Ethiopia: Oppositions Say Dialogue ‘Better Late Than Never’

Putting their differences aside, the ruling and opposition parties have recently come to a round table to find ways of nurturing the political environment for the good of the people.

Using this as a ground, The Ethiopian Herald had approached opposition parties to seek their reflections on the political dialogue.

Unity for Justice and Democracy Party (UJDP) Chairman Tigistu Awolu had this to say: The ruling party seems to have decided to hold the dialogue on various accounts.

For him, the public’s rising concern about the political, economic and social issues has brought the incumbent to a round table with opposition parties.

Tigistu further said formerly, the ruling party did not have a right outlook towards oppositions. “There was a tendency to undermine the role of opposition parties considering them inefficient to hold political power.”

Despite late, the dialogue is crucial for political parties and the government. The track record of other countries tells everyone that parties would come to negotiation table after a series of bloodshed he said, adding that this one is happening without such events in the country.

“I can’t deny the death, imprisonment or migration of our people. But, unlike other countries, we have come to dialogue on our own, without third party involvement as well as further bloodshed.”

Ethiopia Democratic Party (EDP) Central Committee member Gizachew Anemaw for his part said the recent experience in the country has necessitated the dialogue.

EDP understands the importance of discussion, debate and dialogue. These are core principles for peaceful political transformation.

Such political dialogue is not happening in Ethiopian for the first time, Gizachew noted, recalling a ‘similar’ dialogue in 2009. “That dialogue did not bring the desired outcome.”

Gizachew said, change cannot be achieved through violence. In this regard, all facilities have to be in place to carry out peaceful discussions. Enabling environment has to be created. “This is part and parcel of the effort in ensuring human and democratic rights of citizens.”

According to him, the political dialogue is vital to peaceful political transformation and to ease all process towards future democratic elections.

Ethiopian RAEY Party President Teshale Sebro for his part said: “I can’t say the dialogue is timely. It is too late. But, there is still a room for creating better Ethiopia. Had this dialogue taken place some 10 or 15 years ago, we couldn’t have experienced the current bad political situation.”

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