Discussion Aims at Promoting Dialogue Held in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa May 18/2019  The fifth round of discussion that aimed to promote dialogue in Ethiopia and reinforce the ongoing democratization process was held today with the presence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

This platform which is unique in Ethiopia’s political history is aimed at promoting a new way of solving differences.

The discussion was focused on various topics including Ethiopia’s federalism, challenges & prospects of the reform, peace & security and social participation and importance of civil society.  

In the early session of the discussion, politicians and experts have presented their own perspective on those thematic areas.

Speaking on Ethiopia’s federal system, Dr. Semir Amin, a political scientist and academic researcher said despite the system has assured the rights of nations and nationalities and self-administration, it is full of contradiction.  

Noting that   the current federalism is a result of an ethno-nationalists’ movement since the 1960s, he said the ruling party has materialized it.

“When we are looking at the ethno-nationalists political approach, they are trying to challenge even the legitimate power of the central government. Similarly, political elites who pursue citizen politics, they try to establish a state on the dust of ethnicity.”

He suggested the need for accommodative federal system to compromise differences to sustain the ongoing reform stressing that “the current extreme ethnic political narrative should be reconstructed”

When he was asked on the necessity of reconstructing the ethnic based federal system, Dr Semir argued that unless the emerging ethnic extremism and its discourse reconstructed, the situation could be worse.

Dr Semir, who insists on the need to balance the two extreme perspectives in the current Ethiopian politics – citizen politics and ethnic nationalism, however, didn’t propose a mechanism to solve the problem.

Andualem Arage, Deputy Leader of Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice, recently formed by a number of parties, appreciated the reform that the nation that introduced more than a year ago.

Andualem, who noted that conflicts are common for countries that are trying to transform from authoritarian ruling to a democratic system, however emphasized the need to ensure rule of law.

Saying that the reform has brought many achievements to the country, Andualem expressed fear that security challenges particularly the increasing power of regional states could challenge the reform.

“The one thing that I am scared is particularly the excessive power of regional state that is challenging the federal government”.

Andualem, who was asked on how to ensure rule of law, suggested that the government should take proportional measure on those responsible for disrupting peace, saying they should be considered as threats for the wellbeing of the people.  

Consequently, all stockholders including government, political parties and people at large should discharge their responsibility for supremacy of law and order, he urged.

Experts, politicians, activists and artists took part at the half-day discussion.