News: Opposition groups urge end to forceful measures, call for “meaningful dialogue” to resolve nationwide instability

Established in June 2020, the Caucus of Opposition Parties currently consists 11 opposition groups (Collage: Addis Standard)

Addis Abeba – The Caucus of Opposition Parties (CoP), an umbrella of eleven opposition groups in Ethiopia, said the government’s attempts to resolve conflicts and subsequent political instability across the country by force including declaring a state of emergency is pushing the country to the brink. 

The Caucus said in a press release, that the country is currently “experiencing a significant amount of chaos, stress, loss, and destruction not just sporadically but on a daily basis” and require prompt measures for a viable resolution.

“Conflicts, instability and public demands for good governance in all regions of our country are accompanied by people’s dissatisfaction and despair; and it can be said that the relationship between the government and the people in all regions has gone beyond mere questioning to total lack of trust,” reads the press release. 

The relationship, cooperation and trust between the federal government and regional governments, as well as among the regional governments themselves, have fallen into question, it added.

The press release which is an outcome of the Caucus’s evaluation of current affairs on 18 August 2023 stated the need for urgent and permanent action to spare the country further security crises, and absolve the people from pain and suffering of greater extent.

It elucidated that the government’s attempts in the past to forcefully resolve conflicts in Tigray, Oromia, and recently in the Amhara region, “did not bring a lasting solution except to expand and worsen the political instability and tension, economic loss and destruction, loss of life  and social crisis”.  

The caucus which, among other parties, has the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), Hebir Ethiopia, Arena Tigray Party, Wolaita National Movement (WNM) and Afar People’s Party (APP) as its members said it “strongly advocates for prompt and meaningful dialogue aimed at fostering tranquility among all political factions, for an enduring and comprehensive resolution”.

“Although there is a fear that the problem will recur due to the delay in the implementation of the agreement or the failure to implement it according to the agreement, we have actually seen that the disaster, the massacre and the crisis were not stopped by force or the declaration of the  state emergency, but by discussion, negotiation and agreement”, the press release emphasized noting that the attempt to resolve the security crisis in the Oromia region was an “indicator peoples trust in dialogue and negotiation”.

The parties have called on the ruling party to respond positively to the call of comprehensive dialogue, and urged the media and all relevant stakeholders to refrain from portraying the present state of affairs as conflict among the people while calling on religious leaders and elders to rise up and discharge their social obligations. 

The Caucus which was established in June 2022 has been criticizing the formation of the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission and ongoing process as unilateral and not-inclusive.  In May, the caucus denounced a study by a government-funded policy think tank, Policy Studies Institute (PSI), floating the idea on the need for constitutional reform. AS

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