Jawar’s Ethiopian citizenship controversy unsettled,NEBE inquires clarification from immigration

Jawar Mohammed, a radical ethnic Oromo-nationalist who became prominent among radicals for his “Oromo First” mantra, had to seek Ethiopian Citizenship to take part in the national election.  In 2019, he claimed that he renounced his U.S. Citizenship and joined the Oromo Federalist Congress. His new party claimed that Jawar had become an Ethiopian citizen with a sort of “case is closed” tone.  The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), on the other hand, wants the party to produce a supporting document attesting that Jawar is an Ethiopian Citizen. It did not happen, and now NEBE is seeking clarification from Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs.

Jawar Mohammed _ Oromo Federalist Congress _ Citizenship

February 12, 2020

The controversy between the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) and the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) over the issue of Jawar Mohammed’s Citizenship does not seem to be over.

The Board disclosed on Wednesday that it is seeking clarification from Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs whether a decision was made regarding Jawar’s reinstatement of Ethiopian Citizenship.

On February 11, 2020, NEBE wrote a letter to Ethiopia’s Immigration Department asserting that it has the legal authority (citing proclamation 1133/2011) to register, regulate and follow up political parties,it said that it has a duty to enforce political parties ethics and registration proclamation 1162/2011.

As per the proclamation, membership for regional or national political parties is open only to Ethiopian citizens.

Less two months after 86 people were killed in the Oromo region of Ethiopia in connection with an alleged security threat that Jawar claimed, he announced that he had joined Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC).

In late January 2020, NEBE wrote a letter to OFC demanding document-based verification of Jawar Mohammed’s Ethiopian Citizenship.

The party did respond to NEBE. However, the Board did not get an enclosed document to verify Jawar’s Citizenship. Instead, OFC advanced what sounded like a definitive argument. “Jawar has moved back to Ethiopia [from the United States], renounced his U.S. citizenship and has applied to Ethiopian reinstate Ethiopian Citizenship,” said OFC’s letter.

What used to be a moderate ethnic Oromo Nationalist Party-OFC-went further to tell NEBE that “reinstating Ethiopian Citizenship does not require authorization from any government authority or body as the law does not require it.”  The party also expressed that NEBE’s request to OFC to substantiate Jawar’s citizenship claim with a supporting document is inappropriate.

NEBE letter to Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs indicated that the inquiry letter got four enclosures. Two  NEBE letters to OFC, one OFC letter to NEBE, and a Jawar’s letter to NEBE.

NEBE’s letter expressed what seems to be a concern for an administrative and legal procedure that OFC has issued Jawar Mohammed with a political membership I.D. At the same time, that latter was in the process of acquiring Ethiopian Citizenship.

What NEBE inquired from Ethiopian Immigration & Nationality Affairs is :

  1. if a person who has renounced Ethiopian Citizenship could reinstate instantly way without authorization  from the immigration authority  
  2. To send decision (if there is any) in connection with Ethiopian citizenship reinstatement of Jawar Mohammed  

The Board inquired Ethiopia’s immigration department to respond to the issues as mentioned earlier until February 17, 2020.

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