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Focus on Eritrean election part 14

Focus on election 2001 (Part Fourteen)
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
October 18, 2001
My motto: Exclusion ends in violence. Inclusion ends in justified election.

Like part thirteen, of the same title of this article, part fourteen is devoted to questions, correspondences and discussions based on private e-mails of the author.

First let me begin by the concerned person from Germany who shared me his opinion after he read "Focus on election 2001” series in

Selam Tesfamicael

How are you doing Brother? Though I am less active nowadays to communicate in the Eritrean Web Sites, I read many articles of all sorts (nonsense and interesting ones). I did read your excellent articles in series with great interest. Although I don’t agree with all you said, I can live with it and befriend with many of your sharp observations. Considering to the faction of F-15, believe me, it has a deep root and evil conspiracy behind the seen. Many innocent Eritreans said okay, they demanded for meeting, so what? Yes, if it were the case, it was not the problem. They have the PFDJ guidelines, which every member should and must abide. They tried to get 2/3 of the CC Members of the PFDJ to call the meeting and they failed. If they were wise and sincere at it, they should have been abided by the law and stopped there. But, they have another selfish and sinister agendas in mind and pushed their grand agenda further agitating regionalism, women’s right (not to go to Sawa), language (to destabilize the country’s security and unity) and exploiting current social distress in their own ends. So, we should wait and see the final outcome.

To come to my main concern, I find the phrase, which you used below, un tasty, un thoughtful and misplaced. The parallel you took is out of rational mind. The then EPLF and the Eritrean Government had made and still make much effort to build the all round ruined infrastructures/new ones and let the people to send their children to the school. The Eritrean people is one of the most conscious and politicised entity in the world, knows who stands and works hard for their sole interest and nobody can fool them either. So, please rethink and possibly dismiss your statement.
"...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...”

I wish you a nice time, my dear Brother!
Best regards

Discussion by the author

I am proud to mention that, you don’t agree with some of my "point of view”, and still you prefer to live with it. It means you believe in unity with diversity view. I tell you brother we are in the same boat. As for the (you call them F-15) I prefer to use G-15 to be consistent with the majority use, my stand is still based on, to consider them innocent until found guilty by the law. You mentioned the issues of language, which I was very critical as well towards them. It is not only the language issue, the method they used to exclude the Eritrean government as well disappointed me. But, my understanding is, they acted out of frustration and of unrealistic ambitions to achieve democratisation over night. If I were at their position I would have chosen the inclusion method. That is to recognize the Eritrean government as the supreme body in the country and to ask for permission to assemble openly and present their demand openly. To do so, first they should decline from PFDJ membership and quit from government position. What it makes difficult for them is they acted when still holding government and PFDJ membership portfolio. Saying so, they were hero yesterday and in my mind and soul, I wish, they to stay hero until proven wrong by the due law. Correcting their mistakes, particularly to the approach they used to antagonize the government and accepting that using inclusion method that is they to respect the interest of the government and to live together in any future government in Eritrea would bring lasting solution. I hope justice to prevail and soon they to know their fate according to the law of the land.

Your main concern was about the phrase I used in some of my articles dealing with the governments handling of the election 2001 process. I let events to speak for them, but for the dismissing of the statement, I accepted it, believing that EPLF was the organization that I adored for long time and I still wish PFDJ to transfer the torch of success of EPLF to the coming parties. Therefore, hereby I declare unilaterally, to dismiss the following phrase from, Focus on election 2001 (Part Twelve), By Tesfamicael Yohannes September 25, 2001, pargraph2 "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...”

It means that, the above comment is null and void in the aforementioned article.


Hi Tesfamicael,
It is the first time that I read your articles, and I am really admiring your effort in spending time to discuss and explain Eritrean issues with/ to our brothers and sisters. But with one comment you made in one of your discussions I STRONGLY disagree. This is when you are stating you want Eritrea to become either a democracy or a dictatorship, because the last one would mean "stable management" for the country.
Well, in my opinion, it was the right thing to have only one party after the long struggle, so that all our energy could be used to quickly rebuild our country and not to argue about politics.
But why did we fight and suffer for our independence and freedom when we now feel unfree and insecure under our own leaders who we loved and trusted? Our people have a right to realise their plans, visions and dreams!! They deserve to live happily and unfrightened. And I do not think that dictatorship can deliver this right in any way.

Buzuh Selam,

Discussion by the author

Maybe you misunderstood or missed the concept what partial democratisation results to a country like Eritrea? It is true that the fruits of political outcome, you mentioned, could be realized only in a situation where the economical sector is well progressed and consolidated. As you know the economical part of Eritrea is below zero ground. The infrastructure is poor and Eritrea is still a young nation. Taking in consideration the prevailing difficulties of Eritrea the choices is either to push swiftly to complete democratisation or concentrate only to build the country to some acceptable standard of development. The later one could be managed and performed quietly with a dictatorial system. The period that is going to be elapsed during the dictatorial system should be solely used to construct the land and develop the economy of the country to a solid based foundation. At that stage even partial democratisation could work in a society like Eritrea, but not this time. Therefore, the coming election being it dominated by PFDJ and the president should have to be welcomed for the sake of to the best of Eritrea to concentrate in developing its economy. I am trying to view my opinion just to avoid violence.

Correspondence from a cyber friend

Selam Tesfamicael

As you are witnessing the turn of events back home, we are heading to the worst scenario. Just to share my feelings, the election is more likely to be postponed indefinitely. The resolution passed by Eritreans in the a seminar staged by the Eritrean embassy there calling for postponement of the election will be echoed in Diaspora and inside Eritrea soon.
Here is the trick played by Issays by...pretending to that they are committed to have election they bought more time to subdue their opponents. Now at the eleventh hour, they will tell Eritrea that the election will be postponed until conducive time arrives. PIA was never been ready for pluralism, for I might even fear that they might start war- As far as election is concerned-our hope is dashed. Pray we don't go to down ward spiral of violence!


Replay from the author

Sent: Saturday, yyyyyyyy, 2001 6:15 PM
Subject: Re: Selam tesfamicael


I apologize for the delay on my part to respond to you quickly. These Days, I am working double to cover some unexpected expenses. Because of my Prevailing situation, I didn't had enough time to sit in front of my PC. Now, I took the opportunity of my free time and gave priority to reply to You. The reason I want to give priority to you is because of the respect I have to you for your sincere and friendly approach you have to wards me.

As for the political situation in our country, it is tragedy; we to witness such back ward events. It is sad that because of some selfish and unsecured personalities we to be traumatized and fall trapped in a messy situation.

I hope, events will undo and turn for good. My expectation is the election to proceed as is planned. I don't mind even all the members will favour PIA. But the election to be held for it self is symbolic and it has to be appreciated. What do you think about this point?
By the way, is it ok for you if I mention in my next article "Focus on election 2001" our correpondance, but I am not going to mention your name?

Best regards

Replay to the author

Selam Tesfamicael,

Thank you for taking time to from your busy schedule to respond to my email. Your points are well taken. In fact, I am also a believer that the election should go on as planned, even though the results are foregone conclusion. It will be unfair election but our people at least will enjoy the experience of going to polls and drop their paper in the ballot boxes. When it comes to election, most of us are concerned at the presidency but fair elections are as significant as presidential. For instance, the upcoming election, if it ever takes place, it will open the door for more elections like governor, mayoral and other positions of local governments. In addition, since term limitations were introduced into the constitution to prevent inheritance of power and corruption, if this election takes place; PIA and his cabinet can look only one more term. If this election is postponed until "appropriate time", then we might even kiss goodbye to the whole election idea. History has thought us that EPLF has the habit of not sticking to its political colander. The time elapsed between first and second congress and between second congress and third congress, the procrastination to implement the constitution and other broken promises make me worry about the idea of postponing the election until "appropriate" or "conducive" time. Because, that appropriate time will never come. For now, my worries are about the events unfolding in Eritrea. The events could degenerate into bloody power conflicts. I fear that either side of the protagonists might take killing to achieve their objective, and that is a good recipe for destabilization, even civil war (God forbid).

I keep worrying about events like self-inflicted assassination attempt on PIA and other high officials and that could be used as pretext to clamp down dissidents or the other scenario is many supporters of the "reformers" might take the law in their own hand and liquidate PIA thinking if the guy is gone all problems could be solved. Such actions will have disastrous effect on our unity and we might even be reduced to lawless states like Somalia, Liberia and so on. That is why we all should strive to see the constitution implemented to its letter and spirit. The only neutralizing force we have is the constitution, because the morale of leaders has been reduced to nothing.


Discussion by the author

It is good that, we agreed, the election to be held even if it is known before hand what the result will be. The most important thing of this election is we are going to have representatives that are accountable to the Eritrean people. They are going to experience differently from the present situation. I hope, the Eritrean government to speed up the case of the G-15 and those who are found not guilty to get chance to participate in the coming election. In my opinion, it is unwise to sabotage or to disturb the election. My call is, all opposition groups, to work with tolerance and wisdom, side by side with the government the election to be an all inclusive and successful one without violence.

You mentioned about the probability of postponing the election and consequently it might take long time, taking in consideration the experience of EPLF in prolonging schedules. It is true, that is why this election to be held on the promised time makes it indispensable for all to work hard. Therefore, I appreciate your observation and now is the real time to deepen the discussion about the election. In the mean time it is the duty of all concerned citizen to take precautions not to violate the law and order of the country, as Eritrea cannot afford anarchism for selfish purposes and power sick people computations. To demand for reform and democratisation is acceptable and should be supported as long as it respects the stability and unity of Eritrea. And to the above-mentioned stability and unity of the country to be respected an all-inclusive platform is imperative. We to achieve success and harmony inclusion method should be our guiding principle. Liquidation and character assassination are acts of cowards and no body live forever with that. It is a vicious circle and that should be avoided in Eritrea. We are few in number and we can live together by inclusion method. Inclusion method asks only respect of each other’s interest.

Conclusion, I thank for those who used civility to correspond and discuss with me about the common concern of our beloved country and I believe that, at this stage, we Eritreans are in a phase that we reached to civilized discussion with much tolerance compared to our previous experience of vigorous and hate debate. I hope, we to show much restraint and be positive for future Eritrea. Again I would like to emphasize that postponing the election due to extra ordinary situation should be accepted and the Eritrean government should get a stable, ample time and space to perform its duty correctly. I would like to express my opinion why postponing can be possibly acceptable.

This time I am going to deviate from my usual mild way presentation to some complex way of analysis. The time left for the promised election 2001 compared with the real time of the process and production for the election lags by 180-degree phase. Now we cannot manage to work with real time but to compensate the elapsed time we need to adjust it by factious time that will help us to perform the process and production of the election. Even the time gap between the process and the production will be unrealistic and still we are going to depend on factious time. Lets assume that the ratification of the election law and the nomination of the election committee take place with zero time difference. So doing, we achieve a reasonable time difference for the registration and selection of qualified candidates again with unrealistic zero time difference. It means that the candidates will have a reasonable time to agitate and reach the people for selling their agenda and convince the people. The election will take place according our virtual time calculation with due time as promised in December 2001. If we are going to be realistic and act on real time, postponing seems the likely event.

God bless Eritrea

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway.

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