By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12
Addis Abeba – Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council (EPPJC), a coalition of more than 53 legally registered political parties in Ethiopia, has issued a statement today requesting the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) to “temporarily halt” the ongoing proceedings to select the eleven commissioners to lead the planned National Dialogue Commission (NDC).
EPPJC, which includes members both from the ruling and opposition political parties, requested the parliament to resume the process in an “inclusive and trustworthy” manner.
In a letter addressed to Tagesse Chafo, Speaker of the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR), EPPJC stated that in an urgent national assembly meeting held on February 10, 2022, it thoroughly evaluated the planned national dialogue including the preparation of the commission establishment proclamation, nomination of candidate commissioners and other issues directly related to the process.
It was on December 29 that the House approved the Commission’s establishment Proclamation No. 1265/2014 by majority vote with 13 nos and one abstention. Subsequently the HoPR’s Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Democracy said Commissioners who will be leading the National Dialogue Commission will be selected by the people of Ethiopia and their appointments will be approved by the Parliament.
On 04 February, the HoPR has issued a shortlist of 42 people who were nominated by the public to lead the National Dialogue Commission (NDC).
On the same day three opposition parties: Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) issued a statement saying the process of the nomination of Commissioners was not impartial [OFC], was unknown [OLF] and lacked representation [ONLF].
Prior to the release of the statement, the three parties have also declined to join a meeting called by Tagesse Chafo to discuss the list of nominees.
In the statement today, EPPJC recalled that following some concerns of political parties, the Minister of Justice, Gideon Timotios (PhD) promised to hold one more discussion with political parties before the ratification of the draft proclamation for the establishment of the national dialogue commission, which, according to the letter, the ministry failed to do so.
“Political parties have been complaining about the transparency process and have been skeptical from the beginning when the council of ministers presented the draft proclamation to the HoPR without political parties’ approval and enough discussion,” EPPJC said.
EPPJC also slammed the process of nomination and selection of commissioners saying, “Believing that the council is one of the pillars that should be included in the committee, we lodged a complaint on our exclusion from the partaking in the process of nomination and recruitment of candidates.” According to the letter, the EPPCJ did not play a significant role other than viewing the lists of nominees’ names.
In the letter, the council stated that out of a total of 632 candidates only 42 candidates’ names wer disclosed to the public. The EPPCJ said that the names of all the 632 candidates should have been made public to ensure their trustworthiness. “There is no clear indication of the criteria for selection of the 42 candidates that violates article 13 sub-article 1, 3, 6, and 7 of the proclamation,” the letter read.
The EPPJC wound up the letter by reiterating the importance of the role of political parties in the planned national dialogue. AS