Scholars Stress Need for Holistic Strategy to Achieve Viable Post-Conflict Institution Building

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Addis Ababa December 30/2021/ENA/ A holistic strategy that includes all pertinent stakeholders must be adopted in order to achieve realistic and viable post-conflict institution building, scholars noted.

This was pointed out at a panel discussion held by Addis Ababa University under the theme: “Post-conflict Intervention in Ethiopia: Political, Socio-economic and Psychological Dimension.”

Sociology Assistant Professor Taye Nigussie noted on the occasion that post-conflict society is more divided and embittered than before the conflict, which creates interest groups and vigilantes that favor continued criminality, violence, and terror.    

“I strongly believe that the ramifications (psychological, social, political, economic, demographic, cultural, environmental etc.)  and many more have been manifested even in their worst form in the on-going conflict taking place in different parts of Ethiopia, and particularly in northern Ethiopia.”

Moreover, forced displacement creates immense human suffering associated with trauma, loss, uprooting, poverty, and destruction of normal patterns of living, separation of families, and uncertainties about the location and safety of loved ones.

Taye stated that a holistic strategy that includes all pertinent stakeholders must be adopted in order to achieve a realistic and viable post-conflict institution building, peace-building, and reconstruction.

Psychology Professor, Habtamu Wondimu said although there are no official reports about the current war in Ethiopia, the victims are likely to suffer from psychological trauma and depression.

It is, therefore, important to return back the lives of victims and increase social support and humanitarian assistance.

Interventions that can support the functioning of support networks could play a critical role in supporting resilience and recovery in affected communities, the professor noted.

Affected citizens may find it difficult to get all-time psychological counseling services for the time being, Habtamu said, adding that religious institutions, health facilities and all stakeholders should support and encourage affected communities during such crises.

Speaking about the perspective of post-conflict intervention in political dimensions, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Asnake Kefale, said in conflict and post-conflict situations a large number of people need urgent humanitarian support.

In Ethiopia, too, millions of people need urgent humanitarian support in the northern and other parts of the country.

“Proactive engagement by the Ethiopian Government in maintaining the flow of humanitarian support to Tigray is vital not only to save lives but also to deny the concerted effort of a range of actors to weaponise humanitarian crisis in the region for their political advantages,” he stressed.

“We are still in a state of war, let alone post-conflict; but public discourse and debates to find ways to come out from our current predicament are important,” the associate professor said.

There is a concerted effort to internationalize the conflict by the Western powers, Asnake said, pointing out the UN Security Council, for instance, held over a dozen meetings on Ethiopia.

But, the US sanction imposed on Ethiopia was not helpful and generated strong anti-western feelings in Ethiopia, he added.

According to the associate professor, the threat on the survival of the state posed by the terrorist TPLF and its supporters has been countered and Ethiopians across the country and globally supported the government and the war effort.

Furthermore, the multi-polar international system gives a chance to have other allies; but in the long term it is good to realize that Ethiopia needs to have good relations with both the East and the West, he advised.

Asnake finally stated that it is important to enhance the principle of African solutions to African problems.

Development Economics Professor, Alemayehu Geda said there are macro-economic challenges in relation to the war that need the immediate attention of policy makers.

Inflation, shortage of foreign exchange, difficulties in financing the reconstruction of destroyed public service institutions are among the challenges, he added.

Professor Alemayehu suggested the need for inflation related policy direction, that is price fixing policy of selected goods to be accompanied by simultaneous supply-fixing policy.

The price fixing policy of selected goods needs to be accompanied by simultaneous supply-fixing policy, he stated.

These are fiscal policy directions to address the challenge of post-conflict reconstruction,  including front-loading of tax payments of major tax payers, leveraging private finance for public services, and deferral of government payment obligations, among others.

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