[VOL – JUNE 05,2022] Having Noticed the fundamental differences on the approach of the National Dialogue with the government and it’s allied Parties, we here by announce the Establishment of Caucus of Opposition Parties (COP) to present our alternatives for National Dialogue that will result in genuine democratic system.
Therefore, We, the Caucus of Opposition Parties (COP) composed of below mentioned opposition political parties, who are key stakeholders with significant followers and influence in Ethiopia are fully committed to peaceful resolution of all conflicts and political differences that are flaming the current worsening political schisms and deadly hostilities.
Understanding the current dire situation Ethiopia is facing, all political parties, including the ruling party, agreed that the best way to tackle the gargantuan problems is through a National Dialogue. The government taking part in the initiative of the parties organized meetings where the modalities and process of the National dialogue was discussed. However, while the discussions were in progress and the stakeholders were debating the best way to organize the national dialogue, the government unilaterally prepared a bill regulating the process and passed it through the one party dominated parliament ignoring the concerns of the political parties.
Then, the government, exacerbating the matter further, started a dubious process of selecting the commission that will facilitate the National dialogue violating the fundamental principles of a national dialogue which are inclusivity in all facets of the process by all key stakeholders. Furthermore, no provision was put in place to allow commission to reach out to those who are currently banned and are at war with the government.
COP strongly believes that the current toxic political environment that resulted in bloody wars, economic decline and further polarization of the differences between all political forces, including the government could only be resolved through genuine, inclusive National dialogue where all stakeholders are fully engaged and given a chance to take active part in the solution.
Having seen how the National Dialogue process was compromised and misdirected, COP members decided to question their participating in a current format of the National Dialogue and present an alternative formula for organizing a genuine National dialogue in order to confront the culture of conspiratorial politics and heralding political actions that would positively contribute to the development of democratic culture and dissuade the government in a constructive way from taking a wrong direction.
Therefore, COP proposes that The National dialogues intended to address the key issues facing the politico/social and Economic landscape today shall meet the minimum of international standards and practices in order to give the process a chance to succeed include the followings:
An immediate, real cessation of hostilities and Internationally monitored ceasefire in all areas in Ethiopia including Tigray, Afar and Amhara, in Northern Ethiopia, Oromia , Benishangul, and Somali States.
Assurance by the government that it and key stakeholders take steps to restructure a commission and the edit regulating the process in a way that makes the process inclusive, representative and genuine, whereby negotiating parties have a strong support base, credible claim of legitimacy in representing their constituency, the political will and the ability to implement what was agreed upon including shared responsibility of implementation of the outcome of the National dialogue.
In order to ensure transparency, independence and inclusiveness of the commission members, political parties shall have a meaningful presence in the commission and take part in the process and criteria of selection. In addition, any discriminatory clause shall be removed from selection criteria such as holding only Ethiopian passports for people of Ethiopian origin in order to benefit from their expertise.
In the agenda setting process, there shall be a clear and transparent process that accommodates agenda presentation and approval by all stakeholders without discrimination.
Since Ethiopia is not an Island in this intricately interconnected global world and every decision we make is important to the other countries. Therefore, we demand provision that permit involvement and engagement of credible, neutral facilitators or mediators from the international community take part in the National dialogue process when deemed necessary.
Transparent and agreed upon decision making process including consensus and mediation shall be agreed by upon by all key stakeholders.
Adequate confidence building measures, including supplying security of key participants, effective international oversight, release of all political prisoners and lifting of embargo on humanitarian aid to those who are in desperate need of food and medicine.
It’s in the best interest of our people to give a guarantee and safety of all participants in the process and transparent security arrangements whereby Opposition parties leaders are not threatened by harassment, imprisonment and/or extra judicial killings.
1. AFAR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY
2. AFAR PEOPLE’S PARTY (APP)
3. ARENA TIGRAY
4. DONGA PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC ORGANIZATION
5.HIBIR ETHIOPIA (HIBIR)
7. OGADEN NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT(ONLF)
8. OROMO FEDERALIST CONGRESS (OFC)
9. OROMO LIBERATION FRONT(OLF)
10. WOLAYTA NATIONAL MOVEMENT (WNM)
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia