News: OFC, OLF and ONP agree to form “Coalition for Democratic Federalism”

A photo posted by Jawar Mohammed, second from left, shows representatives of the three parties having a conversation. From middle to right: Dawud Ibssa of OLF, Bir. Gen Kemal Gelchu of ONP, & Prof. Merera Gudina of OFC.

Etenesh Abera

Addis Abeba, January 04/2020 – Three national political parties competing in Ethiopia’s upcoming general elections in 2020 have agreed to form a regional coalition called “Coalition for Democratic Federalism.”

On January 03, leaders of the three parties: Prof. Merera Gudina of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Dawud Ibssa of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Brig. Gen. Kemal Gelchu of Oromo National Party (ONP), have signed the agreement for the regional coalition. ***The agreement will enable the three parties to jointly field candidates for Caaffee Oromia (Oromia regional State council) and to form a national coalition with other parties that share similar programs and operate in different regional states.

The document, ***viewed by Addis Standard, contains three chapters stating the areas in which the three parties would work together under the new coalition.

Accordingly, the first chapter in the document signed by the three parties stated the name of the coalition as “Coalition for Democratic Federalism” (in Afaan Oromoo, “Gamtaa Dimokiraatawaa Federaalistii” (GAMTAA in short), and in Amharic “ትብብር ለዲሞራክራሲያዊ ፌዴራሊዝም.”

Chapter two of the document contains the major objectives of the Coalition and has seven points outlined. They are: A/ Based on election results of the three parties in the 2020 general elections, to form a regional coalition government. B/ To work together to make sure the election is free and democratic. C/ To jointly coordinate material and financial resources during election campaigns. D/ To mobilize efforts to work together with other parties at national level that share political programs closer to their own programs . E/ To contribute their shares and work together to solve conflicts arising in different parts of the country and work with other stakeholders to materialize national consensus. F/ To work together to avoid election related violence and misunderstanding. And G/ To mobilize efforts to democratize Ethiopia’s multi-national federalism.

Chapter three of the document contains details on the various bylaws of the Coalition and has six points outlined. They are: A/ Mentions the Coalition will have a bylaw containing the official name of the Coalition, working language, seat of the headquarters, and the structure of the Coalition. B/ Mentions the structure of the Coalition containing the a council, executive committee, secretariat, audit and legal commissions. C/ Mentions incorporation of political programs of each of the individual parties that make up the coalition with each party as independent entity. D/ Mentions the Coalition is subject to amendments, to transform into a front or merger, or be dissolved all based on consensus between the parties. E/ Mentions the three parties have signed on the document. And F/ Mentions the Coalition will have a legal entity in accordance with proclamation No. 1162/2011 Article 94, and as of the date the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia issued a certificate of registration recognizing the Coalition.

The three parties have already submitted a letter requesting the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) a legal recognition and registration of the Coalition. According to this morning’s edition of Addis Maleda NP, NEBE has confirmed recipient of the letter.

The negotiations have been ongoing in the last few months. In an exclusive interview he held with Addis Standard, Jawar Mohammed, who recently joined OFC, hinted that “there will be coalitions at regional levels, not only in Oromia.” He further said that “the way it is going to work is, in the region there are different parties and they have to form a coalition in their own region and at the federal level. Negotiation is underway right now for these coalitions at both levels. And soon within weeks we expect something to come out of these negotiations.” AS

Editor’s note: *** This news was edited to accommodate a missing explainer & change the word “reviewed” to “viewed”.

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