By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – A political analyst said that the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) “is serving the incumbent government as an instrument to numb the people”. Geletaw Zeleke said during a discussion organised by Addissu Media that the dialogue, which was proposed by the Commission calling all parties that have been engaged in conflicts with the government, is untimely. “This is not the right time for dialogue. The government is rather utilising the National Dialogue Commission as an instrument to buy time by cooling down the people,” Geletaw said.
The media discussion led by the veteran journalist, Addissu Abebe was held last Sunday based on the statement made by ENDC on 08 August 2023. The Commission called for unconditional ending of conflicts occurring throughout the country and urged all confronting parties to sit round the table for dialogue and consultation.
Representing the ENDC, Commissioner Dr. Yonas Adaye, Associate Professor of the Institute of Peace and Security at Addis Ababa University underscored the significance of dialogue and consultation among all parties that are in conflict. “We made a national call. We are working to bring together all conflicting parties with their differences,” Yonas said.
Regarding the current status of the country, Dr Yonas said that Ethiopia is at the state of “fragile peace”. He said that the situation is a mixture of threat and hope. Unless care is taken, it will get worse, according to him.
Geletaw Zeleke does not agree with Yonas’s view. He said that Dr. Yonas adhered to the peace situation. “I am rather of the opinion that currently the country is in the status of fragility. The change [the nation embarked on in 2018] had a problem of departure. It was born with birth defects. The transition model is a kind one, which has never been seen anywhere in the world. It has come out as a broken piece from the dysfunctional ruling party. The false promise made by the leaders of the change has caused the fragility,” Geletaw said.
He said that as the change was not inclusive, the transition process has failed. “Therefore, Ethiopia is in the state where people are asking for change,” Geletaw noted.
Dr Yonas was asked whether it was timely to call for dialogue in a situation where there are mass arrests of innocent people and civilians summarily rounded up and sent to prison. “Where have you been all these 18 months since your establishment?”
Dr. Yonas said the Commission has done its peacekeeping task. “Ours is peacekeeping activities. The Commission’s task is to bring all rival parties towards peace”.
Yonas appreciated the raised questions in the course of discussion saying that they are basic ones. “There should be similar discussions in the future. Of course, the call for the dialogue is delayed. It is due to the technical problems we have faced. We make corrections and work for lasting peace in our nation,” Dr. Yonas said.
Geletaw said that ENDC is numbing the people. “As it is not legitimate, it has no acceptance among the vast majority… They stated in the introductory part of the proclamation on the establishment of the Commission that there are disagreements of ideas between the political elites and opinion leaders… Having stated that, the Commission has not come forward to hold discussion with the elites… It has not made any efforts to bring the elites together for discussion…,” Geletaw said.
Dr. Yonas said on his part that the Commission is a legitimate body elected by the people. However, Geletaw interjected with his opposition saying that he did not accept this. He said that the commission was not established in an election that was processed through a regular and proper way. “Rather it was established through an internet campaign.”
Geletaw further said that the Commission has become an instrument to prolong the existence of the incumbent. “The ruling party is using the Commission as an instrument like the other institutions such as the military, the court, prosecutor… It has established them for its own advantages. I have a firm trust in dialogue. But now the Commission is trying to make the people less enthusiastic … People need to cool down in the name of dialogue. It should be known that in such situations the people have lost trust. It is better for the Commission to dissolve itself rather than wasting the resources of the country,” Geletaw said.
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