ADDIS ABABA – Gelesa Dilbo, former leader of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and a member of Ethiopian Parliament, has passed away at the age of 59.
The House of Peoples Representatives (hoPR) announced his death on Thursday morning.
Gelesa was born on March 31, 1963 in Nekemte Town, according to his brief bio issued by the HoPR. He started the political struggle when he was a student at Haile Selassie University (now Addis Ababa University).
Gelesa eventually left the University and joined the OLF in 1979, and went on to become the chairperson of the OLF in 1989 after playing a big role in unifying the sporadic struggle of the Front, and
He also served as a secretary of the OLF between 2000 and 2006. Following an internal disagreement within the front, he formed the Liberation Front National Council where he was a senior member until 2018.
In December 2018, Gelesa returned home accepting the government’s call for opposition parties in exile to pursue their political struggle peacefully, along with 21 other senior members of the Council.
He was elected to the House of Peoples’ Representatives after running as an independent candidate in east Hararghe zone of Oromia region in the 2021 national election.
He served as Memebr of the lower House of the Parliament until his passing.
Many, including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, have expressed condolences on the death of the Gelesa. PM Abiy said Gelesa played a major role in the struggle for freedom and equality of the Oromo people since the students’ movement.
“We lost him at a time we needed him most,” he said. “May god bless his soul”
The funeral of the MP will take place on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa.