By Hailegebriel Endeshaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Reconciliation efforts that have been bolstered to convince 13 political parties, which had refused to take part in the national consultation forum have not yet been effective, sources said.
Wazema Radio reported that the reconciliation efforts that have been exerted for the last six months to bring the political parties round the table for national discussion have not been successful. The 13 opposition political parties, known as “Group-13”, mainly raise the question of neutrality of the National Consultative Commission. They also reportedly oppose the appointment of the commissioners.
One of the members of “Group-13”, Deputy Chairman of Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Mulatu Gemechu, accused the Commission of being influenced by the ruling party.
Among the political parties that have sidestepped the reconciliation initiative are Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Oromo Federalist Congress, Geda Party, Afari Peoples’ Party, Afari People for Justice and Democracy, Federalist Party of Sidama, Agew Shengo, Hibir Ethiopia and Ogaden National Liberation Front.
Moreover, Donga’s Peoples Democratic Front, Wolaita National Movement, Mocha Democratic Party, Wolaita’s People Democratic Front, Arena Tigray for Democracy and Sovereignty have also said that there “is no persuasive situation” for them to participate in this consultative process.
However, the Joint Council of Political Parties (JCPP) are making reconciliation efforts to bring back the deviated political parties, according to Wazema Radio. JCPP’s Chief leader, Mebratu Alemu (PhD), told Wazema that the Council has been working since last October on narrowing differences.
The national consultation is reportedly expected to focus more on discussions with the community than with the political parties. The commission is working on systems that help meet the community using different government structures, according to Wazema.
At a joint discussion held last March with the Minister of Justice, Gedion Timiotiwos, resentful political parties were determined to come back with last opinions to indicate their determination to part take or not. Accordingly, though the deviated parties were expected to make known their last decision on 23 March 2023, they failed to do so.
Mulatu Gemechu of OFC said that one “can’t remain neutral from the national problems”. This he said would be the response of the political parties for their alienation from the commission.
Chief Commissioner of the Commission, Mesfin Araaya told Wazema that it would be declared that all Ethiopians in and out of the country would participate in the discussion. Then after, the main stakeholders of the consultation, the political parties, will take turns to sit round the table for discussion.
At this time when the commission is embarking on activities, political parties should support by organizing their followers and push them forward to involve in the discussion and supervise the independence of the commission. The further they are away, the more we lose this, Mesfin said.
Regarding the proclamation, Mesfin said that, “we know they raised questions on this, but the commission has nothing to do with the proclamation. It is the House of Peoples’ Representatives, which ratified and handed over the rule to the commission. We are calling the political parties to talk over issues other than this document. We have discussed this informally,” Commissioner Mesfin said.
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