Sat. May 21st, 2022

January 31, 2020 ( — The Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) claimed that the controversial political activist and executive member of the OFC, Jawar Mohammed, is an Ethiopian by nationality.

In response to the second request made to it by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to produce a legal document if Jawar Mohammed has Ethiopian citizenship, OFC executive member Tiruneh Gemta said Jawar is an Ethiopian citizen and deserves all the rights to participate in the country’s politics.

The Ethiopian Electoral Law states that a non-Ethiopian cannot be a member of a political party or involve directly in the country’s political activities. The Ethiopian electoral law also states that a non-Ethiopian cannot elect and be elected.

Jawar is an Ethiopian born American and according to the law, he cannot assume OFC membership even though he was one of the leading organizers of the 2016 Ethiopian protests which helped Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed come to power in April 2018.

Tiruneh referred the 2003 Ethiopian nationality proclamation which states attribution of citizenship at birth and naturalization is possible on the basis of four years of residence and the fulfillment of other conditions, including being able to communicate in one of the languages of the nations/nationalities of the country.

 “There is no law that prohibits Jawar Mohammed from being an Ethiopian citizen. Hence, he is an Ethiopian,” Tiruneh Gemeta told the BBC.

“Recently, we have received the second letter from the NEBE requiring justification on Jawar’s citizenship. We had forwarded the NEBE’s letter to Jawar and, in reply, Jawar said he is an Ethiopian citizen based on the Ethiopian Proclamation no 378/2003 article 22.     

Ethiopian Proclamation no 378/2003 article 22 entitled ‘Re-Admission to Ethiopian Nationality’ states:

1.    A person who was an Ethiopian national and who has acquired foreign nationality by law shall be readmitted to Ethiopian nationality if he:

a)        Returns to domicile in Ethiopia;

b)        Renounces his foreign nationality, and

c)        Applies to the Authority or re-admission.

2.    The provisions of Sub-Article (1) of this Article shall also apply to a person who has lost his Ethiopian nationality pursuant to Article 20(2) of this Proclamation.

“First, Jawar is living in his homeland. Second, he has returned his US citizenship, and third, he has applied to regain Ethiopian citizenship. He meets all the requirement required by the law and hence Jawar is an Ethiopian citizen,” Tiruneh said

OFC’s executive member said he would reply the same to the NEBE before the due date February 29, 2020.  

Jawar’s membership in OFC comes eight months before the general elections and he is believed to be considering challenging Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

By Rasaas