Factions within Oromo Liberation Front — OLF — to remain part of the Organization and co-organize the next party congress, Ethiopian Election Board ruled
December 18, 2020
The Chairman and Deputy chairman of the radical ethnic Oromo nationalist party — OF had been existing as factions for several months now after each faction passed a decision to suspend the other until the next party congress. One of the factions appealed the matter to the Election Board seeking to get the issue resolved.
Arbitrating disputes within a political party does seem something that does fall within the mandate of Ethiopia’s election board. In reality, it could actually fall within its power. In a decision letter regarding the dispute between OLF factions, the Board said that it has a constitutional authority to establish a professional council to deliberate whenever there is a dispute among political party members.
According to the Election Board, the faction led by Dawud Ibsa declined to name professionals to be part of the council to resolve the dispute. “It is something that should be resolved in accordance with internal party rules,” was the argument given to the Election Board.
The Board also disclosed that it could not find a professional willing to deliberate on the issue. For that reason, said The Board, it was compelled to look into the issue on its own to deliberate on the dispute.
As part of the deliberation process, leaders from both factions have been contacted by the Board. It also held discussions with the party’s discipline and audit committee. But the committee in OLF notified the Election board that it does not have to deliberate on the suspension directives from both sides.
Decisions from the Election Board
1) Suspension of the party chairman, Dawud Ibsa, is unacceptable. The explanation from the Election Board is that minutes from the meeting chaired by deputy-chairperson of the organization, Ararso Bikila, demonstrated that the meeting did not have 2/3 of the quorum.
2) The decision signed by the organization’s chairman, Dawud Ibsa, and sent to the election board — which suspended the deputy chairman, party executive and central committee members until the next party congress — is not acceptable too. It does not tell if the meeting was conducted properly and how many members attended it. There is no indication if the decision was based on majority vote, said Election Board.
So, the Election board wants the disputing factions of the party to remain legal bodies of the organization until the party congress.
The party was planning to undertake an organizational general congress in December 2020, and the board noted that the party is supposed to have its congress by the end of January 2021.
Another decision is that the Election board wants the factions to co-organize the next congress.
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