ANDM 12th Congress poised to make important decisions along the line of defending the interest and rights of ethnic Amhara while promoting democratic unity and social justice.
Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) started its 12th congress in Bahir Dar today. The Congress will be underway for the next four days and is expected to pass important decisions including significant leadership changes.
The party is undertaking its congress with the motto “continuity of the change for democratic unity and social justice,” and over 2000 participants are attending it.
When it is completed, the party is expected to have identified directions to be adhered to so as to foster the ongoing change in the country and emerge as a party of change.
Rebranding the name and emblem of the party is also among the tasks to be accomplished in this Congress.
Representatives of “sister organizations,” as member parties of the ruling coalition – Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Organization – refer to each other, have attended the opening ceremony.
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) was represented by Getachew Assefa, who is the executive committee member and central committee member of the ethnic Tigray party. He had the following to say in his message:
“The people of Amhara have no desire to impose either their culture or will on others, and they have an interest that is not in a collision with others. The wish for all of us is to get out of the quagmire of poverty.”
Getachew is one of the most unpopular politicians due to chauvinist and hateful remarks he used to make when he was serving as Federal government communications affairs minister and many people seem to believe that he said what he meant.
Almaz Mesele represented Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) in the congress. “I believe that the decisions that the Congress will pass will determine not only the fate of the region and people in the region but also the fate of the country,” she is quoted as saying by Ethiopian State media.
Representing the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), Adanech Abebe, who is head of ODP office, said: “there have been efforts to endanger the attachment between Amhara and Oromo people but the organizations leading the people in these regions [a reference to ANDM and ODP] turned the challenges into an opportunity.”
ANDM leadership openly admitted that it has made mistakes in the past while it should have defended the interest of Amhara people better and vows to work hard to address demands from the people and defend the interest of Amhara people better. And the party recognizes that there are still demands to be addressed the least of which are not identity questions in Wolkait and Raya. Given the existing situation in the country, some analysts question whether they should be priority at this time.
Ethnic Amharas have been among the main victims of an ethnic-based attack outside of ethnic Amhara region in different parts of the country mainly due to a negative image propagated by the political entity that dominated Ethiopian government and politics for the past 27 years (TPLF). And this was one of the reasons for the critic against ANDM.
Demeke Mekonnen, chairman of the party, says the party has now resolved to struggle to defend the rights of ethnic Amhara (both as individuals and as a group) outside of the region.