Ethiopia: - protesters in Nekemte
26-02-2018 | 602
protesters in Nekemte Nekemte was formerly overshadowed by nearby Lieka and Bilo, the former regional markets. Nekemte acquired some importance when Bekere Godana and later his son Moroda Bekere made it the capital of their kingdom of Welega in the mid-19th century. Under Mereda's son Kumsa Moroda (Gebregziabher Moroda after converting to Christianity), the town continued in its importance as it submitted to Shewan rule. The Russian explorer Alexander Bulatovich visited Nekemte 13 March 1897; in memoirs he describes its marketplace as "a very lively place and presents a motley mixture of languages, dress, and peoples", and carefully described the paintings in the town's newly constructed Ethiopian Orthodox church. In 1905, a central government customs office was officially opened in Nekemte. Construction on a hospital began in 1927, and was completed in 1932 with Swedish funds as well as contributions from Ras Tafari (who later became Emperor Haile Selassie). It formally opened 16 February 1932, although it had already been in operation for eight months. The artist Daniel Twafe was born in 1934 in or near Nekemte. He studied in the United States in 1955-1957 and in Paris in 1971. He made more sculptures than paintings and became employed at the National Museum in Addis Ababa. Another from in this area was Mamo Tessema, who was born in 1935. He was trained at the Handicraft School in the school and went to the USA for higher studies in 1958. He designed ceramics and also wrote some publications. By 1935 Nekemte had become the most important town in Welega. There were nearly 70 foreign residents before the Italian occupation, mostly merchants and missionaries. 23 importers-exporters had agencies there, most of whom were Indians, but these also included two Greeks, a Lebanese, and an Armenian. The British explorer Dunlop, who spent four days of the same year in that town, noted that its central location on the main trade route between Addis Ababa and the Anglo-Sudan led to it having "developed enormously during the preceding few years, as the new school, warehouses, stores, and hospital testified". During the Italian invasion, Nekemte was bombed by the Italians 5 July 1936; this included dropping 19 bombs on the recently constructed school complex of the local Swedish mission. Dejazmach Habte Maryam, governor of Welega, accepted the Italians and received Colonel A. Marone who arrived by air on 14 October and the troops of Colonel Malta who reached the town on 24 October, after having marched by foot and mule for twelve days from Addis Alem, which weakened Ras Imru Haile Selassie's attempts as Prince Regent to establish a center of resistance at Gore. After his successful return to Ethiopia, on 20 May 1941 Emperor Haile Selassie visited Welega where fighting still continued and where Kebede Tesemma was in charge of the Arbegnoch. When he attempted to visit Nekemte, his party came under artillery fire.