on a Patient.

Voice Finfinne has attempted to bring to its readers various analyses for nearly a year and a half after which it was decided to change its format to an online news site under the name Finfinne Times.

In its short period of online publications, which continue to be available for interested readers, it has attempted to bring to its esteemed readers the rich history of North East Africa. Its four part interview of Professor Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis consists of some of the highlights of bringing this rich history to the readers. Voice Finfinne did not agree with every response to the interview but much was gained.

The time since the beginning of Voice Finfinne has coincided with important political developments in Ethiopia in particular and East Africa in general.

The decision to relocate the Oromo regional state’s capital from Finfinne to Adama in late 2003 was reversed in 2005 following the aftermath of the 2005 legislative elections in Ethiopia. In this election, the ruling party suffered a major shift of public vote toward alternative political organizations. Following the decision, the Oromo People’s Congress (OPC), which was at that time called the Oromo National Congress (ONC), organized a massive rally that riled up, according to the Indian Ocean Newsletter, the Oromo mass since the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) left the Ethiopian government in 1992. The leaders of the Matcha and Tulama self-help association who were put in prison following their protest against the decision were released in late 2007, reportedly having been acquitted from all the changes filed against them.

The Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) that was formed in 2004 staged one of the biggest mass rallies in the Ethiopian capital in the eve of the 2005 legislative elections. In the number of people who attended it, that rally is probably only surpassed by the celebration of Irrecha in Bushoftu about a year later.

After uncovering Ethiopia and North East Africa’s misunderstood long history in 2005, Voice Finfinne immediately stepped its critical analysis from Oromo Redemption to Cushitic Civilization Resurrection .

In 2006, a Somali militant outfit utterly declared war against Ethiopia. To his credit and after his cadres were advised that his government will be responsible in what it does or fails to do about this outfit’s declaration of war against Ethiopia, the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi stood up to them and Ethiopian army defeated them in Somalia.

In his Millennium speech for Ethiopia’s New Year and Millennium on September 11, 2007, Meles Zenawi, spoke of the “beginning of the end of Ethiopia’s Dark Ages [sic] in Ethiopia” and the beginning of “Ethiopian Renaissance”. Surprisingly, the Ethiopian Renaissance idea that was started in 2005 and advanced since then to, in part, counter his political practices in Ethiopia since 1991 was expediently borrowed for his Millennium speech in 2007. Not surprisingly, Helen Epstein wrote in 2010 that the Renaissance he talked about in his Millennium speech must be different from that known among the western society, after reading what Meles Zenawi had to say about human liberty.

The death of Meles Zenawi was reported in August 2012 and Engineer Hailemariam Desalegn became the first Ethiopian leader with a college degree at the time of appointment.

A faction from the OLF was formed this year under a new name called Oromo Democratic Front (ODF), effectively distancing itself from the politics of destabilizing Ethiopia in order to create an independent Oromo state, which is still entertained by some other factions of the OLF.

The coincidences of the above political developments in Ethiopia with the launching of Voice Finfinne are historical. It is arguably apparent that, overall, Ethiopia’s stability as a country is headed in a better direction today than where it was before the launching of Voice Finfinne. While Voice Finfinne cannot claim exclusive credits for its modest contributions by way of presenting critical analyses, it cannot be denied that the decision to launch Voice Finfinne was to counter Meles Zenawi’s political repressions against the Oromo mass in Ethiopia in particular and the Ethiopian public in general. In this regard, we celebrate the tenth year anniversary of Voice Finfinne with a level of fulfillment.

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