Dialogue: The magic bullet

In contemporary Ethiopia, there are deep divisions and differences of opinion among political elites, opinion leaders, and some segments of society along the lines of major national issues. In view of this, the Ethiopian parliament has green lighted an institution that is tasked with creating an enabling ground for the various parties to come to consensus on vital issues that decide the future of the country.

The Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (NDC) is established as an independent organ envisaged leveling the path for the opinion leaders and people selected to represent the various ideas and communities to hold dialogue on selected fundamental national issues.

Despite a long history of co-existence among the diverse people of Ethiopia, differences in opinion regarding culture, history, languages, beliefs, and political outlooks, among others, have started to deepen over the recent years. Armed insurgencies have added fuel to the fire and have led to the loss of lives and property.

Worse still, Ethiopia’s historic foes have been exploiting the difference in opinion to sow the seeds of discord. Their ill intention is to keep Ethiopia weak and fragile. Ethiopia ‘s enemeis leave no stone unturned to divert the attention of Ethiopians from development activities to internal conflicts.

If it goes unabated, the country will inevitably come to dismemberment. No doubt, the ramifications of such a daunting result could cross the national borders. To say the least, such a despicable scenario—God forbid — this is a complete recipe for the entire East Africa to get destabilized. The already-troubled region will be a launching pad of terrorism. Therefore, the peace and development of a country, as big as Ethiopia, cannot be overlooked.

Viable way for Ethiopians, as we have learnt from our historical track records such as the victory of Adwa and recent encouraging accomplishments of the Abbay Dam construction, is standing in unity. The only way ahead is narrowing the differences and augmenting unity. In doing so, they can achieve success not only in defending their country from foreign enemies but also bringing economic development.

The Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (NDC) has been established to fulfill the mission of bringing lasting peace in Ethiopia through facilitating dialogue.

All including those engaged in the armed struggle should focus their attention on ways and means of making the national dialogue a success story. The guns must be silenced.

Putting trust on the NDC is essential as it has been carrying out various activities that pave the way to the all inclusive national dialogue. Since its establishment, it has gone long distance in creating awareness on the objectives of the commission, in selecting participants and collecting initial agenda from different stakeholders in various parts of the country including, but not limited to Harari, Sidama, Southwest Ethiopia, Gambella, Benishangul Gumuz and City Administrations among others.

At this juncture, the commission is facing the ongoing violent conflicts in large parts of the country, which are stumbling blocks and hurdles to its activities. All stakeholders must encourage peace in these regions. Ethiopia becomes safe havens for its people only when peace reigns. All sides must not seek solution through the use of force. Dialogue, however, is the magic bullet.

Stakeholders, both domestic and foreign ones, should stand by the side of the commission, and encourage it by throwing the necessary support behind its activities. Among the supports is needs is to let it do things independently. All sides that should support the entity must demarcate their lines clearly not to interfere in its affairs directly and indirectly.


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