Jawar Mohammed, a former ally turned foe of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told AFP on Saturday that he would join the race for 2020 election to make sure that it is “free and fair”.
A media mogul and activist who last month was at the center of deadly protests in Addis Ababa, Jawar is attributed with helping to sweep Abiy to power but has of late criticized some of the premier’s policies.
He is quoted saying to an audience in the US state of Minnesota that he would run in next year’s vote.
“I’ve not decided which position or which party. What I’ve decided is to run,” he said.
“The purpose is to help to ensure the election is free and fair. I want to add my voice and my influence to ensure the election is free and fair. And I want to make sure the federalist voices are given enough space in the debate.”
Jawar also said that for him to be able to contest in the elections he would have to give up his current US citizenship and reclaim Ethiopian citizenship.
Both Abiy and Jawar are from Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, Oromo. Their feud highlights divisions within Oromo support base that could complicate the prime minister’s bid for a five-year term.
Jawar said he would return to Ethiopia within 10 days to start off the paperwork for his candidacy to run for the Oromia regional parliament or the national assembly.
Ethiopia’s general elections are scheduled for May 2020 however many observers expect the elections to be delayed as the preparations are already running behind schedule.