In recent months, the activities of Oromo Dialogue Forum have been looming large in the Diasporas. The group has transformed itself from holding small and secret house meetings, where the founders would Skype in from Germany, Norway and Minnesota to holding public meetings in cities such as Minneapolis and Washington DC, among others. The questions many ask is: How was this organization formed and where is it headed? Does what ODF do qualify as "dialogue"? Is it a neutral body to carry out dialogue? In this, piece we will present a simple chronology of the formation and evolution of ODF to help the public understand the organization.
August 2006 Brig Gen Kemal Galchu along with two other officers and 100 soldiers defects
from Ethiopian Army and joins OLF in Eritrea
2008 Brig Gen Kemal Galchu breaks away from OLF and forms Jijiirama Koree Yeroo
with the goal of struggling for Ethiopia's unity.
July 2008 Dima Noggo misses OLF meeting, but attends Jijjiirama meeting expecting to rise to
July 2008 Lenco Lata declares that he is neither in OLF nor Jijjiirama
2010 Lico Bukura, Abdata Basire and Kanu Jirmo conspire and handover Jijjiirama armed
troops to Ethiopia and declare OLF is no longer at war with the Ethiopian regime
2010 Big Gen Galchu and Col. Hailu Gonfa declare they struggle not for Oromo, but Ethiopia
2011 Jijjiirama splits into more than two factions--Galchu/Amin Jundi joined Ginbot7
2011 Mediation between Jijjiirama and OLF fails
2011 Ibrahim Mummee faction leaves the Ethiopianist Kemal Galchu group
due to internal power struggle and ego issues
2011 Lenco Lata gets fired for disciplinary issues from the OLF, takes with him some OLF
2012 Oromo Dialogue Forum (ODF) formed with tens of unhappy OLF dropouts and
dropouts from Big Gen Kamal Galchu's faction
2012 Lenco Lata, Lenco Bati, Dima Noggo, Hassen Hussein and Bayan Asoba become
important ODF officials
2012 ODF leaders lecture/hoodwink the general public always on a singe topic "The Oromo
Struggle Under the Leadership of the OLF: From Where to Where?"
2012 Obbo Lube Birru appears on radio and says ODF is part of the problem, not a neutral
third-party, to hold anything resembling cross-faction dialogue
2012 Oromo Affairs concludes Jijjiirama renamed itself "Oromo Dialogue Forum"
ODF proposes that it wants to liberate the peoples of Ethiopia, but not the Oromo people specifically. The ODF disowns the Oromo and calls on Oromos to abandon calling themselves Oromos. ODF asks people "why do you call yourselves Oromos?" The ODF leadership believes disowning Oromo is the main selling point of their programs to Ethiopians and the international community. The leaders also deny that they are Oromos--an example is when Dima Noggo said "inde agatami hono Ilu Ababor Gore akebabi new yetweledkut" [by chance I was born in Ilu Ababa Bor around Gore] on Amaharic Esat TV. This might mean that if he were to control his birth, he would choose to be born in Gondar or Tigray or anywhere esle outside Oromia from non-Oromo parents.
So, does Oromo Dialogue Forum stand for Oromo interests or not? The above are the facts, you decide for yourself.
---Background video material