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April 21, 2021
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Oromo Liberation Front takes queue after OFC, opted out of Election

The party position is revealed days after Oromo Federalist Congress disclosed that it is not taking part in the Election

OLF chairman, Dawud Ibsa (Photo : File/ENA)

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The most radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist Party, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), does not seem to be intending to take part in the upcoming general election. 

A month after saying that it will take part in the election, Dawud Ibsa led party is chaning its mind.

DW Amharic Service on Friday reported that OLF has not yet registered a candidate in the parts of Ethiopia where it was presumed field candidates for the sixth general election. 

Beete Urgesa, who is said to be head of public relation for the party, has confirmed that the party has not registered a single candidate to date. And that, for him, is an indication that Oromo Liberation Front has entirely opted out of the election which is scheduled to take place in May of this year. 

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE)has announced that candidate registration has been completed on Thursday in Addis Ababa,Dire Dawa, Oromia, Harari, Gambella and Benishangul Gumuz.  However, the party extended candidate registration until March 9 following an engagement with opposition parties. 

NEBE said it had to extend the candidate registration date on grounds of transportation problems and delays in the opening of offices, among others. 

Why did the Oromo Liberation Front opt out of Election?

The party alleges  government “pressure” on its members. Moreover, it claimed that its offices are also closed and the situation is not conducive for election related party activities. 

There had been an open controversy for a long time between the Federal government and Oromo regional state on the one hand and Oromo Liberation Front on the other over the latter’s refusal to disarm rebel forces who entered Ethiopia from Eritrea following amnesty by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government. 

The Military wing is still clandestinely operating in some parts of Oromo regional state and Benishangul regional state although Dawud Ibsa led Oromo Liberation Front disowned  it saying it no longer has anything to do with the party.

OLF as a party, however, was implicated in several security incidents that claimed lives including the assassination of ethnic Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa.  According to the government, the party was also working with Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to destabilize the country. 

There has been a reported split within the party over differences in strategies to achieve the party’s goal.  

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