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News: Newly formed caucus sets conditions for restructuring, reforming planned national dialogue

Addis Abeba: An assembly of ten political parties, yesterday announced the formation of Caucus of Opposition Parties(COP), an institution aimed at presenting its alternatives for Ethiopia’s planned  National Dialogue. The presser where all of the parties are signatories presented a thematic discussion circulating around the proposed national dialogue process, the COP enumerated how it recognized the necessity for such an important political proceeding, yet expressed reservation on what they referred to as ‘current formats’ of the national dialogue.

Expressing the necessity for a peaceful resolution of political differences, the Caucus, however, stressed where it had reservations in terms of how it viewed the current track record of the process. In summaries of two brief reservations, COP accused the ruling party of monopolizing the preliminary stages of the process, namely by ‘unilaterally drafting a legal bill and passing it in a uniform parliament’ and furthermore impressed its assertion that the selection of commission members was done in a way, it deemed ‘not inclusive’.  

The Caucus forwarded conditions upon which it emphasized the national dialogue should proceed while underlining in a general sense that the national dialogue should meet the minimum requirements for the purposes of efficiency. 

In such propositions, COP asked for a cessation of hostilities across all conflict areas of the country and propounded international monitoring to maintain it, guarantees from the ruling party and essential stakeholders that the commission will undergo restructuring and further processes would be inclusive, diversification of agenda to be tabled for discussion, widening participation of commission participants to include non-Ethiopian passport holders, arguing that such individuals would inject necessary expertise into the national dialogue and finally urged the government to enforce trust-building measures including assurance of security for key participants, the release of political prisoners, ensuring unhindered assistance to those in desperate need and integration of international oversight. AS

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