Oromo Liberation Front suspended Dawud Ibsa, the Chairman

Ethics and audit committee of Oromo Liberation Front looking into dispute between the chairman and central committee, which temporarily suspended him as chairman of the organization

Oromo Liberation Front Chairman _ Dawud Ibsa
Dawud Ibsa

borkena
August 14, 2020

The fifty years old radical ethnic Oromo nationalist organization, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), suspended its leader Dawud Ibsa as a member of the Organization’s Executive Committee.

Kejela Merdassa, the spokesperson, said on Friday, as reported by DW Amharic service, that the Chairman is suspended temporarily.

He said the decision was passed following an emergency meeting of the party’s central committee members to evaluate the chairman’s message in connection with the July 26/27 meeting of the party officials at the Gulele office in the capital Addis Ababa which was called without his knowledge. At the time, Mr. Dawud was in House arrest like situation – a circumstance the Ethiopian Government deemed necessary for his own personal safety and security.

It was the deputy chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front, Ararsa Bikila, who chaired the meeting. “Since the chairman was under the protection of Government security forces in his residence, it was predicted that he would not take part in the meeting,” DW Amharic cited Kejela as saying.  

For the spokesperson of the party, the central committee meeting was organized in accordance with “OLF’s rules and regulations.”  Furthermore, he said the meeting was not about removing the chairman from his position.

In an interview with the Voice of America Amharic Service during the time when he was restricted to his house in late July, Dawud Ibsa said that he does not know anything about the meeting in a way insinuating that he did not authorize it.

The controversy following his remark is what initiated the evaluative meeting of the central committee members, Kejela has disclosed during his interview with DW Amharic.

The decision from the central committee’s evaluative meeting is forwarded to the legal and audit committee of the organization which will deliberate on whether the chairman will be removed for good or not.

The news source said that Dawud Ibsa was not reachable on the phone for remarks about the Central Committee Members’ decision.

Information about division within OLF recently became a point of conversation on social media. Adamancy to abandon a combination of armed and peaceful struggle is said to be at the core of the division within the OLF. Dawud Ibsa’s faction sees merit in both approaches in the race for power.

The struggle for power between ethnic Oromo political organizations, which at times claim innocent lives of non-Oromos as manifested in the recent massacre in the Oromo region of Ethiopia, is sometimes waged within a single organization too. 

OLF went through numerous internal struggles for power although they were projected as difference over strategy, and sometimes goals – a process that worn-out even some of the founders of the organization to the extent that they had to split and form a different form of ethnic Oromo nationalist organization. Maybe the current wrangles within OLF are of similar nature which means that they are likely to bring some form of changes to the organization.

Preliminary findings from investigations into the killing of singer Hachalu Hundessa revealed that an OLF has formed a new alliance with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and they are linked to the killing.

When OLF “ended its armed struggle” from its base in Eritrea, TPLF, the political force against whom it was fighting, had lost power at the Federal government and retreated to Mekelle in North Ethiopia. Ironically, it was TPLF that organized a welcome ceremony for OLF fighters in Mekelle hoisting the flag which they outlawed earlier.  That was the harbinger of the second alliance. The first alliance was before 1991 and ended in war and OLF had to leave the country after it lost the war to TPLF.   



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