The House of Peoples Representatives (HPR) in an urgent meeting approved 11 Commissioners of the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission, out of the 42 nominees publicized to the public on Feb 4.
The Speaker of the House, Tagesse Chafo, presented the 11 commissioners to the HPR, from whom Professor Mesfin Araya and Hirut Gebresilassie are appointed as Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the commission respectively.
The approved Commissioners include Dr. Ayrorit Ahmed, Dr. Tegnwork Getu, Dr. Yonas Adaye, Dr. Ambaye Agota, Ambassador Mohammed Dirir, Belen G/Medhin, Zegeye Asfaw, Melaku Woldemariam, and Mulugeta Ago.
The Commissioners have three years term of office and are accountable to the parliament.
According to the National Dialogue Commission establishment proclamation, the commission has the responsibility of facilitating consultation between the various segments of the society; and identifying the root causes of the difference on fundamental national issues.
Following, both international and local pressure on the Ethiopian government to hold an all-inclusive national dialogue; the draft bill that establishes the National Dialogue Commission was approved on Dec 29, 2021, with the aim of establishing common grounds on contentious issues.
The approval of the commissioners came a week after the Ethiopian Political Parties Joint Council requested a discontinuation of the National Dialogue Commission Commissioners selection process after it held an urgent meeting on Feb 10.
The council stated lack of neutrality and transparency in the commissioners selection process as the major reason for its resolution.
“We shared our concerns on the National Dialogue Commission's establishment draft proclamation and later on the selection process of the commissioners but received no response,” said President of the council.
Other opposition parties like Oromo Confederalist Congress (OFC), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) had also been expressing their concerns over the establishment process of the commission.
In the statements they issued separately on the day that 42 nominee commissioners were announced to the public, they stressed that the process was not impartial and lacked representation.
The Ethiopian government, on it's part, repeatedly said that groups designated by the parliament as terrorists such as TPLF and OLF-Shene will not be part of the national dialogue.