Oromo parliamentarian appeals to International Community
Letter from Member of Ethiopian Parliament Mr. Bulcha Demeksa, Chairman of opposition party Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM)
The Government has announced on [its state-owned] TV this evening that it has arrested many Oromos in connection with terrorist activities. OFDM can never never cooperate with OLF because OFDM is openly and legally carrying on political activities within the framework of the Ethiopian Constitution. We have evidence that the Government is preparing the ground to massively arrest and detain peaceful Oromos including law-abiding OFDM members. We do not understand the purpose of such a move because we know that the Government is fully aware of our activities which are entirely legal and political in nature.
The Government wants to intimidate and silence OFDM. OFDM has been speaking in Parliament on national issues such as famine, inflation, ethnic conflicts, etc.. and has even called on the Government to invite the Opposition to meet it at a round table discussion to find solutions for national problems.
What the Government has announced tonight is absolutely untrue as regards to what they said about OFDM. It's a case of forcibly silencing a political party by implicating it in criminal activities for which it is absolutely impossible to find legal evidence. Of course, trumped up evidence can always be fabricated by a Government.
I, the leader of OFDM, have spent much of my life working for peace and international cooperation within the United Nations System. I could never head an organization which has anything to do with illegal activities, and EPRDF is fully aware of this, but wants to punish OFDM for speaking out honestly and forcefully always with the intention of the progress and growth of Ethiopia.
The arrest of Bekele Jirata who has been detained for the last eight days without having any visit by his lawyer, family and priest, is evidence that EPRDF has the intention of punishing unrelenting Opposition members, even though they are impeccably legal.
OFDM appeals to the Government, the International Community and the peoples of Ethiopia to support OFDM at all times and assure everybody that OFDM has never had any illegal intentions or done anything illegal by way of associating itself with OLF or any other group which operates outside of the Ethiopian Constitutional framework.
Bulcha DemeksaChairman, OFDM