Merera Gudina has everything it takes transform ethnic based politics into one that is pan Ethiopian. Will he do it?
Recently released Oromo Federalist Congress chairman, Merera Gudina, received today a hero’s welcome in his home town, Ambo.
Tens of thousands of his supporters crammed in the city’s stadium. Video footage from the event, which is widely shared on social media, show content supporters listening to Merera Gudina’s speech. Police force from the region was deployed to maintain order and make sure that the reception ceremony go smoothly and that Merera himself is protected; this is something that would never happen a few years ago when TPLF had power to dictate the regional administration.
He was presented with a Spear and Sheild,instruments Ethiopian warriors used during the struggle to maintain Ethiopian independence.
It was a very emotional moment for Merera; he is captured on camera as he was struggling with tears – apparently not only with the elated reactions of his political supporters with his release,the warm and overwhelming reception but also with the struggle that the youth in the region waged against the regime to secure his release.
The day Merera was released, his supporters welcomed him in his home in Burayu,in the western outskirts of the capital Addis Ababa. An ox was slaughtered and fresh kurt , Ethiopian raw beef delight.
The reaction of his supporter apparently influenced him to change his mind regarding retirement. The 61 years old politician was planning to retire, as the news emerged after his decision not to, but his supporters do not seem to want him do that.
Merera Gudina assured his supporters that he will continue his peaceful struggle;certainly the regime in power would note that. He already called on the government for a national dialogue and wants the government to release many other political prisoners who are still languishing in various prison across the country.
He has a considerably high number of supporters outside of his ethnic support base but it is not still clear if Merera Gudina is planning to transform his ethnic based political party, Oromo Federalist Congress, to one that is pan Ethiopian so as to mobilize all Ethiopians for a fundamental political change that would address existing challenges. In the 1970’s Merera Gudina was a member of All Ethiopian Socialist Movement (Meison)
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