Ethiopia: OFC Says Jawar Mohammed Is Ethiopian As Electoral Board Demands Citizenship Proof for 2nd Time

Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) executive member Tiruneh Gemta said Jawar Mohammed, who recently joined OFC, is an Ethiopian citizen. Tiruneh said this following a letter, the second of its type, sent to OFC by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) demanding the party to present proof of Jawar's Ethiopian citizenship status.

Jawar Mohammed, who held a US citizenship, has renounced his US citizenship, according to Tiruneh. A letter written by Jawar to the Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs on January 22/2020 and received by an officer named Atikilti Abraha on the same day, requested the immigration office for re-admission of citizenship. In the two pages letter Jawar stated that he attached with the letter nine different supporting documents as required by the law. Among the documents listed, No. 4 stated that he has attached a copy of a letter from the US embassy in Addis Abeba written on January 06/2020 announcing that he has renounced his US citizenship. No. 5 of the same letter stated that a certificate of loss of his US nationality given to him by the US embassy in Addis Abeba on January 06/2020 was attached along with other documents.

Apart from those, the letter described having other supporting documents such as copy of his previous Ethiopian passport, documents corroborating his return to Ethiopia as of August 2018 and copy of an ID indicating that he was residing in Ethiopia, all of which are required by Ethiopian nationality proclamation for re-admission to Ethiopian nationality.

According to Proclamation No.378/2003 Ethiopian Nationality Proclamation, Article 22: Re-Admission to Ethiopian Nationality:

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 person who has lost his Ethiopian nationality pursuant to Article 20(2) of this Proclamation. i.e: "An Ethiopian who acquires another nationality by virtue of being born to a parent having a foreign nationality or by being born abroad... "

On the other hand, The Ethiopian Electoral and Political Parties Proclamation 1162/2019 Article 63/1 and 2: Political Party Formation, stated that 1. Every Ethiopian has the right to form a political party or be a member of a political party.

2. Any Ethiopian aged 18 or above has the right to be a member of a national or regional party in accordance with this Proclamation.

Article 69: Political Party Barred from Registration - 69/1/E states that

1- The political party shall not be registered if:

E. It has members with international nationality.

In an interview with VOA Amharic, Birtukan Mideksa, Chairwoman of NEBE, said the Board took these provisions as bases of its decision to write the letter. The Board also gave an ultimatum to OFC to prove Jawar's citizenship status until February 07/2020.

"First, he has returned to his country. Second he has renounced his US citizenship. And third he has notified concerned authorities and requested a readmission of his Ethiopian citizenship. The law does not require him to do more than this. Jawar is an Ethiopian," Tiruneh told BBC Amharic. AS

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