Ethiopia searching for peace through what appears to be a campaign to change attitudes toward peace. Fixing the political structure and legal basis for conflict seems to be overlooked – if not ignored all together
The Ethiopian government says it has established a National Council For Peace. It is intended to bring together isolated works on peace, according to a report by Ethiopian News Agency – a state media.
The new council is to focus on three core areas; creating awareness and sound understanding of the importance of peace, community-level work with the aim to make people realize the value of peace and national peace-building work.
“The council is where we work together for our country’s peace,” said Benalf Andualem, who is the Minister for Peace.
The Ministry of Peace was formed after Abiy Ahmed took office at the height of prevalent ethnic-based violence – mostly in the Oromo and Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia.
It is one of the most powerful government ministries.
Ethiopia’s challenge with security and peace
Ethnic-based politics in the country, which has a constitutional basis, nurtured a radical competing ethnic nationalism in the country to a point that even innocent citizens with little or no understanding of ethnic politics were massacred.
Ethiopia’s devastating two years war is said to have claimed at least 600,000 lives only in the Tigray region of Ethiopia appears, on the surface, a power struggle between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government.
However, it became apparent that ethnic identity was extensively exploited to mobilize on the part of the TPLF forces.
Many of the ethnic-based regional states in the country have “boundary disputes” – which sometimes involve deadly violence.
Ethnic-based politics and administrative structure does not just have a legal support in the constitution but also it has fierce politicians who defend it despite it has caused the deaths of millions of Ethiopians due to outright war and massacre by ethnic nationalist groups.
In a recent remark during a training for diplomats, former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalenge said “Ethiopians should liberate themselves from divisive ideologies”
Many of the radical ethnic-based political organizations – including the TPLF and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) consider themselves the “liberators” of the ethnic group they claim to represent. In that regard, some are “struggling to win independence” from Ethiopia.
The constitution entrenched ethnic politics when it said that Ethiopia is a federation of “nations and nationalities.” Article 39 of it clearly stipulates that it is legal to secede from Ethiopia.
National Dialogue as a panacea
In 2021, the Ethiopian parliament passed a law establishing a National Dialogue Commission with the aim to resolve issues that have been causing problems ( political and security) in Ethiopia.
The Commission has branches in the region. When the Commissioner, Professor Mesfin Araya, reported back to the parliament after the first phase of the commission’s work, he cited “over-expectation and intervention in the works of the National Dialogue Commission,” as some of the key challenges that it was facing.
The Dialogue was expected to start by this time but there appears to be a delay on the part of the commission. Some of the radical ethnic-based political groups in the country – like the Oromo Federalist Congress – opposed the commission on alleged grounds of neutrality issues.
To share information or for submission, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Telegram Channel : t.me/borkena
Join the conversation. Follow us on twitter @zborkenato get the latest Ethiopian News updates regularly. Like borkena on Facebook as well. To share information or for submission, send e-mail to email@example.com