By Moses Njagih
It dismissed allegations it is bent on ensuring a local MP does not clinch a top county position for allegedly being sympathetic to the Oromo Liberation Front rebel movement.
Ethiopia has been sucked into the murky politics of the county where two warring Borana community camps have been strategising to clinch the governor’s position, heightening political temperatures in the volatile region.
Talk of Ethiopia trying to influence the county leadership came to the fore after the warring camps, one supporting Moyale MP Mohammud Ali and the other rooting for Chachu Tadicha, crossed the common border into Ethiopia to seek the help of the Borana community leader (Aba Gadha) Guyo Gobba, in a bid to reach a compromise on who the community should back to become governor.
The Abba Gadha is the cultural leader of the community, which also has large presence in Ethiopia.
But it was the outcome of the meeting, declaring Tadicha as the community’s candidate that infuriated Ali’s camp, which later accused the Ethiopian government of dictating proceedings of the meeting to influence the outcome.
Ali, who did not attend the meeting as he was then attending the burials of former Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and his assistant Orwa Ojode, led his camp in revolting against the outcome of the meeting, claiming the same was hijacked by Ethiopian authorities.
The camp claimed a senior Ethiopian administration officer, whose position of the equivalent of a PC, dictated proceedings at the meeting to ensure the MP does not get the nod to contest the post.
Sources, which the Ethiopia government dismisses, claimed the country is uncomfortable with Ali, as its intelligence reports portray him as being sympathetic to the rebels. Ali’s camp argues it is this agenda that the Ethiopian administrator was keen to see through when he attended the cultural meeting.
“He was the one who was directed to ensure that the MP was not endorsed at the meeting. There is talk on the ground that the Ethiopian government does not want Ali in any leadership position,” said a member of the camp, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.