Elites Urged to Play Constructive Role in National Dialogue

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Ethiopian elites should be part of the solution rather than the problem in the country, Peace State Minister Taye Dendea said.

Addressing a seminar on the role of elites in the national dialogue today, Peace State Minister Taye Dendea said “…the elites have a big part to play (in the national dialogue). The problem of polarization mostly arises from the elite as the people of Ethiopia are intermingled and intertwined in trade, love, and matrimony. What is expected from the elite is (therefore) to be part of the solution rather than the problem.’’

Though there is a fundamental difference among the elite, the elites need to participate in the national inclusive dialogue, indicate the way forward, and support the commission and the process.  

Addis Ababa University Political Science lecturer, Bayulegn Zemedagegnehu said on his part that there are differences in attitude and opinion on fundamental national issues in Ethiopia.

The national dialogue is a good opportunity for the country because it creates environment for leaders, politicians, and the public to come together and discuss matters of national importance. So it is really a big opportunity for Ethiopia to solve major fundamental national issues of difference, he noted.

Elites must address differences in the national dialogue so that they could create a national consensus on the most fundamental issues dividing the society as far as the elite is concerned.

According to him, success in cohesiveness is inevitable in countries where national dialogue was conducted by independent bodies in a broad-based and inclusive manner as well as the government’s commitment to implement recommendations made by the national dialogue outcome.

However, when there is no strong implementation mechanism and institutional set up to implement the national dialogue outcomes by the government due to lack of commitment, it is likely to fail, he pointed out.

In that regard, several African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American countries have failed.

Ethiopian Civil Service University Research and Civil Service Vice President, Alemayehu Debebe said everyone has a stake in the nation-building process in this multi-ethnic country.

Therefore, the entire population needs to participate in the national inclusive dialogue that will shape the future.

“In order to avoid conflict and cost of such conflict, we have to coin an agenda for national consensus,’’ he added.

Moreover, nobody has to be left behind in this process of national unity, the vice president stated, noting that as elites “we have dual responsibilities. One, as a citizen, we can work on the challenges of the nation; and two, as informed citizens, we need to inform the communities for the betterment of life in the country.’’