Discussion on the Welkait identity question

Melat Mulugeta

Welkait is a woreda and region in northwestern Ethiopia. Until the 1995 administrative reorganization, Welkait was part of Semien and Begemder provinces. Welkait was then split into two parts once ethnic federalism was established in Ethiopia. One of the two parts with an Amhara majority went to the new Amhara Region, the other (which kept the old name) had a majority of Tigrayans and was allocated within the Tigray Region. Ever since the split, there were ethnic tensions as Amhara people considered themselves the majority in Welkait (and asked to be moved to Amhara region) while the new Welkait woreda (which kept the original name) was smaller than the old Welkait and had a Tigrayan majority. These ethnic tensions around Welkait woreda played a decisive role during the 2016 Ethiopian protests. Ato Atalay Zafe, Public Relations Head of Identity and Geographic Restoration Committee of Wolkait-Tegede, sat down with Mereja TV for an exclusive interview to discuss identity issues and TPLF’s stand on the matter.