Lawmakers in Ethiopia have passed a bill to form a commission for national discussion following the 13-month-long violence that is disrupting the Tigray region of the country.
On Wednesday, 29 December 2021, the Federal Parliamentary Assembly tallied 287 votes in favour of, 13 against and a single vote in abstention.
“The commission’s establishment will pave the way for national consensus and keep the integrity of the country,” the bill reads.
The administration of prime minister Abiy Ahmed has committed to form such a panel to find common ground on sensitive matters. The commission, on the other hand, will not deal with the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front or the Oromo Liberation Army at this time, as both are fighting the federal army and have been designated as terrorist groups by Ethiopia’s government.
Some government officials have stated that the new committee will not hold negotiations with the Tigrayan organisation. According to Tsedale Lemma, CEO of Jakenn Publishing, publisher of the famous Addis Standard media source, the commission’s formation might be a response to the international community’s repeated requests for a cease-fire and inclusive engagement to end the violence.
“When the international community requested holding inclusive dialogue to address Ethiopia’s deepening crisis, there is no ambiguity on the need for such dialogue to be truly inclusive by having various stakeholders, including armed groups, be a part of the process,” Tsedale said to The Associated Press.
“With this as a background, it’s safe to say that the National Dialogue Commission is just an extension of the government’s inadequate attempt at scratching the thick surface in Ethiopia’s otherwise multi-layered and complex political crisis.”