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Focus on Eritrean election part 15

Focus on election 2001 (Part Fifteen)
By Tesfamicael Yohannes
October 24, 2001
Postponing election 2001?

My motto: Exclusion ends in violence. Inclusion ends in justified election.

The Eritrean people didn’t ask for election 2001. It is the Eritrean government who promised the election to be held at the end of this year. It was just like a man proposes for a marriage and asks a lady, at the last hour, to postpones it or quit it at all. The reason could be may be first he was desperate and later on found other alternative lady. But the most reasonable excuse could be maybe shortage of financial or some obstacles due to family or other difficult circumstances. Therefore, as long as the promise is respected, postponing the marriage won’t do permanent harm. It will be acceptable and honoured for mutual benefit. I would like the postponing of election 2001 to be accepted and respected with honour for the benefit of Eritrea.

Before we say good by to election 2001 and well come to the "election indefinite” (not to be rude "election definite”) I would like to asses the scenarios which made it difficult election 2001 not to be held as is promised. But first I would be forced to say some words, in case, the Eritrean government sticks with its promise and held election 2001 as is scheduled.

We have only two solid months left for election 2001. The Eritrean government could possibly arrange a crush schedule for ratification of the election law and nomination of the election committee. By doing so, the Eritrean government could save its face and keep its promise. Possibly using the materials and experience of 1993 referendum the Eritrean government could succeed in completing the election. It will be a wonderful and very interesting experience to the Eritrean people. For sure, it will be a joke election; nevertheless, it will be an election. An election by itself has a lot of meaning, albeit its jerkiness. First and utmost Eritrea gets elected representatives and everything that will be promoted and moved will be legal. Second, the energy of the country could be used to construction and development of civil society.

I think, the existing situation which is compelling the Eritrean government to be in a dilemma between postponing the election and do fair election later on or do it now for the sake of fulfilling a promise and do unfair election resulted due to the harassment of the opposition groups being the alliances, G-15, G-13 and other diehard hate group to the Eritrean government. My observation to this cruel atmosphere, facing Eritrea today is lack of love to collective livelihood. The ignoring and not taking care of other’s concern pushed the forces of interest to the far opposite sides. The opposition groups want to remove the Eritrean government without taking the concern of the livelihood of the people working with the government. On the other side, the Eritrean government wants to monopolize power without taking in consideration of the concern of the livelihood of the opposition forces. As we witnessed at the end of the game, the winner managed to exclude and humiliate some of the opponents. My guess is the group who is now in jail would have done the same to the government officials. This is how it ends when exclusion method is used. If inclusion method would have been used by the Eritrean government and the opposition groups it would have ended differently than the existing situation.

If the Eritrean government decides to postpone the election, as long as, it promises a defiant time schedule, in my opinion it has to be acceptable. All concerned bodies should share the blame. The Eritrean government should take part of the blame of not paying attention and lack of its focus on the promised election. The opposition forces should take part of the blame for harassing the Eritrean government not to concentrate to do its duty properly. The mass media should take part of the blame, because of the weakness of their presentation and very amateurism of their profession. They created confusion and escalated unnecessarily the differences of the opposing forces to conflict. In my opinion, if the Eritrean mass media would have been acted professionally, their roll could be great in narrowing the differences and could have helped to bring to a reasonable understanding and coming together to concentrate on the real issue of the country. Taking in consideration, all difficult circumstance and to pave way for a stable and calm atmosphere, postponing the election should be acceptable and we have to work hard to use inclusion method for the coming election. Saying so, now, we can ask, first of all is it important to have an election? Is it impossible to live without election?

If I don’t managed to first give concert answers to the above-mentioned questions, my analysis will drain to a hall of simply producing disturbing echo of my ignorance. Therefore, my answer is, yes election is important to have it. For the second question, it is not impossible to live without election, but the living will be heaven for the privileged and hell for the undermined majority of the society. Now, given a blatant answer to the self raised questions I feel safe to tell story and precede with my analysis.

One day a woman was looking for a house to rent. Whenever she founds a humble resident room the first question she used to ask was about the will be neighbours. She asks if there were some unemployed neighbours. If the answer is positive she quits and look for another house. Concerned people asked the women why she was too much interested in asking about jobless neighbours. She answered; if there are unemployed neighbours then her house will not be safe after she goes to work. Well, it doesn’t mean that all unemployed are thieves, but psychologically it creates an impression of that kind suspicion and uncomforted. Democratically elected government is more acceptable than unselected government, due to the fear towards to unselected government like the jobless neighbour. Example, if a leader of elected government is dead either of natural or manmade conspiracy the whole nation saddens and emotionally will be affected even by the opposition bodies. There is no need of conspiracy or sabotage to weaken the government of elected leader. The whole nation concentrates its energy to better life of the people. The difficulties with unselected leader are the time and energy spent for the opposition groups to sabotage and weaken the system of the unselected leader. Because of the above-mentioned facts and other facts as well election is important.

In my opinion, we the Eritrean people should have to be ready either for the election 2001 as is promised or postponing it to definite time to welcome it and work hand to hand with the Eritrean government. We have to encourage all positive attitudes, for example, the promising start of the civic education started now by CCE (Commission of Constitution for Eritrea) at I encourage to establish a separate column for civic education purpose for CCE. I had mentioned before that civic education is my heart’s case and I give priority and try my best to encourage it. On this occasion, I call the respected and dignified former fighter Mesfin Hagos to concentrate on civic education and formally and openly he to declare to harmonize his activities with the Eritrean government schedules. At the same time he to be an exemplary leader to teach us tolerance and he in all his speeches and presentation to mention the Eritrean government with due respect. He paid a lot of sacrifice before, to liberate Eritrea, and now to save Eritrea from turmoil and further division he to pay more sacrifice in narrowing the differences. I am sure that if he follows the inclusion method, that is to live together with the existing government, at the end of the day he and his group are going to triumph.

Next is about an issue, which I am going to come some other time, but for today briefly about information technology in Eritrea. Nowadays, to live isolated by suppressing mass media and limiting freedom of press is becoming more unrealistic. I am going to mention few examples just for today, I hope, to follow more other times. The former president of France, Mr. Mitterand had prostate for about 14 years during his presidency time. A book was published about this case and the family of the president managed to block it from publishing it. Now, I know, you know, the whole world knows about it, thanks to Internet. Therefore, this time suppressing news and comments from public is outdated and the possibility of leaking it is now available in many other ways. What is happening in Eritrea and somewhere else outside Eritrea, to know, is becoming like exchanging money laundry. What I want to say is, it is futile, this time, to try to suppress information. I think it is time, now, to establish some share companies, dealing with information technology in Eritrea.

Conclusion, taking in consideration the news leaked by Tedros Mehretu
The Election is postponed
October 22, 2001, in
"Yesterday, the Swedish Radio interviewed Yemane Gebreab political advisor of PIE. In the middle of the report he suddenly announced the postponement of the election. As we all remember exactly a year ago the Eritrean Parliament in its 13th session have announced national election will be held on December 2001. Now a year later we hear from the mouth of Yemane that the election is postponed without the consultation of the parliament. Yemane can advice to PIE to change the date of election, but first and foremost they must consult the parliament. National election is not the affair of two individuals it is the affair of the nation. He and his boss have no any legal right to ignore the decision took by the parliament...”

And the comment of about the leaked news, Note from Dear Readers, has contacted the Eritrean Embassy in Washington DC to verify if indeed the elections have been postponed. The spokesperson at the Eritrean Embassy has informed us that the elections have not been postponed and will take place as scheduled in December 2001.
We get two opposite views about election 2001 from the same source of a government. Yemane is presidential advisor and the ambassador in Washington is representative of the government. I don’t blame any body, knowing that we are poor in information. On the other hand, both could be correct, one wants to wait and see the session and resolution of the minstrel meetings in Asmara and the other having before hand knowledge of postponing it.
Therefore, I say we are learning on process and let us be keen not to create difficult for the government. Prepare either for the election 2001 or postponing it for the appropriate time.

God bless Eritrea

Tesfamicael Yohannes
Oslo, Norway.

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