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HomeNewsEPRP says National Dialogue "effective only when there are enabling situations"

EPRP says National Dialogue “effective only when there are enabling situations”

EPRP _ National Dialogue _ Ethiopian News

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Toronto – The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) last week released a statement in connection with the National Dialogue. The party assessed that there is no enabling environment for national dialogue and called on the ruling party to make “itself ready for all-inclusive national dialogue.”

The commission has already started agenda gathering in Addis Ababa. Other opposition parties and religious groups including the Ethiopian Orthodox Church have been criticizing the commission over the lack of “inclusiveness” of the process.

The full content of the statement from EPRP is featured below :

The process of the National Dialogue will be effective only when there are  enabling situations 

Ethiopia has been going from one crisis to another. The values shared by citizens, the national  vision and the very fabric that has intertwined the people of all nations and nationalities has been  eroded to the extent that it is becoming questionable on future coexistence. The views on the  constitution, demarcation of internal boundaries of nations/nationalities, the formation of national  state…..etc. are not only diverse but also diametrically opposing views are reflected. Differing  views were reflected regarding national institutions, the national flag and on the vision of the  country. 

There are differences not only on how the country moves forward as one country but also on the  common history. It is to be remembered that the political differences between the Prosperity Party  (PP) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) culminated into a war resulting in the loss  of lives of over a million citizens and property and infrastructural damages that costed in billions.  As if the war in the north was not enough, currently there are still wars in the Oromia, Amhara,  Benishangul, Gambella, Tigray, and other regions of the country. The Ethiopian People’s  Revolutionary Party (EPRP) strongly believes that the National Dialogue National Dialogue very  important and it is not an alternative but a must do action to overcome the cycles of war in the  country once and for all.  

To that effect, believing that the only way out is through a National Dialogue, the EPRP has  repeatedly asked for its implementation. However, those in power, instead of making a genuine  effort to solve national problems through dialogue, they not only paid lip service to National  Dialogue, but they used it to strengthen their grip to power and also to mislead the international  community. A case in point, on July 1st, 1991 when the Ethiopian People’s Democratic front  (EPRDF), which was dominated by the TPLF, assumed power, it held a “National and Democratic  Conference” with almost 100% of participants from the ruling party. From the outset, the  conference was not inclusive, very divisive and the end result was establishing institutions to  implement the divisive policies of the EPRDF and imposing them on the people of Ethiopia. 

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed also created a Peace and Reconciliation  Commission. Once again, it was not inclusive and stakeholders were not even consulted. After  three years of its existence, the commission withered away without presenting a single report to  the public.  

Political organizations, civic societies, citizens, elites…etc. have been repeatedly suggested to the  ruling party that the only way of resolving the repeated crisis and complicated national issues of  such a magnitude is through all-inclusive National Dialogue by taking into account a lesson or two  learnt from past failed attempts. However, a shadow of doubt was casted right from the beginning of the process of putting the current commission together because lessons from past experiences  were not considered. The following points could be mentioned to illustrate this point.  

∙ Inputs of stakeholders were not taken into account when the commission was struck together ∙ Right at the beginning, the profile of the 620 candidate Commissioners was not made  public. 

∙ Of the 47 candidates that were made public, some candidates had citizenship of other  countries, former diplomats of the EPRDF were included, regional governors of the ruling  party were considered. 

∙ The sudden inclusion of three Commissioners whose names were not in the list of 43  candidates raised eyebrows on the reliability and independence of the Commission. ∙ Although the Commission’s attempt to recruit members from bottom-up is good, it was  obvious that it was tilted towards favoring the ruling party for the simple reason that the  ruling party will have better chance to present candidates from all organized groups like  the youth, women… etc. organizations. 

∙ Repeated suggestions of the political parties to take corrective actions fell on deaf ears. ∙ As noticed recently, there are indications that the ruling party is interfering and making  decisions on issues that the National Dialogue Commission is supposed to deal with. The  official working languages of the government, the administration of the Addis Ababa  region, creating new regions, transitional justice, decisions regarding Raia, Wolkayit and  Tsegede…etc could be cited as examples.  

∙ The Commission is expected to present its final report to the parliament where the ruling  party has super majority. No matter how good recommendations the Commission presents to the parliament the suspicion is that nothing will get implemented unless there is the  blessing of the ruling party. 

Furthermore 

∙ The current situation and the current problems in Ethiopia are a lot different than when the  Commission was put together two years ago. 

∙ The problem in Ethiopia is not only it is a country where there are conflicting visions are  reflected on the country’s future but also it is a country where there are armed conflicts.  The conflicts in the Oromiya region for the last six years, in the Amhara region for the last year, and in Benishangul, Gambella and other regions attest to this fact. The government’s actions of using force to address the problems only complicated issues and is making the  armed conflicts spread to other regions. 

∙ Also, when one examines the administration of the PP for the last six years closely, one  finds that the political arena is narrowing by the day; freedom of speech and writing are  violated daily, disappearance and imprisonment of citizens are daily occurrences, attacking  citizens based on who they are is very rampant. 

Therefore, to bring Ethiopia out of the cyclic war, which undoubtedly has resulted in massive  death and internal displacement, the following should be considered. 

1. Agree on cease fire with multiple groups in the different regions and create conducive conditions for participation in the National Dialogue for those who are involved in armed  struggle. 

2. Start a political dialogue between the ruling party and those involved in armed conflict to  address the very issues that lead to armed conflicts. 

3. The National Dialogue process should be examined by all stakeholders, correct its  shortcomings and agree to start afresh to achieve the goals of the National Dialogue. 4. Enabling the political atmosphere by respecting political and human rights is a paramount  measure that needs to be in effect immediately. Immediate and unconditional release of  political prisoners, journalists, activists…etc. is important so that they once again get  engaged in their political activities.

5. To create enabling conditions, the emergency situation that is in place in the different parts  of the country should be lifted so that citizens would once again lead their peaceful life. 

The EPRP, having critically examined the current situation in Ethiopia, having examined the  shortcomings of the National Dialogue Commission from its formation, understanding that the  Commission’s report will be submitted to the parliament where the PP is in control and the report will be examined and approved only if it is agreed by PP, proposing that the Commission should  report to an independent body, like the president’s office, realizing that there are some genuine  Commission members who will try their best and believe that they will address the national issues,  it is the belief of the EPRP that under the current structure of the Commission the national problems  will not be resolved. Furthermore, because the Commission was not mandated and it is beyond its  scope to legally include groups involved in armed conflicts that have significant roles to play in  bringing about a lasting solution in the country, EPRP does not believe that the work of the  Commission will resolve the age old problems of Ethiopia under the current structure. Therefore,  the EPRP respectfully announces to the people of Ethiopia that it is forced to withdraw from taking  part in the process of the National Dialogue from June 3, 2024. 

On the other hand, by creating enabling conditions and by the participation of all stakeholders, the  EPRP promises to work with like-minded organizations to resolve the complicated national  problems of Ethiopia by taking into account the needs of all stakeholders. 

The EPRP calls upon all political and civic organizations and all stakeholders to do all they can  and work together to address the national crisis. 

The EPRP further calls upon the ruling party to consider this genuine call and makes itself ready  for all-inclusive national dialogue and also would like to advise the ruling party to make no attempts  to derail this call of the EPRP to address the age-old national crisis. 

Long live United Ethiopia! 
The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) 
June 3, 2924 
Addis Ababa “

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