National Dialogue: Bold step towards, finding common ground, restoring harmony

BY ADDISALEM MULAT

Obsessed by as wide as the poles apart political tendencies and years of acrimonious grandiloquence, conflicts have been unfolding throughout the national territory necessitating an honest and unambiguous national dialogue intending to attain the envisioned destination. In the present climate, Ethiopia has been pulling out all the stops to heal with no trouble significant backlogs of conundrums taking place across the entire territory.

In the current circumstances, the National Dialogue Commission has been bracing for an inclusive and game-changer national dialogue aimed at resolving views as far apart as the poles and throwing cold water on quandaries by creating consensus on major national issues.

As radical political entities residing at home and abroad have been sowing the seeds of abhorrence and discord along religious and ethnic lines among the various Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ of Ethiopia, the country has not accomplished the sought-after goal yet. The circumstances beyond a shadow of doubt need a quick fix that can change the country for the better and bring about lasting peace sooner rather than later.

In the present circumstances, the country has been giving prominence to national dialogue that can bring about a lasting solution to the backlogs of problems surfacing on a national scale. In consideration of the foregoing, the National Dialogue Commission has been discharging its duties and responsibilities with flying colors placing emphasis on bringing about sustainable peace across the country.

The positive moves of the National Dialogue Commission have been winning the hearts and minds of the population as a whole as it is hoped for paving the way for the country’s democratic path and prosperity and unshackling Ethiopians from the long-established confrontations.

As a matter of fact, measures that have been taken so far with a focus on maintaining transparency in the preliminary stage of the national dialogue have been providing a foundation for the forthcoming happenings.

Similarly, intending to smooth the progress of the national dialogue, authorities concerned so far have conferred with a broad range of bodies such as religious officials, opposition political parties, media practitioners, and other things of a similar kind.

There is no denying the fact that conducting a national dialogue plays a paramount role in getting to the bottom of the nation’s predicament revolving around a vast number of national issues. In the aftermath of the terrorist TPLF group’s divisive rhetoric, Ethiopia has been shackled by decades of political differences and unsettled hindrances that need speedy solutions to open up the way for the national dialogue.

But as national dialogue plays a great role in the nation-building process, averting cacophonies and fixing aggressions of manifold sorts through dialogue, all stakeholders should come to the negotiating table without batting an eye.

In the same way, as national dialogue plays a paramount role in cementing national unity and lessening ethnic polarization, and resolving any kind of confrontation and disagreements in multinational and diverse nations everyone irrespective of religion, ethnicity, and other issues should work in close collaboration for its realization.

To this point, a broad range of nations worldwide have staged national dialogues to resolve accumulated problems, find common ground, bolster common values, accommodate polarized views, ameliorating the culture of tolerance, and other things of a similar kind.

As the firm commitment of the government on the subject of inclusive national dialogue plays a most important role in resolving the multi-layered difficulties and ensuring the culture of harmonious coexistence, every Tom, Dick, and Harry should support the commission financially.

By putting their differences aside and taking into account the benefit of conducting a national dialogue into consideration, all Ethiopians from all walks of life should make a maximum effort to stand by the side of the National Dialogue Commission.

On the subject of the issue, a joint discussion was held last Wednesday between the National Dialogue Commissioners and members of the Addis Ababa City Administration Cabinet about the national dialogue preparation process as well as the future activities of the city and the roles expected of the government.

During the discussion, Addis Ababa City Mayor, Adanech Abebie said that the city residents from low-income individuals to high-level investors should be properly represented in the national dialogue, and the city administration pledged support to the Commission.

Adanech said that nothing will stop Ethiopians from achieving consensus and unity if they engage in the national dialogue.

Commission Chairperson Professor Mesfin Araya for his part said that the agendas of the National Dialogue Commission mainly focus on bringing topics of discussion to the table.

The work of the commission needs to be done by ourselves and does not require any foreign intervention. Hence, it needs cooperation, and huge human and financial resources to ensure inclusiveness.

He stated that the discussion will cover all sections of the community from the district to the higher level. The commission will hold public forums in which many Ethiopians will participate because the agenda should come from the bottom of the society in spite of the elite discussion.

Hirut Gebreslase, Deputy Chairperson of the Commission said that the main task of the Commission is to facilitate consultation forums and make the consultation participatory and inclusive in which the discussion areas will be presented from the society itself.

Administrative institutions in the city have been directed by the mayor to provide all necessary support to achieve the commission’s mission without any bureaucratic complications.

Be that as it may, experts lately suggested that it is important to use indigenous knowledge to make sure that the proposed National Dialogue is completed with success via creating national consensus across the country.

Speaking to local media, scholars stated that countries like Rwanda and Tunisia have made effective National Dialogue and created national consensus because they applied traditional judicial systems along with the modern ones.

Legal expert Fasil Sileshi stated that Rwandans solved their problems through Gacaca courts, which comprise both traditional and modern judicial systems, following the 1994 genocide.

He restated that in Ethiopia there are many traditional judicial systems across the country like Yejoka of Guraghe people, Jarsumma of Oromo people, among others. In every part of the country, elders solve any disputes among citizens in a peaceful way, he added.

He also said that the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission should apply local cultures and values and involve community leaders of every community.

As to him, forgiveness and reconciliation are basic things as disputes cannot always be settled by punishment.

Another legal expert Eyasu Mekonnen on his part indicated that Tunisians have saved their country from dismantling by conducting National Dialogue and applying traditional judicial systems.

Eyasu further underlined the need to localize experiences of other countries when they are applied during the process of the National Dialogue.

It was learned that the nation’s decision to establish the National Dialogue Commission has been welcomed locally and internationally. The Commission recently disclosed that it is traveling to different parts of the country to effectively enlighten stakeholders about its objectives and activities and receiving strong cooperation and acceptance in different parts of the country in its efforts to introduce the objective of the commission.

Commissioner Prof. Mesfin has called on the Ethiopian business community to provide financial and other necessary support for the national consultation project to succeed without any foreign interference.

The Chairperson of the commission told Ethiopian News Agency that the national consultation project is on the agenda of Ethiopians set to realize sustainable peace and development by building consensus.

The lack of peace in a country disrupts economic and social activities, which in turn affects mainly the business community, he noted.

The dialogue is thus an inclusive national agenda that includes the business community too.

Therefore, the success of the national dialogue requires all-around support, including the active participation of the business community, in particular, the commissioner said.

As the Ethiopian agenda should be guided by its own finance, power, and knowledge, the commission will not seek financial assistance from foreign institutions and it is prohibited by decree, he pointed out.

Hence, the financial and labor support of the business community is crucial so that the agenda would not be manipulated by foreign forces due to a shortage of funds, Prof. Mesfin emphasized.

The chairperson further stated that the commission will discuss raising funds with the business community

The   7 August 2022

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