As the selection and approval of Commissioners of the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission went on and the House of Peoples Representatives approved the final 11 Commissioners on Feb 21, several controversies surfaced over social media voicing concerns and objections.
A personal Facebook account that has more than 163 thousand followers shared a post voicing a complaint that the 11 commissioners elected by the House of Peoples Representatives are not comprised of members of all ethnic groups” on Feb 21. By the time this article is published the post had 3900 reactions, 488 comments, and was shared by 1700 people.
Another post by a popular opposition journalist was also shared questioning the credibility of the National Dialogue Commission. This post had more than 6,800 interactions, 569 comments and was shared by 1300 people.
The House of Peoples Representatives established the National Dialogue Commission by Proclamation No. 1265/14 to create an inclusive national consensus in Ethiopia.
The draft proclamation was discussed with various sections of the society and stakeholders and the articles were revised and amended. A total of 632 candidates were nominated for the commission, 42 of whom were claimed to be nominated by the public. On Feb 21, 2021, the House of Representatives approved 11 commissioners by a majority vote.
The National Dialogue Commission is installed to work to reach a consensus on basic national issues and is designed to bring together political scholars and the public from various fields.
Speaking at the 3rd Extraordinary Session of the House of Peoples Representatives, PM Abiy Ahmed said the main focus of the talks will be on “the wounded history and Ethiopia we will build tomorrow.” “
However, misinformation and disinformation had been circulating on various social media sites, undermining and questioning the credibility and accountability of the commissioners.
The House People’s Representatives shared a post on Feb 22 to clarify the information being circulated on social media. In its statement, the house said that it picked the nominees from the open public vote, considered members from different ethnic groups, and consulted with every stakeholder to make the process as transparent and fair as possible.
Given the fact that the Commission is supposed to be of great national importance, HaqCheck recommends social media users investigate the source and intention of the information they share and publicly discuss to avoid the risky consequence of such contents of disinformation and misinformation.