Making national dialogue a success

National dialogue and reconciliation are amongst the important leaps to take if one considers a holistic and national consensus for a given country. It indeed helps a nation and its people to achieve a certain national goal. Realizing the long awaited dream, the government of Ethiopia has been working more than ever to bring multiple narratives and ideas to the table and create a national consensus.

In the past few years, the government and the people of Ethiopia have faced unprecedented challenges that threaten the existence of the country. The reformist government has tried to overcome those hurdles and put things in order. However, the people have still reflected the need for a national dialogue that should be inclusive and bring about noticeable results.

It is important to perceive that the reformist government, from the commencement of its administration, had to give response to some bold queries of the country. Prioritizing some issues, it had given answers for major national matters like easing debt burden to continue as a nation.

During the past six years of the reformist government exercising power, the incumbent has achieved some wonderful and enormous success in the economic, political and social concerns. The diplomatic accomplishments of the country can be labeled as the best of all. The current government has also promised to act up on the national dialogue to make it true.

In fact, the country has faced a number of false narratives that led it to the wrong direction of extreme thought, hate speeches, and the likes. One of the prominent reasons for such division and differences is the lack of opportunity to bring those actors and narratives from different parts to come together under a common umbrella and open doors to discuss differences. Such duties may directly be connected with the government. The administration has the responsibility to create a platform or any means that can pave a way for discussion and national reconciliation.

So as to meet the long awaited national dialogue and reconciliation, the House of Peoples’ Representatives of the Federal Government has approved the establishment of the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission in order to create the platform for national discussion.

In good truth, there are both internal and external actors that crave for such platforms to be real. Countries and international organizations have been showing their interest in supporting the federal government to realize its dream of the dialogue. To this end, some parties have kept their promises and supported the nations with the necessary provisions.

Recently, it was reported that the Government of Japan has proven itself and its interest by providing some 12 vehicles to the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC) to support its operational activities and lower its burden to reach the rural parts of the country.

During the handover ceremony, Professor Mesfin Araya, Commissioner at the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission, called on the UN agencies and other international partners to consolidate the resource mobilization efforts to the success of the Ethiopian national consultation process. The Commissioner said the assistance of development partners is critical to realize Ethiopia’s ambition of national consensus on the most fundamental issues of significance.

As part of the support from Ethiopia’s partners, Mesfin appreciated the Japanese Government for its commitment and the vehicle support to the commission. ENDC has embarked on a reconciliation process to maintain unity and consensus in the country.

Acknowledging Ethiopia’s richness in diversity as well as heritages, the chief commissioner explained that the country has faced challenges in realizing a shared vision. Despite extreme political views that Ethiopia is experiencing, the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission has been working hard for all-encompassing political landscape as well as reconciliation, Mesfin stated.

In this respect, he underscored that the commission stands as a beacon of hope to bridge the gaps that dividing us and pave the way for brighter future. “As we are undertaking this critical national initiative, it is abundantly evident that the participation of more national and international stakeholders succeeds our national expectation,” he said.

As the ongoing Ethiopia’s national consultation project requires significant resources, the commissioner added the engagement of partners would have an indispensable role in driving forward the dialogue activities.

Samuel Doe, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative, on his part, said we believe strongly that Ethiopia is at a critical juncture for dialogue in which UNDP has been part of the process from the inception. The UNDP is looking forward to working closely with the commission and with all people of Ethiopia, he noted.

“The path of conversation provides shared vision, the path for conversation provides shared solutions, and the powerful conversation provides the pathway for economic prosperity.” He added we are also looking forward that the east African nation will address its major outstanding issues through the consultation project.”

By the same token, Shibata Hironori, Japan’s ambassador to Ethiopia, said that the action shows strong ties between Ethiopia and Japan through supporting the national dialogue process and the government of Japan is continuously supportive of Ethiopia in various spheres.

In May 2023, Japan provided 3 million USD in collaboration with UNDP to enable the Commission to conduct a more efficient and credible national consultation, he indicated. The ambassador reaffirmed his country’s commitment to continue its enhanced support for the success of the national dialogue commission and other various development activities in Ethiopia

As much support has been gained and commitment shown from external partners, the realization of the national dialogue is also supported by internal bodies like Ethiopian Teachers Association that wait the action eagerly. The association has been committed to play its role in providing continuous support and identifying education sector participants in the National Dialogue for the upcoming success.

Approached by the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA), Yohannes Benti (PhD), President of the Association, stated that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ENDC in a bid to expedite participation in the National Dialogue and to work together in different areas. The association is undertaking different activities to ensure the inclusiveness and fairness of participants’ identification process at district level. Similarly, the association’s branch offices at district level have been highly engaged in mobilizing the education community to the National Dialogue participation, he added.

“The experience of different countries showcased the best outcomes of national dialogues. In this regard, we believe that the forthcoming National Dialogue would play a paramount role in resolving Ethiopia’s age-long and contentious challenges and that is why we are closely working with the commission.”

The association has held fruitful discussions with the ENDC leadership to identify the areas where the commission seeks support and collaboration. Education is amongst the primary sectors that hugely affected by instability and conflicts and not only the schools become damaged but both teachers and students’ necessary documents usually get lost due to chaos, Yohannes further added stated.

“Given education is mind work; it needs stable and peaceful environment,” he noted, mentioning the association’s different undertakings with ENDC, media institutions, and other relevant bodies. Though different countries have carried out national dialogues; few countries did not succeed due to their failure to make the process participatory and inclusive.

In light of the above, the president emphasized citizens’ irreplaceable role for the success of the National Dialogue and called on everyone to understand the value of their involvement in the process.



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