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Following the launch of the national dialogue in the capital two weeks ago, top agendas on the table are being refined. The ten top agendas have been identified, The Reporter learnt.

The National Dialogue Commission, after discussing with representatives of Addis Ababa for seven days beginning May 29, 2024, has compiled a list of issues to bring to the forefront for the national dialogue initiative. The Commission is expected to continue a series of discussions across all regional states.

During the closed talks in the capital, several issues, including tax complaints, were presented to the Commission, according to The Reporter’s sources. But the Commission has identified and condensed those topics into ten critical agendas, according to sources who participated in the discussions.

Redefining the symbolism and representation of the national flag and identifying national heroes who have contributed to the nation are among the agendas. The structure of the federation, and whether to continue with the current ethnic-based structure or find an alternative design, is also among the topics. Lingering issues over land claims in and around Addis Ababa and whether it should remain the capital of Ethiopia is another one of the agendas.

The issue of Addis Ababa’s role was a focal point, highlighting its significance in Ethiopia’s political and administrative landscape. Participants engaged in robust discussions about whether the city should remain a federal city serving the entire country or be part of a specific regional state.

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The national dialogue forum saw extensive discussions and debates focused on various national concerns. Key agendas included state building and the constitution, as well as deliberations on the structure and foundational laws of the nation.

The relationship and boundaries between religious institutions and state governance has come under the microscope. An examination of the laws governing elections and the organization of political parties is also among the key agendas.

Other issues include the potential introduction of a national language and addressing the country’s linguistic diversity and the challenges associated with it.

The Ethiopian National Consultation Commission has been tasked with consolidating the insights and recommendations from these discussions. The Commission’s findings on these critical issues will play a crucial role in shaping Ethiopia’s future political and social framework.

The outcomes of this consultation process are eagerly awaited, as they are expected to address long standing disputes and pave the way for a more cohesive national dialogue.

During a discussion on the national dialogue initiative held on June 13, 2024, participants raised concerns regarding government involvement in the initiative. The discussion was coordinated at the Interluxury Hotel by a number of CSOs and the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU).

Participants, including academics from Addis Ababa University (AAU), urged for lessened government influence.

Yeshitila Wondmeneh (PhD) of AAU presented a research paper regarding persisting topics on which citizens have varying perspectives.

“Contradicting perspectives are created by politicians, activists and the elite. But at this point, Ethiopia needs uniting narratives,” he said.

Some opposition political parties have also issued statements, urging the government to reach ceasefire agreements with armed groups and include them in the upcoming dialogue.

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