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Eritrea’s Succession Plan

Eritrea’s Succession Plan: Mentoring Emerging Leadership to Build Civil Society

I was writing this article when the Lampedusa tragedy unfolded and I had to divert my attention and venting my frustration in my earlier article. Such tragic turn of events should jolt us out of slumber and complacency as many several writers stated it. The whole world has seen the misery of Eritreans exposing the cruelty and the survival scheme of the regime in power. I feel this is a timely to go back to this article because it is a lack of proper political and moral leadership that has created such catastrophe.

The political leadership has turned into seven-headed monster swallowing and spewing our youth; the future of our homeland. Lack of moral leadership is evident; the seven-headed monster has succeeded making them submissive or silent not to utter their prophetic voices challenging the evil and the evil doers. This might be true inside Eritrea; the Diaspora community is no in an enviable position either. The so called oppositions groups are infiltrated and infected to the core by the PFDJ virus. Therefore, the opposition groups’ failure of offering viable alternative to the tyranny is not to be passed without some critical assessment. The opposition groups continue to be sucked into a vacuum of their own creation. The lack of imagination and visioning as “thinking outside of the box;” they could not build a consensus offering an alternative plan to DIA.

In essence, the alphabet soup of opposition groups and PFDJ tend to operate from the same mentality our way of the highway; if we are not leading anyone else should do either. All live for the moment short of long term vision or succession plan. It is long overdue of discussing viable “succession plan.” We the current political environment, mentoring leaders for the future is absent from the “phraseology” of the opposition groups.  It is in this context I would like to raise the mentor protégé relation as vision for “succession plan.” Let us all be real look ourselves in a mirror.

The majority of those in leadership or aspiring for it are in their 60s and 70s with increasingly failing health and chronic illness accelerated by stressful conditions. The latest pictures of the perennially teenage like DIA couldn’t hide that he too is ailing. In reality there is the phenomenon of “arrested development” defying the progression of their age and mortality less endowed by the wisdom of lived experience. As a result the younger generation, especially the “SAWA GENERATION” looks at these leaders with compt. A tension as a result of generational gap is normal anywhere, but in Eritrea it takes a different twist. It is not the older generation that looks at the younger as counter culture. The younger generation looks at the older, especially those in leadership as self-serving corrupt with no moral value. For example, the religious revival in the Eritrean Orthodox youth, the youth conversion to Pentecostal movement en masse, the Muslims resorting to more fundamental religious practice are some of the signals that the younger generation is trying to right the wrongs of the older.

In this context, it becomes very difficult to establish mentor protégé relationship. The generational gap has begun to show some fissures in the opposition groups; the younger generation looks at reality differently. The veteran leaders on the other hand, are accustomed to sense of entitlement to lead. Any challenge to their authoritative approach of leadership becomes the enemy labeled with any fitting derogatory adjectives. With such mentality of entitlement, change of leadership has been analogous to playing musical chairs.  As for DIA, he has made sure that there is no more than one chair in sight; the one he is sitting on. Yet, time is the best equalizer; he too shall pass on like any mortal; especially like many dictators before him with reviled legacy. Does Isaias have any succession plan to his throne? It looks that this would be hidden from the all-knowing Divine though not sure from the devil. However, mortals wish and speculate.

Rumor has it that DIA has been bringing his son Abraham to the public eye as a hint of his “succession plan” to his dynasty. If this is true, then DIA is facing his own mortality. However, leaving his son would be the worst legacy he could pass on. Regardless how good a leader or nice a person Isaias’ might be; his fate will be sealed with his father like the sons of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Mubarak and Assad. None of them survived when the inevitable came. The fate of Assad will not be any different after committing incalculable crimes against his own citizens.  Will DIA usher his own son to the same fate? Since all dictators think and act alike, I won’t be surprised if the rumor would be true after all.

Dictators usher their own children to continue their legacy not out of love for public or to the benefit of the country. It is not even to protect the wealth they have accumulated; plundering the country as their private property. Dictators pass on power to their children out of selfishness; avoiding and evading personal accountability for their crimes against their very people, whom they subjugated in humiliation.

In the midst of so much a mess among Eritreans; in the motherland and in the Diaspora, it might be a pipe dream to entertain the idea of succession plan in leadership. However, sooner or later one has to confront with this question since time is of the essence. The self-deluded immortal leaders will too be subjected to the passage of time. If there is a vision for viability, sustainability and continuity, then we are forced to entertain the idea of succession plan. In order to achieve that there should be also mentor protégé relationship. How do we address this vision with level headed approach? How do bridge the generational gap with starts to be widening with the passage of time? This might need not a scholarly or political discussion; it is the reality of life. People of all walks of life sign “living will” when the inevitable comes, at least their house in order. Wouldn’t it far more important to think of a nation that way? 

Let me pose some self-criticism first. Many of us are stack in the past in the form of “arrested development;” therefore, any attempt to make is in the present is met with futility. Yet, the majority of us have entered a stage of confusion that we cannot think clearly other than focusing on personalities and individuals as the roots and sources of all challenges we face. I would like to appeal to my generation, who we are already over the hump. If we are unable to start thinking about our legacy and pass it on to our posterity, we have a real problem at hand. This is not only in political sense but in the day to day life too. However, politically, we are the “problem child” that created havoc in our society. Though there might be enough stories of heroic actors within our generation standing as points of contradiction, prickling our conscience for introspection or teasing integrity to “do the right thing” but they are very few – far and in between.  At the end of the day, the political solution to the Eritrean problem is completely tied to our generation; paving the way for peaceful future.

One cannot give of what he/she does not have. We lack political will, personal and organization integrity to see and envision beyond the haze of the moment. Most of us are “hell bent” to get even waiting for our time for the “sweet revenge” which in reality is a vicious cycle of chaos and confusion. There is a need for each of us to reconcile within in order to preach for peace and justice without. How? By let go of the bygone days of hurt, grievances, power, and authority. Most Eritreans, have unfulfilled dreams and aspirations but we cannot keep hostage for the next generation from fulfilling its dreams and aspirations – of “servant leadership,” peaceful and just society that invests in individual and national development.  What is our personal and national succession plan? We have a whole lot to think about.

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  • http://gmail Goitom

    Thank you Fessahaye.
    It was excellent article.

  • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

    “One cannot give of what he/she does not have. We lack political will, personal and organization integrity to see and envision beyond the haze of the moment. Most of us are “hell bent” to get even waiting for our time for the “sweet revenge” which in reality is a vicious cycle of chaos and confusion”

    I can’t just pass this article with out saying thank you. thank you brother.

    • Nitricc

      just thinking, is there any article or a writer you don’t agree with? every time i read you admiring even the garbage once. what is up with that?
      wake up man, lol

      • ዕትብቲ ኮኾብ ሰላም

        that is ok. I also admire and love you. My parents tought me to say thank you to everybody,every event and learn form them. if I say thank you to PIA for killing his followers and expose himself, why not admire the people like Fessehaye who teach and show the perfect way. and you, you are the best for challanging all peole and what makes me wonder about you is even you are challanging while knowing the truth.

        • Haile Neguse

          All,

          Please disregard people like Nitricc and his like who writes for the sake of writing.

          Almost 99% of his likes are whole bunch of hot air.

          Folks, let me tell you something:

          I was member of PFDJ till I left about 18 months ago.
          Believe me, these people have no substance at all.

          If you come across people like “Nitricc” ask them what they did for the country, ask them to provide the 2% they paid and they have nothing to show for with the exception of leap service. When I use to be a member of this outlaws, I use to hear members attaching people but I know that they did not pay anything (I know i was part of their meeting).

          So please leave this half-brain Nitricc alone. let him make an ass of him self.

          • Nitricc

            lol, you are too dumb to belong to PFDJ.
            by the way why did you leave the PFDJ? At least i have half-brain, what do you have? the only substance you have is your oh, okay let me use the filter SAAY has placed on my system. lol
            Haile, get the hell out of here. lol, so who do you beleong to now?
            O don’t know why but latly, all the dull people are showing up in awate forum. the good thing is they won’t last.

      • Wedi Hama

        Nitricc,

        Do you really know what kind of Idiot are you? You are typical PFDJ!! Get a life!! If you wanted to be supported of the hooligans, help them to correct the gross negligence DIA is doing. Just typing on the computer is not going help your “Mahber”.

        People are airing out what they saw “as wrong doings” by the “ARAWIT” in Asmara.

        Replying against every posting will be a drag to the country and obviously the hooligans in Asmara may think that they are doing good. Please do not tell me they are doing good because we can see the country is going to the “cave age”.

        If you have a little brain, the hooligans in Asmara can not even maintain what was left by Derg (Ethiopia) let alone to develop the country.

        Also, it would be good for people like you who are making unnecessary noises to go to the “one man” government you support and tell us how it feels to live in stone age.

        Behave you moron, please are hurting!!

        • Nitricc

          “Behave you moron, please are hurting!!”

          what are you trying to say?
          anyway, this is the very reason we like PIA. there are backward people like you who call themselves, wedi hama, wedi akele, wedi whatever. you people are stupid, you don’t deserve any poletical freedom. you think you are better becouse you are wedi asmara or wedi akele. no, you not.
          what derg left in Eritrea is a crushed children’s bone that was squashed by a moving tanks. stupid. think before you open your mouth.
          again Asmara is not Eritrea.

  • Akele Guzai

    Isaias Afewerki has many years left so waiting him out is not an option, i have no patience for such incompetence, we need 2 call for an eritrean revolution, kill Isaias Afewerki plain and simple! Arrest ALL who support him. They are all traitors and DIA is nothing but a simple murderer.

    Our people wont survive if we dont act NOW!

    • Nitricc

      You are the only opposition who got it right, lol
      All of them say his gone, he is collapsing, he is dying, his days are numbered and he is that and this. The man will out last every one of his enemy. Even my beloved awate-team, they have been predicting for the last seven years.
      Anyway, akele, what ever the hell is your name, who are you calling to revolt? You said we need Eritrean revolution, who is that?
      Here is another backward highlander naming himself after the dead and forgotten name’s of region.
      Okay go start a revolution. Lol

  • Zahra

    Nitricc,

    Do you know that:

    The youth is the factotum (paid $8 a month to do all kinds of working from bathroom cleaning to the dirtiest job) of the households of those with absolute power. The diaspora sleep-dancers are only self-seeking and serving Isayas as stepping stones to crush the youth’s aspirations, denying the youth to create different reality on ground that enable them to join the youth of the world in technological advancements.

    Again, the diaspora sleep-dancers’ intrusion into the youth dreams of becoming themselves thereby denying them to define their future as free people amounts to a crime of giving support to the enemy of the people and that is considered a betrayal to the Eritrean revolution.

    I only say, you and the other sleep-dancers are enthralled by the small property you own back home that you’re totally blinded or have hardly noticed the sufferings of our people and the youth under your government of Isayas.

  • Samuel

    Nitric or who ever you are,

    Giving PIA his due, …. But if PIA brings his son to power, everything this man had done is lost, gone.

    if his son to run for election what have, it is his god given right and I will have no problem with it.

    What a corrupted and selfish mind person.

    As far as I remember PIA have been given chances for the last 22 years and he blew it very badly and you are saying that he deserves to rule until his death or until he say am done with you guys(in fact will be his death warrant) which makes it okay after he put the whole country to this mess.

    And you continue to talk about his son run for election because it is his god give right. Which election? What makes you think that there will be an election?

    Please don’t write for the sake of writing

  • Nitricc

    The only way, the safe way, the right way is to let PIA finish the job. I will be stunned and disappointed to be end if PIA bring his son to power. The man has done miracles to establish and concluded the most amazing Gedli in the history of this world. I am not trying to exaggerate or inflat the Gedli, giveing the odds and its complications, how can you not give PIA his due? But if PIA brings his son to power, everything this man had done is lost, gone.
    I admit still it will be safer transformation if PIA has to bring his son to power, but it is wrong, however, if his son to run for election what have, it is his god given right and I will have no problem with it.
    I believe it can get messy if PIA has to exit unplanned. I still believe PIA should hand over power and I still believe let him do the transformation. Things could get out of hand, so, I prefer PIA to play a major role in to breaking the new leaders of Eritrea.
    As bad as the Eritreans are leaving the country in droves, there is a positive aspect of it. The majority, almost all fleeing are highlanders and that gives the Muslims and the low landers an opportunity in to the poletical business of the nation. The first thing Eritrea has to do is bring the other Eritreans in to a speed. Yes, there are Eritreans beside the asmarinos and the highlanders.
    Eritrea will be a just nation where all her children are treated equally.

    • Tesfay Habte

      Nitricc.

      I am not sure of what your plans /ideas are when you write this kinds of ugly message.

      Let me give you some comments and questions for you to entertain.

      1. PIA has struggled with his Fellow Eritreans just like Mesfun, DuruE Sherifo and many others did. For him to own the country is down right wrong.

      2.His son should have a chance to run for any office just like you and me …but not because his father.

      3. What makes you think that PIA will ever hand the power and why do you even entertain the idea of his son as transition?

      4. As the previous writer (Samuel) puts it PIA was given ample of time but instead of developing the country, he ruined it. The bad part is:

      – He did it intentionally
      – Divided the country into regions, religions and many other
      divisions that has never been heard before.

      5. Do you know that Eritrea was much better when it was with Ethiopia than now?

      – Students went to a better university than the youth now going to mediocre colleges.
      – Much more people are leaving the country than during Eritrea under Ethiopia and Gedli time.
      – More people are dieing now than Ghedli time or when Eritrea was with Ethiopia.
      – Eritreans were much more at peace especially during Haile Selassie than now.
      – Even in Derg time, zemecha was for two years than now infinite. but then during derg time,zemecha was zemecha!! Now national service is building villas for Generals.
      – Ethiopia has never sent Eritreans to foreign land to fight with the exception of UN supported initiatives. But PIA sent Eritreans to Congo which is yet to be explained.
      – During Ethiopia, there was no need of Menkesakesi as we have it now.

      Nitricc, you may be young, naive or ignorant, but these are few basic things (which are talked about every) for you to think.

      Question for you:

      Besides changing the flag, tell me one “SINGLE” thing we accomplished during PIAs 23 years?

      Please do not tell me roads are build etc, etc because to it know to the whole country how it is build (Slavery). run for any office

      • Nitricc

        o Nitricc.
        I am not sure of what your plans /ideas are when you write this kinds of ugly message.
        =) what is ugly about expressing what I thought?
        Let me give you some comments and questions for you to entertain.
        1. PIA has struggled with his Fellow Eritreans just like Mesfun, DuruE Sherifo and many others did. For him to own the country is down right wrong.
        =) Yes, one is in jail the other is a refugee. For a better or worst, PIA is standing. Meaning he is a better man. You can suger code all you want but the end analysis, PIA
        2.His son should have a chance to run for any office just like you and me …but not because his father.
        =) Is not what I said?
        3. What makes you think that PIA will ever hand the power and why do you even entertain the idea of his son as transition?
        =) I was responding to what the author of the article. I don’t think you read what I have said.
        4. As the previous writer (Samuel) puts it PIA was given ample of time but instead of developing the country, he ruined it. The bad part is he intentionally divide the country in to regions and religious.
        -) obviously you have no idea what you are talking about.

        5. Do you know that Eritrea was much better when it was with Ethiopia than now?
        =)I have no idea what Hailesilase and Derg are, but since Eritrea become free, I never heard, any villages burned to ashes, I never hear any children run over by tanks, I never heard mass executions. So, I don’t know what you are implying. It is obvious you are a highlander and you are mad at PIA for not giving you special treatment. Your anger is obvious, you wanted to be treated differently. NO, trust me, no one ethnic will have any advantage over the other. Yes, Asmara is not Eritrea. A kid in Afabet is equally Eritrean with a kid in highlander. Yes, Mustefa from Kurura is equally Eritrean Hagos in Medefera. Get with it. I rather have a mediocre university while access to education is equally distributed than the best university in the capital city.
        Question for you:
        Besides changing the flag, tell me one “SINGLE” thing we accomplished during PIAs 23 years?
        I know, it hard for you to understand and I could have listed you pages what is good in Eritrea but since you asked for one, giving all the sabotages by all neighbors, the war, the sanctions, the toothless oppositions, standing against the USA, refusing Aid, it is a miracle and the greatest accomplishment that Eritrea is standing with her won feet.

        Please do not tell me roads are build etc, etc because to it know to the whole country how it is build (Slavery). run for any office
        No, I don’t need to

        • Tesfay Habte

          My Mistake.

          – Talking to ignorant people like you or the thugs of PFDJ does not do any good.

          – If you want to learn, please re-read what you wrote and you will have an idea who you are. All I wrote is on the status of the country and on the people in power. I did not talk on what I wanted or whether I am kebesa or metahit.

          – just because of my name you assumed that I am from kebesa. That tells me either you are a kid with a toy (computer) or an adult with four year old brain.

          – A lesson for you. In US, it is common to blame or support the leaders, because they are in the decision making positions. So it is not unusual to hear people saying Bush had done good or bad; Obama is doing good or bad or talk about congress in a negative or positive things. But you rarely hear people talk / insult about the people who wrote or spoke of politicians.

          – Now, can you see how immature you are? Instead addressing my questions you start telling me that I am from kebesa or I wanted to be treated differently. Where did you get that idea Professor?

          The most absurd part of your message is: Mesfun is a refugee, DuruE or Petros are in prison ans DAI is standing SO HE IS A BETTER MAN.

          I am sorry for you and I am sorry for those who paid their life, their time and disabled for you and your likes. My eyes are not tearing, THEY ARE BLEEDING.

          • Nitricc

            why don’t you come out and say it. When you say our people, you are not talking about all the Eritrean people. When you told us you miss Ethiopia, it is very easy to spot you. Again, the main reason I admire PIA is, he did not sold the Eritrean people; he looked after the little guys. You did not miss Ethiopia you missed the Tigrigna speaking cousins of yours. Tell the truth

    • tesfu

      “… let IA finish the job” what job! what you are is saying or implying is that let the suffering of the people continue, and whenever he feels to transfer his corrupt rein to his son, it is his duty, really! do you have a daughter/sister, do you? and do you want to see her raped by those gangsters, and escape to the wild. That is exactly what you are advocating. seek justice.

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