Sunday, June 11, 2006

ION update: 06/11/06

A strange OLF document
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1184 10/06/2006

A document in Oromiffa (the language of the Oromo) distributed to sympathisers of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF, Ethiopian opposition) in the Diaspora throws a murky light on the recent creation of the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) around the OLF. According to the Amharic translation of this 13 page document dated 24 April 2006 and centred on the OLF’s political alliance, the creation of the AFD appears to be a tactical desire of the OLF. Indeed, the text specifies that an alliance between the OLF and only the Southern opposition would have precipitated the creation of a counter-alliance between “Amhara and Tigrayans”, making an OLF victory impossible. Considering the OLF stronger than the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the document states that an alliance with the Habesha (pejorative word for the Northerners) forces would not mean that the OLF is abandoning its assertion that Oromia is a colony (page 4) and therefore has a right to independence. Furthermore, the text refers to Ethiopia as a colonial country and considers that during a transition period, the present constitution should remain in force since its article 39 ensures the right of secession. However, in the face of the doubt arising from the hasty creation of the AFD (ION 1182), the OLF is now seeking to resume dialogue with the Union of Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) which had refused to join the AFD.

Solomon Bekele
Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1183 03/06/2006

Since the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) was created by several Ethiopian opposition groups, the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP) has been in a state of deep melancholy. Its leaders in prison in Ethiopia have distanced themselves from this decision, while CUDP representatives in North America were on the verge of a split last week-end. Only the intervention by certain elders was able to dissuade them, but the controversy among them is still heated. The Ethiopian-American millionaire, Solomon Bekele, one of the financial backers of the CUDP in the Diaspora, and who was one of the signatories of the agreement creating the AFD, is bearing the brunt of criticism from his rivals inside the CUDP. He was accused of striking a secret agreement with other opposition organisations when the AFD was created. This brings a smile to Berhanu Mewa who is involved in the power struggle with the CUDP faction led by Major Josef and Seyoum Solomon, who have the support of Solomon Bekele.