Adwa to erect memorials for war heroes
The Adwa town administration in Tigray Regional State unveiled a project to build mausoleums and statues costing over 260 million birr to glorify the patriots who took part in the Victory of Adwa that saw the defeat of an Italian army that attempted to colonize Ethiopia.
In an event organized on Thursday, a day before the Adwa Victory Day, the project was presented publicly, which was attended by several members of the Ethiopian Patriots Associations as well as senior government officials.
The memorial facility, known as “Adwa Tourism and Adwa Victory Project,” consists of 10 projects including memorial statues for prominent patriots including: Fitawrari Gebeyehu, Alula Aba Nega, Basha Awalom Haragot (who served as a double agent), as well as the then decorated Italian Major General Dabormida. The Italian General was killed by Ethiopian warriors and buried in a mass grave along with Ethiopians in March 1896.
However, there is no statue included in the project for Emperor Menelik II nor to his wife Empress Taytu.
According to Teklebirhan Legesse, a lecturer at Axum University and project coordinator, besides the memorial statue for the war heroes who have fallen during the war, the projects consists of a Museum, Cable Car, and trekking as well as other facilities.
Furthermore, he explained that the project is aimed at preserving the legacy of the victory while boosting the economic benefit of the town. He added that the town’s administration is also working to introduce new tourism Masterplan.
However, the official did not explain why the statues for Emperor Minelik and his wife Taytu are not included yet.
Similarly, hours before the unveiling of the project, a photo exhibition, which portrayed war heroes who actively and prominently fought the Italians, was opened.
In separate project in Adwa, it is to be recalled Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn laid a cornerstone to build Adwa-Pan African University in the victory place of Adwa. The federal government has also allocated over 200 million birr for the continental project.
In a related commemoration event, officials and residents of the famous and historical site Yesima Nigus, extended a call for the government to consider glorifying the historical site as an integrated part of the Pan African Museum and University which is planned to be built in Adwa town.
The 1881’s Wuchale Treaty was the driving cause that led Emperor Menelik II to declare war against Italy. Particularly, Article 17 of the treaty proposed Ethiopia’s foreign diplomacy should only be carried out with the recognition of Rome.
The details of the treaty was discussed between Count Pietro Antonelli and Menieik’s delegation in Wuchale, which is also referred to as Yisma Nigus, located in Ambassel, Amhara Regional State, 440km north of Addis Ababa.
Tsehay Wolle, head of Tourism and Culture Bureau at Ambassel, told journalist on Wednesday that though much has been documented and orally said, still local residents and officials keep narrating proudly about the historical site.
She also said that the project was planned 10 years before. But it showed no progress for various reasons, including financial and other related factors that kept it unrealized accordingly.
She further underlined that the site had priceless value but it has not been given the right attention yet. The much-said Adwa Victory would have not been possibble if not for what had happened in the treaty venue, she said.
She also explained that the people residing in the areas demand more action to preserve the history of Wuchale for the next generation.
Though the historical account of the Wuchale Treaty continues to be told generation after generation along with the Adwa Victory, no memory has been erected or put in place to remember the historical site.
But this time, according the contractor firm that would build the facility, statues of Menelik, Grazmach Yosef (who was negotiating on behalf of the Emperor) and the Italian negotiator Antonelli would be erected.
Other officials also underlined that the nation was not able to benefit from what it could have received from tourism in the past one century.