By Bileh Jelan @BilehJelan
Addis Abeba, June 14, 2021 – Ahmedin Jebel, a prominent muslim cleric who was running for the House of People’s Representatives for Jimma city, announced via a post on his facebook his withdrawal from the upcoming election. The prominent cleric was running for Jimma seat at the House of People’s representatives (HoPR) along side two other members of the Muslim Arbirtary Committe memebrs.
The post read, “Jimma city, concerning the 6th national election, the city should be represented by capable men who can understand and represent the demands of Jimma,” he continued, “You showed big faith in me when I chose to run to represent your city by providing me with the needed signatures to start my campaign. To that end you have done the expected and more and I thank you from the depth of my heart.” The cleric ended his statement by saying, “It is with humility and great respect that I regret to inform you of my withdrawal from the race for personal reasons.”
Ahmedin was a key leader in the 2011 muslim protests that went well into 2012 before being arrested alongside all key members of the Muslim Arbritary Comittee. Ahemdin faces multiple terrrsom charges including the planning, preparing, conspiring and attempting terrorist acts and intending to advance a political cause under the guise of religion. Some of these charges would mean that some of the defendants would face the death penalty.
Not long after Ahemd’s arrest and conviction, the 2015 Oromo protests led by Oromo youth also known as Qeeroo started bearing as one of its key demands the release of all political prisoners. Ahmedin, an Oromo himself benefited from the fruits of the protests that culminated in his release on February 14, 2018 only after serving 3 years of his 22 years sentence.
After the ascension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to power, the two developed a close relationship and became close allies but periodic reports suggested that the relationship between the two was deteriorating. This withdrawal comes in the backdrop of a controversy related to the Ramdan 2021 street iftar where Ahmedin took to Facebook and said, “Muslims refuse anything less than equality and will not accept being second class citizens.” In another post, he explained that the road to complete equality is filled with struggle while he urged Muslims, “For now, go home and be safe.” Signaling to observers a further draft between him and the administration of PM Abiy Ahmed. AS