By Jalene Gemeda
Parliamentary candidates disagree on whether the language of Oromiya can achieve the status of Amharic as a new ‘Federal working’ language.
A coalition of eight opposition parties, the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum, has proposed in campaign debates that Afan Oromo be adopted as a second federal working language of Ethiopia.
However, one of Oromiya’s political parties in a coalition with the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front opposed the proposal being raised by opposition candidates from Oromiya. The Oromo People’s Democratic Organization says that Afan Oromo, which was established as the language two decades ago, hasn’t sufficiently developed to serve as a national working language for the Republic Federal Democratic of Ethiopia.
One OPDO official, Mesfin Assefa, worries that such a move would create disastrous violence among nations and nationalities in the country.
Lidetu Ayalew, leader of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum, supports the idea that Ethiopia could function with two national languages, but said he hasn’t decided which language should become the second national language. However, he added that given the large number of Afan Oromo speakers and the current socio-political situation in the country, Amharic and Afan Oromo would have a good chance of garnering the needed support.