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Post-Conflict Imperatives -No Negotiation (Vision Ethiopia)

January 3, 2022

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

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