March 26 , 2022
By Mihretu Becherenetu ( Mihretu Becherenetu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. )
Earlier this month, Prosperity Party (PP) concluded its maiden congress with pertinent decisions. Arguably, its most important decision has been to restore and achieve peace by "employing every possible alternative." For a country that has seen one of its darkest chapters due to the brutal civil war, the courageous decision of the governing party should be welcomed as an essential step to end the unspeakable agony of millions of Ethiopians in every corner of the country.
This decision should be fully supported by all Ethiopians and the regional and international organisations as well as by the international community. To ensure the success of the party's decision, it is indispensable to develop a comprehensive peace plan that could drive the long and difficult process of peacemaking.
The 16-month civil war has brought devastating political, economic, social and psychological impacts. Like any war, it can not be concluded in battlefields but in round tables. Any victory obtained with the ultimate sacrifice of Ethiopians should be translated into political triumph. While avoiding relapse, the battlefield gains can be sustained only through a political solution that maintains Ethiopia's sovereignty and territorial integrity while fully respecting the legitimate aspirations and concerns of all its citizens.
Genuine calls to bring peace by leaving no stones unturned, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) said during his address to the recent African Union Summit, or the decision of the ruling PP, can be fully realised with a comprehensive peace plan. Therefore, implementing the decision of the PP is both timely and urgent. This provides Ethiopians with a historical opportunity to close one of the most miserable periods in their country's history.
One may argue that the Ethiopian government has been announcing its readiness for peace at various times. This is a fair point. But one could also argue that thus far there has not been a full-fledged and comprehensive peace plan that addresses the war and its multiple challenges and ushers in a new chapter. It is among the reasons the ruling party's congress reached an unambiguous decision with a clarion call for restoring peace using "every available option."
Translating the ruling party's decision into a full-fledged peace plan should be one of the top priorities of the government. First and foremost, bringing peace is the right thing to do. Prosperity, which is not only the name of the party but its ultimate objective, would remain on paper if there is no peace in Ethiopia. Furthermore, as a ruling party that obtained strong support and legitimacy from the Ethiopian electorate, restoring just and sustainable peace to all Ethiopians is one of the sacred duties of the government.
Addressing the myriads of the economic challenges – poverty, high inflation and unemployment, to mention a few – would demand bringing peace and security throughout Ethiopia. Also, commencing the long and perhaps the most difficult social and psychological healing process requires introducing a holistic peace agenda.
Sustainably ending the war and making peace has moral, political, economic and social benefits. However, some may have doubts, even opposition, given the unspeakable suffering they or their beloved ones were forced to go through. Their voices and concerns should be heard and respected. It is only just and durable peace based on the principles of humanity and accountability that could ultimately heal the whole nation. That is why the decision of the PP is courageous and magnanimous.
I should also mention that coming with a comprehensive peace plan could certainly put the government in the driving seat in any regional and international diplomatic effort to end the war. It can lead the peace process and increase its credibility and diplomatic clout among the members of the International community. It is also reasonable to assume that if the international community is serious about ending the war, it would support the government's peace initiative. The peace plan may also put pressure on the TPLF and its allies and could force them to genuinely engage in the peace-making process.
The humanitarian truce announced last Thursday by the federal government should be seized not only as another opportunity to enhance humanitarian access and to deliver much-needed assistance to all in need but also to pave the way to launch a comprehensive peace process to sustainability end the conflict.
To end a brutal and devastating war, everybody knows that a peace plan is just the beginning of the long road. The most important and most difficult part is its timely and successful implementation. This would require the support of all domestic and foreign actors. Ultimately, it is peace and peacemaking that would bring Ethiopia on a path of prosperity by alleviating the continued agony of its people.
PUBLISHED ON Mar 26,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1143]
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