by Jamber T
As I got updated information today, one of the arrested persons, Addisu Worke, has been released from unlawful arrest, but the other two are still in custody and relatives are prohibited visiting them. According to a source, only one individual is permitted to give food. This is against the very fundamental human right, as well as the constitutional rights of Ethiopia that outlines the arrested persons rights to be visited by their relatives without preconditions. As a result of unlawful detention, the public uprisings appeared to be erupted and the National Defense Force has intruded and infiltrating fear against the innocent people at and around Chilga woreda.
It seems the government is working intentionally to raise conflict within the community. As we can infer from the above report or appeal, the cause for their arrest is related to “identity” while recording some information or data for administration purpose within the Kemant community (chilga, chonchok). The Kemant has been requesting identity recognition but the government preferred calling or recording them by the name of ever mainstream ethnic group-Amhara- without presenting any single logic to do so. They cannot legally and logically defend this scenario face-to-face rather they always go the other side or underground to abort the truth on the ground. That is why the government officials are trying to deny or prohibit the Kemant people from claiming their identity or from being registered in the name of their identity for any purpose. The practice of forcing the Kemant people to be registered in the name of Amhara is not a new event like what is happening in Chilga woreda, Chonchok rather it is deep-rooted and old-age phenomena in the history of the Kemant people. What is astonishing and paradoxical is the actions of the government officials against the identity of Kemant people while such people are conducting peaceful struggle for securing the ever denied identity.
The Kemant community in general and the Coordinating Committee in particular must ask the following questions and give answers before arriving at a decision or to effectively and appropriately proceed or lead the peaceful struggle for securing the constitutional rights of the kemant people:
1) What can be said at this stage about the stand of the Ethiopian Government concerning the constitutional quest for identity and self-rule recognition by the kemant people?
2 ) Is the government after all ready to give positive or legal response to the submitted quest?
3) Is the government waiting for the mass mobilization of the kemant people to give positive response to avoid the allegation that the quest lacks public support ( rather the quest is led by few power-mongering individuals)?
4) Or is the government totally not ready or volunteer to give positive response to the quest?
5) Is it only the behavior of the regional government that goes against the very identity of Kemant?
6) Why are all government officials (both at regional and federal levels) involuntary to appear in front of the Kemant people to say even in the events of unprecedented mass public demonstrations convened within the Kemant community so far?
7) What is the role of the federal government in this case?
8) Why the House of Federation is keeping quiet to give response, as mandated organ in the federation, to the quest?
9) Why the Ethiopian National Defense Force unconstitutionally intrudes in the case of Kemant while there is no any threat to peace within the kemant community beyond the capacity of the regional government?
10) why the government did not totally close the doors in the beginning for bringing the quest of the identity and self-rule recognition? etc….
For me, to answer these questions and arrive at a condensed conclusion, it needs some survey research to be done by the leading Coordinating Committee. Particularly, the experiences of other Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia must be shared, just to know the general and particular contexts (political) within the country. Out of the findings from the survey study, the Coordinating Committee should design its struggling strategies in the future. What if both the federal and regional governments are not volunteer to respect the constitutional rights of the Kemants as needed or expected by the community at large? what would be the future destiny of this ever oppressed ethnic group? The Leading Coordinating Committee must reevaluate itself and strengthen its capacity in all terms ( organizational structure, manpower and the process). The Coordinating Committee has done unprecedented tasks so far particularly in the areas of creating positive awareness across the community to eradicate those negative perceptions or conceptions to be considered as hurdles for the track to freedom. It could bring the people at large for mass demonstrations. This is an applaudale thing. By this time, the Kemant community, particularly, the farmers, are highly conscious and are expressing their determination to go ahead until securing their ever denied constitutional rights. The government officials are acting and going towards the opposite direction of what the Kemant community really desires. This scenario one day may inevitably create civil war among the two brothers (the kemants and the Amharas). The final effect will be zero-sum-game whereby neither of the two sides will be beneficiary rather the power-mongers will secure their power and the ever existing poverty will remain again.
Taking these things into consideration, the organization that leads the movement (the Interim Coordinating Committee) must take time to think over such matters before proceeding the struggle at this stage. What are the struggling strategies to be used next to public demonstrations? Taking the event occurred in Chilga woreda currently, the leading Coordinating Committee should design the options for effectively leading the peaceful struggle!