December 19, 2019
A national peace conference is organized on Friday this week at the Millennium Hall in the capital Addis Ababa. It is organized by a committee assigned by the business community of ethnic Amhara and Oromos, according to a report by Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC).
“Let’s create Ethiopia together that is convenient for us all,” is the motto of the conference. The motto seems to assume that the Ethiopia that is convenient to all is not created yet – a view that aligns very well with the narrative of ethnic Oromo Nationalists; almost all ethnic-Oromo political parties including the ruling one, Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), political creeds.
The organizing committee is cited as saying that “the conference is organized with the intention to demonstrate that problems in Ethiopia could be resolved through a round table dialogue.”
Mrs. Firealem Shibabaw is the chairperson of the organizing committee. She said, “the conference will support government effort to bring about national consensus and durable peace in the country.”
It is unclear as to what makes the event national peace conference while it is involving only ethnic-Amhara and ethnic-Oromo communities.
But it is indicated that the conference will draw as many as six thousand participants. Senior government officials, representatives of the business community, religious leaders, elders, youth groups and students of institutions of higher learning are expected to attend it.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has been rattled by a series of pervasive ethnic-based conflicts in different parts of the country so much so that he had to create a Ministry of Peace with a mandate more powerful than the rest of the ministries. Well over a year after its creation, peace is still an issue in the country.
In late October, at least 86 people were killed, based on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s official number, in Oromo region of Ethiopia hours after radical ethnic Oromo Nationalist activist and media entrepreneur, Jawar Mohammed, wrote a facebook update claiming that government forces are surrounding his residence in the middle of the night.
There have also been incessant ethnic-based clashes involving Amhara and Oromo students in Universities across Amhara and Oromo regional states of Ethiopia.
This week, ethnic-Amhara and ethnic-Oromo political parties, including those in power, reached an agreement after two days of meetings in the capital Addis Ababa to “work together to stop violence in Universities.” They have also agreed to cooperate in other areas as well.