The constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in its preamble clearly reads (quote): we, the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia
strongly committed, in full and free exercise of our right to self-determination, to building a political community founded on the rule of law and capable of ensuring a lasting peace, guaranteeing a democratic order, and advancing our economic and social development.Firmly convinced that the fulfillment of this objective requires full respect of individual and people’s fundamental freedoms and rights, to live together on the basis of equality without any sexual, religious or cultural discrimination. Further convinced that by continuing to live with our rich and proud cultural legacies in territories we have long inhabited, have, through continuous interaction on various levels and forms of life, built up common interest and have also contributed to the emergence of a common outlook. Fully cognizant that our common destiny can best be served by rectifying historically unjust relationships and by further promoting our shared interests. Convinced that to live as one economic community is necessary in order to create sustainable and mutually supportive conditions for ensuring respect for our rights and freedoms and for the collective promotion of our interests. Determined to consolidate, as a lasting legacy, the peace and the prospect of democratic order which our struggles and sacrifices have brought about. Have therefore adopted, on 8 December 1994 this constitution through representatives we have duly elected for this purpose as an instrument that binds us in a mutual commitment to fulfill the objectives and the principles set forth above.
Despite of this fact, there are still nation, nationality and people who are denied of their natural rights, whose fundamental freedom are ignored, forced to live being annexed with others without their will, the past unjust political relation still persists. Among these people who never exercise the constitutional rights is the Qemant nationality. Why Qemant are denied of the constitutional rights? The problems are from the two sources, internal and external.
Regard to the internal factor, historically, Qemants, like other Agaws throughout the region were whom the first to suffer from the identity conversion campaign of the false Solomonic Dynasty until 19974. This fact left this people under strong identity crisis and slow in a coming back process to its true self. Even today there are Qemant individuals who labeled themselves as Amhara and struggle against Qemant’s quest for self administration. People in this circle are those who are making their living (enjara) under ANDM’s left over. Though they are not strong and have insignificant influences up on freedom movement, but they can still create confusion to please their superior political masters.
The other internal problem is the approach that Qemant leaders use to regain the constitutional rights, which proved its dysfunctionality. For the last fifteen years, Qemant Committee leadership has chosen a struggle approach that takes them nowhere. They have very feeble committee that represent the people to regain the denied constitutional rights. This committee is informal that does not have institutional capacity to resist the mischievous reaction of ANDM. Indeed, the committee has strong conviction in law and peaceful struggle and strongly depends on the constitution. But constitution for ANDM members is like any ordinary paper only written in black and white to only delude Ethiopians. In the first place most ANDM member, particularly, those who recently joined the organization work against the federal system and wish the old unitary system so as to reinstate the legacy of one nation.
In terms of the external factor, the main thing that Qemant fail to realize is that they seek their freedom from ANDM that does not liberate itself yet.
From its genesis ANDM is the brain child of leftist ideology, naive to democracy. The Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM) the precursor of ANDM was founded in November 1980 in Tigray, at a place known as Tekrarwuha. The founding fathers were the former members of the EPRP who splintered themselves from the party for various reasons. When the then Ethiopian People Democratic movement (EPDM) was founded , it was guided by TPLF to work in the Amharic and other language speaking population outside Tigray. After 13 years in a multinational name, the movement (EPDM) convened its third organizational conference at Bahir Dar in January 1994 and changed its name to Amhara National Democratic Movement, but without modifying its revolutionary democratic stance. When the Agaws began to move to have their own party, it stepped up persecution despite Mr. Addisu Legese then regional governor wrote a letter to his subordinates the Agaws to exercise freely if they wanted to set up the party.
Fortunately ANDM took the first child status of EPDM and inherited its legacy by default. This all entails that ANDM itself is not liberated itself yet let alone to struggle for the freedom of others. This means the Question of Qemant fall wrongly in the hands of the “illegitimate entity”. To answer the constitutional rights of Qemant ANDM needs ideological liberty. This means the Qemnat quest is not in the hands of the ANDM, it is in the hands of individual ideologists who dictate it. Unless the committee is smart enough to know where the master key is found they are only knocking a locked door and their question remains unanswered to the doomsday. The case remains like requesting one’s freedom from those who are slaves themselves. The other directly correlated problem is ANDM ideologists think that recognizing Qemant in their true identity will induce identity crisis to those already converted people in the region. In this regard ANDM is determined to scarifies all costs to oust Qemant from the nationality list and make it “true Amhara organization members”. Of course, in reality even recognized areas, Awi, Himira and Oromo provinces are just enjoying pseudo rights where ANDM dictates the fate of this people. How on earth one can think Agaw and Oromo people in Amhara Region are free under the leadership of Amhara party. How on earth the region is renamed to Amhara Region if they have due respect to Agaws, Oromos and others inhabit in the region?
Let me finalize my opinion by then EPDM song that ANDM has inherited:
Tiqitoch qoratoch yaltenberekekinew
neg elf enhonalen tarik miskir naw.
Yes, we Agaws will be millions in near future though we seem a few now.