Arsi Political and Military Leadership of the Struggle

Suufaa Kuso
All Arsi leaders,like all their men, were undoubtedly committed to the war of resistance Their concrete contribution to the struggle,however,varied.This implied that they did not leave the same impact or enjoy the same prestige among Arsi society, Perhaps,of all the Arsi eminent personalities,the greatest loser was Suufaa Kuso On the eve of the war; Suufaa was the best known and most brilliant (political) orator in most parts of the present Arsi administrative region.His knowledge of laws and rhetoric,his extra ordinary capacity to convince his interlocutor and his experience as an unparalleled negotiate or made him a very serious candidate to represent the Arsi before Menelik According to local tradition,he even easily out smarted Menelik In met, Suufaa Kuso, with his colleague,Dammu Usu,apparently more radical than Suufaa in opposition against Menelik,did not compromise over their independence and formally decided to resist against Shoan colonialism.
As a charismatic person,Suufaa’s leadership was expected by his people. However, no sooner had the war began than Suufaa disappeared from the political scene reasons that remain unexplained Was he more inclined to surrender than resistance?Was he attracted partly by Menelik’s promised autonomy their enemy?Whatever the motives fur his reluctance to resist,he was not in a position to persuade the Arsi not to go to war.Perhaps,no argument would have prevented them from doing so, when they felt strong and were ready to fight against the invaders Suufaa was unable to prepare and coordinate them fur the struggle either,In brief,his political and military role during this crucial period of history appears to be insignificant if one compares it to his popularity and audience in Chilalo.He seems to have lacked the courage to adopt a clearest and,although he formally pledged himself to resist.
Nevertheless,Suufaa never betrayed the cause of his people,nor collaborated with the enemy in anyway.At the height of the 1886 war when the Shoan army massacred the Arsi massively and indiscriminately,he submitted to Menelik'”He expected that he would be followed by the Arsi Gossa,who had not yet renounced the struggle.He launched his campaign of explanations in favor of submission.His lack of motivation during the war and premature surrender when Arsi warriors were falling in every comer of the country was still considered by many people as an unpardonable crime. In the end, on the occasion of one of his tours in Dide’a to convince the fighters to stop hostilities,he was simply killed by members of the Kasheda clan hostile to the idea of submission.His assassination was resented,however, by many of the Arsi, and particularly by his admirers in Chilalo who lost in the same year(1886)the war,their independence and one of their prominent leader.
Volume II Number 1&2 Winter,1995 & Summer 1995
By Prof.Abbas Hajji

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