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Focus on Eritrean election part 12

Focus on election 2001 (Part Twelve)
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
September 25, 2001
Summary of Focus on election 2001
(Part one to Part ten)

Since I started writing, by the topic Focus on election 2001 in, up to now eleven parts are folded. I would like to devote, part twelve, for summarization of the different topics touched briefly in the past. In this article, I am going to deal with the subject matter of the past (part one) to (part ten) of focus of election 2001.
I was hoping to enrich my knowledge and widen my scope about the expected election 2001 in Eritrea through blinks of arguments and counter arguments vis-à-vis directly related to the topics I assumed were of interest. To summarize which could be of interest as well in the coming months of discussion here follows the subjects that are of concern to us.

In Part one, I said, "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.”
It was true then and it is true now still we lack information about election 2001 in Eritrea. All the delay and slow pace about the election 2001 is due to the selfish and arrogant approach of the government. The Eritrean government undermines the Eritrean people as uneducated and ignorant people that do not deserve information. The Italian government succeeded to govern Eritrea for about 60 years by keeping people of Eritrea not to have access to education. The same, now, the Eritrean government is using the tactic "keep the people ignorant and govern for long time”. With out ample information, the election 2001 will be a joke and we are not going to achieve the purity of the election we want it to be. My demand is inform the people now.

In Part two, the subject matter was the following.

1) Stabilization: Eritrea needs to be stable nation. First our region is volatile and there are uncertain conditions regarding neighbour 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.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) 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 fulfils 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 colour 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.

5) Freedom: This is basic for every thing. With out freedom there could not be stabilization, justice, economical growth, and 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.

In part three, I debated based on the Comment on "Focus on the election" by Million Semere January 30, 2001 on Million diverged in opinion with me that he doesn’t support multi party election in 2001. He prefers multi party election in year 2006. His concern was stability of Eritrea. Other concern was the property and wealth of PFDJ after in case it transforms itself to a party. He suggests of a trustee that takes care for the dishabilles and veterans of war. But this time we hear that PFDJ would like to keep its money and business even after it transforms itself to a party. What a crime can a front do to its people than to conduct business at the expense of a country’s time and space? Monarchies do business but not parties in a democratic society.

In Part Four, I expressed my joy by saying. "Volla!! Here is the draft for the election commission and governing laws to forming political parties. Everything is now put on the table. Well-prepared and convincing atmosphere for real democracy in Eritrea. Now I am 99.5% proud Eritrean. (Well the 0.5% left are the practicing of human rights and fulfilling the basic necessities of human beings).”
I am still optimistic in full democratisation and happy life to come in Eritrea.

In Part five, after reading an article by Professor Tekie, in visafric, about election 2001, I expressed my vision by saying. " I admit with great caution my difference on the pessimism cited by Professor Tekie that the coming election 2001 will not be multi party election. He professes it is going to be non-partisan election. His worry is there is no time left for concerned people to form a political party before the election 2001. He postponed that activity of multi party for the election 2006. Well taking in consideration the suggestion of Million Semere in his article by the title " focus on the election (part three) date Feb 07, 2001 at, the multi party election to be postponed to 2006 election, it sounds that forming political parties is not as such as easy as it seem to us. At that time forming political parties seemed a remote opportunity, but now we are at the verge of having it. It only asks wisdom to handle it properly. Both sides the Eritrean government and the opposition groups have to use appropriate mechanisms to materialize it to be reality.

In Part six, I discussed about Personality versus System in Eritrean politics. My preference is a system to be established in Eritrea than to rely on personality of President Iseyas. I am positive with the personality of PIA. But I believe that he is human being. He can lead only maximum 20 years from now on. His personality will serve good only for these maximum 20 years. I cited examples of the failure of countries to a disaster after the personality of their leaders failure. Therefore, still I am for a system than the personality of PIA. I would like to say it, again and again, that I have great respect to the personality of PIA. What I would like to emphasize strongly is that he is human being he can be good to us now but not forever.

In Part seven under the topic, "culture of secrecy and suspicion” I said "in part six of the series " Focus on election 2001” the debate was concerned on establishing a system of governance in Eritrea instead of basing the administration on trust to a personality of a leader. The debate emphasized that the personality of a leader is seemingly correct and a choice for stability and harmony of a country as long as the personality is alive. But taking in consideration no personality is alive forever, the devastating collapse of nations to chaos after the removal of the personality either because of natural or man made consequences is a lesson at present circumstances.

A leader who is loved, respected and trusted by its people has the right to stay in office long until his retirement or natural death. A wise leader using the chances given to him or her introduces a system and save the country from chaos after his or her personality failure. An egocentric and selfish leader fails to introduce a system and considers all those who advocates for a system as his or her enemies and accuses them for lame excuses by saying they are "jealous on me, they want power” or accuses them as "reactionaries” who want to destabilize his or her administration. The accusations are "long list” and defend for his or her positions are cumbersome. Personality is very self centred and egotistic by nature. It is based on fear to other personality and does all the means to wipe out the contender personality from his or her administration. Personality is ruthless and cruel in suppressing freedoms and believes only on itself and has no trust on others. That is why systems are delivering much better and stable results to societies we know by democratic system of governance.

In part eight, I discussed about the interest of the elites that are working with the governament. I labeled them the "On” elite. To keep the interest of the elites is important for smooth transformation of Eritrea to a democratic socity. If democratization is going to succed in Eritrea we have to be sensitive to the interest of the elties who are parasities of the income and advantages for the their livelihood. They are human beings they forward their security in future than democratisation of Eritrea. They will do every means to unfold or subvert the progress of democratisation if their interest is jeopardized. They have to have a guarantee that they will not be isolated, marginalized or to the worst will be provoked for their past deeds with government change. We have to have a system that makes them safe after they loose power. Before we create this grantee it will be foolishness to grip power with out bloodshed and removing them by force. To try to outset the existing government by subversive acts or sabotage will be a great harm to the Eritrean people and Eritrea will end in endless vicious circle of subverts and sabotage acts. Therefore, my suggestion is we have to be wise enough to accommodate and keep the interest of the elites that are working with the government.

In part nine, the topic was about the elites working against the government.
I labelled them elites "Off” side. I tried to expose of the weakness of this elites that they are not efficient and effective in managing their organization. I wish they to be strong opposition group. But taking in consideration their past track their failure is inside their organization. I don’t think they have the coherence, unity and respect of each other inside their organization. The interest of these elites could have been accommodated and respected if they would unite and come out with clear program of action. I suggest for the elites on the "off” side to consider working positively with the government. That is to participate and harmonize meetings, seminars and courses with that scheduled by the government. In part ten, the issue was about the elites who used to work with the government at some time and against the government on other time. I labelled them the "On and off” side elites. Now, situations are dramatically changed since I wrote that article and because of the prevailing condition, I prefer, to comment anew than to refer what I wrote that time. I never anticipated that the "G15” would end in jail. It happened and it has become a sad history for those who were working hard democratisation to succeed in Eritrea. Knowing before hand that, violence would erupt, in case, one of the opponents feel insecure, I tried my best and forwarded my call to the opposition groups to take measure that grant the well being and interest of the elites working with the government. They are human beings and I say, again and again, that they forward their interest before the interest of the country. There is nothing we can do about it except to take in consideration realizing that they are human beings and they need security for their livelihood. You cannot simply replace them and throw them to garbage. Look what they did at the last hour. They felt that their interest was at grave, therefore, they took the vengeance action of repression. They imprisoned their lifetime comrades. Now think how human beings are wild when it comes to their interest. It is tragedy for Eritrean democratisation, but still I am optimistic with little wisdom from the government side situations can overturn to normal condition.

Conclusion, I would like to mention that the events that are going on in Eritrea are part of a process of democratisation and we should not give up hope. There is going to come a bright day that all of us are going to be happy after this obstacles to democratisation are removed. Still my call, both to the government and the opposition groups is, to show some restraints and give chance to dialogue than vengeance actions to violence. I hope the Eritrean government will be wise enough to release all political prisoners and open the closed presses. And my call for the opposition groups is give time and space for the government to think and perform rationally. Next topic part thirteen, in Focus election 2001, will be discussions based on some questions that are forwarded to me by my private e-mail.

God bless Eritrea

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway.

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