National Dialogue eases ethnic polarization, strengthens unity: Experts


ADDIS ABABA – The complexity of problems necessitates Ethiopia to conduct national reconciliation and a successful and inclusive process enables the outcome to strengthen national unity and ease ethnic polarization, experts in the area said.

Approached by the local media, Firehiwot Samuel, who was a Chairman of the 2005 General Elections Inquiry said that the successful conduct of National Dialogue would have a paramount importance to ease Ethiopia’s longstanding and emerging problems. To this end, the national reconciliation commission should identify national threats and hopes in the first place.

Firehiwot further stated that people-to- people discussions and idea sharing have played an important role to help the society to have common understanding about the pressing challenges the country has been currently facing. “Ethnic-based political parties are one of the main problems for the people’s peaceful coexistence and the establishment of a political party based on ethnicity or religion should be banned by law.”

About the criteria for the election of commissioners, he noted that the candidates should be energetic, volunteer, fair, independent and have the capability to understand the complexity of the problem Ethiopia has been facing.

“The candidates must also be independent from political affiliation and serve all Ethiopians in a fair and credible manner.” “Everyone should accept the presence of untouchable agendas when trying to solve  problems as discussion in every agenda is impossible. As a result, identifying critical issues has a paramount importance.

The reconciliation ultimately addresses Ethiopia’s pressing challenges, but over-expectation is not recommended.” As to him, the reconciliation commission must review and identify presidential or parliament election system structure, constitutional reform, judiciary system and other basic issues.

Moreover, the commission should be careful of its activities and abstain from presenting unprepared agendas for the public. It should put a priority for every agenda and accomplish the reconciliation centering the unity of the country.

Iona University College Sociology Assistant Professor Derese Getachew (PhD) said for his part that the majority of Ethiopia’s policies are top down and lack the public’s active involvement; there are several long- time issues that all Ethiopians didn’t reach on the agreement. Accordingly, the national reconciliation will bring tangible solutions in engaging the majority of Ethiopians.

The scholar pointed out that the reconciliation commission must generate ideas to bring national consensus. Panel of experts and the overall structure should be of symbolic value, well researched, who has moral clout and knowledge, perform archival activities and other issues.

“As all ethnicities have rhetoric grievances, it needs a lot of effort to settle it. There are two types of problems in Ethiopia. One is, there is no culture of solving the differences via national dialogue. The second is the lack of a culture of settling differences taking long time discussion. Now, there is a chance to solve the differences via dialogue.” Derese remarked.

The January 12/2022

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