The Oromia Foundation held its belated 2nd Board of Directors Meeting on August 27, 2022. The long overdue meeting took place following multiple postponements and cancellations due to unavoidable internal and external factors. Accordingly, the Board began its official business with renewal of its expired terms of volunteer service.
The Directors subsequently reviewed the Foundation’s program financial performance for previous years and reviewed and approved 2023 Workplans and Budget.
Mr. Melese Dadi, the Foundation’s founding Executive Director earlier submitted his resignation letter from all responsibilities with the Foundation effective the date the letter was submitted. The Board carefully reviewed and granted the request, with heartfelt thanks for incorporating the foundation, selfless service, commitment, and exemplary leadership.
Press Release on Assassination of Artist Hacaaluu Hunddessaa
In the capital city of Oromia, Finfinnee, a little after 9 PM on June 29, 2020, reportedly unknown assailants gunned down artist Hacaaluu Hunddeessaa, a prominent Oromo revolutionary artist, song writer, performer, entrepreneur, human right activist and a national icon. And shortly after the tragedy befallen the nation, several media outlets reported the arrest and imprisonment of several Oromo political leaders and activists, including household names such as Jawar Mohamed and Bekele Gerba; mass arrest and imprisonment of the staffs and management of the Oromo Media Network (OMN) and the closure of OMN. The Board and Executive Committee of Oromia Foundation is extremely saddened with this shocking turn of event in Ethiopia and hereby condemn the perpetrators of artist Hacaaluu’s assassination in the strongest possible terms.
Through his revolutionary songs and well researched inspiring speeches and lectures on Oromo history and colonial legacy of the Ethiopian Empire, artist Hacaaluu played a pivotal role in mobilizing Oromo youth that toppled the TPLF led EPRDF regime. Ironically, it is the untold price artist Hacaaluu and his Oromo youth brothers and sisters (Qeerroo) paid in their blood and treasure that paved the way for the assentation to power of the current prime minster of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed and his supposedly Oromo People Democratic Party (OPDO). However, as soon as the new regime began employing its predecessor’s strategy of extrajudicial killings and imprisonment to remain in power, so did fearless artist Hacaaluu began calling them out. During his recent OMN interview, just a week before his targeted assassination, artist Hacaaluu criticized the empire and its prime minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed for his government’s severe human rights violations in Oromia, even though he was fully aware that freedom of speech is allowed in the empire only to the extent it is used only to glorify and praise the regime in power.
So, who assassinated or is behind the targeted assassination of artist Hacaaluu and why? At this point in time, the Oromia Foundation prefers not to rush to judgement but like to call upon the government of Ethiopia to establish an independent commission involving artist Hacaaluu family’s legal representatives expeditiously investigate this heinous crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. The fact that artist Hacaaluu’s assassination came on the heels of the spate of extrajudicial killings in parts of Oromia where the government claims to be fighting rebel groups, the members of opposition parties are regularly harassed and jailed, independent media establishments are constantly harassed, famers homes are daily burned down and character assassination of Oromo business owners perceived supporters of opposition parties are common occurrences, is nevertheless unsettling. We thus wish to take this opportunity to call up on the government of Ethiopia to immediately stop mass murder of Oromo youth, activists and politicians and burning down of peasants’ homes; immediately release all political prisoners and journalists without any preconditions; allow Oromo Media Network (OMN) to continue to function and withdraw all illegal command posts from all parts of Oromia. Last but not least, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences and solidarity with Hacaaluu’s family, friends, and the Oromo nation during this difficult time.
Silver Spring, Maryland
July 2, 2020
Oromia Foundation’s first Board of Directors Meeting
The Oromia Foundation held its first Board of Directors meeting on December 7, 2019. This meeting being the first gathering since the Board was constituted, the purpose of the meeting was to 1) get the Board members located in three continents know each other, 2) review the Foundation’s brief formative history and evolution of its vision and mission, 3) review and approve the proposed Foundation’s policy, governance and management documents, 4) review and accept 2019 performance report related to establishing the organization and its proposed 2020 work plan and budget, and 6) identify and appoint volunteer senior management personnel.
Following introduction to the organization, progress report and work plan and budget presentations by a team of volunteers involved in the establishment of the organization and question and answer sessions, the Board unanimously approved the Board Manual and By-laws and also approved the appointment of its nominees to various senior management positions.