News: Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission dissolves

Members of Ethiopia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Picture: PMO

Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12

Addis Abeba – Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission has dissolved three years into its formation by the national parliament which had approved the draft bill establishing the National Reconciliation Commission on 25 December 2018 with the objective to “maintain peace, justice, national unity and consensus and also reconciliation among Ethiopian peoples,” the government said at the time.

But, according to a local media report this morning, the Commission was ordered to hand over its unused budget and office materials to the newly formed National Dialogue Commission (NDC) and dissolve.

The report said that at the end of its term in office, the Reconciliation Commission has requested the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) to extend its term. However, the House is not yet ready to extend the term of the commission. Following this, the Reconciliation Commission is handing over its office to the NDC, another commission established by law when parliament approved the draft bill on 29 December last year.

In a letter to the Reconciliation Commission in February, the House of Peoples’ Representatives stated that the commission’s term in office had expired and urged it to submit a summary of its activities over the past three years.

The Reconciliation Commission was one of the commissions established by law to help bring about a peaceful Ethiopia by studying and working on areas of contention for a lasting solution to rampant conflict in the country.

In addition to identifying the root causes of conflicts in the past , the commission was also vested with power to identify victims and wrongdoers. It was hoped that the commission would empower the victims by helping hold perpetrators of conflicts to account. It was also also expected to work with the victims in pardoning the culprits once their wrongdoing got exposed and reconciliations mechanisms were endured.

Despite the hope that the Reconciliation Commission will dispose of such responsibilities and obligations as outlined by the proclamation to help bring peace to Ethiopia, its term ended without any significant or visible achievement so far.

The report by the local radio indicated that the Commission is currently handing over the office to the NDC after it has received a verbal note from the Parliament to hand over not only the office materials but also the budget allocated to it by the government.

During its three years in office, the government allocated millions of birr annually. In the last fiscal year alone, the Commission, which included prominent persons, religious leaders, among others, had a total budget of over ETB21.4 million. From July 2021 until the end of its term last January, the Commission had spent more than four million ETB on its budget. It is now instructed to hand over the remaining budget to the Dialogue Commission. Accordingly, the office of the Federal Auditor General will review the account before it is transferred to the new Commission. AS

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