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Focus on Eritrean election part 13

Focus on election 2001 (Part Thirteen)
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
September 27, 2001
This article is devoted to discussion to some questions send to me by private E-mail. I avoided the names of the concerned people just not to create uncomfortable situation to them. I appreciate their concern and this is good opportune to share common ideas that concern all of us. Dialogue is my belief and I will welcome in future correspondence with brothers and sisters.


Help me by specifying the election. I want to know who are the people we are going to elect. How do we get more information about the people we vote?
Thank for you replay

Hi I am writing after I read what you wrote on /that called Focus On Eritrean Election 2001 / if you have an idea about who going to be on Election 2001 except president Eseyas Afewerki can you contact me and tell me about please.

Who will be the members of the parliament will elect the president among?

We Eritrea we asking you to help Toronto people. We don't know who will be in election. We don't know what to do.

Discussion by the author.

The election 2001 in Eritrea is, about members who are going to be elected directly by the Eritrean people, to the first of its kind in Eritrean history, to be formed an Eritrean parliament. The parliament is an assembly of elected people to raise issues of concern of the country and to pass resolutions to be executed by the executive body and laws to be implemented by the judiciary body of the government. Since my knowledge in this aspect is limited and I chose purposely discussion than answers. I expect to learn more from distinguished persons who have more knowledge in this field. I am sorry to tell you that, to date, we don’t have a means to get more information about the election. Because the body who was supposed to inform us are now in jail.

The people we vote are who registers themselves to be voted and those who are found fit and eligible to be voted. Every Eritrean has the right to register and say vote me to the parliament. The election committee will decide the qualification. The election committee is not yet formed. President Eseyas Afewrki will register like all other candidates and he will say vote me to the parliament. If people liked him he will get chance to enter to the parliament. Therefore, the Eritrean people will choose about 150 members more or less (I simply guess) candidates to the parliament.

These around 150 people, elected members of the parliament, will gather and elect the chair man of the parliament and among them they will choose who will be the president for the next 5 years. Here what we have to understand is, the election is not going to be like the election you see it in USA. That is, two candidates or three, directly appeal for the people to choose them for the president office. In Eritrea it is somewhat different. And it is not like the prime Minster election of Great Britain. In USA the people choose the President directly. At the same time the people chooses the members of the parliament (Congress). It means the people of USA have two choices at the same time. The President and the members for the congress. In Eritrea the people choose only to the members of the parliament. Therefore, the Eritrean people have only one choice and that is to the members of the parliament.

So far, it is my understanding about the election I expressed. If I am mistaken, I expect to learn from further discussion about the subject matter.

For the Toronto people, I am sorry; I don’t know how to help you. We our selves here in Oslo need help for that matter. It is sad that no body takes care of us in this crucial and urgent time of concern to our beloved country.


Hello Tesfamicael Yohannes,

My name is xxxxxx yyyyy (Newport,RI USA). I do not believe we know each other in person.

I have had the privilege to read a lot of your articles (in for the past 2-3 years.

I have one question from your Sep 23, 2001 article ... "Focus on election 2001 (Part Eleven)" if do not mind?

You referred to "G15" as the reformist: Do you believe (or know) they are reformist?

I just wanted to point it out for your future articles; I am not expecting a personal (email) answer.

Again thank you for your educational article(s) and wisdom.

--x. yyy, Sep 24, 2001

Discussion by the author.

First of all thank you very much for your sweet words of complement. As for your question the "G15” to be called as reformist? My preference this time is yes. Because, I believe that, a person or group of persons unless found guilty it is right to take them innocent. Therefore, until I am convinced due to legal means that these persons are guilty I am going to refer them as reformist. The date I became convinced that they are guilty I am going to drop calling them reformist.



You wrote
Let election 2001 will be successful and I hope PIA to continue as a President and the G15 to be the dominant opposition party in the Parliament.

If I may make a suggestion Issayas is a living resources of the our people and he can serve the country always he doesn't to be a president. He is a Tegadalay as every body else. No body is born President. Please explain why PIA should continue as a president, what are the Basis. What are the foundations...?
Is it a constitutional? I think every thing we do must be only by the book.

Discussion by the author.

Yes it is true, the president is, not must, he to continue as president. My suggestion is based on the precarious situation of Eritrea. A country that do not have an experience of self-administration for long time. I mean Eritrea is a new nation that needs stability to perform the huge tasks facing it. PIA has the experience in governance so far and the election for the parliament is first of its kind. There are so many surprises waiting us which we don’t have a prior knowledge to predict them. Therefore, the next 5 years, we can use the knowledge and capability of PIA’s leadership, so that we to construct a system that grants us for smooth transformation of power in election 2006.


Tesfamicael, my brother.

Do you think the current government of Eritrea has done more harm than benefiting the people of Eritrea? If you truly believe that, I think you are wrong. In Eritrea, the only country in man history where people have fully participated in the creation of the constitution.

My brother, think again.

Take care
xxxxxx, SJ,CA

Discussion by the author.

The current government of Eritrea is a Godsend saviour of the Eritrean people. When I speak about the existing government I always prayed to live long. My worry is, in the future, like all leaders in the past that had good reputation during their reign, but followed a disaster for their people after their fall, that will repeat in Eritrea. What I am suggesting is, let us in this good time built a system. Let us not depend only on this government. One day, either by age or man made situation the present government is not going to be available. If we don’t introduce a system now, it will be to late at the later stage. Examples are Ethiopia, X-Yugoslavia, Somalia, Liberia, Rwanda and others. But look, to what happened in Tanzania and South Africa. President Julius Nyrere and President Nielsen Mandela, on good time created a system and saved the country from chaos. That is what I am suggesting. I am not against the ERITREAN GOVERNAMENT.


After I read your latest article Focus on Election I was reminded by a story Which I heard years ago. Many years ago one Eritrean elderly was enjoying the morning sunshine sitting by his front yard. As he was sitting there and enjoying the sun he saw a little kid passing by and he invited him to come and sit by him. The little kid was about four or five years old. He respected the old man's invitation and he sat next to him. After a moment the old man asked the kid for his name. The question was a piece of cake for the child.
The old man was trying to keep the child next to him for a while so his time could pass fast. To do so the old man favoured to ask the kid the following questions.
He said, son do you like your mother or your father? The kid answered by saying that I do love my mother and father both equally. The old man asked what about a little bit more? Do you love your mother a little bit more than your father or vice versa. The kid answered again I love both equally. The old man got now a little bit serious and took it further. With whom do sleep at night son? the boy answered with both. The old man's next question was now I know you sleep with both but when you sleep to whom do you face? The kid answered I face upwards 'Tinkliet." In toady's politics I think this what politicians call being neutral. With all this your knowledge how could you invite people to stand in the middle. Don't you think it is this kind of mentality that brought us here. Not daring to speak whatever people think it is right to speak. I know you have stated it many times that you are for free press and speech and at the same time you are also found criticizing the Eritrean free press. In the end, I would like to tell you that I enjoy reading your articles but don't you think that you to avoid yourself standing at the crossroads. Correct me if I am wrong.

I thank you for taking your time and read my reaction to your most recent article.

Discussion by the author.

You may call it neutrality. I wish also to be called this time neutral. There is a saying in our country and that is "Tselul gelagalay emni yeqbel”. I don’t want to add fuel to the already started burning in Eritrean politics. It is tragedy, this time we to be trapped in a senseless quarrel in shaping the future of Eritrean political destiny. I know that the elites interest on opposing camps diverged to the extent blinded them to forget the well-being and safety of the country. I believe that, if there is wisdom on both sides it is possible to overcome the existing antagonistic crises by negotiated convergence of elites interest settlement. It is on this fruitful concept my imagination afloat and wishes to contribute to narrow the differences and come to comprehensive resolution of the diverged interest of the opposing elites. My neutrality is not for passive sleep but to be active in contributing my share for the well being of Eritreans.


Selam Yowhanse, To start I read almost all your articles named focus On election 2001. I'm sorry,I don't quite understand what you want to say. I didn't understand to whom do you want to blame. Why don't criticize to Pr.Issayas for his illegal activity. In your mind do you think that, Pr.Issayas is a democrat or a dictator, please explain to me, may be I have a wrong information.
God bless you,

Discussion by the author.

My blame to either side won’t bring any difference. When I criticize, I do it to both sides. I criticize the president for his lack of wisdom by avoiding dialogue with his long time comrades. I criticize the opposition groups for harassing the President by blackmailing, sabotage and defaming.

As for the categorization to the president, whether he is democrat or dictator, I prefer to say he is not qualified for that categorization this time. But in the future, events will show us to which way he is heading. I to myself will accept either full democrat or dictator. Because, both the above-mentioned categories will be advantageous to Eritrea. The first one that is full democratisation will give Eritrea the benefit of freedom to its citizens and the unity of the country will be intact by will of the people. The second one dictatorship will be an advantage to Eritrea, because there will be a stable management. Out of these two, partial democratisation will lead Eritrea to anarchy and disintegration of its entity. Therefore, I will welcome the leadership of PIA either for full democratisation or if that not seems reachable I would like to see an intact Eritrea under the dictatorship of PIA.


Selam Tesfamicael,
Thank you for your unreserved effort to introduce civil discussions like that of election in the Eritrean political scene. Unfortunately, the turn of events back home is heading to wrong direction. For me, the idea of democracy and election was at dead end when president Issayas refused to sit and talk with his long-term friends. How can one expect then an all-inclusive election to take place? If he couldn't solve his problems with his own ministers, it is naive to think that he would compete with opposing views coming from different quarters of Eritrean politics. In fact, it is more likely that the election will be indefinitely postponed, they might blame the g-11 for creating non-conducive environment to conduct the election or may be they will held the election if they managed to hold the party's fourth congress and the out come happened to be to PIA's favour. As it stands now, PIA and Yemanes don't know what the majority of Central committee are thinking, the secrete ballot could go either way. So unless PIA is sure that the congress will go to his favour, he will not allow it to take place and that in turn will hinder the election from taking place. In fact, the situation in Ethiopia could serve as a good road map as where the Eritrean politics is heading. Meles seems to have managed to weed out his opponents and get elected for another five years ride. The table is turned now, Meles is the teacher and Isseyas is becoming the follower. So far, the events in Asmara seem to mimic the events in Addis and Mekele. The only difference is that Meles hasn't closed the private papers. It is sad the mighty EPLF to go down spiral like this...
Again thank you for your effort and "keep the hope alive".


Discussion by the author.

The doubt of the election will be an all-inclusive election I have doubt about that also. The most important thing is if there is going to be an election, it will be the first of its kind. The people, who are going to be elected for the parliament will be the once who are serving the government this time. The difference is that the members of the parliament are going to experience different phenomena after the election. They are not going to sit in government office and at the parliament at the same time as they are doing now. They are going to work as full time parliamentarians represented by the people. We should not have to take it for granted that after entering in parliament that they will be the YES man for PIA. For sure there is going to be change of attitude and behaviour individually realizing that they are representatives of the people and their mandate will be to the Eritrean people and not to the president. Therefore, it is nice to have the election. I suggest we to work hard the election to be successful.



I agree with your article the way you explain about the tense situation in Eritrea the government and it's opponents, your article is a reflection of today’s Eritrean situation. You gave your admiration only to and quite the opposite to the other Eritrean web sites what impression are you going to get? I mean your article was beautiful without in any way criticising any Webs.

Discussion by the author.

My intention by criticizing the different webs and my admiration to is based on the fundamental issue of my article that is the issue of exclusion versus inclusion method on the on going political debates related comments. I said that except that uses the inclusion method and has the tendency of inclusion method the rest uses the exclusion method. Since I stand for free press and works for inclusion method it is natural for me to oppose for those who use exclusion method. Because I know that those who uses exclusion method always invites violence. Why should we invite violence by using exclusion method while we can succeed by inclusion method? I said that the experience he has at this time is useful for us he to continue as a president. Since this is our first election the others should experience to be an effective opposition in the parliament. Later on they can built a confidence to be a leader of the country. I mean by effective opposition; the leader of the opposition has to prove that he or she is capable to lead. Very important to understand the concept "to prove the capability of the opposition leader to lead” effectively its group in the parliament. If a leader fails to lead his group in the parliament it is clear indication of his or her in capability to lead the country. Therefore, in this election the opposition groups should concentrate to be able to come in to the parliament and show capability in becoming talented and strong opposition leader. Thereafter there is the possibility to replace PIA by effective leader of the opposition group or to come out an effective contender among the same group. I would like to thank for those who forwarded their questions. It is because of their correspondence with me that this article able to materialize.

Exclusion ends in Violence. Inclusion ends in justified election.

God bless Eritrea

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway.

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