The Oromo Liberation Front, a movement formed 30 years ago to fight for the advancement of Oromo rights, has been on a downward slide over the last two decades.
Today, a veteran of the movement, Dr. Beyan Asoba, has publicly resigned from his post as the spokesman – a position he commandingly held for almost five years now. In a statement intended to clear a confusion surrounding his rumored Feb.13 resignation, Asoba wrote, “I hereby confirm the story that has recently become the subject of considerable discussion that that on February 13, 2012, I submitted my letter of resignation from the National Council of the OLF to the concerned OLF leader.”
“I decided to resign in order to independently contribute to the Oromo people’s struggle for liberation,” the statement added. This is another major blow to the Asmara-based OLF faction led by Dawud Ibsa. Ibsa has been a chairman for the movement since 1999. Under his leadership, the OLF has seen two major splits and have registered minimal gains under his helm.
Asoba did not disclose the reasons for his sudden departure. “I would like all interested to know that I did not withdraw from the Oromo people’s struggle,” he wrote.
“I will continue continue struggling for and defending the Oromo people’s aspiration for liberation, self-determination, equality, justice, human dignity and progress.”
The announcement comes on the hills of a widespread rumor that many who called for the failed effort to re-unify OLF factions are leaving Ibsa’s faction in droves.
Late last year, prominent members of the breakaway faction better known as the Change group who also pushed for reunification distanced themselves from the faction led by General Kemal Galchu’s, who has since forged an alliance with Ginbot 7 by stating that “OLF has for once and all dropped a secessionist agenda.”
These developments have stirred a major debate in the Oromo camp. Reportedly an elite group of Oromo nationalists are quitely working on different alternatives to address the current confusion in the Oromo camp.
Asoba, who’s been a fierce critic of Ethiopia’s human rights abuses, was the movement’s face in one of the most difficulty periods in the history of the OLF. He’s largely viewed as “one of the few pan-Oromo, calm and reasonable voices” in Ibsa’s faction.
Here are some videos from a Human Rights forum last year.