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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopia's National Dialogue Commission Yet to Identify Participants from Amhara, Tigray

Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Commission Yet to Identify Participants from Amhara, Tigray

Tibebu - Ethiopia's National Dialogue Commission
Tibebu Tadesse, spokesperson of the commission (photo : DW Amharic)

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Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Commission announced this week that it has identified participants in 700 districts from five regions and two city administrations.

However, Tibebu Tadesse, spokesperson for the commission, indicated that participants from the Amhara and Tigray regions have not yet been identified. The Tigray region is emerging from conflict, and the Amhara region is affected by a conflict, which has made the task of identifying dialogue participants challenging, as reported by DW Amharic.

The commission considers the identification of participants a key role in its mission. 

It is also indicated that the Dialogue Commission aims to conduct the main dialogue in January 2024. The next phase of the commission’s work involves collecting ideas for agenda setting. When asked if it could disclose some of the agenda items received so far, the commission stated that doing so would hinder the process and refrained from revealing them.

Established in December 2021 following approval by the House of People’s Representatives, the Commission was tasked with “paving the way for national consensus and preserving the integrity of the country.” Its mission is to foster consensus on fundamental national affairs.

However, there has been skepticism about the commission’s independence. The Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), led by Merea Gudina, which has demonstrated sentiments of radical ethnic Oromo nationalism in recent years, was among the parties that questioned the neutrality of the commission.

More skepticism has recently arisen from other quarters regarding whether the dialogue commission would be truly neutral. Ethiopian activists and politicians expressing their views on the matter tend to believe that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will utilize the commission as a tool to achieve his objectives.

When questioned about the commission’s neutrality during the press conference, the spokesperson said, “the commission is not operating following government structure.” And he also said that it is not funded by outside entities. 

Following a devastating two-year war, Abiy Ahmed’s government declared war in the Amhara region of Ethiopia under the pretext of an “invitation from the regional government” to disarm Fano forces. Initially intended to complete the military operation within two weeks, the war is still ongoing six months after the government mobilized mechanized and air forces, proving difficult to resolve.

Opposition political parties will participate in the dialogue. However, there are armed groups in the country still in conflict with the ruling party. Tibebu Tadesse expressed hope that these groups would join the dialogue commission to advance their agendas.

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