Legality question concerning the Name OLF

OLF, as the name indicates is an organization founded to struggle for the liberation of Oromiyaa. Its political objective is the realization of the right of national self determination up to and including the formation of independent republic Oromiyaa. Now it is four decades since its creation was officially declared. With great sacrifices significant achievements had been recorded through the years.  Most of the founders are dead though few are said to have survived to this day from the colonial onslaught. The survivors, it is hoped can be available in matters concerning the nature of its formation if documents fail to explain.

This writer has retired but as one that has sacrificed the prime part of his life cannot keep silent when what he believes as mistaken moves occurs.  It is unfortunate that the name OLF is claimed by three factions. These three had tried to reunite with the aim of healing and strengthening OLF. But they failed once and are not showing hope for some more time, at least to recognize each others present outlook. The mind that is ready to create understanding with aliens should not nauseate when it comes to own compatriots.

Each faction claims that it is more genuine and has the cause of the people closer to heart. The evidence for each claim is found in the original OLF constitution, political program, different documents and bylaws etc. Those will take care of any legal proceedings. As an organization whose objective is to liberate Oromiyaa the factions could be judged only by the Oromo people. So what ever conflict they have cannot and should not be taken to alien courts. OLF is a rebel organization in the empire of Ethiopia that does not need registration by any office except the hearts and minds of Oromo patriots and Oromo people. To apply for a patent outside Oromiyaa would only end up in harassing each other for no national gain.

It is unfortunate to hear factions lead by Daawud Ibsaa and Dhugaasaa Bakakkoo had already started exchanging words on the issue. OLF is presented for the patent office by Dawuud group as “Promoting the interest of the Oromo people in Ethiopia and elsewhere and to bring the political repression and the gross human rights violations taking place in Ethiopia to the attention of governments and the international community at large”. Category of registration is  “Advertising, Business & Retail Services ”. These could enter all the factions to unending controversy that could cost each unnecessary time and a fortune in legal fees. That the use of the same name, OLF, by all had some problems is undeniable. But let us assume that all love their organization. Therefore there should have been a way for all to use it with “qualifier” or giving up for one that qualifies depending on relevant evidences. The solution requires a long process which demands patience and tolerance. To raise this issue at such hard time OLF finds itself is crazy. Trying to go further to realize it would be madness.

OLF is a domestic organization, applying foreign patent rights on nationals amounts to converting it to a Diaspora organization. This will be adding support to all those internal and external adversaries that are trying hard to make it irrelevant to the cause it was founded for. Material gain because of that cannot outweigh the political bankruptcy it could entail. That is why I am appealing to leaders of all factions to desist this from taking any further action before inter faction conflict is escalated further. The aim of all Oromo activists should rather be how to operate from inside their country. That will solve the name question and all other issues that is crippling Oromiyaa’s vanguard liberation front. The fight on name in foreign land would only categorize all as losers covering up their abandoning the real national struggle. Be it as it may keep the claim on ownership of intellectual property for other time, time when all or one of you are headquartered in Oromiyaa. For the sake of our people and the national struggle, do not once again take each other to alien courts. Beware; there will be no winners but losers in this exercise.

Victory to the Oromo People
Ibsaa Guutama
December 2011

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