Lawmakers Discuss Bill to Establish National Dialogue Commission

ADDIS ABABA – A bill seeking to establish an Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission has passed the first reading at the house of representatives on Thursday.

The bill was introduced to the parliament almost a week after its endorsement by the Council of Ministers.

Chief Whip Tesfaye Beljige said having the legislation, its draft titled it as the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission Establishment Proclamation, would help to further strengthen national unity in diversity.

Currently, he explained the presence of differences of opinion and disagreement among various leaders and segments of the public in the most fundamental issues about Ethiopia.

It is, therefore, necessary to resolve these differences and disagreements through a broad-based inclusive public dialogue, he added.

The establishment of the Commission would make that possible, according to the bill that lists the commission’s seven objects.

The first one says it will be tasked to “facilitate consultation between the various segments of the society by identifying the root causes of the difference on fundamental national issues and identifying the topics on which the discussion will take place”.

The commission, the bill says, will be an impartial and independent organ of the Federal Government with its own legal personality and shall be accountable to the parliament, according to the bill.

It also proposes a three-year term for the Commission which will have a Council of Commissioners with 11 members as well as Chief and deputy Commissioners. a Secretariat, necessary committees and staff.

“If necessary, the term of the Commission may be extended by the House of Peoples Representatives,” it reads.

During their second regular session, the lawmakers welcomed the proposed legislation, describing it as historical and demonstrative of the commitment of the government to bring tolerance and harmony.

The house, then, referred it to the pertinent standing committee for further deliberation.