- OLF Press Statement
The Oromo Liberation Front passionately believes that sustainable and permanent solution to Ethiopia’s complex political problems could only be attained with an All-Inclusive democracy and participation of all political forces. To this effect, OLF had been working with various political forces including those in power of ruling the country and opposition groups to create a national consensus to solve the political crises in Ethiopia. Since, the OLF moved its leadership to the country on 15th September 2018 it committed itself to work with honesty and integrity for the success of the peace process that lead to inclusive true democracy.
Although OLF was not happy on how the transition to democracy in Ethiopia was handled by PM Abiy Ahmed’s government from the very beginning, we patiently dealt with the situations with the hope that it would be improved; but not without price. However, the Political reform started in 2018 have faced huge challenges both internally within the ruling party as well as externally with the opposition groups. The situations are getting worse from time to time and currently it reached at stage where everything is out of control leading the government to collapse.
Now there is very alarming instability and fractured political prospect in the country and the public have lost hope and trust from the ruling party. We observed a clear ‘’constitutional crisis” in the country and the party in power has fallen short of its initial promises and has been using the government organs responsible to protect the Constitution towards its own political benefits. Detaining leaders and members of opposition political parties and gross human rights violations is a day to day job of the Government security forces. Despite the atrocities, OLF and other opposition parties have continued to express their willingness to support the reform, individually as well as jointly.
In addition to our individual proposals, the OLF is involved in different fora of opposition parties to support the democratic transition. One of the fora was the Alliance for Multi-nation Federalism (Alliance) that aim to provide joint support to the transition and democratic process. In April 2020, this Alliance provided comprehensive recommendations to the government on the transitional process. The recommendations clearly set out how to continue with the reform towards political settlement based on consensus and spelled out how stable democratic governance could be formed through a step- by- step process.
The recommendations were drafted within the framework of the Ethiopian constitution and considered the fallacies of the change process and the behavior of the ruling party; the current instability and security issues; and the human rights violations. In general, we analyzed the challenges of the reform system in both directions (the ruling party and the oppositions) and proposed workable recommendation that will be implemented jointly by the ruling party and the opposition groups.
The proposed recommendations highlighted to have binding political convention that enables other political parties to take part and to ensure proper oversight of the change process in order to build genuine democracy and help create sustainable peace in the country and would ensure livelihood improvement of citizens in which the Alliance and its member organizations, as well as all other forces would play their part.
The proposed binding political convention include the establishment of:
- Council of Foreign Relation to inspire domestic trust and gain international legitimacy.
- Coordinated National Security Council for monitoring the implementation of the Security arrangements in regions.
- Democratic Building Institution to protect the autonomy and authority of independent judiciary, electoral board and independent media that could hold the executives accountable.
- A body that resolve conflict and disparity between State building and Nation building to create national consensus on resolving outstanding political problems.
- A body that would monitor the implementation of the convention to limit the quest of any further extension to the election and set out appropriate election date.
We also indicated the implementation of the recommendations including the details of responsibilities, system, and mechanism by which these parties would operate. We believe implementing these proposed recommendations will help to build democracy and help create sustainable peace in the country. It also addresses the security issues in regional states among themselves as well as the disparity between the government and opposition parties and differences among the oppositions themselves as well as address issue of contradictory stand on “State-Building” and “Nation-Building.
Therefore, we strongly suggest that the Ethiopian government should reconsider these recommendations as we believe it will resolve the current widespread crises. Also, we would like to reiterate our willingness to play our part in genuine democratic process if stakeholders discharge their responsibilities. In this instance, we would like to appeal to the international community to take serious action to safe Ethiopia from constitutional crises and total chaos. Particularly, we strongly appeal to the African Union’s (AU), the UN bodies, EU, and other international community to urge the Ethiopian government to engage with negotiation with opposition parties and jointly set out a road map to all-inclusive democracy through power sharing transitional government that will prepare and implement free and fair elections.
We praise the African Union’s (AU) role in leading and promoting dialogue-centered approach to conflict prevention and resolution in many African countries to maintain peaceful and secure Africa. We believe that the current crises in Ethiopia demands, more than any other entity, serious attention from the AU. In accordance with the article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU the Union has a right to intervene in a member state to prevent grave violations of human rights.
The national and international evidence clearly shows the continuous gross violations of human rights are committed by Ethiopian Regime on Ethiopian civilians for the last 27 years and in unprecedented scale in the last two years. In addition, there are Organized and strong armed forces emerging in most regional states that threaten the general governance and bring about security crises throughout the country.
Given the current crises and fast-moving potential conflicts and threats, the AU must intervene and excel its responsibility sooner than later. Also we would like to stress that the current situation in Ethiopia not only disintegrate the second largest country in Africa but also one of the biggest impediments to achieve AU Aspiration 4 of Agenda 2063 which aspires for “A peaceful and secure Africa”. Moreover, being Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) is the seat of FDRE, capital city of Oromia and the seat of AU headquarters, the security of the AU office and safety of more than 2000 employees working there must be taken into account in line with current peace and instability issues Ethiopia and in particular in Oromia.
We realize the role of UN in averting crises in the world and would like the UN bodies including UN Security Council (UNSC), the UN Human Rights Council, and others play their part in averting the current crises in Ethiopia. Particularly, the UNSC who has primary responsibility, under the UN Charter, for the maintenance of international peace and security, should not give a blind eye when one of the second largest country in Africa is encountered with political, social, human rights and economic crises and eventually collapse.
We appreciate the leading role the EU is playing in promoting economic integration, peace, and stability in Ethiopia, whilst supporting the implementation of national reform agenda and forming diversified development cooperation with Ethiopia. However, the Political reform started in 2018 have faced huge challenges, miss managed by PM Abiy and collapsed. This will halt the EU partnership and all the EU ambitions to Ethiopia. So, we believe that the EU will intervene with its capacities to avert the huge political crises that its key partners in the region is facing now.
- We call up on the AU to intervene into the crises in Ethiopia based on its constitutive right stated in article 4(h) and other supporting articles of the Union.
- We call up on the UNSC to take appropriate measures in accordance with its obligations stated in Article 39 and 41 of the UN constitutive act as the threats to peace and security is clearly evidenced in Ethiopia. We also appeal to UNHRC to act accordingly to address gross human rights violations in Ethiopia.
- We call upon the EU to give serious attention to the instability in Ethiopia, especially Oromia, as this is huge conflict of a century and immensely affect the peace and stability in the horn of Africa, and affect the diplomatic and development partnerships of European countries with Ethiopia.
- We call upon all Political Parties in Ethiopia to seriously take our proposal and work with us to avert looming and eminent chaos.
We hereby also call upon Independent Oromo Political Forces and the General Oromo people to prepare for Transitional Government of Oromia to avert any form of political and Security crisis. The OLF will continue to consult stakeholders on this position at both levels of government.
Victory to the Masses!
Oromo Liberation Front
September 13, 2020