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Focus on Eritrean election Part 6

Focus on election 2001 (Part Six)
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
April 23, 2001
I recall focus on election 2001 (Part Five) March 12, 2001 at

For today, I am going to debate two topics of concern that seems to me relevant to the on going discussion for election 2001.

The first topic will be "Personality versus System in Eritrean politics” and the second topic is " If not now, when?”

First topic Personality versus System in Eritrean politics

First I would like to introduce my self and the way I conceived Eritrean politics early at my childhood. I am born in Asmara at the early 50s’ and grown up at Abashawel just at the avenue to the way to "cherHi” near Alem Meharena oil and Biscuit factory. There was a priest called Keshi Beraki at the vicinity to my resident and it was there I learned alphabets. Keshi Baraki used to send me every morning to fetch Zemen gazette from a shop called " Enda Tabakki”. On the way I was practicing my ability to reading, but at the same time I had to rush to give it to Keshi Beraki. One day, I remember, after getting the gazette I observed the heading of the gazette was changed. While I was on my way, one person, well known to my family, asked me to borrow the gazette and after he read some topics I heard he was miming after great sigh by saying " and now they changed the name”. Well the name of the gazette was changed to " Hibret”. It was from this day the Eritrean politics conceived in my head. After that I was following the progress of the Eritrean politics naturally rather than intellectually. I say naturally, because I sensed that something unjust was done to Eritrea from my observation as a child than understanding thinking rationally which was to early to my age. The most episodes that fascinated me as a young was the march of student’s demonstration by shouting " Viva Eritrea ". All the above-mentioned facts were pure, innocent and very immature political scene that implanted to my memory as fundamental Eritrean politics in my life.

Like most young Eritreans I was obsessed on discussion mostly at the then well known Eritrean armed struggle. My mentality was brain washed and became crippled not think otherwise than the personality of the driving factors of the Eritrean revolution, first by the name Idris Awate and later on by the name Isaias Afewrki. The personality of the aforementioned persons is history that all the time to remain irrespective of changes or counter changes with the history of Eritrea. No body can deny it or try to deny it the personality of Idris Awate and Isaias Afewrki is the history of Eritrea.

Now to come to the debate of personality versus system in Eritrean politics, the personality of President Isaias is going to be taken as an example. Before doing that other personalities from around the world are going to be presented.

President Said Barre from Somalia.

After the independence of Somalia, the popular leader was President Said Barre. He was the hero. The Somali people loved, respected and trusted him. Somalia as one nation and people received recognition of the world community. Somali politics was based on personality of Said Barre. The Somali people instead of creating and working for a system, they depended on the personality of Said Barre. As long as Said Barre was in good condition the country also was in good condition. What happened after events for Said Barre went the opposite? The country crippled, the people dispersed and every thing went bad. Now the question is what about in the early times, when Said Barre was in good condition, if Somalia had introduced a system rather than personality of one person. Foe sure, by now Somalia would have been in good position. I believe that with personality, a country falls apart at a time something goes wrong with the personality in question. Systems all times prevail. Systems resist changes than personality.

Emperor HaileSelassie from Ethiopia.

Haileselassie governed Ethiopia almost about 40 years. The Ethiopia people believed Haileselassie as the liberator from the fascist Italy. He was given a free hand to stay that long time to govern Ethiopia. Emperor Haileselasie, instead introducing a system for governance to Ethiopia he worked for his personality as a divine leader in Ethiopia. Well, he believed also that he was mortal. That is why he nominated as his successor his son as a prince in Ethiopia. But still he believed it was the personality of his family that will govern forever. He failed to introduce a system for Ethiopia and finally as his personality failed so do Ethiopia. The pattern in Ethiopia up to now seems the same. That is, personality is the governing principle than a system. Mengistu failed to introduce a system and Meles is following the same path.

President Tito of Yugoslavia.

Yugoslavia was a respected and intact country under the leadership of President Tito. The people of Yugoslavia loved, respected and gave full support to the personality of President Tito as the liberator and the person who resisted the aggression of the nazi Germany in the Second World War. Like every leader of liberation, I repeat every leader not all leader of liberation, instead of introducing a system to Yugoslavia he stayed until his death as the only leader of the country. He didn’t worked for a system in Yugoslavia. What happened after his death? It is the Yugoslavia we know today. I believe that, if President Tito had worked for a system, for sure he would had lost power but he could have saved now Yugoslavia from disintegration.

President Fidel Castro of Cuba.

May be it is not to late in Cuba as long as Fidel Castro is alive, but taking in consideration his truck record I think he is going to stay until his removal or death of the personality we know Fidel Castro. Yet it is not the right time to comment on the situation of Cuba as long as the personality exists. The only thing I can say this time is my prediction to the fate of Cuba after the downfall of the personality of Fidel Castro. Fidel Castro is mortal as well as his personality. If he has introduced a system then Cuba is going to prevail from chaos after his fall. If not, it is natural, no country survived from fall to chaos after the fall of personality of a leader.

President Julius Nyrere of Tanzania.

I mentioned President Julius Nyrere of Tanzania as an exceptional precedence to what mentioned above. He was respected, loved and trusted by the Tanzanian people as liberator and he was a distinguished leader for his personality as well. For his positive record he abandoned at the risk of loosing power his personality to the fever for a system in Tanzania. It was courage’s step taken by President Julius Nyrere to see the events of his country as normal person like his fellow Tanzanian people. He passed away, but he saved Tanzania from chaos. Now the system in Tanzania is live, but leaders are coming and going. Thanks to the great leader President Julius Nyrere.

President Isaias Afewrki of Eritrea.

As a leader of liberation of Eritrea, the charismatic and intelligent personality of President Isaias Afewrki is still fresh in our heart. We love him, respect him and above all we trust him. I personally wish him long age, good health and a happy life. Eritrea’s fate depends on his choice between his personalities versus a system in Eritrea. Action speaks louder than words. My suggestion is I prefer to see a system to be introduced in Eritrea than to stay with personality though I still love, respect and trust him. The reason for my choice to a system versus than personality is the consequences that I predict will happen to Eritrea if we stick to the personality of our beloved leader. To make long history short he is human being. Even if we wish him to stay forever nature will do the opposite to disappoint us. I say repeatedly that President Isaias Afewrki is our love, our choice and like all tagadelts he is our hero. For me it is unfair to deny him the chance to govern Eritrea until Eritrea stabilizes and stands on its feet. In the mean time it is our destiny to abolish his personality and introduce a system that is reliable to exist longer than the age of the president. Based on the above facts I remain still heartened if I hear bad words said on the president. To my surprise after I wrote the article " Norway, now and then on Eritrean issue at the UN” in I received the following message on my private mail.

"Hi I read your articles. ¤ April, Tekeste Negash and Skjetil Tronvall were giving seminar on their book "Brothers at war". They are a pitiful two. They were totally against our government. I was surprised by the Norwegian hostile attitude like "Issayas is a dictator" "until the 1997 money change, Eritrea and Ethiopia did not know their borders" and much more. I was lucky to be allowed to video film this. Can you tell me what this man's stand is on Eritrea? I can send you his comments or video recording.”

The concerned person that is unknown to me sends me the video and I watched with great enthusiasm. I was saddened and heartened by these two stupid persons. They don’t know the Eritrean people and they commented and said very ugly things about the President in particular and the Eritrean people in general. Well to my understanding as long as we are on personality belief such kind out of proportion events are out of our control. With an introduction of a system in Eritrea such events will wither and dampened. On this occasion I forward my appreciation to the concerned Eritrean from Upsala, Sweden. I hope we will be friends on Eritrean politics in future. Therefore, I thank you very much for your video.

To conclude the topic "Personality versus System in Eritrean politics” the following is worthy to take in consideration. As I have mentioned it at the introduction of this topic, I am grown up believing in personality in Eritrean politics. I was a victim of a naturally borne and grown up in a society that believes in personality. It took me long time to dissociate my self from personality belief to a system. Now I say that I am managed to clean my self and able to convince myself that a system is the best way to work on than to personality. I know still the majority of our people are still in the personality belief, but as time goes on I hope people will change to belief to a system versus personality. As for me I am happy to know the consequence from now what will happen in Eritrea if the choice is a system or vice versa. It is not going to surprise me in my life if the event of Eritrea progresses with a system or fails to chaos because of personality. Therefore, last but not least I am sorry to any leader in Eritrea I am going to stand for a system and not for personality.

Second topic "If not now, when?”

The topic "If not now, when?” is a choice of best friend of mine here in Oslo. It came mid in our discussion of related topics on the election of 2001.

It is well known to all of us that there are draft proclamations on election and forming political parties in Eritrea. The expected heated discussion seems freezing and there seems no hope of forming political parties for the election 2001. Now the question is: is it the carpenter the failure or are the tools of the carpenter? I am aiming to say the "carpenter” the people who were supposed to debate or the "tool” the draft proclamations.

As mentioned above, if somebody is going to say that it is the tools the failure then it is worthy to change a tool or modify it. The worst is if the carpenter is the failure then all works will be at stand still.

Recently the announce that mentioned by "bela below” that the president said of no political parties for the election 2001 is shocking for me, but of a pause for normal thinking not forgetting that we are in developing country that no wonder to prefer to be cautious to our pace to pluralism. If the best way is to stay for the next election then it is welcome. Otherwise if not now, when?

Finally, now the Eritrean people are on preparation to celebrate its 10th anniversary of independence and on this occasion I say congratulation and the heroic Eritrean people deserves peace, tranquillity and happiness. I wish the celebration to be successful and I hope the Eritrean people to engage positively and constructively on laying basic grounds for future peace, democracy and well being to the coming generation.

God bless Eritrea

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway

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