Top Oromia parties hint of merger for Ethiopia’s 2020 polls
Two main opposition parties in Ethiopia’s Oromia region have hinted at a merger ahead of polls slated for 2020, government-affiliated Fana broadcasting corporate reported on Thursday.
The two are the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). OLF until recently was considered a terrorist organization by the government.
OLF led by Dawud Ibsa was based in #Eritrea, it has however agreed to return to the country to pursue peaceful struggle and participate in the political process. OLF held peace talks with the federal and regional government in Eritrea capital Asmara.
OFC on the other hand remained a political group in the country during the height of Oromo protests that rocked the country partly contributing to change in leadership of government earlier this year.
Two of its leaders – Dr. Merera Gudina and Bekele Gerba – became the face of the political struggle as they faced multiple criminal charges and spent long periods in detention. The state has since dropped the cases against them.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has stressed on occasions that the ruling EPRDF coalition was committed to ensuring the Ethiopia goes through free and fair elections in 2020.
Activists and political watchers have increasingly called for Addis Ababa to begin work on reforming the electoral system and the wider political playing field to guarantee a credible process.
A top activist in the Oromo struggle, Jawar Mohammed, in an interview with the Addis Standard news portal stressed the importance of political mergers in order to give the ruling party in the Oromia region a good challenge at the polls.