Agaw-Kemant Conference Manifesto (2010)

We Kemant people’s representatives from nine woredas (counties) of Gondar numbered more than one thousand delegates and supporters held a half day conference in Gondar City, Cinima Hall. We discussed in depth on an unresolved issue, demand for Kemant nationality recognition and self-governance under a framework of the FDRE’s constitution. After appraising the ongoing process, we have learned that one-million Kemant people’s constitutional rights have not been realized and consequently no choice, but to stand firmly for our legitimate rights. Inline with the above terms, at the end of the conference, we have issued the following twelve-point communiqué to validate our commitment to our constitutional rights:

 1. We reaffirm constitutionality of our demand for recognition and self-governance.

2. We confirm that quest for recognition is not just individuals’ interest, but the Kemant people’s unfolding demand.

3. The Kemant people’s demand is not different from the other nations-nationalities’ demands and needs our government’s urgent response.

4. The Kemant nationality’s identity recognition has been resolved in principle subsequent to the fall of Derg, impediment and slow in materialization is not the sake of the government policy, but individuals’ sabotage and, consequently we call upon them to refrain from such undemocratic activities.

5. Our demand is constitutional, but not notion of charity, which depends upon goodwill of individuals, thus extra delay involved in the process is unacceptable and adverse influence.

6. We reaffirm that the Kemant people’s demand is intended only for peace, development, equality and democracy.

7. Kemant Nationality Interim Coordinating Committees at every level shall continue to work with Kemant people, supporters and government to materialize the Kemant people’s aspiration.

8. The Kemant people’s demand is consistent with objectives, thousands of the Ethiopians sacrificed their lives and we need to stand for practicality of the same.

9. We think any incompatible position on this issue should be considered as departure from the EPDRF’s political line and should be treated as an individual view.

10. Our quest for recognition and self-governance is not intended for supremacy, but for equality, as result, we demand the Kemant people to be counted as the distinct entity in the future national census, as was prior to 2007.

11. We demand restriction to be lifted on the Kemant people’s participation on Hidar 29 Annual Nations-Nationalities Cultural Festival. It can be recalled that the Kemant representatives used to take part in this festival, but has been suspended since recognition request has been arisen.

12. We demand Amhara Regional State to response for our demands constitutionally without delay.

Let us live in dignity, freedom and equality with all Ethiopian nations and nationalities.

Kemant People’s Conference for Recognition and Self-Governance Gondar, Ethiopia,

October 17, 2010

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8 Responses to Agaw-Kemant Conference Manifesto (2010)

  1. Debas says:

    People of Alefa and Wogera Say What
    Alefa community seems more associated with Awi. They claim their dialect accent is Awigni than Qemantgna. In the last November, the Alefa community asked the region government for representation in the nations & nationality cultural festival. On the other hand, larger numbers of kebels in Wogera Woreda describe themselves Amharas (meaning Christians), however, they trace their identity to Agaw. They say the name Wogera was driven from the word “Wag”. The Wogerans claim their identity as decedents of Wagshum of Wag-Last. The elders, like Wangul Belete Tessema 96 and Endeshaw Tiruneh Gobeze 92 trace back 10 generation to identity their forefathers. This is not just history it is actually applied every day life to resolve land disputes between the communities. When the Wegera elders asked about the Kemants, they stated as their uncles. Their differ from Kemants in religious values. They say even though majority of the Kemants converted to Christianity forcefully during Yohannes and HaileSelassie, their Christianity is not recognized, non-Kemants feel Kemants are still pre-Christianity faithful. Consequently, kemant Orthodox priests are not allowed to perform the religious ritual in Amahara areas other than their localities. Lend
    Gondaris virtually support recognition of the Kemant community, but many of people in Gondar City disagree with the quest for self-rule, they see it as Eritrean secession. This position was made clear by three individuals, self-declared arbitrators in November 2010. They told one of the Kemant activists, let us work for recognition, but drop secession. They think the Kemant people’s oppression is not worse than the case of the Gaffat People (another Agaw group). They think the Gaffat (Geffat) people are now integral part of inseparable Amhara society. The people of Southern Debub Gondar, South West Wollow, East Gojjam and Highland Damot are known as Gaffats assimilated into Amhara culture.

  2. Pingback: In the Abyssinization Process of Ethiopia, Agaw-Midir was Victimized Worse than Biyya-Oromo | Ayyaantuu Online News

  3. Likye: Reply to Ayyaantuu says:

    The comment by Ayyaantuu Online News is correct. We share the common cause.Thank you.

  4. Ayenew Bayew says:

    as we know the question of kemant people for getting identity as taken long period of time,it is a good decision that you plan now :i.e DEMONSTRATION.But here I suggest to you is be fast to take the action please, we students in university are standing with you.

  5. Melese Worku says:

    It cannot be said that were & are not discriminated.Individuals are being discriminated and as well groups based on their kemant identity

  6. kemantologist says:

    The question is as simple as what the constitution grants for self-determination. I don’t see any challenge to accept this question unless the traditional attitude for supremacy.

  7. Sam says:

    The true history about Agaw people in particular and Ethiopia in general is written by neutral peoples of the West and Middle East on different foreign languages. When we look to the Awi people, who are one of the Agaw people, for instance, we can look at the work of Hetzron (1969) who did his PhD in Awigni Language of Awi people. Hetzron came to Ethiopia thinking that the origin of Jewish people could be Ethiopia hypothesizing around Abay (Blue Nile) River. He decided to study the culture of the people who live in the source of Abay (Blue Nile) River. He then went to Gojjam to the source of this river and found people who live on the source of Abay (Blue Nile) River (by present name Seqela) are Awi people of Agaw. So, he decided to study their language, Awgni. In his study, he found that The Agaw People use to live in the whole North and Central part of Ethiopia. He says, except inaccessible island or pocket regions (the present: Awgni of Awi Zone in Gojjam, Qura and Kemant in Gonder, Xamta in Wolo and part in Shire Endasilassie in Tigiray and Bilen in Eritrea), other parts of Agaw people were sematized and shaded by two languages: Amharic and Tigrigna. To know the truth that people in whole North and Central part of Ethiopia are The Agaw’s, let alone Hetzron (1969) and the like articles, the current status witnesses the truth of this. That is currently we find The Agaw people in North and Central part of Ethiopia. Let’s start from North: In North from Eritrea we find Bilen; in Tigray and Wolo we find Xamta, in Gonder we find Qura and Kemant; in Gojjam we find Awgni of Awi Zone. Hetzron (1969) work also shows that there are Agaw people near to Addis Ababa (This is the truth, anyone who is interested can look this truth from Hetzron (1969)). Therefore, it should be concern of mankind that the three questions that this article, ‘The Review of Agaw_Awi Family Tree’, posed should get answer:

    When we think of Ethiopia, the prominent image that comes to the mind of all Ethiopians and foreigners is works of Lalibela and Axum. These works are recognized by UNESCO as world heritage. Not only all Ethiopians but also the whole world is proud of these incredible and ever outshining works! The truth is, these works Lalibela and Axum are works of The Agaw People. So, don’t you think that we all Ethiopians and the whole world is responsible to investigate and answer those three questions (1.Whereabouts of the Agaw people who lived throughout Central Shua to Eritrea. 2. Reasons for discontinuation of the Agaw civilization. 3. Whether the Ethiopian history literature is impartial) the article, ‘The Review of Agaw_Awi Family Tree’ posed and revive their culture and such golden and amusing architectural works back? Thanks!


    find your identity.
    we know ourselves.

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