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Focus on Eritrean election Part 1

Focus on election 2001
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
January 08, 2001 We are going to have an election in Eritrea this year (2001). I don't take that for granted. I don't mean that negatively, but taking in consideration of the huge tasks that Eritrea is facing, flexibility on my side is expected. For the time being unless, we are told to postpone it on the last hour, the election is set to be conduct at the end of this year. It is too early to talk in depth of the election. Not because we have an ample of time but it is because of the lack of information we have about the election.
We have been told that an election committee was formed. I myself don't have detail the information of the composition of the members of the committee. All I know is that the commissioner is the respected tegadalay Ato Mohammed Sherifo. In my opinion the choice is perfect. Ato Mohammed Sherifo is a capable person with good records in Eritrean politics. He was a foreign minister and now he is a Minster of interior. He is a well respected by his colleagues and by the people of Eritrea in general. Therefore, like the other commissioners who completed their job with perfection, I am hopeful that Ato Mohammed Sherifo will also be successful. The other commissioners that I am talking about are, Dr. Amare Teckle commissioner of referendum and Dr. Berket Habteselassie commissioner of Eritrean constitution.

The tasks of the election committee by now are for sure outlined and given to Ato Mohammed. My expectation form Ato Mohammed Sherifo is that he will conduct to his ability to organize an election committee that is fair, free and he will avoid exclusions. We should expect all citizens of Eritrea to express their feelings and concerns of common and personal issues. Who ever wins or lose of the coming election should be determined by casting ballots. All of us will be winners if the election is conducted fairly and freely. Yes, even the loser of the counted ballots could accept the result, and could support the winner. That is if the election is conducted fairly and freely.

AT the moment, it is difficult to talk about in depth of issues about the election. What kind of election is going to be? Is it for President or Prime minister? We don't know. If the constitution is going to be applied then for sure it is for President. It means that individuals have to run for presidency. I don't want to refer at this particular time to points and pricks of the constitution. The reason is I want to wait until detailed information is released from the election committee. Now the general publics have the right to ask the release of the actual activities of the commission. What is the commission doing? I remember the referendum and the constitution commissioner appointed at the time they released their outline plan immediately to the public. I think that really helped the communication between the commissioner and the people in general. The 2001 election commissioner had now enough time at least to come up with very rough and simple guidance of the activities of the commission. The discussions about the election have to continue and our knowledge of the election events has to start to evolve from now on. Last minute detailed and sophisticated information would not help and will lose support to the election commissioner. Now my suggestion is for the commissioner to come out with preliminary guidelines for us the public to engage on discussions.

Finally, we have only 11 months left for the election. We don't have slightest information except the constitution to guide us how the election is going to look. May be, it is going to be ready-made election or an election constructed by the people. My preference is the Eritrean people to construct the election. If it is ready made I am prepared to accept it. Above all it won't be worse than Derg or King Haile Selassie. At least, it will be an Eritrean government.

God bless Eritrea.

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway

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