Kuma Demeksa

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Kuma Demeksa
ኩማ ደመቅሳ
President of the Oromia Region
In office
28 October 1995 – 24 July 2001
Preceded by Hassan Ali
Succeeded by Junedin Sado
Personal details
Born Kuma Demeksa
Gore, Illubabor Zone, Ethiopia

Kuma Demeksa is an Ethiopian politician. Since 30 October 2008 he has been mayor of Addis Ababa; previous positions include President of the Oromia Region (1995–2001), and Minister of Defense (2005–2008). He was one of the founders, as well as a current member, of the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization (OPDO), which is part of the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (ERDPF).[1]

Early life[edit]

Kuma was born in Gore with the name "Taye Teklemariam", a town in the Illubabor Zone, the oldest of three children. His father is Wodajo Tokon, a priest, who took the name Teklemariam after baptism; his mother is Muluye. He attended the Menelik II Primary School in Bore, despite a daily walk of 12 kilometers to and from school; he attended Hailessselassie I Senior Secondary School up to the tenth grade, when the Red Terror closed his school. He then joined the army and was sent to the Jimma Police Training Camp in 1976. Not much is known about his years in the military, and his family had assumed he was dead when he returned to Gore in 1991 with his first wife and their daughter. Other sources claim that he spent several years as a prisoner of war in the Eritrean war, and languished in the Eritrean People's Liberation Front’s jails in Nakfa. In circumstances that remain murky, Kuma and several other prisoners were released from Eritrean imprisonment to join the Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement (which later joined the Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) to form the ERDPF) and fight against the Derg in the Ethiopian Civil War.Taye, after given a name "Kuma" became an ethnic Oromo and joined (found) OPDO.

Political career[edit]

Following the fall of the Derg in 1991, Kuma was appointed as the Minister of Internal Affairs, the security agency of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, which was dissolved four years later with the founding of the Federal Republic, at which time Kuma Demeska became President of Oromia. However, on 24 July 2001 he was replaced as President of Oromia by Junedin Sado, as well as expelled from the Central Committee. This was part of the fallout of an internal split within the TPLF, senior partner in the ERDPF alliance, which left Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega and Arkebe Oqubay on the one side, and Tewolde Wolde Mariam, Seeye Abraha and Gebru Asrat on the other. Kuma was remembered as acting as a peacemaker between the two factions. Despite this setback, he was reappointed the Central Committee of the OPDO in 2003, and was also appointed as one of the three state ministers for Capacity Building.[2]

See also[edit]