By Staff Reporter
December 30, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Jawar Mohammed, a high-profile Oromo activist and Director General of the Oromo Media Network (OMN) has joined the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) as a member, said Professor Mererra Gudina, the chairman of the OFC.
Professor Merera told DW Amharic that OFC has accepted Jawar as a member after his organization received his request last week.
Speaking to Aljazeera late this year, Jawar Mohammed said he might challenge Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in elections planned for next year, accusing him of resorting "to the early signs of dictatorship".
Many people in the diaspora, particularly non-ethnic Oromo, have been calling for Jawar’s arrest for alleged instigation of violence that led to the death of 86 civilians in ethnic and religious-based attacks in October this year. The government has turned deaf ears to the demand of the people, according to critics.
The violence occurred after Jawar Mohammed accused the Ethiopian security forces of trying to orchestrate an attack against him, a claim police officials later denied.
“Jawar has been supporting the Oromo Federalist Congress for a long time now. Jawar, a third defendant under the file I was charged with last time, established comradeship with us over time,” Merera said
According to Merera Gudina, it is up to the government to resolve controversies over his citizenship. He was received as a member after fulfilling all the necessary requirements to get registered as a member.
Asked about the role Jawar will assume in the OFC, Merera said Jawar will be accorded all the rights and obligations as any member of the party and that of the Ethiopian Federal Democratic Forum - Medrek - in which OFC is a member.
According to its platform, the OFC believes despite being the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Oromo people "have been playing a minimal political role for centuries" and "like all other peoples of Ethiopia, have been denied political, democratic and human rights for centuries." The OFC aims "to struggle in a peaceful and lawful manner for the respect of the human, political and democratic rights of our people; to struggle for the respect of our peoples' economic and social rights; to struggle to bring about a genuine democratic system in the country."
In addition to Merera Gudina, the leadership includes Bekele Gerba, who is the deputy chairman of the OFC.
In October this year, protesters in eastern Ethiopia burned copies of a new book by Ethiopian Prime Minister and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed in a show of solidarity with the opposition media activist. The book-burning took place in the town of Dadar as thousands of protesters chanted: "Down, down, Abiy."
Despite receiving acclaim for his reforms during the first few months in office, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is facing growing criticism for not stabilizing the country quickly. Using the go easy policy he has followed so far, critics worry he may not be able to contain the growing ethnic conflicts in many parts of the country and group rivalries within his home state of Oromia.
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