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Discontent on the Exclusion of The Amhara People in the South African Peace Talk (Statement)

Amhara _ Pretoria talk


H.E. Olusengun Obasanjo, High Representative for the Horn of Africa, AU 
H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Peace Envoy to the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, Kenya H.E. Mike Hammer, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, USA 
H.E. Annette Weber, Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, EU 
H.E. Xue Bing, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs, People’s Republic of China, ,,, including others mandated negotiators, different embassies and to whom it may concern,  
H.E. President Macky Sall, Chairperson of the African Union and President of Senegal, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, 
H.E. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations, H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,   

Re: Discontent on the Exclusion of The Amhara People in the South African Peace Talk and  demanded this historical mistake be addressed urgently!!  

Amara Association in Queensland (AAQ) Inc Australia welcomes the cessation of hostilities as a result of the  peace talk in South Africa, Pretoria. The war in Northern Ethiopia began on the 3rd of November 2020 and continued  for the last two years resulting in immense loss of life, violations of human rights and destructions of Colleges and  Universities, Clinics and Hospitals, individual’s homes and shops ransacked including factory plants and equipment  uninstalled and taken to Tigray by the TPLF. Equally, unabated genocide, eviction and looting are continuing badly  without the attention of the International Communities against ethnic Amhara in the so-called Oromia region with  the support of Abiy government’s Oromo extremist and heavily armed paramilitaries.  

Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) climbed to power with critical support of the U.S government, mainly former Ambassador and the then Assistant Secretary of state Mr. Herman J. Cohen during the so-called London  conference of May 1991. For the effect of ethnic-apartheid system and divide and rule principle take place, Amhara  being the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia were deliberately excluded during the London Peace Talk of 1991. 

Following this power takeover, TPLF and the London Peace Talk junior partner Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) had chartered a Transitional Government in July 1991 by excluding The Amhara People and other non-ethnic based political organizations whose political platform is a true multiparty political system while TPLF and OLF (now Oromo Prosperity Party) are neither reliable partners nor democratic by their nature. 

Finally, TPLF and OLF wrote the so-called Ethiopian Constitution without the consent of the Ethiopian people and in particular by excluding the Amhara People, only based on their narrow ethnic interests and divide and rule strategy. Ethiopia a country of over 86 ethnic groups, prior to 1991 been reduced to 9 Bantustans regions until recently be ten and their lands and identities are subjugated and deprived or clustered either to TPLF’s or OLF’s regions. Such kind of constitutional isn’t short of segregation and implanting an apartheid system after the South African’ was abolished some years ago. 

Ethiopia being one of the most ancient nations on earth and the only independent country in Africa with reach history, language diversities and cultures had co-existed for centuries in a place where they liked dwelling and work. Nevertheless, since the London Peace Talk in 1991, Ethiopians are deprived of their Ethiopian citizenship and characterized on their own ethnicity. 

The logical conclusion by most observers is that this apartheid system is an existential threat to the entire Horn of African region. This Balkanization of Ethiopia a country of over 110 million people will have ripple effects far beyond Africa as they deployed constitutional, structural, and governmental genocide, ethnic cleansing, evictions against ethnic Amharas for the last 31 years. Because ethnic Amhara were, and still, characterized as pro-liberal political ideology that believed in individuals’ political freedom and way of thinking are classified as sworn enemy to both TPLF’s and OLF’s ethnic politics.

As to the TPLF’s and OLF’s Constitution, it’s would much better to share Miss Lovise views on her PhD research on Ethnic Federalism of Ethiopia as follows “, every citizen is an ethnic citizen makes the Ethiopian system very different from other federal systems in the world”. [Lovise Aalen “The Politics of Ethnicity in Ethiopia: Actors, Power & Mobilization under Ethnic Federalism” 2011]. 

Similarly, another very known scholar and human right advocate A. Negash wrote “The present constitution has created two groups of people in every ethnic Killil/region. The first group concerns those who are considered to be the indigenous people to the area i.e. “sons of the soil”. This group of people are given preferential treatment in terms of rights compared to the second group of people who are seen as second-class citizens with no constitutional rights to speak of and whose existence is dependent on the good will of the local ethnic Killil/region leaders or their Tigrayan bosses at the center.” [Assefa Negash, M.D, Amstelveen, the Netherlands – 18th of April 2012]. 

In line to this discriminatory apartheid system, the constitution of regions such as the so-called Oromia region of Article 8 clearly states that the region is belongs to the “Oromo Ethnic group” and legally excluded others leading to massacres and ethnic cleansing to create a homogeneous Oromia state. For that effect, more than 15 million ethnic Amharas living in the so-called “Oromia region” don’t have right to take any government office/position. The same is true in Benishangul-Gumzu and Harrerie regions. 

The Oromo extremist led by Abiy Ahmed, Jawar Mohammed, Bekele Gerba, Lencho Letta, Lencho Bati, Abadula Gemeda, Shimelis Abdisa and their heavily armed paramilitaries have an anti-Amhara and anti-Semitic doctrine called Oromumma and Prosperity Gospel. Similarly, while ethnic Amhara are almost as quals as to Berta (the highest) ethnic group in the whole Benishangul-Gumuz region and the single majority in “Metekel Zone (where the Nile Dam is located)” are denied of the right to live on their ancestral lands. Sadly, Tigrayans who were transported thousands of miles from Tigray and settled them with arms surrounding the Bule Nile Dam became the master of the Amhara land and continue exterminating ethnic Amharas in collaboration with insurgencies from Sudan. 

As ethnic Amhara being segregated, and minoritized for more than 27 years by TPLF lead government The Amhara People had openly, and publicly deployed mass protest, civil disobedience marred with armed conflicts asking for democratic change that includes the democratization of the Constitution and the so-called Ethnic Federal Arrangements made on illegal act of annexation of Amhara ancestral lands by both TPLF and OLF be solved with dialogue, and the direct participation of all Ethiopians. After two years of mass protests continued, TPLF was unable to continue as a federal government and finally brought Abiy Ahmed forward to serve OLF’s and TPLF’s sectarian ends with only a change of guard, from TPLF’s hegemony to Abiy/OLF/Oromo hegemony. 

The power conflicts between TPLF and OLF minded Abiy Ahmed of Oromo Prosperity Party (OPP) manifested because Abiy Ahmed immediately dropped all his inaugural promises of democratic change and started implementing his true plan with its tribal/ethnic agenda and appointed all the Oromo extremists to key military and pollical positions such as the Military Chief of Staff, Ministry of defense, Federal Police Commissioner, Republican Guard, Airforce Commander, and almost all ground forces commanders, the Supreme Court are all controlled by Oromo Extremists. Eventually, TPLF went against the Abiy government after two years of preparation in Tigray. The change from TPLF’s ethnic hegemony to Oromo extremists’ hegemony lead by Abiy Ahmed culminated in the war.  

The 2020 civil war in the North began when TPLF had launched an attack with their belligerent act of irresponsibility in which the then TPLF’s spokesperson (Sekoture Getachew) admitted, in a televised speech, that “TPLF attacked/dislodged Northern Command in a lightning strike to destabilize the whole military structure within 45 minutes, in particular, those not willing to cooperate with the status quo are crashed.” In fact, a reliable source claimed that more than 650 very high ethnic Amhara military generals and ranked officers were perished in that pre-motivated attack with the cooperation of Oromo extremist infiltrating the Ethiopian national army. Even, leaked information indicated that Oromo general like Getachew Gudina was providing heavy armoured military training logistics/tanks, arms and intelligence to the TPLF with the silent consent of Abiy’s regime in order to continue waging the war and weaken the Amhara People who is characterized as strategical enemy to TPLF and Abiy/OLF.  

As a result, genocide and ethnic cleansing against ethnic Amhara continued for the last four and half years in  the worst manner. The Oromo militants supplied with all necessary military logistics and security intelligence from  the federal and Oromo regional gov’t. It is to this end that these terrorist Oromo heavily armed paramilitaries have  committed every kind of atrocities in Wollega, Metekel, Shewa, and elsewhere. Silent genocide, eviction and looting  are continuing since Abiy Ahmed came to power in a despicable manner. In all these crimes, neither the Abiy federal  government nor the Oromo and Benishangul-Gumuz regional administrations leaders took any measures to stop  the horrifying killings and eviction of ethnic Amhara/s and other minorities from their ancestral lands. These have  all been documented in detail by groups such as Genocide Prevention in Ethiopia (GPE), Amhara Human Rights  and Genocide Warning (AHRGW) and Amhara American Association (AAA). 

As to the South African peace talk, although we appreciate all the daunting efforts made to bring the cessation of hostilities from the very beginning, the ten days long peace talk haven’t had touched the fundamental problem of the country either. Rather, used the very wrong medicine without listening and diagnose the needy person. i.e., while the ethnical constitution and fake federal arrangements of TPLF and OLF are the fundamental problems of the country it’s not short of adding salt to our overdue wound mentioning the constitution more than fifteen times as means to address the recurring problems of the country. Honestly, this doesn’t bring any peace and rather brought the status quo back to the beginning of the London peace talk of 1991 with only a change of guard between TPLF and OLF/OPP without solving the problem. 

Therefore, the exclusion of Amhara People for the second time after the 1991 of London peace talk and this time in Pretoria, South Africa is a strategic mistake, and doesn’t bring lasting peace, democratic change or stop the silent genocide of innocent Amhara in the so-called Oromia and neighboring region such as Benishangul-Gumuz region of Metekel were Amharas are buried in life with bulldozer in masses or those burned in life in Shewa.  

For instance, Article 10 – Transitional Measures, last paragraph states “The Parties commit to resolving issues of contested areas in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.” Which contested areas does it mean? If this statement is referring to Welkait, Tegedie, Telemit and Raya these areas aren’t contested areas either. Rather, they were annexed by TPLF’s sectarian military force and massacred and evicted indigenous Amhara from their ancestral lands. They also brought new settlers from proper Tigray before the so called constitution of TPLF and OLF imposed against the will of Ethiopians. Therefore, the illegal act of annexation won’t be a solution. Instead, restitution, restoration of their identity, and justice must be served for the victims annihilated and uprooted by belligerent TPLF’s occupation. In fact, this case is only the tip of the iceberg, otherwise the 27 years of TPLF’s rule as federal government against ethnic Amhara is so huge and beyond word of expressions. 

Another fundamental issue missed in the South African Peace Talk was not setting up or mentioning what could be the mechanism and modality to implement “Transitional Justice” so the victims must receive justice in an open and transparent manner including investigation of atrocities by independent international and Amhara advocacy groups such as GPE, AHRGW, AAA and similar human rights bodies. In this regard, it is believed that more than 650,000 innocents are perished, thousands sexually assaulted, and individuals’ and governmental properties are ransacked following the outbreak of war in the North. 

As we write this letter, millions of ethnic Amharas are under siege in Wollega, and thousands are butchered every day in their own country by the Oromo extremists’ groups whom they are supported and supplied with all the types of heavy military weapons, vehicles, logistics from the stock of the federal and Oromo regional governments. Abiy Ahmed on his own terms own more than 350,000 well trained and well equipped Oromo Special Forces and other similar extremists who are committing genocide, ethnic cleansing, looting in different parts of the so-called Oromia and neighboring regions. Therefore, we can conclude that the South African Peace Talk is another missed opportunity after 31 years of agony, human rights violations, genocide, and ethnic cleansing against The Amhara People at both sides of the horizon. 

Therefore, the Amara Association in Queensland (AAQ) Inc Australia: 

1. Urgently demand that all respectful mandated negotiators should come-up with the principle of a “genuine peace talk modality” in which it is highly recommended to include different views on the negotiation table. In particular, given the fact that Amhara is the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia are massacred, evicted, marginalized, and persecuted for the last 31 years by both TPLF and OPP/OLF lead governments should not be left aside for another misery and persecution years under the two contending and ethnically well armed forces who don’t have the will and the courage to bring democratic change, peace and stability in Ethiopia as well as in the region. 

2. Sincerely ask that those who wish to see a stable region and a democratic Ethiopia reconsider their relentless support for extremist groups such as the TPLF and OPP/OLF who use war as a trade/power. 

3. Appeal to all guarantors that the poison pill of the ethnic apartheid system of government imposed upon the Ethiopian people be dismantled just as it was in South Africa. True democracy can never be achieved by a divide and rule doctrine of TPLF and OPP/OLF. 

4. Submit to the international community that the Oromo Ethno-nationalist and extremists with their undertones of anti-Amhara and anti-Semitism doctrine will eventually provoke a genocide the likes of which has not been seen in recent times. It is obviously throwing this geostrategic region into an unending simmering conflict.  

Finally, Ethiopia being the voice of African independent during the challenging days and the key negotiator of the Nigerian Civil War and who had brought peace shouldn’t be treated in such kind of unfair and divisive approach!!  

Yours sincerely, 

Amara Association in Queensland (AAQ) Inc Australia!! 
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