OLF Vice President Dismisses Armed Struggle as Ineffective Strategy in Contemporary Ethiopia

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September 30/2021(ENA)  Armed struggle is not an effective strategy in the current political context of Ethiopia, Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) Vice President Kajela Merdassa said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the vice president said the armed struggle in the OLF had some success but it did not achieve the desired results, especially over the last 27 years.

The achievement is insignificant when compared to the sacrifices paid and the people have gained a lot from non-violent struggle, Kajela noted.  

He pointed out that the popular uprising in 2016 which forced the TPLF to step down was not, for instance, achieved through armed struggle.

“In the current situation, we do not expect any results from armed struggle. This is not necessary, and we have abandoned violence and embraced peaceful struggle,” the vice president elaborated.

According to him, armed struggle by internal and foreign forces will not bring anything to this country, and it is not acceptable. Taking power through armed struggle will lead to governing the country with guns. It does not bring democracy.”

Democracy can only be built when power comes from the people and people need to be free from fear and express their beliefs.

The vice president pointed out that “building democracy is more difficult than fighting. But first, there must be favorable conditions for building democracy. There must be peaceful movement and competition. On the other hand, there are persons who try to seize power  through gun. This would weaken democracy.”

Kajela believes that there will be many challenges during a transition period. But the problem in Ethiopia is different, he added.

Ethiopia conducted democratic election during a very difficult time, especially when there was a lot of pressure to prevent the election from taking place, the vice president stated. 

He said, “Although the ruling party won the election, some opposition political parties have unprecedentedly got seats, and it is a good thing that we accept. It is important to have a legitimate government and the election is a good start. We hope some shortcomings will be corrected in the future.”

The elected government needs to ensure the participation of political parties in every structure to create a conducive environment for greater stability and building democracy, the vice president observed. 

Kajela further said that the government should also hold national consultations with various stakeholders on major issues and ensure their participation in the country’s political process.  

On the other hand, the entire public and opposition political parties have a huge responsibility to stand together to defend the sovereignty of the country and ensure national interest.

Asked about the collaboration of the terrorist groups TPLF and Shene, the vice president said this is not acceptable and OLF believes their alliance undermines the struggle of the Oromo people and disrupts peaceful struggle.