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Ethiopia : National Dialogue Commission or National Double-Dealing Commission?

Mi arriva un messaggio da un mio contatto che pubblico e condivido in maniera integrale come l’ho ricevuto.

Today, a message arrives from a contact of mine that I publish and share in full as I received it.

Davide Tommasin

Just now, the gossipy work is out that PM of Ethiopia – Mr.Abiy had chaired a cabinet meeting. In that meeting apparently the draft legislation to create National Dialogue Commission was discussed which was or already forwarded to the parliament for discussion and passing. Well, in and of itself, the topic of National Dialogue is not something one opposes for the sake of opposing.

However, if the past three years is anything to go by, there comes to mind more questions than answers about this particular commission. We remember the way and why reconciliation commission was created together with boundary etc. commission. We are not also blinded or overwhelmed by ‘short memory’ theory while we think about how the two commissions were conspicuously rushed and wickedly staffed. Most newly created institutions such as the above ones and others were not meant to work but to appear there, bring some resources and fame to none other than PM Abiy. The appointees and people assigned to lead are super biased fellows and never did much to date, single handedly appointed by Abiy-thus lack legitimacy in the public. I think, from the kind of composition of people assigned in those commissions, it was perhaps meant not to work, one can say, by standing where are today. So, it was meant for the western world appeasement and image-nourishment for the showy premier, as pointed out earlier.

What CORE characteristic does the Ethiopian government has? The typology of this government is: it can lie without qualms about everything and every time. It organizes drama and petty shows through its evil and lazy medias. Those medias have become pathological lying platforms. So they will make a rosy presentation of this yet to be born commission of dialogue. They will try to score big for the government as if Abiy has answered the question of generations – reminding the public how many people and organizations called for national dialogue in the past but TPLF refused it. And of course more. Many hedonist ‘muhuran’ intellectuals, parasitic ‘opposition’ party members/cum leaders who basically are ruling party by different names will be hosted for days on a raw until the public have no choice but believe. All the medias will simultaneously make news, analysis, breaking news, activists and religiously redressed/titled supporters will top it up with thank earth and heaven in praise of this government and its leader.

However, all the above show is to hide and corrupt the content. Real national dialogue needs preparation and dialogue about the process, platform and participation of all stakeholders. For example, as government and its supporters are scrambling to chop Tigray into pieces and make it ‘out of’ everything – memory, geography, history. Tigray’s government is banned as ‘terrorist’ group, how can one expect real national dialogue, excluding Tigray? When most of the formidable and real opposition politicians are behind the bars as political prisoners, can one party (Prosperity Party) show be called a national dialogue? Will it hold? And we know and still remember because it is not yet too long to forget all the mega lies of Ethiopian government. The other main reason for popularizing the Dialogue now is probably dollar shortage. Now, to pay for the technological weapons, their accessories, and service some debts Ethiopia needs foreign currency. Perhaps this dialogue and constitution reform agenda can be rushed and serve as dollar-siphoning methodology from western countries plus some good will. So can the purpose be to buy weapons from the east with west’s money and call hotel meetings in the name of national dialogue? So political image, hard currency, time to convince citizens that the country is reconciling and much will be reaped out of this so called ‘National Dialogue’.

The Commission might lock out critical federalist forces and rush a unitary presidential system hell-bent on usurping people’s power by various means. It will be meant probably to retrogress the principles of subsidiarity inherent in Federal Constitution. So, care must be taken because the drama of the Commission might lead to the constitution which will only show how to reduce the country and its people into private property of Abiy, who will be president by prospective new constitution to be produced by National Dialogue, perhaps. Some suspect and fear this undercurrent might carry the day.

What should be done?

  1. If Abiy is serious about dialogue, all political prisoners from all parts of the country – Tigray, Oromia, Benishangul Gumuz, Somali region and so forth must be released – all of them without bias.
  2. The terrorist designation of OLA and TPLF must be lifted. They must get their legal status without any delay and before any talks.
  3. Eritrean elements and forces must be removed from all sectors in Ethiopia, their soldiers MUST leave the Ethiopian soil verifiably.
  4. The commission staff must be appointed by full involvement and endorsement of the regions and ethnic groups therein.
  5. No political parties and rogue religious leaders be appointed to the commission! The country has enough bogus religious leaders in various positions!
  6. Humanitarian aid and supplies reach to all war affected Tigray, Amhara, Afar, Oromia and other places without delay or petty conditions which all know is to punish Tigray.
  7. Occupation of Western Tigray must end! Amhara forces get out, Eritreans must go away.
  8. Tigray forces in an exchange leave any areas of per-war Amhara region and be limited to pre-war Tigray – with verifiable commitment from Ethiopian government will respect ceasefire – if one will be there. And only if Eritrea goes back to pre-War status!
  9. All budget, medicine, electricity, fuel, and transport be allowed to Tigray.
  10. Finfine and its area be put under the Oromia regional government administration until new constitutional dispensation comes up.
  11. The Article 39 of the existing constitution holds at all times. It remains a sovereign article.
  12. Let those out of the country, OLA and TPLF bring their proposals too even at the legislation stage or anyone who has ideas.
  13. Or, if Aby-Amahara elit don’t want Tigray to be part of the national dialogue, let them have their own referendum, you recognize their territory, at lease at pre-war level, and send them off in semi-fair way, at least and do dialogue with others back ‘home’. Yet, the Oromo and other politicians must be freed, to repeat it!
  14. Independent international UN led tribunal for genocide and crime be established and independently be managed outside Ethiopia to make it free from Ethiopian government intrusion. Observing UN commissioned body also observe the Dialogue and all conditions.

For any national dialogue to be meaningfully deliberated, there must be serious official, public, verifiable – internationally observed preparation, confidence building measures, process, inclusivity must be ensured. Otherwise, with part of the country blockaded, it doesn’t convince anyone that there can be meaningful national dialogue – unless this is another voucher to buy more time, with yet another empty talk. The peoples, nations and nationalities of Ethiopia must watch out least they be cheated by the reactionary centralists in the process. It has to be participatory, safe, transparent and healthy or be out of it.

Mr. Gedda Komma

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