A consortium of Ethiopian Organizations based in North America wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. It is Wolkait the heart of the letter.
While they hailed the Peace Agreement that was signed in South Africa in early November 20,2022 as ” a positive step toward a brighter more secure future for Ethiopia,” they say the terms of the agreement were “altered by the declaration of the senior commanders regarding the modalities for the implementation of cessation of hostilities.” That and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s indecisive and equivocal remarks, during his latest appearance in the parliament, regarding the question of Welkait seem to be the critical concern.
They said :
“It would be the most outrageous travesty of justice to impose a vote requested by the TPLF on a population that has sacrificed a generation to assert its Amhara identity. It is an undisputed fact that the population of Wolkait before the TPLF took over and the last open census that was done showed more than 80% of the population were Amhara with only 6% from Tigray. ”
In their view, not acknowledging Wolkait as an ancestral Amhara land and making it subject to the wishes of TPLF could escalate tension and threaten the stability of Ethiopia.
The organizations have sent us a copy of the open letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and it is featured below :
“December 21, 2022
Open Letter to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
RE: Implementation of the Peace Agreement
We, the undersigned, representing Ethiopian diaspora advocacy organizations who work to promote good governance, justice, and human rights, submit this urgent appeal to reverse some of the most egregious and far-reaching harms perpetrated by the TPLF on the people of Wolkait.
The November 2, 2022, peace agreement between the Ethiopian Federal Government and the TPLF rebel group signed in Pretoria, South Africa, was a positive step toward a brighter more secure future for Ethiopia.
The TPLF, who is responsible for the massacre of innocent men, women, and children, the displacement of millions, and the destruction of thousands of schools and health facilities in the Amhara and Afar regions, was defeated decisively by our National Defense Forces, Amhara, and Afar Special Forces and Fano. We welcome the Ethiopian negotiating team’s success in securing a commitment that ends the destructive proxy war between TPLF and its allies and setting the ground for disarming the TPLF and demobilizing its militia.
It was, however, regrettable that the sense of relief achieved through the South African agreement was unexpectedly altered by the declaration of the senior commanders regarding the modalities for the implementation of cessation of hostilities that was signed on November 12, 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya, which tied the agreed upon disarming of the TPLF fighters with the withdrawal of Eritrean Defense Forces, Amhara Forces and militia from Tigray.
The undersigned have deep concerns regarding these new clauses in the modalities because of the implication to the ancestral home of Amhara, which the TPLF and some in the international community refer to as “Western Tigray”, comprising the districts of Wolkait, Tegede, Telemt and Humera that were forcibly and violently annexed by the TPLF more than 27 years ago. As history shows, these districts were part of the province of Begemeder (Gondar) before the TPLF assumed state power in 1991 and forcefully and illegally annexed lands that belonged to Begemeder to fulfill its dream of creating a greater Tigray with access to the international border with Sudan.
It should also be noted that the indigenous Amhara people of Wolkait were summarily rounded up and executed by TPLF in the 90s with deliberate intent to cleanse them from their ancestral lands in the most inhumane and brutal way possible. Elders, opinion leaders, educated people, men and women were the victims of TPLF fascists who only wanted fertile lands and strategic borders. Tens of thousands lost their lives and livelihoods and the lucky few were forced into exile. Thankfully the people of Wolkait are now in full control of their ancestral lands after a bitter, generation-long struggle to restore their Amhara identity, freedom, and security.
Given this context, the recent speech you made to the Ethiopian Parliament about the strategic and hard-won Wolkait ancestral land created ambiguity on the ways of redressing the atrocities and ethnic cleansing committed by the TPLF over the last four decades.
That is why we strongly urge you to:
1. End any speculation of a referendum on Wolkait. It would be the most outrageous travesty of justice to impose a vote requested by the TPLF on a population that has sacrificed a generation to assert its Amhara identity. It is an undisputed fact that the population of Wolkait before the TPLF took over and the last open census that was done showed more than 80% of the population were Amhara with only 6% from Tigray.
Avoid any possible political or policy decisions that would potentially destabilize Wolkait again. Removing it from Amhara, poses a mortal danger to the existence, security, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. Wolkait is thus a red line never to be crossed. This is a widely held sentiment and views among patriotic and responsible Ethiopians in general and the Amhara people in particular.
2. Deliver the long-delayed justice to the people of Wolkait; initiate rehabilitation, repatriation, and reparation immediately thus providing the people with long overdue resources and assistance while supporting efforts to underscore Wolkait’s identity as Amhara.
As you put it succinctly, borders between regions are purely for administration purposes. If this is indeed the case in Ethiopia, the people of Tigray or any part of Ethiopia have the right to live and thrive in Wolkait or in any region of Ethiopia. This is what Ethiopia free of the TPLF should strive to be. An important part of that is restoring illegally annexed administrative areas back to their ancestral regions which would be a reset for Ethiopia while the long-awaited constitutional amendment is implemented to bring about a permanent resolution to the ethnic strife and antagonistic boundaries that have made Ethiopia unlivable to ethnic minorities in the different regions where ethnic Amhara are being eliminated.
It is our sincere hope that your administration will take the only just and righteous stand and officially acknowledge the historical and current Amhara administrative governance of Wolkait. Doing otherwise will further escalate the tensions and further threaten the stability of Ethiopia as a nation.
Ethiopian American Development Council • Voice of the Victim’s Org. Ethiopian Advocacy Network • Ethiopian American Civic Council • Ethiopian Public Diplomacy Network • Ethio-Canadian Network for Advocacy and Support • Gondar Hibret for Ethiopian Unity • Global Ethiopian Scholars Initiative
(SIGNATORY LOGOS ON NEXT PAGE)”
To share information or for submission, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Telegram Channel : t.me/borkena