Muktar Kedir becomes head of OPDO
Muktar Kedir, a loyal politician and trusted ally of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, has been elected as head of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO). Following the departure of the former chairman Alemyehu Atomsa, OPDO appointed Muktar, a civil service minster, as chairman of the party.
Muktar has been an active member of the OPDO since the 2000s. He was governor of the Jimma zone from 1999 to 2003. He was also head of the office of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary democratic front (EPRDF) council from 2008 to 2010, and vice president of the Oromia region.
Under the late Meles Zenawi, Muktar enjoyed considerable influence especially after he was appointed to run the affaires of the prime minster’s office in 2010. He also joined the national security council at the time, a post that helped him to gain a great deal of knowledge and skill managing large operations.
Muktar is known as a politician of considerable will, and ego. He is an orator given to addressing mass meetings, and is one of few senior EPRDF figures who can communicate with the people. His biggest problem could come from OPDO where there are already two distinct factions, one supporting him, from Islamic areas and the other from largely Christian areas. Muktar was unpopular with the later faction for approving Wahabist groups to organize gatherings when he was vice minster of the Oromia region, a job with much influence in the party.
A native of Jimma, Muktar graduated from the civil service college with a degree in law. He also studied international leadership in Asuza Pacific University of California in August 2008.