By Mersea Kidan
One of the main components of the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) is the establishment of an interim regional administration (IRA). TPLF and certain military leaders formed a committee that organized a conference, which ended with a proposal for the creation of the IRA. The process and the resulting proposal were criticized for their lack of transparency and inclusivity by almost all segments of society. All political parties other than TPLF have rejected the proposal and decided to boycott the IRA, which is not beneficial for Tigray’s future.
After multiple negotiations with Abiy’s administration, the central committee of TPLF elected Mr. Getachew Reda to lead the IRA. Since Mr. Getachew is one of the progressive individuals in the central committee, his appointment has given rise to some hope in a society that some reforms may take place under his leadership. It is crucial for Mr. Getachew and the IRA to gain the support of all segments of society to help bring Tigray out of its current predicament. One important step Mr. Getachew can take towards achieving unity is to consult with political parties and form a unified IRA that includes all relevant political parties. Nonpartisan organizations or individuals can play a key role in mediating between political parties to break the deadlock.
In this article, I provide some recommendations for political parties to discuss and reach a compromise. Nonpartisan organizations/individuals should act as mediators by engaging with each political party and preparing a memorandum of agreement (MoU). It is essential that all parties commit to participating in the consultation process with an open heart and positive attitude. Therefore, I urge parties to commit to the following recommendations and emerge united in leading Tigray in the right direction:
- Commit to participating in the IRA with the full intention of making it successful and helping Tigray emerge from its current situation.
- Prepare for the upcoming election while respecting the constitutional order. Focus on promoting Tigray’s interests and reduce hostile rhetoric against each other. Use media and other resources responsibly to promote Tigray’s interests instead of divisive internal messages.
- Ensure that all political parties are provided with positions in the IRA, both at the regional and local levels. Political parties other than TPLF should hold more positions than currently allotted to them, and this can be achieved by allotting some deputy bureau head positions.
- Commit to reforming the administration by separating state and party bureaucracy. The parties can agree to form a council that makes decisions on the appointment of local administrations and other reforms.
- Commit to creating a level playing field for all political parties by providing state resources fairly. Commit to reforming the state media administration and providing equal access to state-owned media to all political parties.
Nonpartisan organizations/individuals can mediate between the parties by holding consultative meetings with each political party to discuss the above recommendations. Mr. Getachew should invite all political parties to a consultative meeting/conference where all parties sign an MOU under his leadership as President-elect of the IRA.
This will help build a positive image of Mr. Getachew, the IRA, and participating political parties both internally and internationally. Most importantly, such a united administration will start the healing process for the deeply wounded spirit of the people of Tigray and pave the way for mutual respect and unity in rebuilding Tigray.
Mersea Kidan is a Tigrayan American residing in Minnesota, USA. He is a community leader, author, and public speaker on topics related to Tigray, Ethiopia, and change leadership. He can be contacted via email at [email protected].