National Dialogue Commissioners are entrusted to bring about consensus on a range of divisive issues in Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Parliament on Monday approved the appointment of eleven National Dialogue Commissioners. On February 4, 2022 the parliament announced that 42 candidates were shortlisted from over 600 nominations.
A parliamentary committee was assigned sometime in December 2021 to receive the nominations based on criteria the parliament announced, including Ethiopian citizenship. The Commissioners are presumed to be independent in the sense that they are not members of any political party at this point in time.
The development has become a talking point on social media, and some seem to express reservation about neutrality on grounds that not being a member of a political party does not necessarily mean that political neutrality. Indeed, some commissioners seemed to have political party participation in the past.
Work experience and educational qualifications were also given weight in the selection process.
According to a report from state media, five members of the parliament abstained during voting while the majority voted for it.
The Eleven members are :
1) Professor Mesfin Araya – Chairperson
2) W/O Hirut Gebreselassie – Deputy Chair
3) Dr. Tegegnework Getu
4) Ambassador Ayerorit Mohammed
5) W/O Blen Gebremedhin
6) Dr. Yonas Adaye
7) Zegeye Asfaw
8) Melaku Woldemariam
9) Ambassador Mohammed Derir
10) Mulugeta Ago
11) Dr. Ambaye Ogato
Tagesse Chafo, speaker of the House of Representative, claims that the selection process was inclusive, transparent and credible.
Many of the commissioners took oath in the parliament on the same day.
The commission is expected to bring about an end to political polarization in the country on a range of issues, including system of government, ethnic land claim and flag, among other issues.
Citizenship rights have been under constant attack (through “legal,” political, administrative and outright repressive measures) in Ethiopia since the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) took power in 1991.
The constitution openly promotes and defends ethnic based federal form of arrangement, which facilitated ethnic based massacres in different parts of Ethiopia.
The massacre has been worsening, especially in the Oromo and Benishangul Gumuz regions of Ethiopia, since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took power in 2018.
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