BY TESFA-ALEM TEKLE
The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals association (GSTS) on Sunday puts forward a proposal for consideration to a successful formation of a post-conflict Interim Administration in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
The announced proposal was built on GSTS’s recent position statement which calls for an interim administration that is inclusive,transparent, credible, and accountable to safeguard Tigray’s vital interests, ensure non-repetition of genocidal war, leverage all capacities, and create a foundation for democracy, good governance, institution building, and development in the region.
In a statement shared to The East African Daily, the scholars’ and professionals’ association said that the purpose of the proposal document was not to dictate the transition process, but to present proposals and options to support the process and help shape the establishment of an effective interim government in Tigray based on successful practices and experiences.
“The proposal was developed through critical consideration of the realities in Tigray and the experiences, both successes and failures, of interim governments in various countries around the world” part of the statement reads.
“As a scientific community, the GSTS emphasizes that the steps taken to form the interim government, its composition and mandate require extraordinary care and consideration”
In this spirit, the GSTS outlined what it considers to be the key principles and pillars that should govern the formation of the transitional arrangement in Tigray.
The association among others called for creation of a system that engages all key stakeholders to nominate potential candidates for the Interim Administration and outlines a timeline for key milestones and deliverables, communicate to all stakeholders and the public regularly, and ensure that concerns raised by stakeholders are addressed timely and transparently.
Lack of Transparency
“Although a transparent and inclusive process, as detailed above, should have been used to form the Tigray Interim Administration Establishing Committee, the recent formation of the nine-member nominating committee lacked transparency and inclusiveness of the involvement of relevant stakeholders”
Hence, it stressed a need for an immediate corrective action to be taken to safeguard the legitimacy of the process and ensure public trust.
“Inclusion in this case is about fair representation of a diversity of views and about ensuring equal opportunity for all political actors and the public at large”
“Inclusion can be achieved either through the direct participation of individuals and groups in the affairs of the interim government or through the effective representation of different key stakeholders in the structure of the interim administration and its institutions, or both” the proposal document stated.
It added that the institutions including the Council, executive body, judiciary, and others should genuinely reflect the political, social, economic, religious, cultural, and localities representation realities of Tigray.
The Council may serve as the highest authority of the interim administration and is accountable to the people of Tigray hence it noted the body requires the highest level of representation where the will and aspirations of the people are exercised at the top level of authority.
“Political inclusion and active participation of all stakeholders at the Council level are critical for the success of the transition”
“For this reason, the Council should be constituted from all key stakeholders – so that no single party or group should have a majoritarian power to solely dictate critical decision-making processes”
“The Council should adopt the principle of ‘consensuses-based decision making’ for critical and strategic issues that determine the future of Tigray during the transitional period”
According to GSTS, stakeholders including Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), TPLF and all other registered political parties, faith Organizations, communities including minorities such as Kunama and Irob, Scholars and professional associations, civil Society Organizations and Tigrayans in the diaspora should be fairly represented at the interim council.
The group proposed a 25:25:20:30 responsibility sharing formula to be applied in the Interim Administration among stakeholders.
Accordingly, TDF will nominate 25% with the fact that TDF is more representative of Tigray (in demography, political affiliation, religion, age, and gender than any other entity).
Similarly, TPLF will nominate 25% “considering its recent past and reality on the ground”
All other political parties will nominate 20% while Civil society organizations, minorities, associations of various types and constituencies, communities, and eminent persons will nominate 30%.
Per the proposal, representatives from TDF or CSOs should not be affiliated with any political parties and need to be sworn in under oath,
This formula will apply to the Interim Council (legislative) and executive body at all administrative levels, including Woreda and other lower tiers.
The key measures for selecting members of the interim government should be inclusiveness of all key stakeholders and potential contribution towards ensuring peace and security, accountability, institution building, democracy, good governance and development for the renaissance of Tigray, it said adding the selection of participants needs to consider their relative power to influence their respective constituencies.
“To ensure inclusiveness, it is recommended that an independent body maps out the key stakeholders of the Interim Administration in Tigray and develop a proposal for representation”
Term of Interim Period
According to GSTS Proposal, the Interim Administration of Tigray shall commence its functions as soon as possible, not later than 30 days after an agreement between representatives of the stakeholders in a constitutive assembly.
The term of office of the Interim Administration of Tigray shall be a maximum of 40 months and its mandate and function shall be mutatis mutandis, the same as provided in the Tigray Constitution, it said.
The Interim Administration shall hold Elections 60 days before the end of the interim period, it further recommended.
GSTS has also offered to lend hand in the process of forming an Interim administration as independent body.
Tigray authorities are yet to comment on the proposal put forward for consideration.
GSTS is a legally registered non-partisan, not-for-profit knowledge network operating all over the world.
With over 5,000 members, (approximately 1/5 of whom are PhD holders), GSTS is the largest and most active academic and professional association in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.
Since the onset of the war on Tigray on 4th November 2020, GSTS has been engaged in research-based fact finding; data collection and documentation, legal analysis and interpretation, and humanitarian advocacy surrounding human rights violations, amounting to war of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide perpetrated against the Tigrayan people.
(The East African Daily)