News: Opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress urges gov’t to look into OLA’s political inquiry for successful negotiation

By Getahun Legesse @Birmaduu2

Addis Abeba – The opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) has called on the government to look into doubts and questions raised by the armed group Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) for the talks between the government and the group to be successful.

At a briefing for local media today, the OFC said the government’s response to OLA’s questions and concerns on political and economic aspects is important in reaching at a lasting peace agreement, according to OFC.

The party has also urged the two parties to resume the talk, which ended this week without agreement, with no further delays, and in the presence of impartial third party mediators. The presence of impartial mediators is important in strengthening the trust between the two parties, and will determine the outcome of the negotiation, OFC said.

It added that the talks should be inclusive of all stakeholders, including Oromo political parties, as OLA’s questions are related to the Oromo people’s political and economic interests. The parties’ determination to engage in peaceful negotiation will determine the outcome of the negotiation, OFC said, cautioning both parties to negotiate in good faith.

Responding to questions from local journalists, Chairman of OFC, Professor Merera Gudina, said that the commitment of the two parties is significant for the success of the negotiation. However, the Professor admitted that he has little knowledge about the inner aspects of the talks, but he put forth the scenarios that the government might demand the OLA armed group to lay down arms in exchange for amnesty and elections in three years time, while the OLA may demand a guarantee to meet such requirements.

In particular “the ruling party’s determination to ensure democratic and plural political system will determine the outcome of the negotiation,” Merera remarked.

Furthermore, he spoke of the need to have mediators “who can exert pressure” and the need for such mediators who can “control the implementation” of the agreement once that is realized.

The party also requested the government to ensure the rule of law in the country, and went on criticizing parties that it said claim to “struggle for the Amhara people” for ongoing conflicts and the dehumanization of the Oromo people. “The Prosperity PArty itself is responsible for the crime that it has committed and is committing. It is not right to slander the Oromo people,” OFC said, adding that it asks “an immediate stop to this kind of hate propaganda.”

In addition to the political upheavals in Ethiopia, the OFC said that inflation, which the it was caused by the government’s economic policies and market intervention is a cause of serious concern. Market interventions especially in Wheat, Khat and Teff products and the current pervasive inflation was caused by the government’s misguided economic policies, OFC said, and it should be addressed to alleviate the overall economic hardship the country in facing. AS

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