Ethiopia: Commission Wraps Up Addis Abeba Consultations Amid Growing Criticisms, Calls for Inclusivity

Addis Abeba — The National Dialogue Commission has reported the successful completion of a week-long agenda gathering and consultation meetings in the capital Addis Abeba.

On Tuesday, the commission said participants representing various community sections, government bodies, political parties, associations and institutions as well as influential individuals from 119 woredas of the city consolidated and submitted to the commission agendas that have been proposed over the past seven days.

The agendas identified during the Addis Abeba consultations will be forwarded to the dialogue set to take place at the national level after similar consultations are held at regional states’ level, chief commissioner professor Mesfin Araya said on Tuesday.

Participants to represent Addis Abeba in the dialogue to be held at the national level have also been selected.

This comes amid growing calls for the inclusion of key stakeholders including armed groups that are engaged in militarized conflict with the government into the national dialogue process. The Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council forewarned that the dialogue may fail to produce results without the participation of all parties including armed groups, Sheger radio reported.

Furthermore, two opposition groups who initially accepted calls to participate in the dialogue and subsequently submitted their agendas; Enat Party, and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP) have announced their withdrawal from the process.

The two parties put forward preconditions not limited to the inclusion of key parties including armed groups, release of political prisoners and an end to ongoing conflicts through negotiations.

Earlier, the Caucus of Opposition Parties, an umbrella group of eleven opposition parties in Ethiopia, accused the NDC of failing to fulfill its stated purpose of facilitating an “inclusive” national dialogue.

According to the NDC, the agenda gathering and consultation forums will continue in regional states where the participants identification phase has been completed. The commission is conducting participants identification in the Amhara region whereas, in Tigray, discussions are underway with the regional leadership to initiate the process.