Amhara National Movement (NaMA) demands unconditional release of senior leaders

One of Ethiopia’s biggest ethnic-based party,Amhara National Movement – NaMA, threatens to embark on civil disobedience if government is not unconditionally releasing arrested senior leaders and members of the party

Amhara Movement _ NaMA
National Movement of Amhara (NaMA) leader during the press conference. Photo credit : NAMA

December 4, 2019

National Movement of Amhara (NaMA), one of the largest ethnic-based political parties but a later comer in ethnic politics, has issued a statement on Wednesday, December 3, 2019. 

The statement called for the release of top leaders of the movement who are currently arrested by the Federal government. NaMA says the leaders were arrested because of their political views only. Among the leaders arrested is Christian Tadele, an outspoken figure, who was serving the movement in the role of spokesperson.

Ethiopian government arrested members of NaMA movement on alleged grounds of involvement in the June 22 incident that led to the killings of regional and Federal level government authorities which the government described as an attempted “Coup d’état.” 

The statement from NaMA tends to see the arrest of NaMA leaders following the incident rather as a continuity of hate policy towards Amhara. 

Citing massive arrests of Amhara, members, and leaders of the organizations in the aftermath of the incident, in Oromo region of Ethiopia, Benishangul region and Addis Ababa, the movement said that those who are arrested have never been asked investigative questions in connections with the killings. It is because, in the eyes of NaMA leadership, they are arrested for being Amhara nationalism leaders, not because they are suspected of a crime.

The incident which the government calls “coup d’état” itself was an attack on the people of Amhara which claimed the lives of “brothers who cared better for Amhara and who had a better relationship with NaMA,” said the statement.

It also recalled that the movement has issued a statement in the aftermath of the June 22 tragedy calling for individuals and groups who took part in the crime to be held accountable, and reiterated that the government has to discharge its responsibility of bringing the real culprits of the tragedy to justice for the sake of the victim’s family and the people of Amhara.

The movement also called upon members and the people of Amhara to stand on the side of the movement in the course of upcoming peaceful resistance if the Ethiopian government is not unconditionally releasing NaMA leaders.

Why the stern demand for the release of leaders came late? The movement said that it refrained from peaceful resistance so far in order not to give a chance for those forces that were looking for unstable situations in the aftermath of the killing to achieve their political objectives. But now it wants Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government to release the prisoners immediately without any conditions.

In a statement issued in late October of this year, Amnesty International has criticized the Ethiopian government for “continued abuse of the country’s anti-terror laws” after 22 critics arrested on trumped up charges of “terrorism” in connection with the June 22 incident that cliamed the lives three Amahra region senior officials and Chief of staff of the Ethiopian Defense Force. 

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