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Focus on Eritrean election Part 2

Focus on election 2001 part two.
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
January 29, 2001
I consider my article in date Jan. 08, 2001 by the title "focus on election 2001" as part one. The following article will be part two among the series of articles to follow by the same heading until the election date.

To be a leader is extra mile destiny to the natural existence which is common for all. Every body is born free, lives by destine and passes away. But not everybody lives and passes as a leader. Take examples, USA has about 260 million people apart from those who passed away. In its history not more than 55 who became leaders. China is about 1.2 billion population. Its modern history tells us even didn't had more than 10 leaders. Eritrea is not exception. At this particular time we have more than 20 who wants to be leaders. For the next 30 years if the election goes smooth we are going to have not more than 4 leaders. The problem in Eritrea is those people who wants to be leaders do not have other alternative of livelihood in this world. They believe that they are destined to be leaders. One day I asked a friend of mine who is the leader of ELF. He replied to me the one who rises early in the morning is the leader. My question was innocent, but his answer was politically motivated.

President Isseyas was a leader of EPLF. An organization that brought the Eritrean people to unity, victory and recognition by the world community a country called now Eritrea. EPLF was an organization composed of peasants, workers, students, intellectuals and merchants. It was an organization strengthened by both the Moslem and Christianity followers. EPLF was enriched by accommodating leftists you call them Marxists or communists, social democrats, liberal democrats and conservatives. In EPLF ideology or world out look was a lower status compared to the Eritrean independence. The fighters and the followers of EPLF accepted first and utmost the objective of Eritrean independence should precede than other motives. Therefore, accommodation and tolerance was the driving factor inside EPLF in the long march towards the independence of Eritrea. EPLF managed to stabilize and control the discipline and governance of its organization. President Isseyas as a leader of EPLF was the choice of the members of EPLF to have order and continuity in leadership. He was chosen as a leader to fulfil his destiny as a true trust of the followers of the organization. I personally worshiped EPLF not President Isseyas. I have great respect for him because he is choice of EPLF to be a leader. Now president Isseyas is a leader of the Eritrean government. By the way it is my duty to expose some erroneous information's. Though I have great respect to Dr. Berekt Habteselassie, but when it comes to an intended misinformation I am obliged to expose it. Dr. Berekt said purposely to defame President Isseyas as a leader of PFDJ. It is not correct. The leader of PFDJ is Mr. Alamin. To come to the point, in my opinion I believe that President Isseyas has done his share in leading the Eritrean people aspirations to independence and he contributed in leading the Eritrean people to convince to the world that we are one people. If you ask me if I worship him personally my answer is definite No. It is true I worship EPLF. Any leader that was the choice of EPLF I gave my support. First to the respected At. Mohammed Nur later on to president Isseyas. For me the choice of EPLF was an important issue not the person himself. Therefore, don't forget that when you insult and demonizing President Isseyas you are simply insulting and demonizing EPLF. EPLF as an organization is non existent today. We have to remember EPLF as the liberator had terminated after the liberation of Eritrea. Now you can talk of PFDJ. If you ask me that I defend PFDJ. Yes as long as it sticks to its objectives. If you ask me if I worship PFDJ. NO. I don't. Why? My worship to EPLF was associated with the liberation of Eritrea. After independence I didn't found a logical or reasonable argument to worship PFDJ. I hope, in the near future, a political party may appear that fulfills my wishes to the freedom and better life for the Eritrean people then my worship could be renewed. When it comes to the leadership of President Isseyas I accepted and I am going to continue until a better leadership appears. I guess from now on about 6 years.

Now the election commission has come with sensational news about a draft related to formation of parties. We are told that it will be presented for public debate and later on will be present to the national assembly for ratification. It means we have the great chance to review the outlines and guidance of the principles of the election we are waiting for. This is the right time to use our golden time to be critical positively and spare our time to fruitful discussions. We can asses and contribute effectively that we not anger and became disappointed after the election. It is better now to engage actively, positively and efficiently for good results than to cry and blame with so many excuses later on. Insults and negative approaches won't serve good to the nation or for that matter to the individual or groups concerned.

I believe that the over all result in this election is going to depend much on PFDJ fate. The roll of PFDJ is Alfa and omega in this election. I am not going to waist my time looking for another alternative which is not realistic in Eritrean politics. I can mention few of these points. There are going to be some personals or groups who are not going to participate either on presenting themselves as contenders not as electorates but who are more interested on disturbing the on going elections. They are going to engage on confusing and wasting time of the people into irrelevant discussions. Their debate is going to be neither educational nor constructive. They are going to fill the debate with full of garbage issues and try to twist the issue to their personal or group motives. That is destruction and to create frustration to the public. They are going to work to create chaos by charter assassination and black mailing to the names of individuals. It is we the public who have full responsibility not to deviate our attention to unnecessary discussions. I think we have to engage our selves to educational and constructive discussions. It is from this belief that I intend the following issue which seems to me realistic in the coming election 2001 in Eritrea. Stabilization: Eritrea needs to be stable nation. First our region is volatile and there are uncertain conditions regarding neighbor countries. Unstable Eritrea will be a pray of some greedy countries. Take example Somalia. Therefore the coming election never should be at the expense of destabilization of Eritrea. second Eritrea is a war and natural devastated country. It needs a stable situation for construction and development. Eritrea needs a leadership that unites its people in diversity and human right respect of its citizens. Justice: The Eritrean people are deprived in its past history justice. Different colonizers subjugated the Eritrean people one after the other. Relatively the existing government tries to introduce justice but not enough. I believe there is a long journey to go until we talk of full justice in Eritrea. I accept Rome is not built over night. Therefore, I personally give chance justice gradually to prevail fully in Eritrea. Economic growth: Before the war Eritrea was growing economically positively. By now it has become open to admit the impact of the standstill in Eritrean economy due to the war. A leadership that enhances of full participation of the people in economical development of the country is going to be needed. To the above mentioned effect leadership in competence is going to be priority than to fill posts as good gesture to sacrifices. I am talking about very sensitive issue. Though I have moral obligation to recognize the needs of these personalities at the same time I have to admit that it didn't worked as we expected it to be. This time I believe that the needs of these people could be adjusted by insuring them security to their lively hood for example they to be pension or giving them a job that matches to their abilities. While the country needs competent personals they cannot occupy the positions simply for personal satisfaction. Simply I am saying replace the incompetent bureaucratic by effective and competent personals. Human right: A very controversial issue. Who is going to respect human right that don't respect his humanity. I think this subject is more philosophical than we address it to be scientific. Up to now I didn't heard a country that fulfills the criteria of human right in its country. If you take USA and Europe who are the vigorous advocates of human rights when it comes to color of skin they are the most who violets human rights. I my self don't have an illusion there will be full human right in Eritrea. I personally chose to accept and live with the minimum standards on human right issue. At least I save my self from high expectations and later on disappointment. Freedom: This is basic for every thing. With out freedom there could not be stabilization, justice, economical growth, human right or social development. Freedom is prerequisite to every thing. In Eritrea the freedom of forming political parties is appearing at the surface. Following freedom of speech, writing, movement, assembly and other basic freedoms should be respected.

The above mentioned are only few of the many issues that could be raised. For the time being I wish to limit the issues just to be refereed as an example. Following is to show how could be achieved the above mentioned issues concretely and to be realistic enough taking in consideration the case of Eritrea objectively.

As I mentioned earlier the election 2001 is going to be dominated by the fate of PFDJ. To my knowledge I understood PFDJ took responsibility to pave the way for Eritrea to be multi party nation. Up to now PFDJ is acting by fulfilling the aspiration of the Eritrean people. What will be the fate of PFDJ? Is it going to be a party as a whole and live for others who are outside PFDJ to form the opposition? If that is the case what will be the consequence? Or PFDJ to split itself and form two or three different parties? If that is the case will one of the party hold the name PFDJ? The fate of the finance and property of PFDJ who is going to posses it? There are more questions than the answers at this time. Well it is natural this time to begin with questions since we are at the start phase of the election. As time goes on things are going to be clear and we are going to learn and experience as every day goes on from now on.
I don't thing that I have ready made answers for all the questions raised above. What I can do for the time being is just speculate on some issues and forward my assumptions for critics. First let us take PFDJ, as whole, to declare as a party. To say from the outset that Eritrean stability is guaranteed. When it comes to justice, economic growth, humane right and freedoms the business will be as usual. But I have to be open with you my fear will be more a dictatorial type command system. I don't appreciate it. As for as the opposition party it will be a joy for the politicians in exile and their followers inside Eritrea. That will give them a good opportunity to gather themselves and simply to declare as parties. Knowing that they are poor in base inside Eritrea they will not be effective to challenge the future will be ruling party after the election. I tell you it will be hopeless political scenario. The formation of the political parties instead of ideology and world outlooks it will be on grouping of the old days friendship. We will come back again to that boring of accusation and counter accusation of the old groups. There is not going to be real integration of the society in terms of advanced thinking. A stable and slowly growing economy but boring life.

Let us look now the second alternative. That is PFDJ to split itself in to two or three parties. Though I used to argue before PFDJ to split in two parties only, recently my friend convinced me that to three is best solution. His argument is as follows. IF the PFDJ is going to split only in to two parties the competation will develop with no other alternative for the members of the parties. It means that it will be stagnant. And the parties will not make advanced endeavors to attract members. But if they are three the members of the parties will have the maneuver to shift to the party which is making progress. Any how we can let this development to emerge on process. Therefore being it two or three we achieve that there will be equal competition in the election. The other groups inside Eritrea or outside Eritrea that were not members of PFDJ will have the alternative after seeing the programs of the parties to join them or reject them.

One could not simply ignore the other groups not to have an influence on the election. But I tell you the groups outside Eritrea are not going to play positively on the coming election. The groups argument is based on hate to EPLF and PFDJ. Their precondition is going to be the great obstacle to the positive roll in participation on the election. They are going to come with so many demands and are going to say if this is not happened or if that is not fulfilled and so many excuses. I tell you it is going to be a real waist of time. Instead of using the golden time to inter inside Eritrea and bring change there they are going to spent the time with us the public here outside the country. They have a golden opportunity now to go inside Eritrea and play a positive roll that will give satisfaction to their personal case and for us the public in general. The reconciliation we were demanding long will come to be reality on process by participating on the coming election.

Finally, the focus on election 2001 part two tried to asses the political atmosphere in Eritrea blindly from no where hoping that critics and suggestions of interest in future discussion will in able the author to widen the scope and understanding of the politics of Eritrea. I am open to asses my article and make corrections if there is discomfort or for that matter closes to blind way for the discussion. My aim is at same time to learn on process. Therefore. I am looking for critics and suggestions.

God bless Eritrea.

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway

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