Abbabiya returned to Ethiopia following a peace negotiation/mediation in The Hague, The Netherlands, between the TPLF government of Ethiopia and some former OLF personalities (and some “Oromo elders”) between Sep. 19 -21, 2008. The mediation effort is said to be spearheaded by Prof. Ephraim Isaac.
The reader may recall that Prof. Ephraim Isaac is the leader of a panel of “elders” which convinced imprisoned former CUDP leaders to admit culpability and beg for forgiveness from the TPLF regime of Ethiopia in July 2007. The reader may also recall that CUDP split into four factions soon after the leaders’ release from prison following amnesty granted by Meles Zenawi. (Read more about Prof. Ephraim Isaac HERE)
It is confirmed that Obbo Lenco Lata and Obbo Dima Nego are among eleven others in attendance at the mediation meeting which, according to some reports, agreed to reconvene in Finfinne (Addis Ababa). Some observers speculate that all three of them attended the meeting on behalf of the Kemal Gelchu group which recently claimed to have deposed the Daud Ibsa group from leadership of [the Asmara Group of] OLF. Others, including Obbo Leenco and Obbo Dima, say they attended as Oromo individuals only. It is also rumored that the two gentlemen will follow Abbaa Biyyaa to Finfinnee shortly. Neither of the two gentlemen denied this rumor to put it to rest in spite of opportunities provided to Obbo Leenco by VOA and to Obbo Dima by an Oromo Pal Talk room.
By eye witness accounts, Abbabiya arrived in Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) “a couple of weeks ago to a very warm reception from representatives of TPLF government and was given a villa guest house to stay in and use as his office.” This same witness also writes from Finfinne that he “ran in to [Abbabiya] at the Sheraton hotel some nights ago. He is driven around in a government provided vehicle and driver. Two body guards provided to him by the government follow him everywhere for his personal safety and security.”
It is not clear in what capacity or for how long Abbabiya’s returned to Ethiopia.
In the 2001 OLF split in to the [TA]-OLF and [The Asmara Group of] OLF, Abbabiya sided with the latter and was rewarded by appointment to the head of the [Asmara Group of] OLF’s foreign affairs department for a few years following the split. It is said that he was fired from that role for lack of performance. Asked to comment on Abbabiya’s current association with the [Asmara Group of] OLF, a “national council” member of the same group writes “He was called back by Jaal Daud Ibsa to help sell Alliance for Freedom and Democracy (AFD) to the Amhara public. It has always been known among those who know Abbabiya that he is more comfortable speaking in Amharic than in Afaan Oromoo and more at ease among Amhara or Ethiopian audiences than among Oromo nationalists. While his command of the Oromo language is good, he has not learned Qubee Afaan Oromoo to this date. He supported AFD whole heartedly which some of us opposed from the start [watch Abbabiya selling AFD HERE] . When it was realized that AFD was not going anywhere, he was discarded again by Jaal Daud Ibsa. Some say that he was very unhappy of being discarded for the second time and as a result started conspiring with Kemal Gelchu and his group. As far as I know, that is the extent of his association with [the Dawud Group] OLF. As for your question about whether his return to Ethiopia is authorized by the [the Dawud Group] OLF, I can tell you that it is not. To the best of my knowledge, he is currently working with the Kemal Gelchu group.” (Transilated from Afaan Oromoo, translation mine)
On a PalTalk interview he gave, the Kemal Gelchu group’s spokesman, Obbo Leenco Baatii, denies that his group has anything to do with the meeting and that either of the three gentlemen represented it. He also talked about contact with the mediator group being established prior to the split with the Daud Ibsa group and that it was necessary to finalize these talks. These contradictory statements have caused some observers to infer that the Kemal Gelchu group may have been represented at The Hague meeting by someone else whose name Obbo Leencoo Baatii was not willing to divulge.
Given the huge credibility gap both sides suffer among Oromo nationals stemming from their past behavior of misinforming the Oromo public, and discrepancies between their words and actions, skepticism about the truth of their statements, especially official claims and pronouncements, are rampant among Oromos.
Fired from his post as head of foreign affairs department for the [Asmara Group of] OLF for sub standard performance and used and discarded by the same group to sell AFD to Ethiopian audiences, Abbabiya Abbaa Jobir recently turned a peace maker.
He established a “peace organization” he named East African Multilogue Center (EAMC). EAMC’s purported vision is “To secure peace, security and stability in East Africa, encompassing the states of Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan …” A one-time higher official of a liberation front and a recent supporter of an alliance of opposition groups struggling to defeat TPLF, Abbabiya now purportedly wants to bring peace to East Africa in general, and to TPLF and the Oromo people in particular. It is not clear whether he has the respect, credibility, neutrality or the personal traits required to undertake such a huge task. Sources close to him say that it is very difficult to pin down Abbabiya’s political and other beliefs and that his recent change of heart has more to do with self-interest than bringing peace to the region. It is not clear whether Abbabbiyya returned to Ethiopia in his capacity as “peace maker” on behalf of EAMC either.
Neither is it clear if Abbabiya returned to Finfinnee as an individual to live there or to visit. Only time will tell.
What do you think are the pros and cons of Abbaa Biyyaa’s return to Finfinnee for the Oromo struggle?
Have your say.