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|Dr. Merera Gudina
ዶ/ር መረራ ጉዲና
July 5, 1956 |
|Alma mater||Institute of Social Studies
American University in Cairo
Addis Ababa University
|Occupation||Political Science Professor
|Political party||Oromo People's Congress|
Merera Gudina is a professor and politician in Ethiopia. He is the leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a political party representing the Oromo people. The organization is opposed to the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. He has been described as Ethiopia's "leading opposition politician".
Merera began his college education at Addis Ababa University (AAU), but was imprisoned for seven years due to participating in protests against the dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam. After his release, Merera went to Egypt to complete his education at the American University in Cairo. Merera received his PhD in Political Science July 2002 from the Institute of Social Studies, at the Hague in the Netherlands under the direction of professors M.R. Doornbos and M.A.R.M. Salih, he completed his thesis, "Ethiopia: competing ethnic nationalisms and the quest for democracy, 1960-2000". As of 2009, Merera is an associate professor of political science at AAU. He participates in several scholarly conferences worldwide, including in the United States, concerning political and social developments of Ethiopia.
Merera founded the Oromo National Congress (ONC) in 1996, which became the largest Oromo opposition group by parliament seats after the 2005 national elections. His OFC had allied with several other parties to form the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces. Due to a court decision in 2007 which awarded the name of the ONC to a splinter group, the original ONC assumed a new name, the Oromo people's Congress.
Merera believes in the self-determination of Oromo people and self-rule under Ethiopia umbrella. His party also wants to make Afan Oromo the co-official language of Ethiopia to empower Oromo people politically, socially and economically. Regarding Oromia secession, he opposes the idea based on mutual strategic and national interest of Oromo and other peoples. Merera has also said Oromo people have historically participated in the creation of Modern Ethiopia, including the monarchy. During a parliament discussion with the ruling party, Merera made the observation, "Oromia is the stem of Ethiopia; a stem can not secede, only branches can fall off the stem."
OFC was also reported to have made an alliance with another oromo opposition party named OFDM to form Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC). www.oromofederalistcongress.net
As of January 2010, Merera is the co-chairman of the OPC and the chairman of Medrek.
Merera was detained at the Adis Ababa airport in Ethiopia upon his return from Europe in December 2016. The Ethiopian government cites charges of links to "terrorist" and "anti-peace" protests groups. On 3 March 2017, Ethiopian prosecutors formally charged Merera of supporting terrorism, in which he denied.