September 24, 2022
THE POLITICAL CONTEXT
The regressive and polarizing ethnocentric political system Ethiopia has lived under for three decades has come to its logical and tragic conclusion. The constitutionally quasi-sovereign Regional States have now raised ethnic armies by the tens of thousands to assume state power, press for more territories, and even secede from Ethiopia. The most dramatic cases that are challenging federal authority are the self-styled Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) and the Oromia/OLF Special Forces. Going beyond district-specific ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, the TDF has been engaged in mechanized warfare and massive killing, looting and destruction by targeting the Amhara and the Afar for a genocidal annihilation.
Following the collapse of the Dergue military regime, the Amhara people were explicitly excluded from the negotiations to establish a transitional government in 1991, which paved the way for the current ethnocentric order. Presently, Abiy Ahmed’administration, representing interests that promote Oromo supremacy and with a record of betrayal of Amhara communities, is once again excluding the Amhara from peace talks and power-sharing negotiations.
SERIOUS CONCERNS AND UNDERSTANDINGS
Abiy’s administration has yet to make clear its negotiating position, especially given the longstanding anti-Amhara stance of the TPLF and its designation as a terrorist group engaged in horrific war crimes and networked destabilization of the country. At the same time, the Amhara are once again being called on to the war front primarily using their own devices while they are being pushed into an existential crisis by relentless supremacist forces, such as the OLF and the TPLF.
We believe that it is patently unfair to exclude the primary targets of the Northern civil war from negotiations. More importantly, such an exclusionary settlement cannot bring lasting peace to the country. Our angst is based on a number of considerations:
Ending perpetual civic conflict requires a three-stage process of peacemaking and peacebuilding: Peace and Stability, National Dialog, and National Reconciliation and a Democratic Constitutional Order;
With regard to peace and stability, it is entirely possible that a new social contract and a new civil order might arise that blatantly excludes all stakeholders except those heavily armed groups representing the federal state and the Tigrayan regional state; and
Even at the limited ceasefire talks, it is not clear that impartial and enforcement-capable third-party negotiators are selected, and representative observers are included. The broadest possible representation is essential for facilitating negotiations on even more substantive issues in the next stage to prevent reversion to civil conflict and ratchet up an all-out effort to cleanse the country of political ethnicity that is alien to its inclusionary culture.
APPEALS AND A CALL TO ACTION
It is high time to end the abuse of the Amhara by insurgent and government forces alike, and for the Amhara to proclaim their agency as Amhara and for Amhara. With a sense of urgency, we issue our collective call to all concerned parties (the combatants, the valiant people of the Amhara and Afar regional states, the rest of the Ethiopian people, and the international community) to heed the following to ensure lasting peace and stability and the establishment of a democratic system of government in Ethiopia. Specifically, the process and substance of the would-be protracted negotiations to craft an equitable political settlement must be designed:
- To ensure the full representation of the Amhara and the Afar by their rightful leaderships as victims and key stakeholders, Amhara and Afar societies have suffered enormous economic, social, cultural, ecological, political and military or defense distresses.
- To insist that the TPLF, as a relentlessly treasonous cabal with an unbroken record of militarism and rule by committing atrocity, should be forced to disarm and demobilize completely and banned from participation in electoral politics. The same goes for OLF in its myriad forms.
- To ensure that the business empires of the TPLF and Prosperity Party, built up on grand theft, be nationalized and compensation paid to the aggrieved residents of the Amhara and Afar regional states;
- To demand the release of all Amhara and other prisoners of conscience, journalists, and the Fano
citizen militia immediately and without any preconditions;
- To ensure that any post-conflict rebuilding effort is aimed at all war-affected areas with 20 million people, with equitable distribution of available resources; and
- To pave the way, through an independent and well-designed national dialog and reconciliation process, for the drafting of a citizenship-based constitution as a launching pad for a robust democratic order.
Our Dream is for a Just and Lasting Peace for the Beleaguered Amhara and all Ethiopians!!
- Adwa Great African Victory Association (AGAVA)
- All Shewa Ethiopian People Multipurpose International Association
- The Amhara Association in Queensland, Australia
- Amhara Dimtse Serechit
- Amhara Well-being and Development Association
- Communities of Ethiopians in Finland
- Concerned Amharas in the Diaspora
- Ethio-Canadian Human Rights Association
- The Ethiopian Broadcast Group
- Ethiopian Civic Development Council (ECDC)
- Freedom and Justice for Telemt Amhara
- Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause
- Global Amhara Coalition
- Gonder Hibret for Ethiopian Unity
- Major Lemma Woldetsadik Memorial Foundation
- Network of Ethiopian Scholars (NES)
- Radio Yenesew Ethiopia
- Selassie Stand Up, Inc.
- Vision Ethiopia
- Worldwide Ethiopian Civic Associations Network (WE-CAN)