By Sisay Sahlu
ADDIS ABEBA – National reconciliation commission is facing some challenges from the get go as its members urge government to facilitate their mandated tasks.
Government established in December a reconciliation commission to create a “genuine dialogue” between conflicting groups in several parts of the country.
House of parliament has also approved its members in February and give them a mandate to contribute in restoring peace in conflict prone areas while resolving clashes, promoting peaceful coexistence and ensuring justice and rule of law.
Despite this, ethnic tensions continue to simmer the country.
Members of the commission said they are itching to work but challenges related mainly to logistics are hampering their effort.
“To carry out the tasks that the parliament bestowed up on us, the government has to show its practical commitment and support us,” said Cardinal Berhane Eyesus, chairman of the commission, while briefing reporters on Tuesday.
He said government has to arrange “the necessary preconditions” that could enable the commission perform its tasks.
The commission is still in dark over the amount of budget allocated to its works and is still short of manpower.
“The commission has only one permanent employee, and an office which is not fully equipped. That is why we are giving presser at the hotel,” said Yetnebersh Nigussie, deputy chairperson of the commission.
The commission has recently secured a building near US embassy to be used as its office.
When asked what they have been doing since their appointment in mid-February, Yetnebersh said the commission has been learning various local and international experiences of reconciliation.
“We now will start to deal with the cases that need an urgent response,” she said.
The commission is also forming a panel of expert that could help the commission by providing researched prior experiences in the area and traditional and customarily practices in conflict resolution mechanisms.
“It will conduct an initial assessment on conflict prone areas that needs immediate attention of the commission,” Yetnebersh said.
The commission has selected 46 cases as top priority for its first engagement, said Yetnebersh.
There are, however, over 1500 cases that are documented at the prime minister office demanding reconciliation and resolution.