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HomeOpinionThe Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) and Its Probability For Success!

The Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) and Its Probability For Success!

 Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission

  

By Abush Getaneh
Political Analyst 

The Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission, which the government hopes will lead the process of solving the false narratives and disputes among citizens in the country, has been decided to be established by the country’s parliament at the end of 2021. The commission was given three years to achieve the purpose of its establishment and it has been many months since it started its activities. However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is confronting differences of opinion using force. The national army, which was supposed to protect the sovereignty and unity of the country, has been mobilized in the Amhara & Oromia regions and continues massacring the citizens there. Consequently, Ethiopians and the world are saying that the establishment of the ENDC is a strategy used to convince and confuse the Ethiopian people. Based on this, the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission is considered by both Ethiopians and outsiders as Abiy’s strategic part, consequently its credibility is being severely eroded. In addition to its Non-inclusiveness, government politically motivated interference and the Ethiopian government’s lack of respect for human rights has severely undermined the Commission’s credibility and ability to reach meaningful national dialogue. However, although it is facing opposition from various parties, the commission continues to ignore this opposition and continue its work without providing any solutions for it .

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, at the end of its annual meeting last May, expressed its bitter complaints to the ENDC why it has ignored her to participate in the national dialogue process. 

It was clearly stated in the proclamation that this commission was established and supposed to solve the problems in the country by involving citizens openly and equally without any discrimination against stakeholders. However, prohibiting the mother Church, which has been a leading actor for the unity and sovereignty of the country since its foundation, from participating in the process was a big shame. This was not because of forgetting it but the Commission had done it in a form no less than prohibition and we clearly consider it as a political scandal. This also clearly indicates that the commission has been doing what Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed liked and allowed, but it was unable to do its job on its own.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has more than 60 million followers and is widely accepted in the country. The main duty of the Church and its followers is praying for peace and reconciliation to Ethiopia and its people. It is also known that the Church is a preacher and champion of peace not only in Ethiopia but also in the world. Therefore, the Commission should have put the Church in the front line in the process. Knowing clearly that, the denial of the Church indicates that since the day Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018, the violent attack on the church has continued, the murder of the servant priests and the Churches’ followers were being evicted & Chased out from different parts of the country; from tearing and burning churches down up to restricting her from celebrating its religious holidays by waving the country’s Green, yellow and red flag; Also, all citizens should note that the efforts of the prosperity government is putting the Church in conflict with other brother and sister religions is the continuation of the obsession of the party. If the church is not able to decide to enter the national consultation process after most of the processes are completed, and if it cannot present its own agendas for discussion in the process, then I cannot understand what is the use for the Church entering into the Dialogue process.

2. How and by who were the moderators and panelists selected?

As we have seen in most regions, zones and districts, the moderators and the participants of the National Dialogue process are selected and prepared not by an independent body but by the Prosperity party officials at each level. Most of the citizens believe that the party has gone all the way to the grass root level to   involve its members in the process. Therefore, it is absurd to say that the members of the Prosperity Party, who are found everywhere, will run the process in the way they believe and want. In general, based on the information above, the question of who will participate in the national dialogue, the reality is that they will bring members of the Prosperity Party from all over the country to participate in the process. On the other hand, those who are fighting for their rights and the survival of their people, the Amhara, are not included in the National Dialogue. Likewise, political parties that do not support the process of the Commission and influential Ethiopian diaspora are not included in the processes. So how can the commission run its business with such gaps?

On the other hand, one of the issues that make the work of the ENDC very difficult and challenging is the acts of the Oromia officials against the non-Oromo citizens in the region, such as Amhara, Gurage, Tigre, Wolaita etc. These are the evil acts that are being done by them against these citizens. To name a few, those who the so-called migrants from other regions have been persecuted and chased out of the region in the name of it is not their region or they are migrants from another region(s). Many times, they are being prevented from running their businesses, and sometimes their property is taken away from them because of different lame reasons. In order to provide more evidences, the Amhara and Gurage farmers, who had lived for centuries alongside of the main road- Koka to Meki in Eastern Shewa, were killed and those who survived the killings last year were being chased away by the same authorities this year and their land was confiscated and given to others. 

In all the cities and towns of the Oromia region, land for residence house construction is given directly or indirectly only to Oromo natives, so other citizens of the country who live in the region have no right or opportunity to get land likewise. Those who bought land from the Oromos many years ago and built residence houses, their houses have been demolished within the last three months. The house demolishing is not only in Addis Ababa but also in the Oromia region in a worse condition. According to the IDPs because of this demolition, the home invasion is not for the benefit of the cities or the country, but a conspiracy to evict and expel the non- Oromos from the region. The worst decision of the Oromia authorities is that they prohibited the residents of each city by order from renting their houses to those whose houses have been demolished.

In the worst case, if an Ethiopian living in the region cannot speak Oromiffa, he/she will face great difficulties in getting services from any government office, even from the courts, which are supposed to protect human rights. This happens only because the service providers are not willing to speak in Amharic. I believe that if I quote the words of a person (s) who has gone through such a problem, it will reveal the truth to the readers.

“I feel comfortable staying in Kenya than in Oromia”. ይህ ማለትም በኦሮሚያ ከመቆየት ይልቅ በኬንያ መኖር ምቾት ይሰጠኛል ማለት ነዉ፡፡

At a time when the ENDC is exerting its energy to bring peace in the country, the President of the Oromia region and other senior officials of the region are speaking and boasting in the media that create contradictions and divisiveness. I think it is naïve to think that there will be any kind of peace in the country when this kind of terrible act is being done. Both the Prime Minister and the officials of the ENDC should have done something to these bloody actions if the dialogue process was to continue properly. In this situation where there are serious threats, violence and abuse,which is happening in the region is overflowing; what kind of peace will the work of the commission to create?

Conclusion 

The primary focus of the Commission’s process should be to promote unity, reconciliation and social cohesion among the country’s various ethnic and political groups. As Ethiopia is the mother of many ethnic groups, it is believed that the national dialogue will provide an opportunity for groups with different ideas to come together and create a common understanding. However, the ENDC is facing an uphill battle to achieve its goals due to the obstacles mentioned above. The government’s lack of commitment to real dialogue and reform by committing human rights abuses by arresting and persecuting innocent citizens, and cracking down the preparation for protests in Addis Ababa have created a great upswing in the commission’s process to creating trust and credibility. However, the commission is still increasing its capacity to play a positive role in Ethiopia’s political transition; By correcting these challenges and reducing its dependency & ties with the prosperity government, it is believed that if it is a truly representative and comprehensive body for all citizens and is able to respect and accommodate different points of views, it will be crucial for future real dialogue initiatives. However, if Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s government continues to use and control the Commission as a political tool and suppress differences of opinion, it should not be considered that the efforts of the Commission will bring meaningful results and lasting stability in the country. In fact, if an answer is given for an idea that is not in the discussion, a declaration or a decision was reached on the agenda without including all of the concerned stakeholders; great care should be taken not to put the country in a trap that it cannot get out of it.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com


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