Communique on the Imperatives of Post-Conflict Peace, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Ethiopia (Vision Ethiopia )
Ethiopians in the Amhara and Afar regions continue to sacrifice their precious lives and resources as a consequence of the raging war instigated by the terrorist groups, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Oromumma extremist wing of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF Shene). Despite the high cost of the brazen aggression, there is no qualm that the war against these terrorist elements will be won decisively through the resolute resistance of the people. Vision Ethiopia, therefore, believes that it is incumbent upon the central government to chart a clear roadmap for post-conflict peace, reconciliation and reconstruction that is based on the preeminence of the rule of law and accountability, the primacy and protection of individual rights, and the inviolability of the national sovereignty and integrity.
In our view, a paramount imperative in the post-conflict peace-building effort is a firm position against internal and external pressure to submit to the demands of terrorists for negotiation and equal treatment. Under no circumstance should a sovereign government neglect its sacred responsibilities and surrender to the ruses of terrorists that have committed treasonous crimes with rare parallels in the annals of human history. Vision Ethiopia acknowledges the central government’s recent rejection of calls for negotiations with the terrorist groups and encourages the government to remain unwavering in upholding this position.
A second imperative in the peace-building effort is a demonstrable firmness in the supremacy of the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice to all citizens. We believe that terrorist groups and their leaders who have committed egregious crimes against humanity should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of national and international laws. The ongoing genocidal violence against Amharas and other Orthodox Christians in the Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz and Northern Shoa regions, the recent heinous attacks and destruction of property in the Amhara and Afar regions, and the continuing TPLF incursions into Amhara territories all deserve swift and determined response to ensure lasting peace and prosperity. On the other hand, the incarceration of genuine activists such as Eskinder Nega and journalists, including Meaza Mohammed and Tamirat Negerra, on unfounded charges is not only deplorable, but is also an ill-advised misjudgment that will cause irreparable fracture in the much-needed unity among our people, both at home and in the diaspora.
As elucidated in our communique of December 27, 2021, the Board of Vision Ethiopia strongly believes in the imperative for a national dialogue that is pivoted in truth, justice and reparation, without any interference by the government. To this end, we commend the recent gesture shown by the government not to tamper, at least in principle, with the nomination process of the officers of the proposed National Dialogue Commission. It behooves all genuine Ethiopians – both at home and in the Diaspora – to remain engaged and be vigilant to ensure the Commission lay the cornerstone for the anticipated foundation of a just and democratic system of governance, where all citizens shall be treated equally under the law, and live together in peace and harmony. This, in turn, implies the complete abolition of institutional racism, which emanates from an apartheid-style constitution that has been the root cause of all the ills in the country.
By all accounts, the magnitude of the deliberate devastation inflicted on property and infrastructure in the Amhara and Afar regions is immeasurable, requiring massive reconstruction plans for the affected areas. As widely documented, following the central government’s perplexing unilateral ceasefire of June 28, 2021, the TPLF terrorist group went on a spree of plunder, rape, and massacre in the Amhara and Afar regions with impunity. Evidently, the equally paradoxical decision of the government on December 23, 2021, to let the criminal group retreat to the Tigray region has continued to expose the unarmed inhabitants of the Amhara region to constant threats and attacks by the terrorist group. It is critical that the government takes its duty of protecting the citizens of the country unambiguously and deal a decisive blow to any threats of terrorism and extremism. Further, the government should not covertly or overtly thwart the efforts of the local people to organize and defend themselves. There is no doubt that the government’s ambivalence and reluctance to deal with the terrorists has been the primary reason for the ongoing tribulations, including the November 2020 attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, the recent destruction in the Afar and Amhara regions, and the unbridled assault against Amharas and other Orthodox Christians by OLF-Shene. Without a demonstrable decisiveness of the government to vanquish terrorism, any effort in reconstruction of the war-affected regions would be an exercise in futility.
In summary, the Board of Vision Ethiopia would like to reiterate that:
• The government should not waiver from its current position of not engaging in any form of negotiations with the terrorist groups, TPLF and OLF-Shene;
• The government should unequivocally protect innocent civilians from the ongoing massacre by the TPLF and OLF-Shene. In particular, the Prime Minister should break his silence and publicly condemn the brazenly heinous crimes committed and being perpetrated by the OLF-Shene against Amharas and Orthodox Christians in the Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia and Northern Shoa regions;
• Ethiopians back home and in the Diaspora should hold the government to its pledge of having a process of national dialogue that is free from political tampering to achieve the intended objectives of bringing the people together through truth, justice, and reparation; and lastly,
• The government should bring the war against the terrorist groups to a decisively successful conclusion and launch a grand recovery plan to revive the economy of the regions hardest hit by the conflicts.
Board of Vision Ethiopia