||A coup d'etat to topple the
Haile Selassie Monarchy failed. Oromo officers (such as Taddasaa
Biru, Jaagamaa Keello, Waqejira Serda, Dawit Abdi and Major Qadida
Guremeysa) loyal to the Emperor were instrumental in failing the
coup. And yet they were suspected of disloyalty and subjected to
discrimination by the authorities. Such a policy not only angered
Oromo officers, but also encouraged them to be involved in political
|24 Jan, 1963
||In the early 1960s several self-help
associations mushroomed in the Empire. Among such self-help
communities of the time were the Shawa Tuullama and Jibaat and Macha in
Shawa. These two merged and formed the Macha-Tuullama Welfare
Association (MTWA). MTWA was formed in accordance with Article 45 of
his Imperial Majesty's 1955 revised Constitution and Article 14, Number
505 of the Civil Code of the Ethiopian Empire as a civilian self-help
association. Its logo, designed by Haile Mariam Gamada, wasd the
Odaa (sycamore tree), the symbol of freedom and self-administration.
Haile Mariam Gamada also coined the name of the Association.
||The Macha-Tullama Welfare
Association (MTWA) was permitted by the government to function as a
self-help organization in the Shawa region. After this permit,
MTWA's leaders started mobilizing the Oromo through public
|23 June, 1964
||The Macha-Tuullama Welfare Association became
highly publicized and gained members in thousands. This was
triggered by the politically charged speeches of General Taddasaa Birru
delivered at the regular meetings of the Association. This was after
his meetings with the Prime Minister, Akelilu Habete Wolde, and other high officials at which the
Prime Minister took Taddasaa for an Amhara and shared secret state
policies with him that restricted non-Amhara to high posts in all
government institutions and those entering higher education institutions.
Public rallies and meetings were organized in villages, towns and
cities in several parts of Oromia where the Association leaders and cadres
spoke. The government was particularly disturbed when persons like
General Taddasaa, who they took for an Amhara or considered Amharized for
all practical purposes not only openly identify himself as an Oromo but
articulated his people's position and dissatisfaction with the government.
||The top leaders of the MTWA and
the Baale rebellion met secretly and discussed how best to coordinate
their activities. The man who was instrumental in bringing the two
movements together was Ahmad Buna, a school teacher, a long time member of
the MTWA and one of the founders of the Oromo Liberation Front in 1974.
|15 May, 1966
||The MTWA organized a mass
gathering at Itayaa, in Arsi. Haile Selassie's government did
everything to prevent the meeting from taking place, but to no
avail. It's estimated that as many as 100,000 Oromo peasants from
the Arsi region might have participated in that gathering, which was a
turning point in the short history of the Association as well as in modern
Oromo history. Haji Robale Ture, one of the leaders of the
Association, stated that as "streams join together to form a river,
people also join together to be a nation to become a country,"
calling on the Oromo to strengthen their unity and create their own
||The government security force confiscated
Mamo Mazamir's "History of the Oromo" when they searched in
house. Mamo Mazamir was an Oromo student in the Addis Ababa
University (Haile Selassie I University) Law School and a member of MTWA.
In addition to writing history, Mamo prepared a plan for a new
government, a new constitution and distribution of land among the landless
||The MTWA opened more branch
offices all over Oromia. Tesfaye Degaga established the
Association's branch office in Sidamo province. Abba Biya Abba Jobir
and Dr. Moga Firissa established the Jimma branch office. Abera
Yemer opened the office in Wallo. Shaykh Hussein Sura and Haji Adam
Sado set up the office in the Baale region. In Illubabor and Hararge, the offices were established by Dr. Jamal Abdul Qadir and
Qenzamach Abdulaziz Mohammed, respectively. Astede Habte Mariam, the
only woman within the highest policy-making Board of the Association,
formed the Wallagga branch office.
|15 Oct, 1966
||General Taddasaa Birru stated at
a meeting in the town of Dheera in Arsi that the political goal of MTWA
was to restore the inalienable rights of the Oromo people. He went
on to say that the Oromo had nothing to expect from the Amhara rulers, and
they would have to depend on themselves.
||Terrified by the Oromo national consciousness,
both in Baale and Finfinne, a government conspiracy led to the explosion
of a hand grenade in an Addis Ababa cinema. The regime immediately
placed the responsibility at the door of the Macha-Tuullama Welfare
Association and the Association was immediately banned. Several of
the leaders and cadres were arrested and brought to trial before special
court in February 1967.
||The government persecuted
leaders of the MTWA. Among the leaders, Mamo Mazamir, was sentenced to
death by hanging while others, such as Haile Mariam Gamada and a few
others were believed to have died from poisoning, later. General
Taddasaa shot his way out when colonial security agents went to arrest him
at his home.