Ethiopian Government Gives Kemant People Ultimatum for Massacre

Ethiopian Government declared war against Kemant people in the past week and seized by an arm force, in Metema District, Shinfa River Basin, sub-districts of:
1. Lenche Kebele
2. Jejebit Kebele
3. Gubay Kebele
About 15,000 Kemants live in the declared area. On the 25th of March 2015, two weeks of ultimatum was given by the government official namely, Amare Setie; the Kemants to evacuate the area or face massacre by the arm force. Mr. Setie declared Kemants are Egyptian origins and they should leave the land. He added the government needs the land for development, but not Kemants.
The residents contacted by a wlka informant in the area refused to leave their land rather preferred to die at their habitation. A foreign NGO agent in the area who sent note to wlka wanted to remain in anonymity expressed his grave concern in the situation. The agent fears Rawanda style genocide in the region and suggests the Kemants to notify to the international community, like UN Security Council immediately. A person who named himself Adal noticed that government wants to remove these people from their land for their quest for self-rule in accordance with the Ethiopian Constitution in effect.

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Power Shutdown and Jamming on Agaw Democratic Party’s Election 2015 Transmission

Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP was not able to broadcast its election 2015 message on March 4, 2015. The National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) allocated for AgDP two TV schedules, each consists of 15-minutes. The first schedule was March 4, 2015 (Yekatit 26) on Amara TV immediately after 6:00 pm news. However, before five minutes of the party’s transmission, electric power was shutdown throughout Awi Province/Zone. The same thing happened also in four Gondar Zone districts, including Chilga County.

The power was available in the cities of Bair Dar and Gondar, but was too difficult to hear due to jamming. The party’s chairperson lodged compliant with a regional parties joint forum and NEBE. The forum characterized the move as a criminal act and condemned, but the NEBE has not taken any measures. The party’s members and supporters urged the party leadership appeal to the NEBE for an alternative broadcast schedule. In related news, a person who sent message to wlka in an anonymous condition claimed the power distribution in Ankesha-Gugusa woreda, one of Awi districts has been off since one month, but he added power disruption on March 4, 2015 in the other districts an active political sabotage not a technical problem.

The lately received report from Gondar City indicates that Mr. Muluken Wagnw a party member from Layarmachiho is in detention for the last 6-days. Zonal officials claimed National Election Board of Ethiopia’s law does not work in Gondar. He has been detained while he was giving out the party’s election manifesto.

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Agaw Democratic Party Withdraws its Nominee for Parliament for 2015 Election at Constituency of Bahir Dar City

A reliable source from Regional Election Board Branch Office sent message to wlka anonymously. On the 12th of February, the party’s Chairperson, Mr. Andualem Tilahun, sent a fax message to Bahir Dar City Election Board Secretariat requesting the cancelation of its only candidate in Bahir Dar City constituency who was Mr. Wasihun Mulaw. The candidate also made the similar correspondence with the city board. The city board was reluctant to accept the request till the official memorandum was sent from the secretariat. The contender was the party’s nominee for parliament/House of Representatives for May Election 2015.
Another source stated cancelation created different reactions. Some saw it as defeat before “shot” and others considered as a tactical decision since there are other four parties registered for constituency, which makes the winning chance slim. Some people speculate the action has been taken probably to increase other parties’ winning chance for some sort of expectations in the future.

Posted in Agaw Kemant | 2 Comments

Two Men Abducted by Security on 2015 Election Related Issue in Awi, Ethiopia

Dangla district, Chara (01 Kebele), Jan 17: Two men, Mr. Getachew Alehegn and Mr. Yohannes Gedebu abducted and place in truck (vehicle) and then taken to an destination by two security men. Both men reportedly involved agitation residents do not elect the ruling party. They are currently believed to be Agaw Democratic Party’s supporters and were previously members of All Ethiopian Unity Organization.
Yesterday January 18, the houses of both men were searched while they were under detention. Residents reached by wlka’s informant said, this is the ruling party’ tactic to silence the people as the election approaches, otherwise they are innocent hard working people. In related news, a source in Bahir Dar informed wlka’s informant that ANDM, AgDP and other opposition parties would form a common forum to create a conducive/good environment for election.

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AgDP Central Committee Issues Statement on Current Situation in Kemant, Gondar

Agaw Democratic Party/AgDP’s Central Committee at its regular session (on Nov. 15) at the town of Zege, Lake Tana, discussed the current turmoil in North Gondar, Kemant Province. It received a report on more than 100 school closure throughout the province in the past two weeks. On the other hand, it learned that some of schools have been reopened since Wednesday, but other remained close. The party expressed its concerned on the deteriorating situation and asked all involved parties to refrain from any act of violence. At the end of the session it has issued the following statements:
1. The current school closure is resulted from the government’s lack of due respect for its constitution. If the government has respect for the country’s constitution, it could treat the Kemant people, or Agaws in general on an equal basis and the Kemant’s constitutional quest for self-rule could have been guaranteed under Article 39. The party called on the government to stop percussion and address the Kemant’s demand without delay.
2. The communiqué stated that Kemant people have waged peaceful resistance for the past decay and they need to pursue only peaceful struggle to achieve their goals.
3. The communiqué stressed the murder of an unarmed citizen, Mr. Tegenawu Wolelawu and others, whoever is unacceptable. The party demanded an independent investigation and due justice including adequate compensation for the family members of the victims.
Finally, the communiqué demanded for equal treatment and justice to all citizens.

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Call for Support for Continuity of wlka

Peaceful political struggle without media is entirely unthinkable. For the past 3-years, the Agaw people’s struggle, specially, Kemant’s struggle for self-rule and equality that took the attentions of many people could not happen at all without wlka. Indeed, wlka has done its professional responsibility as the online press media. Now days, it is facing enormous challenges for its continuity as the forum and provision of compatible services in the dramatically changing world. There are two major parameters wlka has encountered, financial and personnel who have to provide voluntary services indefinitely. At this point, there are only two unpleasant choices, either strengthen the existing media and pursue the resistance for liberty and constitutional rights, or give up, surrender to the oppressors and live in second class citizenship. If the choice is the former, the following measures must be taken for wlka’s effective continuity:
1. It has to be updated including domain modification and hardware upgrading on its base, to uphold its security and functional capacity.
2. Be able to pay transport and allowance for an informant who travels to field to collect first hand evidence.
Certainty, financial commitment is required to execute the project:

  • $6,790 for the system upgrading and enhancement including backup capability for offline availability;
  • $3,386 for allowance and transport cost for the informants per year;
  • $510 for contingency in the case of emergency for immediate life support. If any thing, like automobile accident happens on the informant while in the field;
  • TOTAL of $US 10,686 only.
  • You are kindly requested to support financially the project as you are keen to the liberty of the oppressed people. Also, share this information with those who have no access to the website. Then, please take initiatives and setup a steering committee that can collect fund from the country you are living. Then, communicate wlka in the same way, you send your articles and comments for publication. Leave your full address including e-mail, phone number with country code and name of city. Then, wlka will contact you for a further action. Thanks!

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 3 Comments

    Left-Behind Ethiopian Jews Speak Hebrew

    Click the following link:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/04/16/398834693/they-speak-hebrew-and-keep-kosher-the-left-behind-ethiopian-jews?sc=tw

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    Open Letter to Mr. Beyene Asmare of US

    To Mr Bbeyene Asmare, Chairperson of the recently established political institution-Gondar Unity-to suppress the kemant identity and self-rule quest!

    Dear Beyene:

    How are you doing? Hope you are doing well and this letter may find you where you are. I am one of your close relatives in terms of blood tie. I am also one of the kemant self-rule activists at home, Ethiopia. Currently, we all know that the kemant issue is the most burning issue in the northern hemisphere of Ethiopia. I have tried to listen and examine the merits of the concern you, very limited in number, kemant diaspora along with Amhara opposing groups are raising. First of all, I really appreciate and accept diversity of ideas for the development of democracy in our country, Ethiopia. This is to mean that I really appreciate the different concern you have brought into the public debate–No Self-Government Right to Kemant People!

    You established a kind of political institution (Gondar Unity) and are working tirelessly to achieve that different goal. You are using Esat media as institution to disseminate your different agenda to the rest of the world. I have no such blind opposition against what you are doing now. But, I have just some reflections:

    1) Do you really believe in kemant identity? Are you confident enough to assert your real identity by any means? I think I listened you carefully when you mention that you are kemant and confident enough by that identity during discussions convened through mobile phone conferences along with the Self-Rule Coordinating Committee and Esat TV & Radio programmes. At the same time, I listened you carefully when you said that “you don’t like to see the self-governance of kemant people at any cost and that you don’t bother about the replenishment of Kemantney language at all.” Do you think without full respect of self-governance of kemant people that you will be proud of your identity? Do you think without respecting and learning kemantney language and culture that you will be confident by kemant identity? This is really a paradox!

    2) The basic reasons for denying kemant self-rule seem to lie on the pretext that self-governance of kemant people means being an instrument of TPLF for destroying the ever existing Unity of Gondar and then for achieving the pre-planned motive of TPLF for territorial expansion by oppressing the Amhara commnity. I think this overlapping issue should be seen separately from the self-governance issue of kemant people. There are tangible historical (from past to present history of kemant) evidences to show grave and miserable identity and autonomy suppression against kemant people committed by the Amhara ruling class and deep-rooted derogatory perceptions, speeches and events have been occurring or being occurred presently against the very identity of kemant people by the innocent Amhara-carriers. Innocent Amhara-carriers are those Amharas (huge number) who erroneously believe that since kemants are born from wood, then it is legitimate for Amharas to own kemants as their properties (wood). As owners, they aspire to have all powers over kemants (they can determine the existence of the very name-kemant in the official records of Ethiopia; they can determine the existence of the very features of kemant identity-language, religion, culture; they can determine the land (territory) where kemant people live on; they can determine the political, social and economic freedom of kemant people in general) in the sense that feudalistic political system is still working against democratic political system in Amhara region. If a genuine person examines critically, the allegation that the self-governance quest of kemant people is TPLF- driven is totally wrong and again as Ambassador Zemene Kassegn confirmed “It is again a despise or frown upon kemant people.” Do you think the kemant identity and self-rule quest will only reach at this stage by the only insistence of TPLF? Of course, among those political parties, both in and out of the country, TPLF may be positive supporter of the kemant identity and self-rule constitutional quest. It can do that. We need assistance from any individuals, organizations, and governments of any kind to achieve our objectives–full autonomy. TPLF, as political organization, may be good supporter of our movement since it well understands what identity oppression means. Nevertheless, it should be noted that, as far as my knowledge is concerned, there are also members of TPLF who are against our self-rule quest. There are persons from Tigray people who are opponents of this self-rule quest. The same is true for other Ethiopians including the majority of Amharas. Surprisingly, the same is true for kemants themselves including you. What matters is the degree and the number of support and supporters respectively. The point is that the motive of territorial expansion of TPLF towards south could not be justified by historical overlap of kemant self-rule quest.

    3) If there is reasonable fear of territorial expansion of TPLF against the very interest of Amhara people, I think the concern should be the concern of all peoples living in the region including kemants, not the concern of only Amharas. The Amhara region should first clean the dirty of its internal environment before pointing its fingers towards cleaning the external dirty environment. Which means that the ANDM-led Amhara people and the opposing diaspora on behalf of Amhara should cooperate and act timely to fully recognize and respect the autonomy of other oppressed peoples including kemants within the region before blaming the aspire of TPLF for territorial expansion against the very legitimate political and economic interest of all peoples in Amahara region within the current framework of state structure in Ethiopia.

    4) If you are the real concerned guys of kemant community at large, which mode of governance is better to secure the interest of kemants along with other fellow Ethiopians? Beyond crying for the erroneously perceived Disunity of Gondar Province through self-determination of kemant people, we all kemants, in or abroad, are expected to think over the political system by which our people will be more beneficial along with its identity autonomy within the Ethiopian polity.

    5) According to my opinion, as you reiterate it, the recognition of kemant autonomy could never be a cause for disunity of gondar province. To the opposite, Gondar Unity will be reestablished and enriched since there will not be a system of oppression on the basis of identity in the future. We can say that the previous unity was pseudo-unity of Gondar (this is also true for Amhara people at large). It is very difficult to say that there is strong psychological popular unity among the so called Amhara people (among the North-South Gondar, East-West Gojjam, South-North Wollo, North Shoa and other parts). This is because of the historical trauma that goes to narrate against the true ethnic identities of all peoples. (Please consult the works of Professor Mesfin Woldemariam in this regard just to know the reason why.) Those wrong perceptions and believes that went for centuries against the very identity of kemant in North Gondar shall be eradicated through public debate and knowledge dissemination after official recognition of Kemant with its full autonomy like that of its fellow Ethiopians!

    6) It seems you are in favor of and doing for the old-fashioned approach for state or nation-building process generally in the world and particularly in Ethiopia. Creating a kind of state through assimilation process (choosing one dominant identity, language, religion and culture over others) is not currently working theory. Diversity with unity or accommodation theory is the fashion of state-building process in Ethiopia today. Do you think by destroying the kemant identity as a whole (since you said let kemantney language die) and making the whole people assimilated to the pseudo-identity-amhara that you can create a nation called Ethiopia? Is this assimilative approach workable for other Ethiopian nations (Tigreans, Oromos, Afars, Somalis, Agaws and others) just to avoid the problem of discrimination?

    7) This is enough for today. But, l want to remind you one thing just to save your good name in the future. When you establish an opposing institution like Gondar Unity and make yourself available for media interview (like politically biased Esat), you should take care for not committing irreversible historical popular mistake—No Self-Determination for Kemants Only! No more educating kemantney language! It is not the kemant people themselves who raised the self-rule issue! It is TPLF that is leading the game!

    With best regards,

    Tilahun Jember
    North Gondar, Ethiopia
    March 15, 2015

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 4 Comments

    Regional Council Discloses Authorization of One fifth of Kemant Area for Self-Rule

    March 13, 2015 Amara Regional Council at Its Regular meeting disclosed authorization of Kemants’s self-rule in one fifth of the contested terrirotry. Two counties, Chilga and Layarmachiho are subject to the decion among nine counties that quested for self-rule, including Metema, Wogera, Gondar Zuria, Quara and Dempya. Close observers say the concil’s decion has little impact on the Kemant’s struggle. Kemants immediately asked question, what about other Kemant areas located ajacently. The decision is seen as a tactic to divide and weaken Kemants. Even Mr. Ayalew Abate, the council’s speaker admitted prior to the official decion Kemant’s likely rejection. Mr. Ayalew speaking his senior cadres before session said, “we know that Kemants will not accept the arrangement, but we have opened a new game for dispute”.
    It can be recalled that in July 2013, the same counil denied the existence of Kemant people in Gondar, but now it accepted the existence, but with the short of full self-administration.

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 1 Comment

    Ethnic Cleansing against Kemant People: Genesis of Agaw People Suffering

    By Mizigena A

    From the start of Christianity introduction to Ethiopia, the North Western Cushitic Agaw people was suffering from multidimensional socio-economic prospective (such as religion, politics, social, economic, culture and language) for over 1600 years. With the rising and expansion of Christianity in the fourth century, the majority of Agaw were forced to accept Christianity following the conversion of the two Agaw king brothers, Aezana and saezana and received Christian name as Aberha and Atsibeha. Those who resisted and adhered to their original and former belief (Judaism and paganism) fled from North to South and South-East direction along Tekeze River and settled in Gondar and around Gondar and Lasta and gradually to North Shewa, Jemma and Abay rivers and beyond.
    The Agaw population who resisted for centuries long the state religion after conversion of majority had been divided into smaller enclaves (Awi, Kementy, Himita, Blen, Alien/Falasha and more others). As a result, they got exposed for further religious and, economic and social oppression as Christianity chased them behind. In between, however, the Agaw people were enjoying their golden time during Zagwe Dynasty for about 400 years, until 1270. But after the pseudo Solomonid dynasty took power from Zagwe, the fate of Agaw people changed from bad to worse.
    The first incidence in this process was forcefully receiving religiously constructed identity by abandoning their true Agawness. This process (forceful conversion from Agaw identity to Amharization continued until the late 20th century and even continues to this day. Those who resisted not to become Christian (Amhara) were denied of property rights. As a result, basic assets such as land and other resources that measure the wealth status of rural households in particular were concentrated in the hands of royal family members, provincial governors, Orthodox Church, military officials, and their respective descendants in the form ownership system called of rist and gult. Land was used as one of main instruments to convert traditional and Old Testament (Oriet) religion followers to Orthodox Christian. The fate for non adherents was to be evacuated from their land and exercise their original religion by emigrating far beyond the conquerors’ territorial jurisdiction. The Agaw people in general and the Kemant and Felasha (black-Jewish ) in particular were suppressed by the then King Yishak (who ruled from 1413-1444) and ordered either to be converted to Christianity or persecuted. This state and religion combined conspiracy made most people to remain poor and finally leading them to move to mountainous and rugged geographic areas as a last resort. The existing settlement of Himita and Kemant people is the live example of the past injustice to these people. The worst was what had happened to Bete-Israel tribes. They were totally evacuated from their land and made to be dispersed to different directions within Gondar and Tigray provinces. In the end, their exodus from their homeland to State of Israel was the result of deep rooted religious and tribal marginalization persecution and suffering induced by their neighbor and the then local government.

    Continuation of Past Injustice Legacy upon Kemant

    Though Ethiopia is home to more than 80 different ethnic, linguistic and religious communities, Ethiopians were categorized unofficially into first and second level citizens until the so called Solomonid dynasty was avoided by the Military Dergue in 1974. Until this time, the larger segments of Ethiopians were scarcely visible both nationally and internationally. One people, one language one culture and one religion were the main manifestations of feudal regime. People were not officially allowed to exercise their religion and speak their language; different derogatory terms affixed to each ethnic’s name; and their languages were substituted by Amharic. Kemant people were the main target for conversion in the North-Western part of Ethiopia next to Falasha and were prosecuted to abandon their religion, language and identity. Of, course majority of them had accepted Christianity and abandoned their language forcibly and called themselves Amhara in order to retain their land holding.
    The paradox, however, was that to become Christian and speaking the same language (Amharic) had not protected the people from receiving unfair treatment from those who were converted earlier and other ethnics who took the governorship position. Even central government sponsor wars were declared against Kemant by local warlords and province governors in different time during emperor H/Selesie.
    Even today, the anguishes of Kemants never have halted in the federalism system where every nation, nationality and people in Ethiopia:
    • Has the right to speak, to write and develop, its own language, to develop and promote its culture and to preserve its history;
    • Has the right to a full measure self government which includes the right to establish institution of governments in the territory it inhabits and to equitable representation in state and federal government.
    Though the larger parts of ethnics in Ethiopia have been recognized as a unique people, Kemant is still annexed with Amharic speaking people against the spirit of the constitution.
    The quest for identity recognition and internal self administration has been pending for unnecessary over lengthy period. The Amhara Regional State Parliament has decided against the quest nullifying the constitution endorsed by the regional parliament itself in 2014.
    Currently unofficial war has been declared against Kemant people. This war is being organized by violent groups who secretly serving the anti peace political organizations. This unofficial political group in the name of Amhara People Unity whose objective is to overthrow the constitution and to change the federal system by all means and reinstate the past oppressive regime upon Ethiopians. They claim, their veiled agenda is unity, but the bottom line is a group who preaches for the entire nation unity never organize itself under the name of “Amhara people Unity.”
    This kind of illegal movement started after the federation council accepted the appeal of Kemant and recommended the regional government to reconsider Kemant’s identity and self administration quest. Following this decision, with the technical and financial support from the Diasporas have been organized in different woredas of North Gondar Zone to displace Kemant people including government employees and farmers living in and adjacent to Amharic speaking people.
    The gangs considered their action as a means to frustrate Kemant and thereby quit up the quest and shift to decide to live annexed until the dooms day. However, their attempt is only for vain. Of course, the gangs themselves and their master know that very well kemant never flinch until the independence is declared.
    Let me support with the actual figure what the gangs did to Kemant:
    The following people farmers and government employees (teachers, health workers, development agents and other residents) have been displaced in three districts (Woredas)
    * Chilga ———150 people from all groups
    * Quara———-100 people from all groups
    * Lay armachiho———- 270 (200 residents, 70 government employees)
    * Total ————— 420 people
    If we include the property damages sustained by the gang group, estimated about 1 million birr properties were stolen and destructed in the three woredas.
    300 heads of light armed gang group were tried to intrude and invade Tikl Dingay Town by around Jan 19/2015 but the gang was easily encircled and their attempt was aborted before fulfilling their evil mission. This gang group confessed that they received direction from zonal and woreda official.

    Why Kemant People Never have Tried to Give Response to this Act?

    It is very simple. The objective of this gang and their sponsors are doing this to deflect the direction of the legal quest of Kemant and become beneficiaries of this civil conflict. But here everyone should be aware that if the regional and federal government remains silent, equivalent response will be given to the gang group in time.
    What the gang groups have not realized is that the two peoples (Amhara and Qemant) never will go into civil conflict with the trash conspiracy of self interested gang group. We know that Amhara and Kemant co-exist for time immemorial and will continue to leave peacefully.
    Kemant people strongly believe that unity with diversity where all nation, nationality and people enjoy equal rights. It is only when this happen Ethiopian unity will be ensured. Otherwise, if we preach pseudo-unity, it won’t last long and will not be effective. Those who love the unity of Ethiopia, I beg you to love Ethiopians, to respect their culture, religion and language without any discrimination.

    Posted in Agaw Kemant | 4 Comments