Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Commission will have offices in regions and zones but they will be based in higher education
Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Commission on Tuesday announced that it would start a national dialogue forum starting mid-year ( in Ethiopian calendar).
If the schedule is not changed, the Commission will have its public engagement in dialogue sometime in February.
It was established at the end of 2021 with a vision to facilitate a national dialogue to resolve what has been described by many ( including observers and political elites ) as a controversial and divisive issue – some rooted in history ( or instead in the way that Ethiopian history is interpreted.)
The national dialogue forum was intended to start in November of this year.
The Commission has been extensively traveling to regional states – meeting with stakeholders. It has announced that it has visited all regional states except the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
It said the war in northern Ethiopia turned out to be an obstacle for the Commission to make travels to the region.
Furthermore, it has announced that it is working on opening branch offices in regional states and coordination offices at the zone level.
In what appears to be a sign of neutrality, the intended offices will be on the premises of institutions of higher learning.
The commission is mainly funded by the public. However, it has also got 80 million birr in support from the United Nations. It is said that the council will not accept direct financial support from any other sources but the support could be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance.
During a press statement in the capital Addis Ababa, the commissioners mentioned the challenges they have been facing since the establishment of the commission.
There were entities that attempted to set an agenda for the Commission. The names of the entities or individuals who allegedly did so are unspecified. However, the commissioners hinted that the challenges came from political elites.
There were also external challenges to interfere with the work of the commission. Foreigners whom the commissioners described as “Ferejis” and powerful countries have attempted to influence the work of the commission by way of prescribing what should be done and how it should be done.
The commission said that it has adhered to the legislation to not give room for interference.
Asked if there would be room in the dialogue for armed groups, the commission said that the door is open for any groups who subscribe to the view that peace and dialogue are the only solutions.
The Ethiopian government on Monday announced the establishment of the national council for peace, and the National Dialogue Commission thinks the new body could be supportive of its work. It does not see it as an obstacle.
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