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Ethiopia: The purposes, goals and activities of the Macha Tulema Self-Help Association (Waldaa Maccaa Fi/Tulamaa) and the nature and extent of its relationship with the Oromo Liberation Front, if any

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 27 February 2003
Citation / Document Symbol ETH40972.E
Reference 4
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ethiopia: The purposes, goals and activities of the Macha Tulema Self-Help Association (Waldaa Maccaa Fi/Tulamaa) and the nature and extent of its relationship with the Oromo Liberation Front, if any, 27 February 2003, ETH40972.E, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The information contained in this response is extracted from the Gumii Website which states that the Macha-Tulama Association (MTA) was formed in 1964 "as a mass Oromo organization" and that:

The Association expanded its membership very rapidly all over Oromiyaa as a Pan-Oromo movement. The creation of the Macha-Tulama Association marked the beginning of a new era in the Oromo resistance movement. The Oromo people were long hungry for a liberation movement that would marshal their resources, unite their activities and channel their creative energies against the forces of oppression. It championed the social, educational, cultural and political rights of the Oromo people. The Macha-Tulama Association among others, had a dynamic Youth Wing that produced revolutionary literature, politicized and organized Oromo masses....Between 1967 and 1974 some members of the Macha-Tulama Association and Oromo students continued agitating for Oromo independence and raising the political awareness of the Oromo people through underground papers such as the "Voice of Oromo Against Tyranny" (n.d.).

The information posted on the Gumii Website states that the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) was formed in 1974 out the MTA underground cells (Gumii, n.d.).

However, the chair of the Oromia Support Group (OSG), "a non-political organisation which attempts to raise awareness of human rights abuses in Ethiopia, opines, however, that between 80-90 per cent of the 25-30 million Oromo in Ethiopia are likely to provide moral support to the activities of both the OLF and the MTA (ibid.). According to him, "individual members of the MTA are undoubtedly members of the OLF and there will be exchange of ideas between the organisations, However, there is no formal, political, financial or institutional link between the organisations" (ibid.).

The OSG and several other sources claim that the government targets and harasses leaders of the Macha-Tulama Association (ibid.; ibid., Aug.- Sept. 1998; AI 19 Apr. 2002; Oromia Online 1 Sept. 2000; New African June 1998).

In late 2000, members of the Oromo Action Group claimed that government agents picked up the vice-president of the MTA in Ethiopia, Dr. Mogga Firisa, from his office and detained him without charge (Oromia Online 1 Sept. 2000). The OSG claimed that the government of Ethiopia was seeking the deportation of two MTA youth leaders, who had sought refuge in Israel (Aug.-Sept. 1998). This information is corroborated by a New African report which alleges that Ethiopian authorities arrested members the MTA and the Human Rights League in January and February 1998 (June 1998). The New African further maintains that the government of Djibouti "extradite[d] six Oromo" refugees even though they were registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (HCR), and that the Ethiopian authorities were trying to "persuade" the government of Germany to forcibly return Oromos who had sought asylum in that country ( New African June 1998 ).

In April 2002, Amnesty International expressed concern that members of Ethiopian security forces could use torture and abusive force against secondary school students arrested in the Oromia region (19 Apr. 2002). Those arrested included Bekele Jirata, vice-president of the MTA, and agricultural expert in the department of Agriculture in the Oromia region (AI 19 Apr. 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International. 19 April 2002. Urgent Action. "Craintes de torture/usage abusif de la force par les forces de sécurité/nouveau motif de préoccupation : Détention au secret."        [Accessed 25 Feb. 2003]

Gumii Organization. n.d. "The Oromo National Liberation Struggle." [Accessed 25 Feb. 2003]

New African [London]. June 1998. "Persecution of Oromos Continue." [Accessed 25 Feb. 2003]

Oromia Online. 1 September 2000. "Oromo Action Group (OAG) Protests Ethiopian Dictator's Visit to Harvard." [Accessed 25 Feb. 2003]

Oromia Support Group (OSG), Worcestershire, England. 21 Feruary 2003. Correspondence from Chair.

_____. May 2001 - July 2002. "Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia."

_____. August-September 1998. No. 24. "Oromo Refugees Threatened with Refoulement." [Accessed 25 Feb. 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Confidential

Country Reports

IRB Databases

Keesing's Record of World Events.


Resource Centre. Country File. Ethiopia

Internet sites including:

All Africa


Relief Web


Search engines including:


Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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