January 19, 2012 - The president of Gambella regional state has been fired from his party leadership position after reportedly admitting involvement in a 2003 ethnic massacre, according to VOA. The leadership of the southern Gambella region is coming under increasing scrutiny for corruption and abusing the rule of law.
Two privately-owned Ethiopian newspapers are reporting Gambella Regional President Omod Obang Olum has been removed from his post as head of the ruling Gambella Peoples' Democratic Movement. The GPDM is affiliated with the country's ruling party, the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front.
It was not immediately clear whether Omod Obang would retain the post of regional president, but in Ethiopia's de-facto one-party system, party positions are considered more important than government titles.
Several other GPDM executive committee members were also reported to have lost their jobs.
The dismissals followed a week-long self-evaluation of the government's performance. Among the issues raised were corruption, the controversial practice of leasing huge tracts of land to foreign investors, and a December, 2003 massacre of more than 400 members of the minority ethnic Anuak community.
Sources contacted by VOA's Amharic language service in Gambella say the normally secret proceedings caused an uproar after the testimony was surreptitiously recorded and made public. Omod Obang reportedly can be heard on the recording admitting a role in the mass killings, and arguing that if he is to be held accountable, so should Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.