Ethiopians have described the “Victory of Adwa” as the reigniting force and motivation for Africans and the black people to mobilise and fight current challenges of sovereignty and development Africans are facing.
The Victory of Adwa marks the victory of Ethiopians over Italy, an invading European force on March 1, 1896. The cause of the war was the colonial ambition of Italy in which it tried to erode the sovereignty of Ethiopia by expanding into Ethiopian territory and tried to colonise the country.
Ethiopian embassy in collaboration with Makerere University, Development Studies organised a panel discussion titled: “The Victory of Adwa and Pan Africanism”.
Undermining the thousands of years of history of Ethiopia’s statehood, Italy sought to control Ethiopia through an effort of deceiving Ethiopian in a treaty (Treaty of Wechale) signed in 1889.
As all those imperial colonisers did in the time, Italians included a clause in Italian version of the treaty (Article 17) that defines Ethiopia as a protectorate of Italy, without the knowledge of Ethiopian counterparts.
In the opening remark, ambassador Almetsehay Meseret of Ethiopia noted that Adwa is a victory of blacks over whites and the culmination of the victory resulted from a combination of national unity, diplomatic skills and manoeuvre, well-crafted tactics and strategy as well as a battlefield espionage.
The guest of honour, Demeke Hassen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia,said such celebrations have shown that the Victory of Adwa is a “Victory of Black People” and its commemoration in a Pan-Africanist country-Uganda has a huge meaning to the continent.
He raised current challenges in the region and the continent and called upon the collective hands of Africans to overcome the challenges as Adwa fighters overcame and altered what was thought to be impossible and unchangeable.
Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a senior Lecturer of History at Makerere University said Adwa is an iconic event of victory by an African force against foreign intrusion heralded and influenced liberation movements in Africa.
He said the collective memory of Adwa can be used as a tool for promoting Pan-Africanism and continental integration efforts.
“The Adwa event should be owned by all Africans, reflected upon and commemorated annually for its significance in creating a collective sense of pride among Africans and inspiring Africans to resist all forms of foreign control and domination,” he said.