By Seifu Adem

This is how Getachew Reda knocked down Lencho Bati. It was his happiest day.

Politics and teaching are different professions. In politics you can act; in teaching you perform. Questions are handled differently in politics and teaching.

In politics you can answer questions if you have answers and think doing so will advance your policy or politics. But you dodge them if you don’t have the answers, or have them but think answering them will cost you something.

But in teaching you are expected to answer all questions. Even if a teacher doesn’t know the answer, he/she should be honest about it and promise to come up with the answers next time. But this costs dearly in politics.

On Al-Jazeera’s UpFront, Lencho Bati performed well over all. He did a good job by explaining how Ethiopian government is controlled byTigrean minority group although it was brought up by Mehdi Hassen. Lencho also hammered  Getachew on the 100% parliamentary seat and the narrowing of political space for opposition parties in Ethiopia. He also went further by pointing out that human rights organizations  have been publishing reports about the plights of Oromo for the last 25 years. On these points Lencho approached the questions politically.

However, Lencho made a terrible mistake when he talked about ODF and OLF. As a politician, he should have dodged these questions. He shouldn’t have spend that much time to tell Getachew Reda that his party accepts the Constitution, it broke up with the “terrorist” OLF, and the government told its president, Lencho Lata, to leave the country two days after his arrival. This kind of talk are good when you talk to diplomats who try to mediate ODF and EPRDF, if there are any, not the media. Here, I think Lencho approached these questions as a teacher.

On the other hand, Getachew Reda lost the debate terribly. He didn’t answer any of the questions he was asked in a way that help his government politically. He just practiced his insanity, ignorance, and arrogance. In a way that defies logic, he seemed to argue that you can win 100% parliamentary seat in democracy.

But Getachew scored a point against Lencho by pushing him to talk about his own party, ODF. When the issue as big as #OromoProtests is  the main agenda of the discussion, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about a party. As the saying goes, on some issues,  “never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” That is what Getachew Reda did to Lencho.

But Oromo people are the winners in the debate because of Mehdi Hassen; through his questions, he drew international community’s attention to more salient issues.

Lesson to be taken:  in politics some questions are answered, others are dodged. #OromoProtest and people’s cause is always bigger than the interest of a single political party.

June 27, 2016

Hi Ayyaantuu

Hope you’re well. Let me know if you need anything else to feature this heated debate on UpFront.

For Immediate Use

Ethiopia’s Communications minister, Getachew Reda, and the Oromo Democratic Front’s Lencho Bati speak with ‘UpFront’:

  • Reda says, “The government is more than ready to welcome ODF” into Ethiopia and “I don’t see any problem for [ODF] to come here”
  • Claims that Oromo opposition groups, like the ODF and the OLF (Oromo Liberation Front) “have never done anything for the Oromo people
  • Denies the claims of a recent HRW report on the government’s brutal crackdown on Oromo protests across the country: “Human Rights Watch is not interested in the reality on the ground”…“They just pluck their numbers out of thin air
  • Bati expresses worry if the government refuses to meet the demands of the Oromo protesters: “They must open the political space, otherwise Ethiopia is sitting on a time bomb”

In an interview with Al Jazeera English’s current affairs show, UpFront, Getachew Reda, Ethiopia’s Government Communication Affairs minister and an aide to the Prime Minister, said he welcomes the Oromo Democratic Front (ODF) to come back to the country.

“I don’t see any problem for [ODF] to come here,” Reda told UpFront host Mehdi Hasan.

Also joining the show was Lencho Bati, a former Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) spokesperson and a current executive committee member of the ODF, who pushed Reda to confirm the government’s willingness to negotiate: “Do you publicly today declare that the government is ready to welcome ODF to the country to participate in peaceful political struggle?” asked Bati.

“The government is more than ready to welcome ODF,” Reda responded. “As long as ODF breaks its ties with the terrorist organisation called OLF.”

Reda, however, went on to express his criticism of Oromo opposition groups.

“The problem with these people… not just ODF, but the OLF… They have never done anything for the Oromo people,” he said.

Reda also responded to a recently released Human Rights Watch report entitled, “Such a Brutal Crackdown: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests.” The report claims at least 400 people have been killed, and thousands detained, since protests broke out across Ethiopia in November 2015.

“Human Rights Watch is not interested in the reality on the ground, nor does it have any representative here on the ground,” Reda said. “More often than not, they just pluck their numbers out of thin air.”

During the debate, Bati warned that the government’s failure to address Oromo grievances could be disastrous.

“They must open the political space,” he said. “Otherwise Ethiopia is sitting on a time bomb.”

Watch and embed the 11-minute debate at:


Kevin Kriedemann & Joy Sapieka
Publicists: Africa

9 thoughts on “Lecho Bati and Getachew Reda’s Performance on Al-Jazeera’s UpFront Program

  1. I thought Mr Lencho was good debator. He rather defends for his own nonesense ODF party that was chased from Ethiopia in 24 hours. He could have said that the Tigre regime couldn’t give to all oppositions the right to excercise their rights to compete, but Tigres couldn’t allow them. Rather he focused on his own ODF being denied access to grabbing some left over in that MF country

  2. People !
    Did Lencho said his party has distanced itself from OLF? Is that a lie or confusion or political tactic ? I thought not too long ago the 4 Oromo political organization including the ODF have United to work together and as a result the oromo people around the globe has celebrated this historic event. When oromos from oromia and outside oromia waiting for more development of the unity declaired, Lencho Bati said his party has distanced itself from OLF. What a sad news ! Oromo people need clarification what that statement was about. Like he said publicly let him explain publicly.
    I want the Oromo activists hold this guy accountable and put pressure on him to explain what he was saying. It hurts oromos feeling .
    Thank your

  3. Getachew Redda got the best of Lencco Bati! He flustered him by a blistering attack about Lenco’s Organization (ODF) and insinuating that it is part and parcel of OLF– ” a terrorist” organization. Lenco should have countered by indicating that the TPLF, the organization Mr. Getachew represent is a terror organization and it is listed in the Global Terror Database- while ODF is not! he should have responded by clarifying that he represents ODF not OLF, an independent organization of the Oromo nation, which is engaged in armed struggle for the rights of Oromo people, the act that is recognized under international law. It has a recognized office in Washington DC and in many Western countries ! Had it been listed as terror organization, it could not have the permission of the American government to have an office in the heart of Washington, DC!
    Getachew, the blubber mouth, talked about how the country is several thousand years old! which is a typical Abyssinian hat trick to confuse the uninitiated public when they plead their case! Lenco should have countered by indicated that was a false history and the Oromo nation was forcefully incorporated into the Empire only in the past one hundred years.
    TPLF is a certified terror organization listed in Global Database and to call an oromo institutions, the likes…of OLF, ODF etc.. who are engaged in National Liberation struggle, a terror group by Getachew is laughable!
    It seems that Obbo Lenco did not do his home work prior to the appearance on a global media of huge audience! His responses should have been calmly and methodologically delivered by exposing horrendous crimes committed by the TPLF terrorist Gestapo (Agazi) storm troops and other instruments of the Terror State!
    Hopefully, he must have learned a vital lesson from his below optimal performance, and should study the arts and tactics of public spokes persons…. even if he needs to refer to the notes and techniques of the Joseph Goebbels’ of the World whose public uttering in defense of their organization are exedingly illustrative of well preparedness

  4. On Getachew Reda he said “police officer doing some stupid Stuff” , so the police of Ethiopia should see what they are called by the government. And also who is responsible for the police?If not the government.

  5. Many thanks to the Aljazeera Reporter, Mehdi Hassen, who vividly aired Oromo issues in his questions. The questions were figuratively directed to the ODF representative, a certain Lencho Bati, and to the murderous TPLF Communication minister, Getachew Reda, a man of diabolic thought who classified the ongoing Oromo Revolution Liberation as “Satanic Revolt” against the Ethiopian “Saints”.
    In the Debut:
    1. When the ODF representative is so warried about the future of Ethiopia as “waiting for a time bomb”, the spokesman of the murderous regime, Getachew Reda, is not worried about Ethiopia because he has already kept the core of Ethiopia (Tigray) in his pocket. I do not know to which Ethiopia Lencho Bati is worried about.

    2. When Lencho Bati is unequivocally airing the insulated agenda of his ODF, reiterating the same goal in different kicks what his boss, Lencho Lata, at one time said, ”guyyaa tokko illee ani Bilisummaa Oromoo jedhee hin beeku”, Getachew Reda was hammering down the OLF as “terrorist Organisation” as if it has contributed nothing good for the Oromo people, except “terror” for last 50 years, as he put it.

    3. Lencho Bait’s talk extols the worthiness of “Begging” for political power sharing to save Ethiopia from what he calls “Time Bomb”. Unlike the begging for food, the begging for political power is totally unknown in Getachew Reda’s software tradition. But, Lencho Bati is still in his sleeping bed how the very elementary concept of begging for power sharing does not exist in Abyssinian (Ethiopian) political life. What they do have is that, an internationally registered culture of begging for food to eat and ammunition to kill anyone who asks them for peace. But, Lencho Bati is still clinging to begging the TPLF-Ethiopia to open the entrance gate of Bole International Airport, so as to get on to Tulluu Diimtuu to share genocidal power with TPLF. He has indirectly hinted, if at all he gets access to Tulluu Diimtuu, how he is ready to officially join and declare the OLF as a “terrorist” Oromo organisation, whose original programme was to get back the Oromo country lost to Ethiopian (Abyssinia) brutal colonialism. This is the core issue that the diabolic Getachew Reda wants to secure from the “dove” Lencho Bati. He got it but not yet signed for him.

    What is not clear from the Talks of talks is that when Lencho Bati is talking about “Time Bomb”, Getachew Reda denies the existence of “Time Bomb” either in Ethiopia or in Oromia. Why Lencho Bati declined to mention the carriers of that “Bomb”? And, when and where the “Time Bomb” is buried? I hope, he will one day appear on the same Aljazeera TV screen and give us answers to these questions. Hopefully too, he will declare himself,” I am Oromo First”, like Jawar Mohammed who unambiguously and proudly said on Aljazeera, “I am Oromo First”.

  6. Some of people who comments here are either not Oromo or timidly wrote as they can breath without action on whom they can-ODF- that Getachew also spoke to fight Oromo ( OLF) by ODF.
    The real target is Tigre

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