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Eritrea’s Prospect: Joining The league Of Hybrid Regimes

The war against superstition and totalitarian mentality is an endless war. In Protean form, it is fought and refought in every generation  (Christopher Hitchens)                         

For years we have debated on the nature of the Eritrean regime some opposing it and others giving it unreserved support, both financially and morally. But what is strange in our debate is – those who advocate for change don’t have clear understanding as to what the change entails. I believe that the origin of their confusion is embedded from the inability of defining the nature of the regime in Asmara. In the classic classifications of regimes, the PFDJ regime falls in to the category of closed authoritarian regimes. However, as a remedy to the confusion we are plagued with so far, this article will attempt to stir the confusion, in order to settle to a conceptual understanding of regimes, thereby rearrange our strategy and ignite our perceptive minds to drive the strategy.

Equally though, this writer will venture, therefore, to suggest the prospect of the regime we expect after the fall of the current authoritarian regime, if it will happen in the near future, depending on the consciousness of our people and the unfulfilled preconditions for a “democratic regime” in Eritrea. In order to do that, I will visit many stimulating theoretical arguments and conceptual scrutiny on the proliferations of the contemporary regimes in the world, by many outstanding researchers and scholars.

To satisfy my inquisitive mind about regimes, states, and government, I found the concept of “defective democracy” and “electoral authoritarianism” the “double-root strategy” authored by Matthijis Bogaard and the taxonomic classifications of regimes by Diamonds, are very helpful for understanding the current Eritrean regime and the prospect of future regime on the horizon. Diamond’s orientation in cataloguing, categorizing, and grouping the current contemporary regimes into typologies, explains the critical institutional features of non-democratic regimes. By mapping those regimes and drawing a parallel inquiry to the prospect of Eritrean dominant political view as of now, we can safely predict how the “politically closed authoritarian regime” will be replaced assuming the current variables remain constant as they existed today.

Therefore, In search of synthesis on the conceptual intake of regimes, let me present a general glimpse on the debates of conceptualizing of contemporary regimes that are going in the institutions of knowledge and “the state of the art in the study of hybrid regimes.”  In the final analysis we will make an educated prediction, taking into an account the current regime we have, the degree of commitment of the Eritrean people in the fight against the regime, and the “self-limitation” of demand from change seekers, as reflected in our continuous debates.

Conceptual Reflections

In political science conceptual issues have been subjected to rigorous scrutiny in the last few decades. The issue of “what is democracy and is not, which regimes are democratic and are not” has been in the forefront of academic research for sometimes, to standardize through a replete of various tools and measurements. Almost three decades into the “third wave” of democratization and transitional movements, researchers have classified most of them, with some still far from consensus but classified as ambiguous regimes.

Interestingly enough, some fairly but procedural definition of democracy and government, like “Polyarchy” by Robert Dahl has become capable of inducing resonance in the research of democracy and regimes.  According Dahl, the conception of Polyarchy, where democracy requires not only free, fair, and competitive elections, but he also include that the freedoms that make them truly meaningful and alternative source of information of institutions and measurement of regimes.

in his book, “A preface to democratic theory”, Dahl gave eight conditions and hypothesized that each condition can be quantified and measured on scales to determine the democratic nature of regimes. But the vexing question in the contemporary of states and regimes is how we classify them. Many of those who adapted the form of electoral democracy are defective in practice and are less than electoral democracy, such as in a competitive authoritarian system (Russia), hegemonic party system (Singapore), or hybrid regimes of some sort (Ukraine and Albania)[Dahl 1956]. Regimes classifications must in part, assess the previous elections, but must also assess the intentions and capacities of the ambiguously democratic elites [1]. In some hybrid regimes their constitutions assign elected military representatives seats in the parliament (Indonesia), and in some like Turkey, the military have the veto-player to force and disqualify the popularly elected party [Bogaard, 2009]

Democracy should take root among the elites before it start to diffuse into the larger population [2]. There is no common understanding within the Eritrean elites as to what contemporary democracy entails and how it fits to the reality of our people. Dahl in his book “Democracy and its critics, (1989)” have formulated five criteria in order democracy to flourish (a) effective participation of citizens – to form their preference and ask questions on the public agenda (b) voting equality – citizen’s  judgment must be assured and counted (c) enlightened understanding –  equal opportunities for discovering and affirming what choice would be best serve for the common good (d) control of the agenda –  citizen must have the opportunities on what political agenda be subject to deliberation (e) inclusiveness –  everyone has  a legitimate stake in the political process and therefore equality must be extended to all citizens. Are our elites ready to germinate the seeds of democracy in the public sphere? So far I don’t see their efforts. It bothers me much, because reformist elites are resisting for an open and uncontrolled democratic participation.

Typology: Hybrid States And Hybrid Regimes

In recent decades there has been a proliferation of hybrid regimes that comprise both autocratic and democratic characteristics. Those countries that are identified by Huntington in 1991 as the transitioning authoritarian regimes, in his description of the “third wave of democratization” have ceased with their transitions [3]. Actually these countries do not fall in to the criteria and working type of democracy that includes free election, enlightened conscious citizens, equality and freedom of speech. According Diamond these states fall into a “political grey zone” that can be identified as hybrid states [4]. It is therefore, quintessential to remember that while the hybrid state are positioned somewhere between democracy and autocracy, they cannot be defined as “transitional states”. The hybrid states must be considered their own type political regime rather a transitional states [5].

What is a hybrid regime then? A hybrid regime is a political system that contains elements of autocratic and democratic system. They are electoral regimes with strong presidency or one party system, or one dominant party that marginalizes other parties that exist. It has a mix of democratic and autocratic features with some competition in the access of power via election but with severely limited civil liberties stemming from the authoritarian practices [6]. Ostensibly, Ekman in 2009 characterize Russia, Venezuela, and Tanzania as the archetypal hybrid states based on Levitsky and Way’s idea of competitive authoritarianism with the legitimacy that are seen as relatively free and contested elections [7]. Akman didn’t stop there, he further explained that in hybrid states, government often subordinates judiciary, weakened rule of law, controls media, and restrict civil liberties to stabilize their authorities.

Hybrid regimes as the products of hybrid states have become very prevalent phenomenon in the contemporary world of electoral authoritarianism or also distinctively termed as “pseudo-democracy.” In such form of regimes it is difficult to mimic democratic transitions. Virtually all hybrid regimes that exist today are quite deliberately pseudo-democratic, in that the multi-party electoral competition often masks the reality of authoritarian domination [8]. Some hybrid states and hybrid regimes draft a document of hybrid constitutional governmental structures to fit and satisfy their hegemonic natures.

Leaving aside the ambiguous regimes for now, we shall see the five categories as classified by Diamond for purposes of our political discourse and debates. They are (a) liberal democratic regimes (b) Electoral democratic regimes (c) competitive authoritarian regimes (d) Hegemonic electoral authoritarian regimes (e) Politically closed authoritarian regimes. With the Exception of (a) and (b), the three categories are hybrid authoritarian regimes with limited and different degree of political rights and civil liberty rights.  Diamond and Dahl’s indicators are not only sound, but it is empirically appealing as it performs better than others when testing relevant hypothesis; because democracy requires direct and indirect popular decision making.

Developmental State

According the academic literatures, the developmental states have two components: They are (a) ideological (b) structural. Certainly this ideology-structure nexus distinguishes the developmental states from other forms of states. At the ideational level, the elites must be able to establish an ideological hegemony with a discourse framework of policy-makers in a self-fulfilling manner. With developmental states there is always contradiction between diagnosis and prescriptions and hence it reflects in their contradictory positions. To paraphrase Gramci, it is the pessimism of the diagnosis and optimism of the prescription that found themselves in difficulties to have a joint distribution of “democracy” and “development”, to stabilize and privatize the economy, and to engage in good governance and democratize the state.

The contradiction has occulted the African developmental states, that I could argue, not only have the states are dysfunctional in terms of managing larger societal issues, but also can not withdraw from state dominated economic and societal spaces. The developmental states run the risk of being tautological concentrating around the success made by mere fact of “trial and error” nature of policy making. Democracy and development are not separated in the broader sense of development. In fact democracy is good for good governance and sustainable development is not possible without democracy. (More detail in my next tebeges edition).

Taxonomic Classifications of African Regimes

Hybrid authoritarian regimes are political systems with a limited, non-responsible pluralism without an elaborated and guiding ideologies, but with distinctive mentalities [9]. Their political systems have ill defined rules and procedures that serve only to their interests and the degree of pluralism and institutional structures are determined by the sitting authoritarian regimes.

The minimum threshold required for a regime to be called a “democratic regime must include (a) universal suffrage (b) free, competitive, recurrent and fair elections (c) the existence of more than one party (d) different and alternative media sources (e) real guarantee of civil and political rights. Regimes that allow some and disallow part of the measurement scales fall into one of the hybrid regime categories. Assuming that all democracy are “electoral democracy” but all electoral democracy aren’t liberal, then below is a table of classifications of African regimes only, extracted from the comprehensive worldwide regimes charted by Larry Jay Diamond.


**Traditional Monarchy

PR = political right,   CR = Civil liberties, Scale of measurement on PR & CR    = 1 Rep. the most free, 7 Rep. Least free

For our immediate references Ethiopia is classified with the “competitive hybrid authoritarian regimes” while Eritrea is currently classified with the “politically closed authoritarian regimes.”

PFDJ Is Ruling Not Governing

Currently the Eritrean political mind is embedded on military and military establishments to seek stability and resist democratic changes. EPLF as a politico-military wing, they have a long standing of military order and structure since they have entered the city. Even after EPLF is transformed into a political party (PFDJ), the army is totally merged as part and parcel of the party’s structure to fulfill the goal of the party.

Steven Cook amazingly had played an important role in his insight about “institutionalism” regarding authoritarianism regimes. In his argument regarding authoritarian regimes, he said institutions are not merely instruments for resolving collective action problems, and are not necessarily designed for efficacy, but rather to preserve the power, prestige, privilege, and distributional advantages of the dominant elites and its allies at the expense of society at large [10]. Unlike the Eritrean military institutions, Cook found that the founding officers of  Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey were all high modernists defending their worldview based on scientific knowledge – the pattern of political regimes of military dominated states with civilian alliances to benefit themselves – a clear difference to classical establishment of military dictatorships [11]. In such regimes, the officers usually tolerate political dissents until they perceive them as a threat to their power and to their interests that comes with the power.

Keep in mind the political thought of our reformers and the followers of PFDJ will eventually end up for hegemonic institutional regimes, as they are allergic to fundamental changes for democratic regimes. Ruling and not governing is the overall impressive political thought in their mind. They are for stability without democratic institutionalism where civil liberty and group liberty become the antithesis of their regime and their interests. I will come later to explain as to why from the get go the hybrid constitution was designed for hybrid regime.

Uncertainty And Changes

Uncertainty and changes have been an inseparable part of politics. They are inherently linked to each other. Institutional structures, worldview, and organizations that once gave sense of security and stability are collapsing in front of our eyes. But changes and uncertainty are not also inherently bad. They could bring a new high order structural change, and along with it, the insight, tools, skills, and technique to run the institutions. While we cannot stop the unfolding political discourses, we should forge some kind of capacity to respond to changes and uncertainty with some wisdom and acute awareness.

In the current Eritrean politics, with the wave of changes, there is great uncertainty as to what will happen to the Eritrean politics with the demise of the current regime. Many of the uncertainty of fears comes from the recent history of some countries like Libya, Syria, and Iraq that are plagued with dysfunctional governance in limbo fighting for a stable state machines to control the unfolding social crises. The problems with these unfound fears are simple, our elites instead of studying the political frictions within our society, they are exploiting the events of the aforementioned countries to consolidate their own “hegemony state” and working hard to set a discourse for forming a hybrid hegemonic regime as an alternative to the current regime – a closed authoritarian regime and authoritarian state that defies human dignity and human decency.

Most Eritrean Highlanders believe on the “hybrid constitutional structure” as envisioned in the 1997 constitutional document. And most Eritrean Lowlanders disown the document as it doesn’t give them a space  and place them as stakeholders for a fair sharing both in political administration and economic distribution. That is their grievances we always hear from them. Actually their argument isn’t structural and ideological argument. They don’t argue on the structural flaw that is designed for the concentration of power to few bureaucratic elites.

This writer’s argument is, if Presidential powers ascended from an assembly or parliament, they give to the rise of a “hybrid regime” and the state run by hybrid regime is a “hybrid state” naturally. Advocating for the 1997 document, no matter what someone try to give rosy argument, the real essence of its constitutional structure that reflect a hybrid in nature and the product from its constitutional structure will be a hybrid regime and a hybrid state. My argument is then, with the current trajectory trend, unless we change the current discourse before it is too late, we will end up with hegemonic authoritarian regime. To change the current trend, the role of civic society is paramount to educate the public and to redirect the course of our politics to build our nation to be home of all its’ citizen living in peace and equality without fear.


The social core of reformers constitute unbalanced social make up of our society. What the outcome from that entails will be everyone’s prediction if their discourse continues in the same trajectory. My point is the situation deserves attentions before they took us in to alien territory. The trend of the prospect of change by the reformers will lead us into a state of “hegemonic electoral authoritarian regime” – a hybrid regime of their nature.

Once they manage to put their foot in to the pedestal of the state machine, the political marginalization will be achieved by the combination of police repression and the use of their ideological apparatus as it will be adopted by the elites of the new hybrid regime, for their own legitimization. If somehow they form coalitions, it will be anti-something rather for something. Basically when they form hegemonic and homogeneous coalition, they will rule by coercion as a continuous of the past regime, with limited openness to election and without autonomous civil liberties and civil societies. We have time to change this unwanted trend to avoid “a coalition of dominance” planned for purposes of coercive resources, influence, and status to achieve their objectives. To do that all the established civic organizations must evolve and develop to specific specializations to exert the needed pressure to the process of our politics in order to change the current trend set up on the horizon. Civil society will tackle to the ill defined rules and procedures of democratic process that serves only to the alliance of power and challenge to the degree of pluralism determined by any sitting authoritarian regime in our nation.


[1] Diamond, L. ., “thinking about hybrid regimes”, journal of democracy, 2002.
[2] Diamond L., “thinking about hybrid regimes”, journal of democracy, 2002, pp 13, 21,
[3] Bogaard M., “how to classify hybrid regime: defective democracy and electoral authoritarianism” 2009, pp 16, 399-423.
[4] Karl T. “the hybrid regimes of central America, journal of democracy 6, 72, 1995.
[5] Ekman, J. “political participation and regime stability: A framework for analyzing hybrid regimes, International political science review, pp 30, 7- 31.
[6] Diamond L., Journey of democracy, volume 13, April 2002, pp 21-35, published by John Hopkins’ university press.
[7] Robert Dahl, “ Polyarchy: Participation and opposition”, New haven, Yale University press 1971, pp 33-36.
[8] Juan J. “Totalitarian and authoritarian regimes” Boulder, Colorado, 2000 pp 60
[9] Juan l Lintz, “An authoritarian Regime: the case of Spain”, 1964, Westermarck society, pp 255.
[10] Steven Cook “Ruling but not governing: The Military and Political in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey”, John Hopkins University Press, 2007 pp 6.
[11] Ibid, Steven Cook, pp 15.

About Amanuel Hidrat

Amanuel Hidrat, is a political activist and a passionate writer in the current struggle against the Eritrean regime. His extensive writings are focused on constitution and constitutionalism, constitutional process, nature of governments, and grievances of the social groups. His articles can be found “Tebeges”, a rich column at that archives over 150 articles. He has been writing at Ntsebraq in Tigrinya since 1998, and in English since 2000. Through his writings, , he promotes "multicultural liberalism" and "multicultural constitutionalism" that provides a fair share to social groups in the decision making process of governance. Amanuel believes it’s not individuals, but ”our social groups”, that should be the building blocks of the Eritrean nation state. Amanuel studied “Industrial chemistry" at the Poly-technical Institute in Ethiopia, and "Clinical Pharmacy" at St John's University in the US.

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Perceptions & Values: Transforming the Eritrean Minds

“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your window on the world. Scrub them …

  • Ismail

    Selamat Ismail (moksi)

    No apology needed. It is an honor to be confused with you.

    Ismail (pointblank)

  • saay7

    Selamat Awatistas:

    Here’s an invitation to Emma, Sabri, Nero, Bayan and, of course whoever wants to join in theoretical discussion of democracy–particularly as it relates to Eritrea.

    We all have heard (because it’s generally accepted as fact) that there is a direct relationship between national income and democracy. To wit: a country needs a middle class to plant and grow the seeds of democracy. This so-called “modernization hypothesis” has been accepted as valid for over 50 years.

    Later on, as exceptions were noted (high income nation which are not democratic) new hypothesis was floated. Namely: there are “individualistic” cultures and “collectivist” cultures and the latter are less likely to become democratic and the most they can hope for is a benevolent autocrat. Is there some truth to this? If so, does Eritrea have a collectivist culture?

    Here’s a primer presented at the World Economic Forum last month.


    • Ted

      Hi Saay, in previous discussion about Developmental/democratic state discussion i didn’t know how to integrate the cultural factor in to the equation of government system. Little did i know “the white boys” are ahead of me that amoeba and malaria have shaped our collective thinking to accept IA as our leader and stuck with him:) The most important variable to postulate how we operate or select governing system in this article is pathogen prevalence. How strange, it may be true to accept collective way of thinking in the area of high pathogen prevalence like Eritrea to protect ourselves from evil spirit ( now mental sickness) and God’s wrath of epidemic diarrhea( tigrigna translation pls) thus the behaviors that define collectivism may function in the service of anti pathogen defense. Genetic variable which is considered as less important variable in the article, i think ,should be as good variable as pathogen prevalence . In our country with high level of pathogen prevalence, there could be a selection process favoring genetic variations probabilistically associated with collectivism that a different kind of genetic adaptation might also be at work favoring collectivism. Pathogen prevalence or not, there should be government system tailored for each country. For example, Chines culture/sensibility doesn’t fit well for US kind of democracy, nor does ours( sabri can help). But behold, (Thanks PFDJ, achieving UN millennial Development Goals and all;)) that our pathogen prevalence decreasing, individualistic tendencies may emerge in 50 to 100 years outpacing our genetic adaptation to be collectivism creating to more democratic and prosperous country.
      There is one scientific fact i know though, Gut flora. scientist think change in our gut flora due to migration and adaptation of new diet may have a big influence in our physiology and psychology. More enjera( fermented food) and less fried chickens pls.

      • saay7

        Hi Ted:

        Your namesake, TED, has a video that may advance our discussion here: how individualistic and collectivist states see the role of the State:

        If pressed for time, begin here at the 9:00 minute mark and watch for 3 minutes.

        Martin Jacques: Understanding the rise of China

        Do you see parallels here? Shum, your contribution is needed because of what you casually dropped in your rebuttal to iSem: the needle the Eritrean opposition has been trying to thread in advancing individual rights AND collectivist (tribal, ethnic, religious group) rights. Who is sovereign: the individual citizen or the social group?


        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Dear Saay,

          Thank you for the link. I really enjoyed it. Regarding your invitation for the debate, I would suggest to postpone it until the report of CoI is digested and probably after June 24 Martyr’s day. Other than that, the topic your raised – “individualist culture,” “collectivist culture,” and the relation of “democracy” and “culture” are so important to debate to make a ground for future democratic and peaceful Eritrea. I will let the restart button for you to bring it on the table for debate later after June 24.

          Thank you again.
          Amanuel Hidrat

    • Bayan Nagash

      Selamat Sal,

      Thanks for the invite. My friend Amanuel’s article and the link you sent are two of many that had to be saved for later as time is not on my side for now. Notions of collectivism and individualism vis-a-vis culture and democracy is one fascinating subject matter that ought to be discussed – I am not so certain of its timing now in light of the monumental UN Report that I was hoping AT would tackle. So far, you guys have been mute, what gives my friend? I am sure you saw the useful idiot, the coward of Sudan had to pack quickly and sneak out, talk about being humiliated, but then hubris does not give room for humility nor humiliation – neither of which I am certain is not in his parlance. But, the fact that he is now in this cat and mouse game is enough to put a smile on my face, and we know who the mouse is here. meraHi srAt Hgdef will be joining in the cat and mouse game, pretty soon, with the allegations that are now directed at him and his cronies.

      One of the most important reasons I follow you on Disqus, besides the ideas you present, is that your resourcefulness is just without a parallel. Well, ok, let me walk that back a little – I cannot leave out HTG – you two are a must read whenever I get a chance to indulge in Awate; saying I find you compelling does not do justice to your tireless efforts. Let me take this opportunity to ask this: Do you and HTG see no merit to what these brave Eritrean activists have been able to accomplish by taking the matter to the UN? You may question the inability and/or competency of UN’s and that of the International Court of Hague, but that’s not enough not to support these brave Eritreans whose collective efforts has been reverberating the world over in recent days. Here is the culture of collectivism at work for you, not individualism, mind you.

      At any rate, thank you Sal, hope your pen and that of HTG will be directed to the UN Report, soon


    • Ted

      Every culture developed their identity around in what they value most. The Chines think of the world as human being as integral part of the universe and the society where people are fundamentally connected. “Duty towards all others is a very important matter”, that has been their core value supported by their spirituality and lifestyle for centuries. If we look back in the communist era of Mao with its shortcomings and brutality, has bring out what has been inside their heart how to be govern by the state and their role to contribute/ support the state collectively. For Chines Communism is just an extension of their life style. And to force western idea would be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The same goes to today’s Russia that the communist dictator Stalin has come back as important figure since Putin has come to power to restore “Mother Russia” sentiment(Russian identity). Russians has been willingly forgone many of their rights for this collective thinking. We Eritreans as in the article pathogen prevalence and many factors are predestined us to think collectively that community(clan, tribe) thinking is preferred or advantageous to tackle problems as defense of pathogens otherwise the community would become vulnerable or incapable, as individuals, to cope with treats . When EPLF came to picture, it was what Eritreans was looking for. The programme of EPLF( statehood) is accepted By eritreans with enthusiasm to unite them beyond their community(clan or tribe) to high level of collective identity as Eritreans. The success of EPLF is as in Chines of communism, was out of the population’s innate predisposition. Eritreans have cherished this collective thinking as far as to embrace ”hade libe hade Hizbi” mentality. This is not a political ploy by EPLF as some want to portray it, but it is the desire of the people to build on their success to stay united to tackle problems collectively. As far as i am concerned Eritreans have found their calling in EPLF program and they will fight it to keep it , if nothing, Eritreans will not abandon collective thinking as Eritreans even PFDJ stayed is out of the picture. That is why it has been futile attempt to tarnish Eritrean identity by some elements, meaning, Eritreans are willing to accept anything complement their collective thinking but not antagonize it .

  • Pass the salt

    Some of today’s chats

    Paul D: Rahel W. admitted Eritrea had a shoot to kill policy, see UN report…
    Rahel W: Paul D, CoI using a tweet out of context & my name in report w/out ontacting me…
    Paul D: you chose to be an apologist for a regime…don’t you like the spotlight anymore?
    Rahel W: what spotlight? The one you are trying to grab, white boy trying to save us poor lil Africans? Please…
    Paul D: come on Rahel. You were very clear. I am sure regime is not happy at the confession…
    Rahel W: there it happens again…white boy imagines unhappy regimes, confessions while trolling my twitter…
    Paul D: I have represented/worked with Eritrean refugees for 12 years. It is astonishing you deflect/excuse abuses these people suffer.
    Fnan D: Paul D, so CoI references a tweeter exchange to inform opinion on HR in Eritrea?
    ************ \ *********

    Salem S: Paul D, Merona, someone is backtracking…
    Selam K: Salem, we have gone full circle…now even ipad girl is a refugee in Sweden
    Salem S: Selam, I don’t know how to respond to that
    Selam K: Salem, by asking her how many ipad she now owns?
    Salem S: that seems petty…I have a long history with this person and I am not interested
    Selam K: Salem, I am only trying to help..
    Meron E: Salem, Selam, I am enjoying this convo lol

  • selam

    Dear learners of ICC
    Omer Al bashir crushed your short hot news, pls Go ask the 1.2 billion company to rethink about where to start to arrest. Tony Blair, George Bush are walking freely after killing 1.5 million innocent Iraqis. ICC the dead book in the Toilet will say what ? Oh Africans , ja we know this long time ago.Poor western media will try to say new again. Time has changed so do the Africans .

  • Ahadu

    Hello Awatistas !

    we need some smiles and here is comedian Trevor Noah on British colonialism..found it funny but with strong message:

  • Semere Andom

    Africa’s Shame:
    Dear Awatista:
    It looks like Al-Bashir was able to leave South Africa evading the ICC order for his arrest for the crimes against black Africans in Darfur, for no reason other than his tribe’s skin color is “lighter” than those they ethnically attempted to cleanse.

    It is ironic that the county that fought peacefully and courageously to defeat Apartheid, the rule of whites that enslaved blacks in their own ancestral land is slipping away to what African is known for: repression, ethnic cleansing and tyranny and starvaation, despite the continent’s natural endowment of resources that supplies the rest of the world. SA was considered a beacon of hope when the blacks were able to defeat the brutal Apartheid without blood shed, now the generation of leaders holding the power seem have forgotten that Al-Bashir is accused of is what the Apartheid has done to them just 25 years ago.

    The AU, hardly an august body of vision and courage is littered with Nephelems, yet small men who are protecting their own skin when they allowed one of them to evade the ICC.

    South Africa and AU lost a golden opportunity to prove to Africans that they are serious to lead the continent to modernity and civilization by handing the president of Sudan to the ICC to face justice for the crimes against fellow Africans. To my mind this cowardice will go down as a moment of history when all the criminals at the AU won and the people lost. The industrial revolution passed Africa and with many criminals at the top, vouching for each other, it is again poised to be passed by the information revolution. The annual pilgrimage to the Mediterranean Sea, what the Charlie Hebdo cruelly, but correctly dubbed “Family Reunion” of the African people will continue as they escape the horrors in their continent.

    If the harvest is bad, corrupt with a propensity for despotism, with a desire to protecting, defending, and nurturing and producing criminals is Africa’s offerings, then maybe, it is not the produce, maybe the people need to look if the orchard is not also bad.

    But that diseased garden has managed to produce giants like Kwwame Nkruma and Lumumba, but the same diseased orchard managed to nip them in the bud before they were fruitful.

    • Peace!

      Dears iSem,

      You know who calls the shot! Ironically those who made the case against him haven’t even said anything. It is all about politics. He was charged in 2007, and apparently things have changed so much.


  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Emma,
    This is good. It helps us get the feel of the standard typologies and where the current system would be rightly placed. I see you Emma, as contributing a lot more in this area.

  • Casey Jon

    You all need to repent for your aims and make good with your God. You burnt many Tegaru on te streets of Asmara in 1999 when your army lost in Zalambessa. All that has befallen you is the result of Karma. You won’t find peace.I know deep inside you are stewing in jealousy and envy because Ethiopia is doing well. Deep inside most Kebessa wish Ethiopia would turn to be another Somalia.Hirir belu.

    • Pass the salt

      Regarding your claim on TPLF’s helping shaebia…
      On paragraph # 97 of the UN commission report published last week, you will find this:
      “the EPLF maneuvered to weaken Mengistu’s regime by intensifying its support to Ethiopian rebel movements, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), respectively in north and south-central Ethiopia. In February 1989, EPLF artillery support contributed to the victory of the TPLF in the battle of Shire and the capture of the whole Tigray province, effectively blocking land access from Ethiopia to central Eritrea.”
      If you disagree with this, June 22 is your chance to join shaebia supporters’ demonstration in Geneva to protest the report:)

      • Ted

        Hi PS, Good left hook comeback;)

      • Casey Jon

        Hanti tanki ab shire misteqatselet hadimkum. Ethiopia can overrun your imanciated sawa kittens in 3 days. Isaias has helped is a lot. Deep inside I think he hates you people and has that Tigraway Dejach gene. Warlord style

    • selam

      Dear casey
      Actually most kebesa people would probably be happy if your inflated bsg is true about being rich. But do not ask them to help you fill your case in the western asylum case And pls give them respect in the ADI HARISH camp , please give them back what they have done for you. The highlanders know Tegaru from 1980th to 2001 and they know them as what, A, as gasot B, as halewuti gratom C, as their brothers. So good for you , your ffamily are safe and sound. I am happy Tigray is growing , i really do but i also pray your children to have a good relationships with all your oppressed oromo and amhara people. When the running comes , you would be probably saved by your cousin Eritrean highlanders . I say this as a low landers are way far to be your families friends. Deep inside me , i am happy to see you sell power to Eritrea when the time comes and yet i pray for you because Eritreans own not KLIL they own a country . If incase you know any one who lost life in Eritrea due to his tigrawyness please accept my deepest condelances. I really feel terrible for any life lost for nothing. But do not forget the hundreds of thousands Aglay people and other young Ethiopians who lost on the trenches too. Weyane has never registered their name but they are your brothers . Now feel free to spit and we have much to throw at you .

      • Casey Jon

        Lol . We are not known for running. You people were always slaves either by the Turks or the Italians or someone else so how and when were you ever lords? One minute you cry about Raesi Alula enslaving you the next you are telling us we were your Guasot? Speaking of Guasot most Asmara kebessa display that behavior . Chiwinet kem kisanet rihikukum. The fact that you are being ruled by Tegaru like isaias is another testimony to your incompetence.You are becoming a nation without a people . The only ones that are not leaving the country en masse are the low landers . So adikhum kiwersuwa eyom.Hirir belu .you are dying in the high seas because of karma

  • Fnote Selam


    Good read. Thank you!


  • T..T.

    Hi Amanuel,

    Great analysis and would work if our inbuilt defects are first corrected.

    Let me first be honest to tell you that T..T. explains my stand on the Eritrean politics. The T..T. stands for “Eritrea’s problem is trust problem and cannot be resolved without T..T.(Telling the Truth about Tigrina and Tigre).

    From the following part of the Eritrean history, we can understand that King Haile Selassie was first destroyed by the people whom he trusted and empowered them (the Tegrina and Tigre).

    Forget and trust because trust is the glue of our proposed democracy – didn’t work. Why? Because the problem of the two (Tigrina and Tigre) is lack of trust of each other as well as lack of trusting the others. So, the others (the non-Tigrina and non-Tigre) always feel deceived not because they trusted these two (Tigrina and Tigre) but because they were overpowered and betrayed by these two. That is why for Kunamas, Danakilis and others the only one sought as a solution is federal government before their decision for secession. They learned that from present Ethiopia. Therefore, if we all want to grant trust and see good seeds to grow, we must not overpower or dictate on others.

    In order for Eritreans to mitigate their problems of mistrust, they must must only be led by the minorities until such time the mistrust is neutralized. Again that was learned from the present Ethiopia.

    Secondly, let’s see what went wrong during the era of federal government with Ethiopia.

    Many Eritreans refer to King Haile Selassie as the smartest statesman, who came up with strikingly right solutions to the Eritrean problems:

    Before setting foot upon his UN granted land (Eritrea), the king knew about the hatred between the pro-Ethiopia groups and the pro-Eritrea independence groups led by Tigrina and Tigre respectively. He devised a solution calling on all Eritreans to live together harmoniously by reminding them that, “The state is for all, but religion is a private matter.”

    When the corruption in Eritrea reached its highest level and people started to take their resentments to the streets, the king fired many of the pro-Ethiopia officials and in their places assigned many pro-independence. The pro-Ethiopia felt betrayed. Again, the king reminded the people of the federated Ethiopia (Eritreans and Ethiopian alike) stating that, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”

    However, to the pro-independence only independence was the answer to their problems. The ELF cells by then were everywhere and all the Eritrean cities became within the reach of the Eritrean Liberation Army. The ELA and its Fedayeen started to target Ethiopian propagandists of Eritrean origin and those who were fanning confessional and regional sentiments to fail the fast growth of the pro-independence achievements. To defeat the ELA, Ethiopia had to destroy every village that ELA visited. Many thousands were killed. Even the king’s representative in Eritrea played religious/regional cards. Ethiopia tried to resettle armed peasants from Kebesa in parts of Hazemo, Gash and Barka regions after driving their inhabitants out. Finally, the king conceded failure to handle the Eritrean situation and established negotiation committees. The king’s decision for peace was similarly reflected by stating, “We believe in the peaceful settlement of all disputes without resorting to force.”

    The mistrust is, therefore, deep-rooted. The opposition thinks Isayas is evil. It is not him. Isayas and his Massawis (Tigrina and Tigre) are just the products of the evil political culture practiced in Eritrea.

    Therefore, it is to be brutally dishonest to disregard the trust problem we have within the opposition groups. As we see, the trust problem is contagious. Even among the unbiased and conscious opposition politicians, any difference boils down to ethnicity and religion trapping them into unwanted emotions. The unbiased politicians, as a result, are pushed to their religion or ethnic groups. As a consequence of the complexity of the political culture, the involved unbiased politicians will not be trusted anymore no matter what. As much as it hurts the conscious people, the trend is part of the game, and they have to move on by accepting the fact that once implicated they will never be trusted again by their unbiased or original groups. That person is pushed to and yet labelled as regionalist or fanatic. Such experiences proved time and time again that mistrust is contagious.

    So, what do we have to do now? With each saying, “I don’t have to trust other than mine because trusting Tigirna and Tigre ends up in empowering them to destroy me.” Again, the question is: what made them feel that way? Of course, history tells and reconfirms about how Tigirna and Tigre when reinstated, they abuse power and their actions contradict their words of fairness. In short, the two are like old dogs that are not ready to learn new arts.

    So long we don’t free ourselves from the evil political culture practiced by Eritreans, any alternative will not work. We have to first neutralize our fear and mistrust through giving power only to the minorities (in alphabetical order): Bilenai, Denkeli, Jeberti, Kanamawi, Nara, Rashaida,Sahawi, and others. Then, the ABC of rulers and laws guaranteed by the major groups can be played safely and fairly by the minorities. Yes, let’s overcome our differences and fears by reassuring the victims of our past and immediate present (the Isayas regime, where again he represents the Tigirna and Tigre (Massawis)).

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Dear T.T,

      Thank you for your feedback. It has been more than three decades since I understood the grievances of our social groups. Their grievances is real and well founded. As a matter of fact I have been trying to address them in most of my posting to the extent of proposing structural and political formula that might address their grievances. So I am into it, fighting for an accommodative structural change to ascertain fair sharing in political administration and economic distribution. I am for two basic things related to our social groups (a) I am for no one left behind and equal opportunities (b) I am for “leveling the playing field” for the rule of engagement. Trust me, building trust is the primary call in my political engagement. Thank again for your comment.

      Amanuel Hidrat

    • selam

      Dear T.T
      tell me why the 80% should give power to like kunama who are less than 100,000 . Why will any Tigrina or Tigre forced to give power to the minority while he can win any election ? I am surprised you again try to plant the bihre bihre sebat thing in Eritrea.Tigrina and Tigre will rule in Eritrea what ever the condition is . I mean if we have democracy that govern the majority with equal rights to the minority. Your ABC thing is just idiotic idea. Get over your hyped idea of the mistrust it is only on your head. All Eritreans has trusted each other bleed on the same line for 40 lus years. You divide thing is not going to work in an open democratic Eritrea. People like you will remain on the flames asking power to minorty and the last solution for people with your idea is slow death on their dream . Wake up , we just need to throw out PFDJ in a very convenient way to our existence not your halow lew thing. Kunama , bilen (me), and other small ethnic in Eritrea can only get the justice on the court with equal rights to Tigre and Tigrina or my be can have administration in their village like adi berbere , or tokombiya if they are able to have majority , i am saying this if because already the Tigrina are all over the place in numbers and with big chanck of wealth.

  • Kokhob Selam

    ክቡር ኣማኑኤል

    ኣብ ዓለም ካብ ዝምስጡንን ወኒ ቃልሰይ ካብ ዘደንፉዑን ቅሩብ ኣገደስቲ ጉዳያት ምሁራት ደረጃ ድኻ ዓዃይን ሸቃላይን ወሪዶም ንቃንዛ ሓፋሾም ተሃዊሶምን ካብ ታሕቲ ንላዕሉ ሒዞሞ ክድይቡ ክሪኢ እንከለኹ እዩ ::

    ኣገንዕ ኣማኑኤል !! እዚ ውጽዕ ብኸርተት ዘሕለፎ ኣስካሕካሒ ዛንታ ይእኸሎ :: ዝሓለፈ ጌጋታት ኣይደገም :: ኣብ መሰጋገሪ መድረኽ ከይተበጽሐን እቲ ፋስ ኣብ ርእስና ከይወደቀን “ንግበሮ ኣይነጸብቆ ” ዝብሉ ግቡዛት ዝኸድዎ ዘለው ጉዕዞ ምስትብሃል –ሃየ ድኣ ኣይንሕመቕ ::

    እቲ ንቅሓተ ሕልና ሓፋሽ ቀንዲ ረቛሕን ኣገዳስን ኣምር ብምዃኑን ታሪኽ ዝሰርሕ ‘ውን ንሱ ብምዃኑ ውጽኢት ስርሑ ዝረክብ ‘ውን ንሱ እቲ ሓፋሽ እዩ :: ውልቀ ሰባት ዘልዎም ታሪኻዊ ግደ ‘ውን ተደማሪ እምበር ወሳኒ ኣይኮነን :: የግዳስ መስተብሃልትን – ኣቀዲምካ ናይ ምጥማት ክእለት ዝውንኑ ውልቀ ሰባት ኣበርቲዖም ዓይኒ ሓፋሾም ምስ ዝኾኑ እቲ ውጹዕ ህዝቢ ካብ ሓደጋ ክድሕን ዘሎ ዕድል ቀሊል ኣይኮነን ::

    እቲ ዲሞክራሲያዊ ምዕባለ ሃገር (DDS ) ዝብል ኣምር ኣብ ሃገርና ክስረሓሉን ከይስረሓሉን ብዓብዩ ዑምቅ ዝበለ ናይ እንካን ሃባን ምይይጥ ክህሉ ኣገዳሲ እዩ ;: ኣብ መጨረሻ እንተስ እዚ ከይዲ ክምረጽ ከይምረጽ እቲ ወሳኒ እቲ ዘምርጾ ዘውድቆን ምኽንያታት ከምዚ ዘቅረብካዮ ብስነፍልጠትን ታሪኻዊ መርትዖታትን እዮ ::

    ሓንቲ ግን ነቅ ዘይትብልን – ዝተባህለ እንተተባህለ ዘይትቅየርን ሓቂ ኮይና ት ስመዓንን ጉዳይ ኣላ :–እዚ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ከም ናግራም ኮማሪት ሽንጡ ሒዙ ካብ ምቁያቅ ሓሊፉ ንምርድዳእ ምምይያጥን እሂም ቢሂም ምባልን ዘይለመደ – ኩሉ ጉዳያት ብባእሲን ኩናትን ክፈትሕ ዝደሊ ስርዓት እዩ :: ተረፍ መረፍ እዚ ስርዓት እምበኣር ዝገብርዎ ዝኾኑ ዋጋ ዕዳጋ ከይተበገሰ ፍሹል እዩ :: እዚ ፍሹል ክሳብ ዝኾነ ኸኣ ኣብ ድሮ ለውጢ ዝጥረ መሰጋገሪ መድረኽ ክፉትን ኣሳታፍን ኮይኑ ንተወሰነ መድረኽ ክቅጽል ምግባር እሞ እቲ ናይ ሓሳብ ኩናት ተሰላሲሉ ንመጻኢ እንምረሓሉ መርሃ ግብርን ስርዓትን ክንተክል ምዃና ፍጹም ኣይጠራጠርን why? እዛ ሃገር ክንዲ ዚ ግዜ ብዘይ ለውጢ ምጽናሓ መርገም ጥራይ ኣይኮነን : ምርቃ ውን እዩ :: እቲ ምንታይ ሲ እቲ ሱር ነቀል ለውጢ ዘምጽእ ውፉይ እዩ ለውጢ ከምጽእ -እንተ ጸገንትን ሓዋወስትን ኩሉ ክገብርዎ ዝኽእሉ ሓሊፍዎም እዩ :: በርትዕ መምህር !

    • Amanuel Hidrat


      Thank you for your vote of confidence. I have personal message to you on face book.

      Amanuel Hidrat

  • Ismail

    Selamat Tes, Amanuel, and all,

    There is a comment that was made by Ismail that people are confusing me (pointblank). FYI, I haven’t commented on this article by Amanuel. This is my very first so far. I may comment later in detail but the one that was already posted is not mine. I always try to sign mine with Ismail (pointblank) to avoid such confusion.

    Thanks Amanuel for the well-researched and insightful article that is guaranteed to deepen our understanding of the subject. Keep up the good work and I hope you will also take heed of the critical input given by the other Ismail about sharing your wisdom in digestible and easy chunks.

    Ismail (pointblank)

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Ismail,
      I was also wondering. thank you for the clarification.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Michael,
    I am always appreciative for all your feedback. Sometimes I learn and sometimes be reminded by your input. I believe we are in the same wave length on the issue of our nation. Thank you again.

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Selam Ismail,

    I understand your concern and it was my concern since Issayas and his group occupy the state machine of the Eritrean government. In fact if you refer to the archive of my posting under “tebeges,” most of my posting are focused not only on the “mistrust” among the political organizations, but also on the mistrusts within our “social groups” that are the building block of Eritrean society. Just to remind you, below are the particular posting that were dedicated for the issue you have raised.

    This is essay was intended to remind our fellow Eritreans that after all the current predicament, it was my personal call to address that the effort of the justice seekers, not to be hijacked by reformists whose agenda is for reformed authoritarian regime after the demise of the current regime. Thank you for your feedback brother.

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • tes

    Dear brother Ismail,

    I differ from your take respectefully. In fact, Eritreans are searching for sophisticated ideals so that they can be uplifted. Many youth like me back home are (those who got a chance to join even to existing colleges) are contantly brainwashed by books spread from the central office of PFDJ.

    Books written by well known writers like Iqbal Ahmed, Hantigton, and many likes who criticize Imperialism and New World Order are every where in Eritrea. This is the reason (as per my observation) many young people simply laugh when opposition leaders or writers talk about democracy and equity based governance. The youth are purposefully brainwashed through books that counter argue capitalism and globalization.

    I am talking here about those who join colleges and are possible potential leaders for future Eritrea that we are fighting for.

    Hence, an equivalent level, if not higher, kind of political discourses is needed. Many criticize Amanuel Hidrat’s style of writing (My recent criticism was for a different reason) but as a theoretical writer and active participant of the movements for justice, we need such kind of writers. We need writers who dismantle the political discourses offered by PFDJ to its cadres. I know what I was reading and I know many readers like me who are still serving under the PFDJ regime. They are well equiped to argue in line to PFDJ political thinking.

    Ask to any recent immigrant who finished college. he will laugh at you if you try to speak him about democracy and likes simply not because he doesn’t understand but he is heavy armed to challenge you. The same goes to YPFDJ. These youth read high level of political arguments to make their stance accepted. PFDJ is investing heavily in theorizing the youth. Unless therefore we come with advanced level of discussion (in this case, Saay7, haile TG, Bayan, Amanuel Hidrat, including you, Ismail, MS, Ali Salim, Amanuel Sahle, Fitsum from Assenna though confusing) are highly needed to counterfate and dismantle the mentality of PFDJ.

    Writers like SGJ have a different take.

    This is how I see our writers at this time.

    1. There are informers and signal senders like SGJ (I once called him the Rocket head). SA is also a signal sender which I relate him with SGJ but his narrow approach that targets PFDJ only makes him lagging behind.

    2. Super and genuines Analysts like Saay7, Ali Salim and you (now I am categorizing you in this category. We have also people like Hayat Adem, Mahmud Saleh, with a special gift to see things subjectively.
    3. Teachers like Amanuel Hidrat and Bayan

    And few combine the three in one like haile TG and Fanti Ghana

    Well informed and protectors of the temple (for what they belong too) are also with us here both from Ethiopia (T.Kifle – Guardian of the Woyane temple, Eyob Medhanie – Guardian of Abyssinian kingdom, Abi -Guardian of Derge regime, dawit – guardian of Eri-TV, etc).

    This composite set of characters will help us to widen our horizon and see beyond the wall.

    Therefore, lets see the complete picture. If we love analysists, equally, we should love theoriticians. If we love to see rebels, we should appreciate the guardians too. Our success is measured positively if and only if we contain all theses diversities and live as one to penetrate the darkness of political discourses.

    What I happy with is that Amanuel Hidrat is back from his Never Land politics.


    + If I carried you to some where I am too also carried by through the words that it came during my meditiation. Stop therefore where you should.


    Many youth are

    • Abi

      Prof Tes
      Did you really call Ato Saleh ” rocket head?”
      What do you mean?

      • tes

        Dear Abi,

        Don’t take it in the negative way; In fact, what I mean is “Nose Cone”. This was what I said before and what I mean today too.

        With applogies.

        • Abi

          Prof Tes
          Thank you . Now I have a clear picture of SJG.

          Aya Saleh Gadi melku ayasasit
          Afnchaw ” cone” mesay chinqlatu rocket.
          Enat weledechiw yihenin mekuwanint.

          • Brhan

            Hi Abi,
            You are so funny!
            አያ ሳላህ ገዲ መልኩ አያሳስት
            አፍንጫው “cone” መሳይ ጭንቅላቱ ሮኬት
            እናት ወለደችው ይሄንን መኴንንት።

          • Abi

            Hi Brhan
            That is how prof Tes described him. He told me he ( Ato Saleh)is rocket head and nose cone.
            Ay melk qunjina ay afeTaTer
            Afnchaw Tiyit new chinqlatu Tor.
            Eza afincha lay menetsir argobet
            Eza chinqilat lay zewd sidefabet
            Hizbe Adam segede ale ” abet , abet.”

  • tes

    Dear Amanuel Hidrat,

    Amanuel Hidrat is resurrected! Eureka!

    This is the one that I was looking for. Gravitating into the a seemingly collapsing political debate could have led us into no where. Now, thanks, with your typology and taxonomical classification system, you surfaced above everything.

    I admire your take on the hybrid regime discourses that the reformers are advocating for. I like your take on the uncertainity, the core cause of reformers to advocate rosy changes.

    I like your take for being very inclusive, touching our social grievances.


    Thank you brother.