Ethiopia: Genuine Dialogue Creates Ground to Reconcile Polarized Views - Scholars

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia needs an all-inclusive national dialogue to navigate through fundamental issues as a 'tragedy of the commons' complicate the reform process, Scholars argued adding, for the proper deployment of successful dialogue, lessons should be taken from the experiences of neighboring countries.

During a webinar entitled "National Dialogue for Ethiopia: Lessons from the Horn", organized by Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Political Science Scholar and Researcher in Horn of Africa, Semir Yusuf (PhD) said that numerous challenges are surfacing in political process in Ethiopia despite the achievements in liberalizing the political environment following the 2018 reform.

According to Dr. Semir due to independent acts of political actors for their own self-interest, power struggle, and fundamentally divergent political perspectives, is complicating the political environment of the reform process, he added.

To prevent recurrent crises and do away with the fundamental issues of the country for long-term changes and to lay the foundations for stable democratic order, Dr. Semir argued all inclusive and general national dialogue is essential.

According to Dr. Semir national dialogue is the most viable solution to ensure free and fair elections, to build trust in public institutions, to incorporate the visions of all stakeholders and to shape an accommodative future political destiny.

Senior Researcher in Peace Operations and Peace Building Dr. Dawit Yohannes on his part argued that for the future, stable political environment and national consensus, all inclusive national dialogue is the proper solution, although not the only one.

For Dr. Dawit to deploy proper national dialogue, it needs initiation and mandate setting, finding balance of participants to include key political actors and credibility of the conveniences.

According to Dawit for the proper process and implementation, Ethiopia should learn from the experiences of its neighbors about "the factors that make or break" national dialogue. He noted that the dialogue's features must be driven from the political and societal nature of Ethiopia.

Meresa Kahsu, Senior Researcher and Training Coordinator in Peace Operations and Peace Building on his part noted that ensuring transparency of the process, establishing links of the national dialogue with other political processes and clarifying the implementation process to meet the objective are key issues during the process of national dialogue. These are determinant factors to reach an agreement and for proper implementation of the agreed points, he said.

The scholars argued that for the proper implementation and effectiveness of the process, Ethiopia should take lessons from the experiences of National Dialogues of Kenya in 2008, Sudan from 2014 to 2016 and South Sudan from 2017 to 2020.

The scholars argued that although successful national dialogue should initiate from the features and natures of the political environment of the country, the three neighboring countries experience will help Ethiopia to manage the challenges it has faced.

The scholars pointed out that national dialogue needs wide consultation in initiating the dialogue, creating common understanding among key stakeholders on expected outcomes and clearly defining objectives of the process.

There should be also common vision of all political actors under one umbrella for the entire society in addition to their self-interests, they argued.

This week different political parties are calling for inclusive national dialogue to solve the political problems of the country, it was learnt.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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