News: Despite reservations, calls for review from political parties, Parliament set to appoint National Dialogue Commissioners today

Ethiopian Parliament Building

Addis Abeba: The House of Peoples’ Representatives convene in a special session today to appoint eleven individuals who will become commissioners of the National Dialogue Commission.

This follows the approval on 29 December by the House of Proclamation No. 1265/2014 to establish the National Dialogue Commission (NDC) with majority vote with 13 nos and one abstention. Subsequently the HoPR’s Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Democracy said Commissioners who will be leading the National Dialogue Commission will be selected by the people of Ethiopia and their appointments will be approved by the Parliament. On 04 January, the HoPR issued a shortlist of 42 people out of 600 names who it said were nominated by the public to lead the Dialogue Commission.

However, political parties have expressed reservations on the process by the Parliament and called for review. On 14 February, Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council (EPPJC), a coalition of more than 53 legally registered political parties in Ethiopia including the ruling PP, has issued a statement requesting the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) to “temporarily halt” the ongoing proceedings to select the eleven commissioners to lead the planned National Dialogue Commission (NDC). It requested the parliament to resume the process in an “inclusive and trustworthy” manner.

EPPJC’s statement was issued in the backdrop of the a statement by the Parliament announcing a shortlist of 42 people who it said were nominated by the public to lead the Dialogue Commission.

Already, three main opposition parties: Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) issued a statement saying the process of the nomination of Commissioners was not impartial [OFC], was unknown [OLF] and lacked representation [ONLF].

State media reported today that after considering the input from the community, the Standing Committee has proposed nominate the following candidates to be the eleven commissioners:

1. Professor Mesfin Araya, 2. Mrs. Hirut Gebreselassie, 3. Dr. Tegwerwork Getu, 4. Ambassador Dr. Ayrorit Mohammed, 5. Mrs. Blen Gebremedhin, 6. Dr. Jonas Adaye, 7. Ato Zegeye Asfaw, 8. Ato Melaku Woldemariam, 9. Ambassador Mahamoud Drir, 10. Mr. Mulugeta Ago, and 11. Dr. Ambaye Ogato. AS

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