Dawud Ibsa Ayana
Dawud Ibsa Ayana (no relation with Mengistu H/Mariam Wolde Ayana ) is Chairman of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF).
Dawud was born in Abuna village, Horro Guduru District in Welega. He attended Haile Selassie I University in 1970-1971, where he participated in the student movement against Haile Selassie; there he joined the Association of Oromo University Students. During 1974-1976 he participated in the Zemecha campaign. In 1977, Dawud was elected to the OLF Central Committee. From October 1977 to December 1979, he was imprisoned by the Derg. He returned to Addis Ababa University during the 1979-1980 academic year. Before finishing his studies (statistics), Dawud fled to Sudan in 1980 and joined an OLF unit operating from that country. A few months later, he received basic military training in Eritrea. In April 1981, Dawud commanded the OLF unit that started the armed struggle in Welega Province.
In December 1981, the Derg poisoned and then tortured him for several months. From August 1982 to December 1986, he was jailed at Kerchele prison without charge. Dawud escaped and rejoined the OLF. In 1988 he was re-elected to the OLF's Central Committee and the Executive Committee, and until 1991 headed the OLF's military department. In 1998, he was re-elected to the OLF's Executive committee and in 1999 became the OLF's chairman. Rumor has it that he refused to lead OLF at first and was forced into the position by the politicians and the military. However, when he appeared for the election he was well dressed in his military attire and was backed by the OLF troops in Eritrea. Not re-electing him to the position was not even an option. Dawud told Les nouvelles d’Addis on 29 March 2006 that he was confident that the OLF will form the next government in Ethiopia, a speech which motivated many nationalist Oromo diasporas.
Unfortunately it was while he was the leader of OLF that the organization crumbled into pieces. However, according to report of the International Crisis Group, majority of the Oromo people still believe OLF is its primary political party that able to end a century long exploitation of the Oromo people by consecutive Ethiopian regimes. Also, according to different diplomatic sources in Addis Ababa, OLF is the nightmare for the current Ethiopian regime led by Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF).
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