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Why Isaias Afwerki Invalidated the 1997 Constitution

On May 24, marking the 23rd anniversary of Eritrea’s independence, President Isaias Afwerki had this to say near the conclusion of his address:

“Within the framework of our tasks of nation building, the political infrastructure assumes a vital role as a vehicle to advance our overall objectives. We have gleaned important lessons and experiences from the hostile external schemes aimed at derailing our nation-building endeavours and processes. I would thus like to announce on this occasion that a constitution drafting process will be launched in order to chart out the political road map for the future governmental structure.

There are four questions related to this:

(I) We already have a constitution that was ratified in 1997; why is there a need to announce the initiation of a process to draft a new one in 2014?
(II) How is the future constitution going to be different from the 1997 constitution?
(III) For the last 14 years, we had been told that all talks of constitution are an indulgence as long as Ethiopia occupies sovereign Eritrean territory. What has changed?
(IV) What now?

I. The Justification for Killing the 1997 Constitution

It’s Christmas 2012 and two individuals who go by the obvious pen names of “Asaminew Ewnetun” and “Aradom Fedai Haqi” pen a “review” of Dr. Bereket Habte Selasse’s books and generously distribute them to all his colleagues. We need not go into the details of their review as awate.com wrote a review of their review and published it on February 2, 2013 (See: http://awate.com/reviewing-the-reviewers-in-defense-of-bereket-habte-selassie/) What matters here is the clues they gave us that Isaias Afwerki had passed a death sentence on the 1997 Constitution. This makes sense only if you accept (as I do) that “Asaminew Ewnetun” and “Aradom Fedai Haqi” are senior members of the Isaias Afwerki regime and, if they are not, they are its messengers.

Here’s the clue they had given us:

“However, while other members of the Executive Committee maintained the highest level of moral and professional integrity that was expected of them, the Chairman had, unbeknownst to them, fatally compromised their autonomy and the legitimacy of the Commission and may have irreparably damaged the future of the constitution.”

Stripped of all its hyperbole, the argument of AE and AFH goes something like this: the Executive Committee of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea (CCE) was made up of (1) Dr. Bereket Habteselassie (Chairman), (2) Mr. Azien Yassin, Vice Chairman; (3) Mr. Zemehret Yohannes; Secretary; and the following members: (4) Dr. Amare Tekle, (5) Mr. Idris Gelawdios, (6) Dr. Seyoum Haregot, (7) Ms. Amna Naib, (8) Ms. Zahra Jaber, (9) Mr. Paulos “Ba’Atai” Tesfagiorgis and (10) Mr. Musa Naib. Since 2001, none of the living members of the CCE had anything to say about the absence of constitutional governance in Eritrea because the CCE was duty-bound to be above politics and be autonomous. None except for Dr. Bereket Habteselassie who not only wrote highly-critical articles of Isaias Afwerki but also fraternized with those who want the 1997 constitution amended and revised or annulled. Therefore, he has “fatally compromised [the CCE’s] autonomy and the legitimacy of the Commission and may have irreparably damaged the future of the constitution.”

With his one-sentence announcement, Isaias Afwerki is saying, “you can remove the ‘may’ and conclude that the 1997 constitution is irreparably damaged and I have to start all over again.”

Of course, this is an absurd argument. In Article 25.5, the 1997 Constitution calls, on all citizens (Dr. Bereket and the entire CCE included) “to respect and defend the Constitution” and, in fact, it is all the other living members of the CCE, including all its commissioners, that have done nothing to show their respect for and defense of the Constitution since it was ignored. All except Dr. Bereket Habteselassie and Paulos Tesfagiorgis. So, Isaias Afwerki and the Isaiasists are turning the argument on its head.

The 1997 Constitution had become the cause-celebre of dissidents and the PFDJ had no answer as to why it is the only African country without a constitution. Now it can say that it is “in the process” of drafting one and the process may follow the tortoise-pace: a year, three years, five years and the answer will be that they are writing the constitution from the ground-up and ensuring “participation.”  But why? What has changed?

Well, let’s ask Asamnew and Aradom again. They allow for the possibility that Isaias Afwerki has changed, but they don’t think the change is abrupt but evolutionary:

“It is inconceivable that the personality of a leader, especially a young revolutionary leader, will remain unchanged for decades in spite of inexorable changes, problems and ordeals that are integral components of any revolutionary struggle. His training in revolutionary theory must have molded practice, but experience too must have molded theory. To this are added the vagaries and vicissitudes of struggle as well as relations between, and within, parties and groups. This will have had impacts not only on the development of skills but also on his character.”

II. How the Future Constitution Will Be Different from the 1997 Constitution

Here’s the argument: Isaias had to change because his perception of the world had changed.  The world is not as fair or just as he had believed and he is pleading “lewahnet” (naiveté): We did this (1997 constitution) in good faith and now it is being used against us by our enemies.  So what is likely to happen? How will the future constitution be different from the 1997 constitution?

A. Exclusivity

I am, obviously, speculating here but I would imagine that the process will be more exclusive than it was for the 1997 Constitution whose process was begun in 1995. The 1997 Constitution had Executive Committee members that included former executives of the Eritrean Liberation Front (Azien Yassin and Idris Gelawdios); it had a member that worked for the United Nations (Seyoum Haregot) and it had members that were on the periphery of its doctrines (Bereket Habteselassie and Paulos Tesfagiorgis.) That, obviously, is not going to be repeated because we have learned of “hostile external schemes aimed at derailing our nation-building endeavours and processes.”  The new CCE will be made up of people who check mark all the boxes: how loyal were they to Isaias Afwerki, particularly since 2001? Had they shown any streak of independence? Is their worldview shaped by the prevailing view within the regime that the US is a force for evil? Are they collectivists? Do they think that civil liberties are a luxury until food security is assured and a middle class emerges?  You know: Dr. Ghidewon I, II, III…

Another contrast between the 1997 and future constitution.  Back when the 1997 constitution was being drafted, attending a meeting of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea (CCE) was open: there were no requirements. Only those who, on principle, boycotted it couldn’t attend. Now, my guess is that the boycott will come from the Isaiasists: it will be a closed affair: and only those citizens “in good standing” (2% paying, and no black-list appearing) will be invited.  As Stalin once said in democracies what matters is not who votes but who counts the votes. Similarly, in the constitutional drafting process, if you can control the input, you control the output.

B. Nakfa Values

Back then, in 1995-1997, the PFDJ was interested in maintaining appearances—it wanted respectability in the West and it was praised lavishly for producing a near-perfect document. Now, it has no interest in placating the West and probably considers any praise by the West for any policy a kiss-of-death. My guess is that the articles dealing with civil liberties will be watered down and the balance of power between the citizen and the government will tilt heavily towards the government.  Not just the government, but the president.  It is not a coincidence that Isaias Afwerki described the future constitutional-drafting process as one that will “chart out the political road map for the future governmental structure.” There is no mention of the citizen or his/her rights.  Constitutional drafting is government re-organization.

C. Banning Ex-Post Facto Laws

I am not a lawyer but, I think, with the ratification of a new constitution all acts that were crimes based on the 1997 ratified constitution become ex-post facto laws. As Yemane Gebreab, the political director of PFDJ, once remarked, the 1997 constitution is in full-effect except for a few articles. The problem for him (more precisely, for Isaias Afwerki) is that those few articles deal with fundamental rights of citizens. If a new constitution is written such that all the rights of citizens are subject to many conditions (that only the government decides arbitrarily), then it is no longer a crime to arrest people without charges, to detain them for more than 48 hours, to deny them life and liberty, and all the other nuisances it enumerates in Articles 14 through Articles 17.  And you can’t hold the government liable for doing that between 1997 and the day the future constitution is ratified because that would be ex-post facto.  So, the future constitution is a “get-out-of-jail” card for the regime. In essence, they are saying: you in the opposition gave us no exit strategy and now we are writing our own.

III. Ethiopia Still Occupying Sovereign Eritrean Territory. What Has Changed?

All demands for the implementation of the 1997 ratified constitution were dismissed with the explanation that we are in a no-war, no-peace environment and it is unrealistic to demand constitutionalism. This was always a bogus argument and it will remain a bogus argument but it appears to persuade the “national security” constituency of Eritrea who are not an insignificant number.  But the same argument holds now, that did in 2001 (the sovereign land is still occupied), so what has changed? Nothing. This means that the Eritrean regime may revert back to the same argument to address questions of those who ask why there is no progress in drafting the new constitution.  From an Isaiasist standpoint: having no constitution and no conversation about constitution is better than talking about a constitution; talking about the process of constitution is better than drafting it; drafting it is better than having it; and if you must have it, having one that empowers the government is better than one that empowers the citizen.   We’ve had 17 years of “it’s not the right time to discuss the constitution”; this will be followed by ____ years of talking about it; followed by ____ years of drafting it; followed by ____ years of Isaias Afwerki’s first term in office; followed by ____ years of Isaias Afwerki’s 2nd term….

IV. What Now?

The same debates we have had will continue, with one twist:

• Those who believe that the 1997 constitution was illegitimate because it was exclusionary and reflected the PFDJ value system will continue to dismiss the 1997 and all future constitution designed by one party as unworkable and unsustainable;
• Those who believe that the 1997 constitution was imperfect but a good start and is the most practical way to separate Isaias Afwerki from the EPLF/PFDJ will continue to push for its implementation with the knowledge that the future constitution can only be worse (for reasons stated above);
• Those who believe that the 1997 constitution was “fatally compromised and irreparably damaged” finally have been given the license to say it now and they will wait for the future constitution to arrive on Isaias Afwerki’s timetable.

All of these are issues that are being debated at Awate’s Forum and they will (should) continue to be. They should be fleshed out—from the standpoint of morality and expedience. I think it is fair to say this: the opposition had believed that if you are on the right side of history, the right things will happen and it was fairly weak on the specifics (who? How? When?). The Isaias Afwerki regime had believed that you can out-wait, and out-last your opposition (“resolutely rebuff…”) because they will eventually get tired and give up, only to see the ranks of the opposition (pardon me, the “so-called opposition”) swelling to which it invariably answered “what opposition?” even as it was forced to have its meetings in secret and spent most of its time in a bunker mentality about its enemies.

The only thing that has changed is that the Isaiasists who were supportive of the 1997 constitution and were too cowed to call for it because it is not the right time now have been licensed (by the Tortoise Himself) that it is ok to say it was fatally flawed and compromised and we are going to write a pristine constitution.


About Saleh Younis

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  • tafla

    Dgena Awate,

    I would like to know your views on…

    – The universal declaration of human rights vs The Cairo declaration on human rights in Islam.

    – Ethnic minority rights (Unitary state, Federalism/Decentralization, Secession, Language)

    – womens’ rights

    – Childrens’ rights

    – Traditional laws/Sharia

    – Should religion be recognized as a person before the law ? Should we criminalize blasphemy?

    – Private property ownership (Sell and buy land)

    – Private Press

    – Foreign funding (religious institutions/political parties/private press).

    – Political party formation (Ethnic/Religious/Regional VS. Nationalist)

    – National symbols (Flag etc…)

    – Official languages (Arabic/Tigrinya VS. English VS. All languages officialy recognized)

    senay m’Alti

    • Hope

      It might be probably unfair to dwell into–sensitive religious issues here.
      Remember that the AT came up with its own “Constitution” few yrs ago.

      • Saleh Johar

        It is okay to be unfair sometimes, it could be an innocent mistake. But making unfounded statements is even worse than being unfair. Unfairness somehow depends on facts, lies cannot.

        You alerted your readers to “Remember that the At came up with its own “constitution” few yrs ago.

        Challenge: provide a link or proof to the constitution that AT came up with. 2) Explain what is the relation of religious issues and the constitution you are referring to.

        • Hope

          Bro Johar,
          My apology if I messed up.You have all the links and ref at your own hand.
          To be specific,I am talking about the heated debates in the past about the same issues Tafla raised,about the Mejlis Document(well respected),the “Opposition” Constitution,which did not allow National Service but allowed Secession and Parties based on religion and ethnicity)—-The Issue of the Jeberti was discussed in detail…..The issue of Sharia Law,etc—were discussed in an unpleasant way here and were to some extent ,factors for resentment and disagreement.
          It is my opinion then NOT to bring these issues as we have not yet even achieved an iota about the urgent issues that we all agree-to “weed out” the PFDJ System and to replace it with Constitutional Governance.

          • Saleh Johar

            You said AT [Awate Team] published its constitution. The question is clear. Where is this constitution that AT published? Either show and prove you are right, or don’t and prove otherwise.

      • tafla


        I don’t see where the unfair part is. It is perfectly natural to discuss the matters I’ve raised above, as I think they are central to many of our disagreements. It’s important to have one single definition of human rights for instance and all the other matters need not be sensitive issues if discussed openly, honestly and respectfully.

        /Your brother tafla

        • Hope

          Big Bro Tafla,
          These issues are well clarified in the, now “dumped” Constitution(not sure to say so as it sounds like putting the cart before the Horse)..We debated these issues you mentioned in detail.
          Here is what was discussed before in this Website:
          -The Meglis Document that I am referring to as the “AT Constitution”
          -The issue of Languages—-where we had a nasty debate on Johar’s Lecture about the Arabic Language—as an inherent Eritrean Language from the beginning….,which was unnecessary to go into details as we already agreed that both Tigrigna and Arabic will be Eritrea’s working Languages/official ones-to be clear.
          -About the Jeberti Issue–where the AT concluded that every body who wishes this and that should be provided with what people want—etc–
          -About the issue of Religious Parties,the issue of al Islah al Islamia,fighting for the Islamic State of Eritrea,etc…—
          I think we have to focus on the urgent matter—a past-due Constitutional Governance, then the Constitution will handle all the issues you raised.
          It it will be repetition of old things.

          This is my opinion.But if the forum agrees,fine with me.

          • tafla

            Selam Sellié,

            The language issue (You don’t strike me as a person who would let anyone lecture him) and mejlis document are probably familiar to most. But the other issues of HUMAN RIGHTS and other categories are important and timely to flesh out in detail to see where the ideological differences may lie, motives and to see what kind of “democrat” your fellow opposition-brother/sister envisions for the future, so they don’t end up being worse than HGDEF.

      • Hope

        These issues are well clarified in the, now “dumped” Constitution(not sure to say so as it sounds like putting the cart before the Horse)
        ..We debated these issues you mentioned in detail.
        Here is what was discussed before in this Website:
        -The Meglis Document that I am referring to as the “AT Constitution”
        -The issue of Languages—-where we had a nasty debate on Johar’s Lecture about the Arabic Language—as an inherent Eritrean Language from the beginning….,which was unnecessary to go into details as we already agreed that both Tigrigna and Arabic will be Eritrea’s working Languages/official ones-to be clear.
        -About the Jeberti Issue–where the AT concluded that every body who wishes this and that should be provided with what people want—etc–
        -About the issue of Religious Parties,the issue of al Islah al Islamia,fighting for the Islamic State of Eritrea,etc…—
        I think we have to focus on the urgent matter—a past-due Constitutional Governance, then the Constitution will handle all the issues you raised.
        It it will be repetition of old things.
        This is my opinion.But if the forum agrees,fine with me.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Dear AT:
    1. Why is it some of the forum participants names do not come up on Disqus (when you click or double click them)?
    2. awate.com has stopped coming up on my samsung s5 (android) for the tech savy (it says gateway, time out). I understand it is a network stuff, but why on awate only. I went all the way to my provider, they could not solve it.
    Aboy Mahmud needs help.

    • Kokhob Selam

      I was facing similar problems some days back. it seems the game is on IP when comes to pc. you may have to check your security system.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Dear KS; Thank you, will try. I can read replies but I have to go to a laptop or desk top to to go to the site to return replies or read comments; and it’s only on awate.

  • Saba

    Dear Serray,
    Ghedli is take it or leave it. There is no other way as in heaven. It could have been done better but it is done and take the result, the fruit of ghedli [metsitsatika mish? At least it is not rotten]. After that in planet earth you can work to have plans that can resolve our current problem.
    Your speeches can be summed up as follows: You explain in gruesome details how the ship is sinking and you make your readers to believe this is the the reason as why the ship is sinking even though “HOW the ship sunk” is different
    from “WHY the ship sunk”. And the technique you adopt to confuse your readers is to juxtapose two gruesome details of correlated events that are not cause and effect but you take your readers slowly but surely and lovely so that they do not notice the distinction. Bravo! But you qualify more for horror novels than eritrean politics.
    You said your ideas are grounded in reality. Is this one grounded in reality: If there was no ghedli, there would have been no misery?
    My questions will help you to have sanity and clarity in your thought [the opposite being “schizo”]. Here are some statements that you want to make but due to anger and pessimism or lack of courage you could not:
    1) You would accept with badme given to Ethiopia as long as you live in freedom. Anyone who oppose this idea is wrong and you do not care if the TPLF are being aggressors. But instead of saying it bluntly you brought an excuse that the TPLF are not aggressors because we have already given them that land. You added also that badme is a piece of land. You have said also you do not care about territory, you just want freedom. To test your truthfulness and unlock your trick I brought another scenario where a new ethio leader who might request Aseb[it is not just a piece of land, it is not given to TPLF as of now and you can live with freedom even after you give away aseb]. YOU DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION
    2) You support Eritrean independence but you do not support ghedli. Ghedli was the only way to get it. Here your thinking is schizophrenic. That’s why I said in the beging you are so mad because the planet earth is uncomfortable. Either choose to live in one Ethiopia or use ghedli to live in an independent Eritrea. If your choice is none of these but you want Eritrean independence without ghedli then welcome to planet earth[from heaven]. You have tried to give answer to one of my questions by saying that ghedli turned every eritreans life upside down. You are assuming that ghedli was the universe, there were no other players and if there were other players they were innocent. Here you lack to see the whole picture and you are focusing in one DOTE(pixel) and describe it in detail [called the “gruesome details of Serray”, that have infatuated many yewahat yehwat]. To follow your logic if ghedli was so bad then pre-ghedli was good. If pre-ghedli was good and acceptable then there is no need to start ghedli which means Eritrea will remain annexed to
    Ethiopia. That is so schizo! Ghedli is take it or leave it!
    3) After all this pessimism you are willing to live again in planet earth and accept a constitutional government led by PFDJ but so far PFDJ is not listening you and you do not have any plan to force them and your cyber opposition has no support other than bashing in the cyberspace. So you are back again to your “gruesome details of Serray”. What a vicious cycle! What will break it?

    Dahdihayo my brother to save yourself from paradox. I know it is hard, even YG didn’t make it to call himself a “neoAndnet” but may be he will come out.
    You might find it difficult debating with me because I understand the flow of your thought:)
    1991 was a milestone where we got our independence and freedom. Then we lost our freedom but still we have our independence and our next step is to get our freedom. Do you a problem with this one? Or you are still allergic to the word “independence”? Your anger toward the dictatorship is making you to lose clarity in your thought and turning
    you into pessimism, as a result you are willing to throw the only thing you have, instead of making plans to get what is missing. This is of course if you believe in Eritrean independence. Please do not interpret independence the way the regime does, that will make you to be psychotic.
    I am fine calling IA the worst thing you can imagine but I can tell you that it has zero impact on his dictatorship. Instead bring plans that have impact. It is useless if the only thing you can do is to write gruesome details of events occured in the past that are depressing initially and boring in the end. Unlike you, I want to learn from the past but I
    want to live the present and the future.
    About the badme conflict, it started as a skirmishes due to madness of groups like the Gebru Asrat/Siye
    abraha et al. IA or other mad people made a mistake not to notify UN instead of trying to recapture the invaded Eritrean territories by force without notifying and MZ made a mistake to declare a full scale war. Now in your world who cares what MZ did, right? Then you will follow with a hollow explanation [may be not in gruesome details in this case : )]
    Here is a brain exercise for you: imagine that there are 100 people in an island and try to come up with an explanation that will hold true in most of the behaviors exhibited by those people. If you focus only on 10 people, you will encourage “schizo” of thoughts and followed by the beginning of an early dementia.

    You see only one COMPARTMENT in a SYSTEM of interlinked compartments.

    • Nitricc

      Saba you have wasted your time about nothing.
      Serray the one who trying to preach you democracy and all that bull shiiiit
      Don’t buy none of it
      Ask him when he left Eritrea?
      Ask him why he nicked him self with Serray and what does it mean it Tigre?
      Ask him of he is worthy of carting that nick name?
      Ask him what agrees with YG and disagrees?

      Ask him what his contribution is to ward the great Eritrean gedli?
      Ask him what passport he used to come to slevery?
      And ask him if he is talking to his brother?
      Trust me this man or woman ( he talks a lot about prostitues; hoes and gays. So ask him about that freak.
      The other day he was mentioning that PIA has a mustache of a gay man? How does he know? Hmmmmm

      • Saba

        Nitricc, you are asking too many Qs and some are not appropriate. Do you want to spin his head? Let him take it slowly. He is a prototype of a segment of the cyber opposition that swings between Eritrean and Neo-Andnetian. So he need help to shape his thought and take side.
        Speaking of prototypes, here is a vignette based on a true story. Farmer Gebrat has 2 sons and he handed them to the government for “national service”. Mr Gebrat raised them his sons “bi tsifru, toba degim in da bele” without government assistance. The older son was in “aghelglot” since 1996 where his life begins to be miserable and after 16 years he planned to move to a neighboring country but he died of shoot to kill policy. Shortly the younger son disappeared. Then government officials arrested Mr. Gebrat, demanding whereabouts of the younger son. Mr. Gebrat is tenacious and he replied back by asking them the whereabouts of his son since he handed to them in a day light. After months of prison, he was released and he is living in grief.
        Their neighbor, a brilliant selfless tegadalay , was debating about how best to serve his people with his peers from PFDJ and also writing some articles about it in the previous private newspapers. One day, around 6am, government officials arrested him. Now his family have not seen him since.
        Mr. Nitricc, do you see any crime here? What is the wrongdoing of Mr. Gebrat and his neighbor tegadalay? What is the best way to serve justice to Mr. Gebrat? Who is responsible for the loss of his sons?
        I expect your answers to these Qs if you really support this regime with a deep knowledge and convinced. But if you discard them as hypothetical then you are living in a different planet. Your answer should be based on what is given. If you need more information about them to make your decision I will provide you.


        • Mahmud Saleh

          Dear Saba: Thank you; I will follow you.

          • Saba

            Dear Mahmud Saleh,
            Thanks. Me too I am following your mature posts, but spending more time to reply the lost sheep. They will label you with all kinds of names but stay focused and show them what you stand for. My plan is to rehabilitate the cyber opposition in my clinic and some of my excellent staff doctors are Saay7 & Ali-S:) Semiruley Andom works part time in the recreational center with his satire.
            Pleasure to have you in the forum!

          • saay7

            Selamat Saba:

            Thanks for the invite but I don’t practice medicine in a vodoo hut. But nice try:)


          • Saba

            Selamat Saay,
            You are welcome. It is not an offer, we measure excellence by outcome whether hired or not:)
            Well done Sal!

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Saba habtey,

            I will maintain your clinic so that it will be free of any PFDJ contaminants. And, in the mean time, I will send you to specialize in Shegerab camp, Sudan and I will give you a chance to check your status then after by allowing you only and only 15 minutes to stay with Pilot Dejen. Please keep in your mind, don’t talk, just learn the wisdom from him by watching. Be watchful.


          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear Saba:
            Please tell your triage nurse not to have me seen by that Dr.Semere Andom; I have reports from among your staff that he is restless to shake up my DNA; and that Dr,tes, with all his news of finding medicine for PFDJ virus, I think he is on the move to fool me with his voodoo concoction. The last time I contacted the CDC (center for disease control), they told me there is no such a thing as curing a virus. Dr. SAAY7 seems OK, but needs to use patient appropriate language, he is on automatic mode with his medical and technical facts, Dr. Ali-S, I heard has not yet completed rehab and is considering his U-TURN a not-so-well-thought-of, given the fact that he will have to adjust some where 90 degree left, as an economist, it bothers him he has not been so economical with his time and energy, that’s been what my “sources” confirming.

          • Saba

            Dear Mahmud Saleh,
            Thank you for your inputs. In a controlled setting, “Semiruley” is so funny with his satire so i advise you to follow him closely. I agree with you that so far we have not find a cure for “PFDJ virus” but our staff headed by Dr. Tes are working hard to find a cure and we have the reservist from the rehabilitated cyber opposition as back up. He is working on a trial named ” PFDJ cure from within” based on pilot Dejen’s experience. He will publish soon an article about it. These special techniques of Dr.Saay are developed to mitigate the recent outbreak of the “weed’em” thing from the mild form of “‘weed out”.

            Dr. Ali-S’s U turn is based on this quote: “Knowledge is knowing that the street is one way, wisdom is looking both directions anyway”

            Now and then you might see unusual activities for special clients but they are within the parameters of the guideline. We are looking for third party reviewers for our staff and we would like to have as one of them. Thanks

        • Amanuel

          Hi Saba
          This is what Nitricc needs to hear. I doubt that he doesn’t know but it is very important to point out to him what is happening on the ground and on which side he should be standing.
          Good day

      • geltam

        Unicellular nitric 🙂 Hilarious. You still have not given up or changed your way 🙂

      • Hope

        Nitrric body,
        Have you ever visited the Sawa Camp? The Aseb front?Have you ever interviewed the likes of the above warsay Dr Saba T. is talking about and their parents? Have you ever interviewed the husbands and the wives of teh Warsays and Yikealos ,who have been sufferring in the Borders for 16 plus yrs—?Have you ever interviewed the kids of those warsays,who have never seen their Dads for yrs?
        You are entitled to your opinion but you have to be reasonable,balanced and respectful and add some civilty to your debate as you will never gain any by calling names and using some “special language” even if people irritate or provoke you.
        Do u have any family members in the Sawa Camp or in the border trenches? If so, call them aor visit them and get some inpuit from them.Have you ever tried to help someone in Libya or Sinai ?

    • Serray

      Selam Saba,

      I have no idea what you are trying to say. You almost made the US army cleaning unit sound coherent. What was originally a discussion about the constitution, you turned it into God knows what. The only thing I got from your post is you support ghedli and having a nation, big deal; 99.98% did, even the single brain cell nitricci does. In your relentless search to look like a hero, you made a bunch of weird and ultimately false statements. I accept EEBC and EECC. The difference between you and I on badme is, you put your professor chaos tinfoil costume (from south park) and switch orders in a Chinese restaurant and pretend to be hero.

      On ghedli, please tell me what you think my position is and I will answer…instead of me trying to figure out what your hero manufacturing mind believes I do. Now I have a question for you, do you support isaias and his regime? Yes or No, please.

      • Saba

        Hi Serray,
        I have tried to explain you by giving all sorts of comparisons hoping that something will stick to your brain, but you ignore the questions deliberately just to be elusive. The only thing you show me is that you seem angrier. To my specific questions so far I heard from you rhetoric about territory and freedom. You do not care about territory you just want freedom. It does not make sense to have freedom without a country unless you have a backup country like Ethiopia. So I will try to sum up your position as being opportunistic. You want Eritrean independence but you do not support the sacrifice made and you believe that the source of your lack of freedom is in those people who have sacrificed. Clearly the source of your problem in ghedli time is rooted in Ethiopian leaders. Your position seems that of YG and may be you lack the courage to say it. If not can you tell me where do you agree with YG and where you disagree? If you can’t tell me for the last time then I am wasting my time, as Nitricc said. I know Eritreans who have scarified for one Ethiopia and they did it proudly. Yours is “langa langa” [please let me know if you do not speak tigrigna]
        I am not being a heroine rather I find your position disgusting. And you are acting like a justice
        maker even though you did nothing. You just angry and trying to belittle everything.
        I do not support the PFDJ regime. I was about to ask you if you support the “cyber” “opposition” but i need to see first where you stand in your position.

        • Serray

          Selam Saba,

          Every now and then you read news about nurses who deliberately poison or make their patients sick so they can rescue them. I am sure there is a name for these people. A Nigerian, an Ethiopian, a Canadian, a Russian, a Cuban would never ask the question you asked me to his or her fellow countrymen/women. Only an eritrean does. For some sick reason, some of you get a kick out defending a territory that YOU compromised by mindlessly cheering a war ignited by a dictator. Eritrea is nation without takers; the woyanes hold on to a piece of shit called badme to spite you, to spite the dictator….to break you and to break the dictator.

          For me, what is seriously and dangerously wrong with eritrea is people like you who parade eritrean territory; people like you who make prostituting eritrea a litmus test.

          When people tell how sick eritrea has become and trace that sickness to the nurse, they are not compromising eritrea, they are just pointing out the source of its sickness to the nurse. Let me be completely honest with you, in your mind you carry a poison, a poison you desperately want to administer on eritrea so that you can look like hero rescuing it from the disease you caused. Get this in your head, eritrea is a nation with known boundaries; no one can change that so stop trying to be hero by manufacturing an occupier. For your information, if you and yg are the only two people left in eritrea, I have no doubt in my mind that you will be the first and the only one who will sell it to ethiopia; if not for nothing else to die rescuing it. If I get a sense you understood my response, we will talk about why I think you are closer to compromising eritrea’s nationhood than yg.

          • Saba

            Dear Serray,

            Now you telling us that ELF/EPLFites have Manchausen syndrome by proxy, they started ghedli just to make us miserable and then came as liberators? That is insane. This is a telltale sign that you hold this belief: before ghedli there was freedom in Eritrea as part of Ethiopia and then you lost your freedom with the start of ghedli. Where did you learn “mahgoma ni kirtset kebdi”? I thought you have fact based analysis but it is all hallowlow. For you the OUTCOME is the REASON WHY things happen. You would be reasonable if you believe in the cause of ghedli and analyze the successes and failures of ghedli. Or declare proudly that you want to be Ethiopian.

            Instead of insulting all Eritreans, you can still answer this question: where do you agree with YG and where you disagree? Throwing emotional rants is not a debate and I am not to reply you back with rants. There is no wisdom in your posts other than anger and emotional rants. To respect yourself do not use inappropriate words like” prostituting —-”, it is nonsense. If you consider using hateful language as a debate skill then you need to check out with a shrink.
            If you cannot answer the above question(Serray Vs YG) due to “confidentiality”, I would like to hear from you if you have plans/solutions that can help to save Eritreans from PFDJ regime?

            PS: do you have any reference where YG is compromising Eritrea’s nationhood : ) I heard you have clearance to access such files.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Saba,
            Your “maHgoma ngrtset kebdi” reminded me of the late Melaake Tekhle. A guy who grew up in Ethiopia was faking illness. When he was asked what was wrong with him, since his Tigrinya was weak, he said, “lbei yqortseni ‘lo.” To that Malaake quipped, “tsebaH dmma r’esey yqortseni ‘lo keytbl”

            I hear people degrading Gedli and I get qrtset r’esi 🙂

          • Saba

            Selam Saleh Johar:
            “Yqortseni” Lol, he made it more dramatic:)
            Some people come with an extreme view in which their idea can be damaging or revolutionizing. They are a normal variation of a population and we need to keep their number low if their idea is bad and encourage if their idea is good. Even when they are bad these extreme or “out of normal” views are reminders of what is important.
            I hope now no more r’esey yqortseni:)

          • ALI-S

            Selam Saba,

            You need some energizer. Here is one:


          • Saba

            Selamat Ali-S:
            Very nice, that was like Redbull:)
            When you get time i would like to see a report on the latest development of the “third way”:) Sal made me laugh yesterday when he said to you: “it is a third way of thinking” 🙂 I hope he will elaborate it.

          • ALI-S

            Selam Saba,

            I think I am focusing on too much RedBull these days and there isn’t much happening on Awate’s Third Way as you can see. In Eritrean politics as you guess what we have referred to Third Way will soon become the mainstream opposition as the debate on the President’s decision to launch a new constitution starts. The reason I believe is because many third waters stuck in hate politics in the opposition will definitely have second thoughts about the demonizing rhetoric of Eritrea of today.

            On my part though (qemish adey Hanquiluni) I have made a private assessment of the impact I can have by writing in what I think is a predominantly hostile environment and decided to ease it down a little bit. This of course has nothing to do with SG or SY and all the great people who have welcomed and enouraged controversial writing and a special favour for me. I hope no one takes this personal. I am speaking very generally about the environment.

            I have no idea if other writers of articles may share same assessment or may be it is me finding excuses for giving up. For what I had in mind, the ideal situation would be some changes in the settings. Awate is set up for debates and debate means a two way communication like we are doing here. We read an article and then either comment on what we read and engage the writer or ignore the writer and continue our own ilal.

            What I think would have worked better to push a new way of thinking is a one way communication with those who read the articles before it is contaminated with comments of activists who know what they are doing. Promotion means selling and selling does not go with competing through a backdoor. I know SAAY does not like me referring to the Third Way as new but of course I do not mean literally. May be I should say different.

            Generally I hate the comment sections in all websites. If my memory is still OK, the time I quit the sustained campaign was shortly after the comments section was opened for people to feedback on what they read. I found it very annoying and distractive. It exposes the writer to abuse from a handful of activists who know what they are doing. Moreover, since it is tempting to just throw in a few comments and engage real people compared to anonymous readers by the time you make a few comments, you have nothing new to say. In a way you can say it is a disguised form of censorship that is a byproduct of the good intentions of the web administrators.

            In the case of Awate, I think it is a bit excessive. What we are doing here is not a comments section where readers give feedback. It is actually a chat-room attached to people’s articles. Since what most of has exchange in writing has nothing to do with what SAAY wrote in this article, the effect is that we abort the impact that SAAY would have had on the reader otherwise. SAAY would then be more motivated to write if he would guess he is having the desired impact or is facing justifiable obstacles resulting from his own deficiency.

            What we need here is a chat-room. What happened to the closed Jebena room (forum) that Awate used to have? I do not know how troublesome it might be both technically and financially on Awate but why don’t we reopen the chat room and take our unrelated discussions in there.

            SG and all others like I said, it is my hope that you do not take it personal. I might have sounded more like geremariam-dimu but mu intention is to see if I am alone on this and motivate a discussion for improving Awate to accommodate our different needs. I would have liked the writers of full articles to to have more weight on what the articles section of Awate debates so that those who need a peek on well developed arguments and thinking in Eritrean politics could use it as source of reference. The retailers and one-liners would then have more weight in their chat room and may develop into a reference for others who seek that kind of information.

            What do you all think?

          • Saba

            Selamat Ali-S,
            RedBull gives you a wing:) Summer is coming so why not relax right? It is a good “qemish adey Hanquiluni’ type of reason.
            I understand you the frustration about the effect of the comments/commentators on the “selling” of the article. People might read first the comments before reading the article. So they are already biased or influenced by the positive or negative comments. Some “forum activists” are heavily invested in selling or killing the article just to win their argument, specially they focus on personal attacks which has nothing to do with the topic. Another thing that diverts away our attention from the article is that a significant amount of the posts are unrelated to the article. So what we are doing is like a chat room and we just move the chat room from one article to another. For example the constitution technicality is not my take so I spent my time trying to treat the “anti-ghedli Ganin” of Serray(it really requires an exorcist), which has nothing to do with the two articles about constitution. My posts to Serray should have been in the chat room.

            So my suggestion to the moderators is that we have a comment section for the article where readers post with contents only related to the article. The rest of posts should be in the chat room. “Ilal”, posts related to day to day news, satire should be on the chat room. Separating the article’s comment section from the chat room might encourage the reader to focus on the article.
            I believe the owners of the website should empower those individuals who have better qualities. If there is competition there is growth.
            Probably SAAY is thinking that this is typical of thirdwayers:) No accomplishments and celebrate already. And they demand too much. But I am just giving my suggestion as a reader.

            Right now the Eritrean politics is a hostile environment. People are angry at what is going on but
            confused on what to do. So we just sharing the anger, frustration and screaming at each other instead of organizing for solution. Another problem is that it is difficult to reach a compromise or at least agree to disagree without being disagreeable. But I think writing articles can open peoples mind little by little and the summation of the influence of different articles by many writers
            will have a bigger effect like a butterfly effect. So writing articles is important and take your time for each article but do not give up on writing.
            For years the second way have tried to come up with a strong opposition organization but, as seen in their latest internal autopsy report, they have serious issues mainly for the lack of plan and for their bad messaging. Their message is anti-something. It is not a message of hope and solution. So there is a favorable environment for the third way. The Third way can be considered
            as new if it materializes into a grassroots movement. But the plan of the third way may be is not new because it is a plan that the majority would like to see from long time and they are waiting for. So the thirdway is going to happen, no matter who will do it.

            Even though the second way has too many movements and parties, all these groups can be considered as alternative forms of the same entity because they are similar in their messaging and party structure. The new movement should have 1) pragmatic solution with centric approach 2) a party structure that is more democratic, where merit has more value than seniority 3)
            the messaging should be about hope and solution but not “anti-something”

            Anyway lets see what the moderators think about these suggestions related to the chat room.
            Happy Redbull time: )

          • Serray


            Playing the hero again, huh? But you are progressing so I will answer your question about yg. I agree with him on almost everything except on the cause of the armed struggle. I believe haileslasie’s abrogation of the federation is a legitimate cause for our muslim population and the independence block to start a fight. I also believe dergi’s brutality had a lot more to do with the widespread acceptance of ghedli than the need for transplanted modernity of asmarinos or muslim elites…he said he is going to address the role of ethiopian military and I am waiting for that before I can tell say I agree or disagree with him on that.

            Now you are in a safe corner here at awate; ali salim and his pfdj is our savior u-turn is standing with refreshments, others will cheer you with “how dare he touches ghedli”, an outrage practiced for years, and nestanet and harnet come wearing different hats so use them appropriately. All I ask is, if you are going to discuss, to criticize, yg bring quotes. No quotes means you are playing hero to your sick fantasies again. Listen, it is not like I am asking you to bring written evidence to prove isaias definitely, 100 percent, ignited badme to shelve the constitution; I am just asking you to bring quotes from articles available on the web that you think you have better grasp. I get easily bored with people who don’t have the patience to read his articles so don’t be like them.

          • Nitricc

            Saba I guess the master of doom and gloom wants you to read his job less master articles. One thing is for sure, ether you have to be a jobless and absolutely bored out of your mind or a coward who has no bones to stand like Serray to read that long garbage page after page.
            So, here you have it, the YG maid wants you to read that garbage. I have no idea why YG writes? No one read his articles. Of course; Serray, for a good reason and few Infrior complexity ridden Tigryans.
            Serray do it for him, help your master, tell him no one reads his articles.
            What a disgrace.

          • Saba

            Hi Serray:
            I do not read YG’s article because the premise of all his articles is wrong. He does not believe in the cause of ghedli. Due to this conflict of interest he lacks the objectivity to write about successes and failures of Ghedli. I would not even waste time to debate him. Let say you find a book that explains you in the first paragraph that you can live for 150 years by drinking lemon water without eating food because food is the main reason why people die at early age. The rest of the book explains on how and why. Would you read this book? May be you will but not me. YG’s position is that there should not be ghedli at all in the first place whether it is conducted perfectly or not, period. The rest of his articles are similar to this book of “150 years of longevity”. For YG, ghedli was Manchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP).
            Your position is what I call ‘hybrid thinking”, a blend of the main stream Eritrean thinking and YG’s position. You believe in the cause of ghedli but the rest is MSBP. It is like believing the
            existence of day and denying the existence of “night” in a day-night cycle i.e. a day is followed by a day [(may be it exists in your “Hagere Fentasia” :)].
            Here are the steps from YG to Serray to the mainstream Eritrean thinking:
            1)YG position of ghedli is MSBP: pre-ghedli was the good time(the patient was healthy, just came for general check up) then some ultranationalist Eritreans with MSBP started ghedli(the nurse made sick the healthy patient), destroyed the lives of Eritreans deliberately(the nurse did brain surgery for no reason) and finally they came as liberators in 1991(the nurse rescued the patient’s life but with half brain). So for YG all the problems of ghedli are done deliberately
            2) Serray’s hybrid thought: ghedli was a just cause(the patient had some leg cramps) but these ultranationalist Eritreans with MSBP have destroyed the lives of Eritreans deliberately(the nurse did brain surgery instead of just giving supplements) and finally they came as liberators in 1991(the nurse rescued the patient but with half brain).
            3) Mainstream Eritrean position: there was no freedom in pre-ghedli era, Eritreans were treated as send class citizens in their own land (the patient was very sick and most likely death was the outcome if not treated) then concerned brave Eritreans started ghedli and came as liberators in 1991(the nurse did everything and rescued the patient but with some errors like finger amputation). So ghedli was a just cause even though it was not conducted perfectly.
            Serray, I told you in my first post that in this earth you have to have a stand. Hybrid is for opportunistic creatures. You do not seem convinced of the cause of ghedli but you do not also deny it. Your problem is “to be or not be YG” ala Shakespeare 🙂
            YG’s position is not a new, bold move(as he intends), I have seen it in practice during derg time (not just with voluminous articles). Kindey Andinetawian shambelat kifikuru zeyreAna!
            I am here in awate.com in the same level as you. Of course your position is indefensible. At least Haile TG has tried once. If you really want to oppose PFDJ you do not have to go very far into these indefensible positions and conspiracy theories. Just identify the abuses of the regime and come with a plan that can rescue the Eritrean people.

            PS: YG’s evidence for his denial of the cause of ghedli is so weak that it does not even convince Serray : )

      • Hope

        But you have not answered her question as to where your evidence is that PIA ignited the Badme War in order to dump the Ratified Constitution.
        In the event that your are going to provide us with “evidence”,make sure you include the other evidence before the Badme War was started…,which mighthave led to the Badem War…..I will invite sal here PRN–aka, as needed..

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Emma,
    Thank you for your kind words…abey keynikeyid..am always here..

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Awatistas,

    I have been following the discussions on different issues attentively. Let me first thank all of you for your inputs, everyone here represents somehow many others thousands Eritreans, and I am grateful for AT for providing us this unique possibility. I can see there is one thing which binds us all and that is our wish and dream to see Eritrea free of a tyrant system, a country where everybody can live without fear. The difference is how to get there. What is the role of activists and politicians in the opposition camp? Exposing the evils of PFDJ (precisely IA) is the motor of the resistance, but this doesn’t translate itself to presenting a solution. Those who demand the Rule of Law have the responsibility to assure the Eritrean people that they don’t appeal for grudge and hate. I want to see a difference between the Regime and the opposition. I expect a framework of solution, a realistic, reconciliatory one. A draft which shows what the real challenges will be (and thanks to the cheated years by IA, the challenges will be huge). The Eritrean people are entitled to expect the transition to be as smooth as possible. Without a credible assurance of a peaceful transition, there will be no mass involvement and support from the “silent majority” (we can not ride home with the “fragmented” not organized opposition from “Serawit Hidri to Temahlelti”). We in the opposition have been using slogans like “we want change Now”… but we suppressed how we want to reach there and what the role of PFDJ should be in Post IA era -did I hear .. demolish PFDJ?, weed out? Izi deA men yixelo-, I doubt anyone can tell me how, beyond Hafash yineqiH yiwedeb, yitiatek. But we are not in the 70s and 80s. Dismantling, eliminating the “attitudes, system of PFDJ” is a long process, which can not be eradicated by “abolishing a Party”. The reality of Eritrea is definitely that of a tyranny, torture, indefinite “national service” Sinai, Lampeduza, rape, Exodus, human trafficking. The reality in Eritrea is that of a single existing, “established Party”,the PFDJ, and we have a disorganized opposition (which is not in Eritrea, where the change is going to take place!). Does our call for “the Rule of law” include also the members of the PFDJ (meaning that a court will be the instance to settle and to judge upon those who committed crimes)? Does our appeal of “reconciliation” include also the members of the PFDJ? Are we ready for this serious project? Ready beyond shouting louder? Are we ready for workable proposals beyond dreaming that PFDJ dimxom dimixmaxom kitefee? Why are some “shouting “ (beyond those who are the core of the system, with the possibility of either obeying, or leaving the country, or be put in jail) at the “tegadelti” (who are partially victims of the system, to whom Dejen, Bitweded and so on belong?). Who are we to expect more from these “tegadelty” who have given the best time of their life and missed many chances, as others were studying, working, raising a family under much better conditions? Did the “tegadelties” have any support from the “Gebar” as they protested in 1992, as the “wuguat of Mai Habar” were shot, as the G-15 (journalists and many others”) were put in jail? The “tegadelties” of yesterday are not “more” responsible for what is happing in Eritrea, not more than the “civilians”, it is the responsibility of the whole population to say NO to the tyrant IA.

    I doubt anyone in this forum who belongs to the resistance would deny that we are still far away from building a genuine representative of the opposition. Don’t we need “adjusting” our aims, making it practicable (which has nothing to do with “temberkakhinet”)? It is a pity to see “ the emotional” overload of some debaters in Awate Forum. Guys you are much better than this. Let us face the challenges with realistic approaches, refrain please from the unnecessary “categorizing” of persons you don’t agree with. Iza hager Seb alewa, show me you belong to them, we need a disciplined well organized opposition, if we are really going to be part of the solution. The issue is a confrontation with our emotions & traumata. But being you the elites of the opposition the mothers ( nixilie alena kekedekna izi Sebai..), sisters and the youth are expecting more from you –a responsible way of debate-, show them you will bring peace to the nation…

    Let us leave aside the destructive side-issues and slogans like ..”Amma kithaqie iya, sewra ertra kab hade wideb nilaili ayzaweren iyu, Ertrea bizhi seftata ayedliyan iyu…and PFDJ kitefee alewom..”. PFDJ should be forced to be part of the Rule of Law, ergo IA must go!

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Tzigereda: good reading. Thank you. I am following you, hope to see more of such mature posts, I am learning.

      • Tzigereda

        Dear Mahmud,
        Thank you.

    • sara

      tzgereda, regardless of the few innuendos you mentioned you have said a lot of wising words i wish the forumers will take to heart .
      i just knew today tzgereda is flower…

    • haileTG

      Dear Tzigereda,

      The overall message of your comment, as I understood, is a welcome proposal of conciliatory and mature approach to our discourse. I know some people are explosive and rowdy (wink wink) when they lock horns, making the forum a testosterone driven showbiz 🙂

      I have brief questions on some specifics that you raise;

      1 – You say that the PFDJ mindset would take a lot to uproot. How so? Doesn’t that imply that PFDJ is a popular organization with wide ranging popular participation? Actually, PFDJ is dysfunctional, never have had congress after 1994, offered itself to take the worst image of the regime and never appeals to anyone. Even the regime never try to cash in it (never mentions it). It instead uses EPLF and to my understanding it is wishful thinking to hope the EPLF mindset would change anytime (long or short). It represents the proud history of all Eritrea that forms part of the great ghedli. PFDJ is unknown entity of thuggery and other whorish crimes against our people. Our youth were enslaved by PFDJ companies and sold to Rashaida driven by PFDJ pick ups to be organ harvested. Even the YPFDJ paltalk is called young EPLF. They all know that PFDJ was born still and wouldn’t surprise me if IA announces that a new political party is to be established and side step PFDJ just like the 1997 Constitution. Look in the diaspora, PFDJ membership is limited to few core regime operatives who are critical in maintaining the current confused and lost diaspora population that has no functioning community centers.

      2 – You say tegadelti can’t be asked to do more? No one asked them to do actually! We are saying that they have mistreat the populstion, brutalized them in prisons, sawa, adi abeyto, era ero, wefri warsay-ykealo (warsay to build villa for the ykealo)… This is not ALL tegadelti but a vast majority are responsible for causing our youth to feel nothing towards their country, causing so much anger, and giving a deaf ear to the suffering. Tegadelti were armed (and used this to intimidate the population) while the civilians were not. If a tegadalay wish to have a civilian locked up, it is doable, not so the other way around. Unless the supremacy of the Eritrean people is restored, I find the people who are trying to push for unpopular ideas (that runs against what we hold to be true) are the real cause of civil war because they are introducing a very confusing settlement where the rapist and its victim are being asked to share the same roof for the sake of a facade of semblance of order. That would only serve those attempting to exploit our situation to come to power. PFDJ is a lost cause, even the regime doesn’t highlight it much. It is only the new U-turners who are holding out for it.

      3 – You say “organized and disciplined” opposition. Such is only achieved through dictatorship. Free expression is creative, exciting, imaginative and chaotic. The beauty of it is in the fact that organization and discipline are discovered and cherished not imposed with a dangling carrot and merciless sticks. If such organization and discipline mean that we can’t acknowledge our suffering and the brutality at the hands of PFDJ or mistaken tegadelti, then a solution is far from being found. Just a turncoat opportunity would takeover, deny and hush what happened and even worse, continue the ugly tradition to maintain grip of power. We want to acknowledge our suffering, call out hgdef on its role in the great detraction of the Eritrean spirit, and the wrongful acts our tegadelties (true many didn’t know any better).

      We can discuss solutions but on equal terms.


  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    Next week the UN human rights council will hear the case of the Eritrean people against the defendant, the criminal regime of IA.

    Personal account

    It is common knowledge that parents/relatives whose family members have been kidnapped by human trafickers turn up with sackful of cash in a street behind the Bus depot in Asmara. Members of EDF in a Toyota pick up arrive at the scene and ask those people to number their sack and throw it to the back of the pick up and then drive off. Local people told the police in a number of occasions, however they were told to cooperate (since the govt is working on it and they can’t say anything due to the sensitive nature of their operations!!). Every time people would turn up in groups sometimes upto 20 and wait in a corner at around 5.00 am in the morning until the EDF people drive by to pick up the cash.

    Latest headline



    “The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR estimates that 2,000 people of Eritrea’s 6 million population are fleeing every month,
    the report said, and their relatives are forced to pay fines of 50,000 nafka (about $3,350) for each family member who has left. Most Eritreans cannot afford such a sum, so a family member may be detained until the money is paid, or business licenses or property may be confiscated, the report said.

    Eritreans are the most numerous among those attempting the risky crossing from North Africa to Europe by boat, a trip that has killed hundreds so far this year.”


  • Hayat Adem

    Dear Awatistas,
    Why don’t we reject all of it and all of him altogether? What good can come from this man? How much stupidity do we have to observe in him so that we decide he is no more to be waited for? If he was not talking about his stupid constitution, he would be talking about something else, but still stupid. So forget his plans. We need to make our own. The two most important problems we need to focus are: militarization and isolation. Consider these two as the parents of all our problems. The way to initiate replacing them with parents of positive solutions is to start with demobilization and normalization. Demobilization will have an impact of arresting the fleeing and the out-flowing of our youth. It can even set a favorable mood to motivate the inward flow of the lost boys. Normalization with the outside world will set in a huge pressure towards normalizing the life situation within the country.

    • Nitricc

      Just a minute!
      Who is we?
      You don ‘t think we are stupid, do you? Why are you keep insulting our intelligence? Can I sure with exception two Eritreans ( Ermias and Semere Andom) every one knows you are a Tigryan from deep on Adigrat. So, why bother?
      Now go mind your own freaking business and don’t worry about who is rejecting who.
      Don’t you have a shred of dignity?
      Holy 7$&)87&

    • Semere Andom

      Where were you and how is preparation for the debate with Sal going on? 🙂
      There is nothing good that will come from this man, his entire regime, his supporters who demand for more humialtion to themselves and the the rest of the population. You got that right.
      He sets the agenda for our conversation, he mentions the “C” word in passing and we go analytical on his motives and the merits.
      We romanticise the stupidity and evilness of this man and his supporters. We hope that the death of this regime will come to pass, but we forget that hope is the worst of all evils because it elongates the torments of human beings as one philosopher whose name I cannot remember once said.

      • Hayat Adem

        Debate with Sal? Give me a smaller one that I can chew. Sal is too giant for me. But if you think that will entertain you, why not? Any thing for you dearest Sem:)

        • Semere Andom

          Who am to believe ,he thinks your are the giant you think he is the one 🙂
          No, it is entertainment, it is “shefena”, coverage 🙂

    • New Yorker

      Dear Hayat,
      I never thought I’d hear you say this. “Let’s reject the constitution?” Reading your comments, I am beginning to think that the opposition to PIA or Government of Eritrea is not based on the rule of law or lack of it. Rather, it may have to do with ulterior motives such as the rejection of the State of Eritrea altogether. People like you are masquerading as the opposition when infact your opposition is to the very notion of a sovereign Eritrean State. Please don’t bother replying either because I know what you are all about now.

  • lili

    There is
    something Eritreans still do not understand. Isaias is not a great thinker. He
    is simple mafia and his speciality is the Eritrean psychic. He is very good in
    finding something to lure Eritreans and make them feel that he cares or he is a
    good leader. He surround himself with a great thinkers when he start to get
    tired of them he throw them to wild animals. That is why he has survived. Look
    around him and see who he is left with and how he is getting down day by day.

    I have been thinking for several days why he
    made the decision to announce the drafting of constitution. The only answer
    that I can find is the need that he has to divert attention from the news such
    as that the prison break pilot and Alis wife are getting from the public.
    Instead of telling him to prove his well intent by releasing the political
    prisoners we are discussing the constitution. Some are even telling us that our
    saviour has risen again. That is exactly what he wants. Forget it!!

    His constitution
    will get him to his well-deserved grave.

    Let as demand the release of all political prisoners

  • Long Live da revolution

    We don’t need no stinkin’ constitution! Long live Shaebia! Long live PIA! Long live the revolution! Awet n Hafash!

  • Zaki

    Hallo All,
    My take as to why DIA decided to bury his 1997 constitution is some what different from Salih’s conclusion. In my humble opinion Issai’s reason to bury the 1977 constitution is to do more with erasing any reference to a man he sees as his public enemy number 1 i.e. Dr Bereket.
    Dr Bereket has personalized the 1997 constitution and desperately want to be identified in Eritrean history books at least, as a man who drafted “Eritrean Constitution.” To this end he has left no stone un-turned to convince and cajole opposition groups to adapt the 1997 constitution as their own. On the other hand by making a new/ old constitution Issais want to make sure Dr Bereket’s wish is a pipe dream.
    In terms of merit or demerit will there be any difference between Issais 1 and Issais 2 constitution? My own conclusion is absolute no. Salih is trying to make it look otherwise, reasoning it to the fact that the 1997 constitution had independent minded individuals on the drafting committee. What Salih ignored to tell us is the fact that those individuals were selected not because they were known for their independent streak but for reasons of political expediency. Even though Dr Bereket et al try to make it look like they had influence on the content of 1997 constitution their overall impact is negligible. The framer of the constitution was then Issais and now it is going to be Issais. All he is doing is just changing his shirt. May be another shed of the same shirt but it is the same shirt. Will the State be centre of power “as was the case in 1997 constitution” as opposed to a constitution that try to balance between people’s right and role of the State in their life. I have no doubt no dictator will give power to the people willingly. Therefore, I will not shed any tears when the dictator has finally decided to give official burial to his old shirt because he didn’t like his tailor.

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  • Zaki

    Hallo All,
    My take as to why DIA decided to bury his 1997 constitution is some what different from Salih’s conclusion. In my humble opinion Issai’s reason to bury the 1977 constitution is to do more with erasing any reference to a man he sees as his public enemy number 1 i.e. Dr Bereket.
    Dr Bereket has personalized the 1997 constitution and desperately want to be identified in Eritrean history books at least, as a man who drafted “Eritrean Constitution.” To this end he has left no stone un-turned to convince and cajole opposition groups to adapt the 1997 constitution as their own. On the other hand by making a new/ old constitution Issais want to make sure Dr Bereket’s wish is a pipe dream.
    In terms of merit or demerit will there be any difference between Issais 1 and Issais 2 constitution? My own conclusion is absolute no. Salih is trying to make it look otherwise, reasoning it to the fact that the 1997 constitution had independent minded individuals on the drafting committee. What Salih ignored to tell us is the fact that those individuals were selected not because they were known for their independent streak but for reasons of political expediency. Even though Dr Bereket et al try to make it look like they had influence on the content of 1997 constitution their overall impact is negligible. The framer of the constitution was then Issais and now it is going to be Issais. All he is doing is just changing his shirt. May be another shed of the same shirt but it is the same shirt. Will the State be centre of power “as was the case in 1997 constitution” as opposed to a constitution that try to balance between people’s right and role of the State in their life. I have no doubt no dictator will give power to the people willingly. Therefore, I will not shed any tears when the dictator has finally decided to give official burial to his old shirt.

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Zaki,

      Well said. I can’t say it better. There is no doubt in my mind, that the 1997 constitutional document was his document and reflects exactly his value system.


      Aamnuel Hidrat

      • Jo

        Selamat Amanuel,

        I am just curious, I have read you saying that the constitution was exclusionary when it was drafted, could you please elaborate how it was exclusionary: was it because people put preconditions to participate and that the drafters didn’t accommodate their preconditions that it was deemed exclusionary, or was it because people decided not to participate because they deemed it EPLF/PFDJ (IA) drafting of a constitution; Is there a constitution that doesn’t have any influence of the relevant government at the time it was drafted anywhere in the world, and how would you evaluate that and in that context do you think the time it will take to draft a new constitution vs implementing the one we had and amending it is justified?

        If you had been against the implementation of the constitution and the government abandoned it and proposing to write a new one, on what grounds are you opposing it before the get go? What if the government decided to surprise us (since the government surprised us by abandoning the first one) and made the new one more inclusive would you support it?

        Luwam zelewo meAlti!!!

        • Tesfabirhan WR

          Dear Jo,

          Though you are addressing to brother Amanuel H, it is not specific to him that you are addressing. Let me take my part.

          When the constitution of 1997 was in the drafting process, it was not free from the devil’s hand. Let me give you a simple example. May 24, 2014 was celebrated in Asmara stadium and many other parts of Eritrea. If not hundred thousands, tens of thousands have participated in this day. Then, could you say that all were happy to participate? Are all free from any punishment by the local administrators if they don’t participate? I think no. Eventhough every Eritrean is more than happy to participate in this special day, NO single Eritrean is willing to participate in the ceremonies organized by PFDJ juntas. Every family is forced to participate in every event organized by local, regional or national committees.

          Ok, 1994 was different for the majority, but the process was not different. People were called to attend meetings and the appointed committees will open and direct the floor. Eritreans didn’t demand for the constitution. PFDJ put in his 1994 charter for the drafting and ratification process of the constitution and thereby commission was set up upon the call of the DIA (The majority -were blessed and called openly or secretly to be members). And, no other Eritrean elite who could challenge PFDJ was participated. All the members were either EPLF members or active organizers. Therefore, 1997 was not of PEOPLE’S constitution.

          And now, we reject any process of constitution drafting process that is controlled and directed by the tyranny in ASMARA, the PFDJ. The first ratified constitution was not welcomed and any attempt by PFDJ junta is also always rejected.

          *remark: No one is against the drafting or the there should be Eritrean constitution. We are rejecting the process.


          • Jo

            Selamat tes,

            Let me get it straight, are you saying that you rejected the first one because of the process of its drafting but not its contents? And you are rejecting the next one on WHAT!? The process has not even started yet! what process? I must be slow or …!


          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Jo,

            Not only on its process, its content too. The constitution though it includes the major pillars of democratic state, it is not free from PFDJ’S ideology, of its totalitarian nature. There are points that we Eritreans should think of it and open again for debate. Advocates of the implementation of the constitution may praise as an first step document, but, Dr. Bereket himself has not fully rejected for the short-comings it has. Let Eritrea be free from any dictatorial regime, only then the people will have full power to write and own as well as lead by his the constitution.

            Important point though, as Semere T. Hab mentioned in his recent article, about 83% Eritreans participated in the constitution making process. Mind you, 99.83% of Eritreans said YES for Independent Eritrea. Then, why only 83%? For every 100 Eritreans, only 83 people participated. Where are the 17 Eritreans? If Eritrean population at that time was around 3.5 million, then, 17*3,500,000 = 595,000 did not participate in the process.

            Compare now, within this 10-14 years, around 400,000 (if we take 5 Million to be the population, then, it will be 8%) Eritreans flee from their beloved home. And we are crying for this exodus, aren’t you? Therefore, the 1997 constitution does not even belong to the entire Eritrean people. Let the contents be scrutinized by the people themselves.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Tes,

            Don’t take the 83% statistics who participate in the constitutional process as factual. There is no such verifiable statistics in the Eritrean landscape based on our social groups, gender, population, or all those crateria for reading the participation of our society in the process. They just give you numbers without any source of it. “Kitbel’A zedelaka Abagunbah Zagra Tibla” Eyu Negeru.

            Amanuel H.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Amanuel H.

            You are right that no reliable statistical data was available and is still available. But, to be consistent, I just referred Semere’s note.

            Semere T. H in his recent great article wrote,

            “I admit those who boycotted the drafting process were bona fide patriots who played important roles in the liberation of the country, but the injustice committed against them should not be a license to categorically reject a national document where about 83% of Eritreans proudly participated.”

            I took this as it is and challenged this. 83% only (let it be as such – it is known fact that there is no reliable data), but I take it.

            All datas from Eritrea are unreliable for research. This is one of the many failures of PFDJ. But, I appreciate your scientific point.


          • Serray


            Before amanuel corrected you with his own facts about 83 percent participation, you actually believed it and still rejected the constitution because it didn’t have 99.98 percent participation. According to your 99 percent rule, nothing in eritrea can be accepted if it didn’t get 99 percent vote? Throughout the years I spoke to many people who reject the constitution, none make much sense. Most are completely ignorant about the process of writing a constitution…that it is always directed by those in power. This jarring rejection is by people who argue that it has to be directed by a government of their choice that might not be acceptable to 99.98 percent of the people. Others reject it because it is not sectarian enough for them; they want to inject ethnic and religion into it.

            Their view on the constitution reflects the impotency of the opposition. While not having any power, they reject all smart and viable tactics defaulting to an ultimately meaningless bravado “we will weed out the pfdj”, “we will write our own constitution”.

            The problem is the opposition is not the direct victims of the system. They can afford to be as philosophical as they wish because the boots are not on their necks. Here is my position on the constitution, it is a start and it can be fixed. This is a document the dictator ignited a war to stop from taking effect, that should mean something…but not to the sectarians and old men with grudges.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Serray, with all the insults you heap on those who reject the constitution, one would not be encouraged to engage with you, but I will try.

            1. Weed out the PFDJ is a statement of principle. When you say, poverty should be eradicated, or, all gangs should be punished, you don’t need to be able to do that. It is a statement of principle. Some people are pragmatic, others are principled. The two are legitimate in politics, but the two are not the same in value.

            2. I reject the constitution not because the silly argument of what percentage support it or not. I believe that anything that is sponsored by a thug is not worth fighting for.

            3. There are holy books that many people killed and died for. Those books guarantee nothing. By themselves, they are impotent in reinforcing the wisdom, laws and threats they carry. From the way you present the two dozen page document sounds as if it is a golden key to heaven. That is a bit exaggerated, I mean too exaggerated.

            4. When people die, we say, “We belong to God and unto him we return.” The constitution was Isaias’ exercise book. It belonged to him alone and he alone decided its fate. Eritreans had nothing and they lost nothing as far as it is concerned.

            5. A few years ago a question was floating: what would all those who oppose Isaias under the slogan of ‘implement the constitution’ do if all of a sudden he decided to implement the leaflet he sponsored? Since they made their rallying cry that leaflet, they would have been left without any tool unless they experimented with another rallying tool. Some are already searching different rusted tools to replace their dead slogan 🙂

            6. When the 1952 constitution was violated by Haile Sellassie, people raised their guns. Isaias showed you the constitution in 97, just like you would show a child a candy you do not intend to give him, all the time repeating, “Harooor” until he waters his mouth. Then he made it disappear. 17 years Serray and no reaction at all. Who are those who love the leaflet so much and couldn’t make even a shy noise for the last 17 years? Let it rest in peace–don’t disturb the dead in a graves! Even if it is a leaflet. RIP.

            7. There is no evidence to your claim that Isaias started the war to avoid implementing his own leaflet–don’t bring lawyer tricks :-). He felt like starting a war and he did. He felt like killing his own brainchild and he did. Nothing would have changed if he had implemented it except he would have read the would-be prisoners an article or two before he sends them to some unknown prison. Saddam had a constitution, so did Gaddafi, and AlAssad, and many dictators. The only difference is they used it to do what they would do without it. To them, the constitution was a sort of decoration, or a political toy.

            8. Finally, over a thousand years ago an Arab poet said this: ان لم تمت بالسيف مت بغيره تعددت الاسباب والموت واحد . Roughly translated it means, “If not with the sword, you will die differently; causes vary but death is all the same.” My point is: Isaias with a constitution is death; Isaias without it is also death. And death is all the same.


          • tafla

            Selam SGJ & Dembe Awate,

            I would like to hear what you envision for future Eritrea after IA and PFDJ. How should an ideal constitution-drafting be conducted and which articles in the 1997 constitution do you consider inappropriate and what would you like to replace thm with.

            I would also like to hear your views on…

            – The universal declaration of human rights.

            – Ethnic minority rights

            – womens’ rights

            – Childrens’ rights

            – Traditional laws/Sharia

            – Should religion be recognized as a person before the law ?

            – Private property ownership

            – Private Press

            – Political party formation (ethnic/religious/regional)?

            – National symbols

            – Official languages

            I pose the question to all who are interested to answer. Thank you

          • Rodab

            Dear SaleH Johar,

            I am scrutinizing your point #2 above.

            Eritrea’s three gigantic post-independence events a) referendum b) declaration of independence, and c) the constitution were conducted under the supervision of the same group. You signaled you reject (c) because it was sponsored by the PFDJ. I would like to hear your reasoning as to why you don’t reject (a) and (b), assuming you don’t reject them. Peace!

          • Saleh Johar

            Ho Rodab,
            Fair question:
            1. Eritrean independence was fait accompli in 1991. It was a result of a struggle which I fully condone. The PFDJ was not created.
            2. Still, since the EPLF brought about independence, I had no problem its leading the referendum process. The PFDJ was not created.
            3. Immediately after 1993, what was in store for Eritrea started to appear on the surface. The PFDJ appeared.

          • Rodab

            Dear SaleH,

            I got you my man, I got you.
            So you are one of those who believe EPLF and PFDJ are not one and the same. I am in that group, too. They are not the same. I always argue about this with folks out there. Unfortunately I am unable to describe the difference convincingly. It’s not easy anyways when you have the same leadership running the show. The fact that Half+ of the then leadership is not there any more doesn’t cut it in arguing they’re not the same.

          • Semere Andom

            Hi Rodab:
            A criminal is caught after committing hundreds of heinous crimes that included killing children, raping women and recreational killing. He faces the jury and tell them that he has surgically removed his kidney, liver, heart, stomach and he has replaced these vital organs with transplants also says that he has undergone plastic surgery and his doctor corroborates his claim. He tells the court that he is a changed, a different soul, he was not the same man who committed all those crimes and he promises that he will live a life that abides by the rules of the society. The neurology and brain that committed all the crimes are still intact, is this man a new man?

            The same thing happened with the eplf and pfdj. The vital organs has been replaced, plastic surgery has been performed, the head and nerve system s there, it has and is promising to live by new rules. But we know it is doing the same thing and we are sure it will keep doing the same thing. If some of the vital organs were not removed and the head was removed then we can say that PFDJ is different than EPLF

          • Rodab

            Hi there Semere,

            You made good points (well somewhat anyway, since it sounded as though you painted the EPLF as a more devilish than the PFDJ, with one committing the crimes and the other trying to repent). But yeah I get your point. However, I don’t think it is the behavior of the two that is the main factor as it is the nature of the mission. It is quite possible, although I personally don’t believe* so, that the EPLF and the PFDJ behaved the same way and conducted a one-fit-all business model for two completely different missions, with one being to bring independence and the other to establish and run national institutions.

            The EPLF is remembered with much more respect and admiration for fulfilling its goal resoundingly. The PFDJ is despised because it got itself into huge mess and remains stuck in there.

            * I tend to believe the EPLF was more democrat than the PFDJ. At least they had regular meetings of all sorts – under bombardment and real wars at that. Now all they have in these peace times [I don’t buy the excuse we are in a no-war-no-peace situation, we are not] is seminars for Ministers, held on irregular/unknown intervals/places. I also believe the EPLF was more institutionalized than the PFDJ today is. Proof? All the current Ministries were established in meda as departments. All they changed after independence is office addresses.

          • Saba

            Hi Semere,
            The surgery was done perfectly:) But how about if everybody, including the judge, was criminal at that time? EPLF was useful only up to the referendum time, After that its extension was wrong and there should not be PFDJ at all. They should have been a transitional government that includes tegadelti and civilians and then draft the constitution.But if you believe there should not be EPLF/ELF then you are getting closer to the idea of Serray&YG.

          • Haile WM

            Hello Semere Andom

            Even-though the leadership of EPLF and PFDJ were the same people the two organizations are totally different. The historical context that originated them are totally different and in my humble opinion EPLF had motives for it’s creation and existence, while PFDJ definitely was not essential for the well-being of the country rather was a tool for monopolization of the political landscape.
            EPLF had it’s objective and was acting accordingly in a very hard time for both the front and Eritrean people. It was an institution and had some kind of control mechanisms on it’s leaders, it made 2 congress and changed its’ leaders at least once.
            We all agree that many wrong things were done in the process of bringing the objective i.e independence, but let’s not forget all the stakeholders share that;
            What we should have done immediately after independence was a reconciliation process and that should have being done in many levels: reconciliation between ELF and EPLF, between the Eritreans collaborator of derg, etc.. all of them had their share in being victims and perpetrators of injustice.
            PFDJ, on the other hand, doesn’t even exist as an institution; since it’s founding in 1994 the front never hold it’s congress, which it should have being held every 7 years, never elected it’s representatives, never elected the central committee nor the leader of the front.

            In-fact many of the leaders who founded the PFDJ are long dead or in IA prisons. The only one that remains constant of the so called “institution PFDJ” is Iseyas Afewreki; all others are tools in his hands… The very system that runs the country is not PFDJ but Iseyas and his inner circle aka Yemane monkey, Yemane Charlie etc… and even those are quite irrelevant and are at the mercy of Iseyas.

            I see in this forum a lot of debates whether the PFDJ should be there after removing IA of whether it should be dismantled (basically HaileTG Vs Saay and their supporters) I find it quite irrelevant; IA is the institution we should only care to remove IA and everything goes consequently .

          • Bel

            Oh boy!

            Check this one out:

            “5. A few years ago a question was floating: what would all those who oppose Isaias under the slogan of ‘implement the constitution’ do if all of a sudden he decided to implement the leaflet he sponsored? Since they made their rallying cry that leaflet, they would have been left without any tool unless they experimented with another rallying tool. .”

            I guess for you, opposing is a life long permanent job, isn’t it?

            Why would any one who was opposing because the constitution was not implemented or who was calling for the implementation of the constitution, need to keep on opposing or need to go looking for a another tool, if the constitution is implemented?

            I mean seriously, it is kind of weird to try to give advice to an old man, but here it is anyway: In whatever thing you do (Regarding Eritrean politics, that is) ALWAYS try to make Eritrea and the Eritrean people the center of your focus. Meaning, never make your end result to be “Destroying something”, “weeding out someone or something” . Meaning if your focus is Eritrea, then you will be able to embrace anything good coming from anyone (Including PFDJ), and be able to chop of any bad thing coming from anyone (including your buddies at the so called opposition – well, we call them anatsu nay wayanie, but that is another subject)

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Bel,
            I suppose you are intelligent enough to know the answer. But here it is:

            The goal is removing the capo-skunis and his gang… and their institution. For the genuine opposition that goal is the main job, even if it take a lifetime. We know it cannot be achieved in a month of nine-to-five engagement. Even if the leaflet was implemented, the opposition would have continued the way it is. That is why the leaflet was not decisive.

            I hope you understand it now 🙂

          • Serray

            Selam Saleh J.

            First, my intention is to state facts as I see them, not insult, I guess you can call it the hazards of passionate debate.

            These days I feel I am in the movie groundhog day. The distinction between shaebia and pfdj is nonexistent; a name change, that’s all. Mission A and Mission B, defeating the ethiopian rulers and defeating the eritrean people, is done by the same organization but with different name. The distinction you made is worse than the nestanet/harnet. Be that as it may, I really am not in love with the constitution, I just think it will do the job the opposition can not do sitting in addis abebe. Weed the pfdj as a principle with absolutely no means of achieving is indulgent. I think as a tactic implement the constitution fares much better; at least it forces the regime to talk about it, to look silly around it.

            Saleh, maybe I am getting old but ignoring the connection of the constitution to badme, making a distinction between shaebia and pfdj, bifurcating ghedli from shaebia/pfdj really bothers me. For me, the force that connects them is greater than the force that binds electrons to protons; the force that makes matter matter. On a tactical level, connecting badme to the constitution is powerful. The case of eritrean opposition is a case of missed opportunities: failure to tie igniting badme to the constitution, rejecting a constitution that came the closest to threaten isaias’s regime twice is huge tactical failure. It would have been excusable had there been other more powerful tactics, but there are none. How can you reject a knife in favor of a tank when the alternative is facing an armed enemy empty handed?

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Jo,

            I came with more logical reasoning to support my argument.

            Dear Awatistas, sorry for the duplication, it was originally meant to respond for Jo.

            here is goes.

            Dear Semere T.

            It is beyond my current available knowledge to comment well enough for the challenging points you mentioned above. Hope, everyone will empower or nullify your argument.

            But. let me put also my argument against your numeric value, the 83%.

            You wrote, “…but the injustice committed against them should not be a license to
            categorically reject a national document where about 83% of Eritreans
            proudly participated.”

            Let’s see the significance of 83% in terms of numbers.

            If about 83% Eritreans participated in the constitution making process. Mind you, 99.83% of Eritreans said YES for Independent Eritrea. Then, why only 83%? For every 100 Eritreans, only 83 people participated. Where are the 17 Eritreans? According to UN report, Eritrean population was reported to be 3.213 million (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Eritrea), then, 17%*3,213,000 = 546,210 did not participate in the process.

            546,210 people did not participate in the constitution process.

            In the contrary,

            99.805% of the entire Eritrean population said YES for independence.

            Note: During the 1993 Eritrean referendum only, 1,100,260 people participated. Not 100%, let’s be careful here. Actually, total Eritrean population by that time was between 3,158.000(1990) and 3.213,000 (1995). If we take the 1995 data 93,213,000), assume 50% of the population is above 18% by that time, and hence 1,606,500 could have participated.

            But, 1,606,500-1,100,260 = 506,240 people who were above 18 years age did not participate (they were actually did not, I don’t know why?)

            This being the fact, then, 1,098,114 (99.805%) people voted for YES. Ok, for obvious reasons, not the entire people can participate, but even in the most popular referendum approximately more than half a million did not participated. But, we are proud to say that more than 99.8% of the Eritreans said YES to independence.

            Same also holds true for the constitution aprticipants. If we take (being positive is good), 50% of the entire people are able to talk on constitution and debate. Assuming this as fact, only 1,606,500 got a chance to debate and participate in the process. And out of this, 83% participated. i.e. only 1,33,395 people participated. this is what you have noted in your paper.

            Out of the able participants, 273,105 people did not got a chance to inject their views.

            And let’s see the page of current youth exodus,

            Within this 10-14 years, according to UNHCR report, more than 300,000, mostly youths (which comprises 50% of the entire population (lets take 5 Million to be the population, then, it will be 12% of the 50%, 2,500,000) Eritreans flee from their beloved home. And we are crying for this exodus, aren’t you? If we are crying for justice now because of this human exodus, injustice and torture, so was in the 1997 constitution, as 17% of the 50% of people aged above 18 years were not able to voice their say.

            In conclusion, the 1997 constitution was against justice though it was meant for justice.

            Therefore, the 1997 constitution does not even belong to the entire Eritrean people. Let the contents be scrutinized by the people themselves.


            * Assumptions weer done based on approximations.
            *If there is any calculation error, please correct me, stay focused on the logic.

            Quick references:


          • SA

            Hello Tes,

            You write about the commission: “All the members were either EPLF members or active organizers.” Do you consider Idris Gelawdios and Azien Yassin EPLF members or active organizers for EPLF/PFDJ? Here is what SAAY wrote about the commission’s members:

            “The 1997 Constitution had Executive Committee members that included former executives of the Eritrean Liberation Front (Azien Yassin and Idris Gelawdios); it had a member that worked for the United Nations (Seyoum Haregot) and it had members that were on the periphery of its doctrines (Bereket Habteselassie and Paulos Tesfagiorgis.)”


          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear SA,

            With due respect, my response to you is the same as to brother Amanuel. I would like you to read that.


          • Amanuel

            Hi Tes

            I advice you to read the many interviews of Dr Bereket with awate and email by wedibatai sent to Semere and shared with awate readers before putting your judgment on the 1997 constitution. In my part I would like to remind (inform) you that Azien Yassin and Idris Gelawdios were not members or active organisers of EPLF. In fact they were members of ELF leadership.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Amanuel,

            Even Zemehret Yowhaness was from Sagem (an ELF faction who later joined EPLF during the second congress). Is that what you are trying to list. If the mentioned above were not members of EPLF or like, why they left their organization (ELF) in the diaspora and participated in the process?

            Why, why ELF, the entire revolutionary front was outside and only individuals were called to participate? I challenge you, I am not denying those individual ELF members, but, they participated because they were ABLE Eritreans. EPLF rejected any other united force to exist and all the process was done under the umbrella of PFDJ charter 1994.

            Who decided for the constitution to commence its drafting process? Did ELF or any other Eritrean opposition or individuals decided for this? PFDJ gave a green light first and kept it under his table for 14 years before discarding it now officially.

            Therefore, Those individuals who participated in the 1997 constitution were just individuals. ELF was not there. Had ELF or any other opposition front at that time (there were many in fact) participated in the process, there could have been power sharing at least and people could have more balanced debate.


            * If PFDJ was one of the Eritrean representative front at that time, ELF or the others were also. But they were not welcomed.

          • Amanuel

            Hi Tes
            Sending you a link to help you appreciate the drafting process and contribution by individuals.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          Merhaba Jo,

          I f your were following the debate between me and Saay, that will tell you clearly as to what is my position on the document and how is my approach to pull the opposite side to the middle road of compromise. My objective was (a) to bring compromise (b) to correct the defective provisions in the document (Check my points I gave to saay when he asked me my proposal). So I don’t believe on throwing it to the garbage bin, like the despot who is planning to do. I believe on corrective measures. But if you ask me does the document reflect the “Eritrean people’s value”? My answer is emphatically No. Because it is drafted based on the value system of a political party…..the PFDJ value, as the good doctor had told us himself. A constitution shouldn’t be drafted by the value system of party. Their value system is, their political program, which by the way, could use it for winning political power during elections. Hopefully this clears my position on the document.

          What I know and surely you know, that a constitution is “a political document” before it becomes a legal document. Because it is a contractual covenant for the Eritrean people and its political organizations /parties to be governed with. If you believe on these premises. The Eritrean constitutional process didn’t ensure the engagement of the Eritrean people with their political organizations and/or parties. So the process was discriminatory because Issayas and the hand picked “constitutional commission” disallow other political organizations to be as part of the process. Only PFDJ with its upper hand manipulating the whole process to reflect their value system. They just followed what Issays had told them that there will be no wudubat – “nay wudubat Hashewye Yelen” just PFDJ only.

          Second even if you see the content of the document, no one will expect from a revered lawyer to come with such flawed document that gives a complete centralized power, the entire power of the state and the power of the government to the executive body. Just check yourself in all the constitutional democratic government, you will not find a single one a president to be elected from a parliament. A parliament only elect a prime minister. This structure was purposefully done by the dictation and influence of Issaays. This and other flaws could be corrected. So my argument is simple. We have to take corrective actions on the document before even we try to implement it. Check my point to Saay about the correction process I suggested. So I have never proposed to write a new constitution rather I propose to revise it before we use it.

          The other of your question is: Is there a constitution that doesn’t have influence of the relevant government at the time it was drafted? They could have many other ways to influence the process , but not by disallowing the stakeholders from the process and writing everything the value of their party. The constitution should reflect the value of the Eritrean people.

          Your last question about the surprise you expect from the government to make inclusive process, is unrealistic. Remember you are talking about the same exclusive government. This government which is throwing the document because he want to strike his detractors – what Saay calls them PFDJ-2. How do you expect to call the political organizations to be part of the new process, for which the despot has announced in his independent day speech? Jo be realistic.

          Anyway, please go back and read the entire comment I made in my comment file at Desqus to have a full picture on my positions and my proposals to the remedy of our political crises.

          Senay Mishet,

          Amanuel Hidrat

    • saay7

      Selamat Zaki:

      Welcome back, if it is the same Zaki from 6.0. Wow, a lot of familiar names re-appearing including Aboy Tesfay. Welcome home, all.

      I had described the 1997 Constitution as Isaias’s Suicide Note. And now, if you will excuse me, I would like to quote something I had written on March 10, 2013 forecasting that the 1997 constitution is dead and that Isaias will draft a new one:

      The Constitution (The Suicide Note)

      Under the terms of the Eritrean constitution of 1997, the citizens had the right to form political organizations (right of assembly), to publish newspapers (press). The State could hold a prisoner without charges for no more than 48 hours, and the president could be the head of state for no more than two 5-year terms. Well, let’s not get confused: with all due respect to the independence of the constitutional commission of Eritrea, if Isaias Afwerki did not want any of these liberties for the citizens (or any of the limits on the state) they would have been stricken from the constitution. In 1997, Isaias Afwerki, then practicing the philosophy of enlightened absolutism, was so popular he could have made dictatorship popular. But, back in 1991-1996, when he was part of the “New Generation of African Leaders” (insert appropriate trademark sign here), Isaias Afwerki had drunk from the New Democrat Kool Aid. This is because the world had changed in 1988—and the New World Order looked like it was here to stay. He would brag to friends and foes that the constitution is pretty much based on the booklet he distributed at the Municipality (enda municipio) meeting in 1995.

      The problem was that this was not an organic growth: the EPLF was many things but “democrat” wasn’t one of them. It is something that he felt he had to mouth because the alternative was to be a pariah in the New World Order. It was the path to respectability and relevance and being the new voice of Africa. It was the path to American bases in the Red Sea, and blessings from the World Bank and the IMF. By 2001, the New Generation had become the Not-So-New Generation: ironically, while all the old generation of African leaders were embracing liberal democracy, all those who were being hailed as heroes in the early 1990s—Uganda’s Museveni, Rwanda’s Kagame, Ethiopia’s Meles, and Eritrea’s Isaias—had rediscovered their inner-Mao. Whatever their differences, all had come to develop the same view towards the citizens: they are infants who cannot be trusted with such a complex machinery known as liberal democracy. Their legs are not stable yet, and you want them to run marathons? First must come stability: peace, food security, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and other goodies that take a generation or two or three to materialize. Meanwhile, the Not-So-New Generation will just have to assume their heavy burden of being the guardians of their countries to protect it from all temptations, foreign and domestic. But what to do with the suicide notes they had penned?

      The other members of the former New Generation found a way to deal with the suicide notes they had once penned. Musevini did it the Old School way: he just amended the constitution to allow him to run indefinitely; Kagame has his regularly-scheduled programming: the farce runs every seven years, on time, and his coalition party (including an Islamist party) wins anywhere between 80% to 95% of the seats; Meles had his scare in 2005 when his opponents discovered the magic of coalition building and his party was reduced to a 60% seat, but equilibrium had been achieved with the 2010 elections when his coalition, in a “peaceful and well organized” election (according to EU which is why EU is becoming a joke) won 499/547 seats.

      Meanwhile, Isaias Afwerki’s suicide note, written in a different era was sitting around gathering webs. His regime was stuck between a triangle of opposite beliefs: 1. The 1997 Eritrean Constitution was a marvel, a result of PFDJ’s ability to ensure popular participation; 2. The Eritrean constitution cannot be implemented now because we are in a no-peace, no-war situation; 3. The Eritrean people have rebuffed all efforts to hold them hostage of Ethiopia’s evil intentions and it’s business as usual in Eritrea. The answer to the question of “if the no-war no-peace situation is of no consequence, why not implement the constitution and have election?” was to mock elections in Africa, which is always a fertile land for mockery when it comes to self-government.

      The 1997 Constitution was a document that was produced when Isaias Afwerki actually believed that liberal democracy was the wave of the future—which is why he insisted (according to Dr. Bereket Habteselasse, the chairman of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea) that term limits be incorporated. But now, when he has rediscovered and embraced his inner Mao, how does one reconcile term limits with his claim (Riz Khan Interview Al Jazeera) that there won’t be political pluralism in Eritrea for three decades, four decades, maybe more? How does one reconcile term limits when he tells an interviewer (ABC – Foreign Correspondent) that resignation is not something “that will ever cross my mind again any time in the future as long as I am alive.” ?

      You can’t. Well, I couldn’t. But I am not as smart as the ideologues of PFDJ because they have come up with a perfect plan. The way to solve a complicated problem is to complicate it further. It goes like this. The 1997 Eritrean Constitution is a marvelous document. However, the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea, who had (and has) become a foreign lackey, had unbeknownst to the rest of his colleagues “fatally compromised their autonomy and the legitimacy of the Commission”, “may have irreparably damaged the future of the constitution.”

      When I read it first (in a piece, allegedly by two no-names in a review of Dr. Bereket Habteselasse’s book, but really penned by friends of the President’s Office), I felt like Yossarian in the novel Catch-22 when he learned of how catch-22 works: “Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.” After boasting for years that the document had popular participation, expert reviews, layers of ratification processes, to claim now that the Eritrean constitution is “fatally compromised” and “irreparably damaged” because of the actions of one man…. Phew. That is brilliant, really. Because the only thing you can do to a “fatally compromised” and “irreparably damaged” document is to change it. Of course! The only way to undo this damage—for the sake of national unity!—is to draft anew. Except that this time, all clauses referring to political pluralism, civil liberties must—for the sake of national unity!—more explicitly be made subservient to stability and national unity!

      Source: http://awate.com/isaias-afwerkis-deals-with-his-regimes-suicide-note/


      • Zaki

        Salamat Salih

        Excuse my ignorance but I don’t know what “Zaki from 6.0. Wow”, means. I was a frequent contributor in discussion forum with great people like Taste, Sennai and many more. Hope one day will meet them face to face.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Haw Saleh (Saay),

    Why are you rejecting technocrats like you to lead in the transitional stage of the upcoming change? Doesn’t that model help us to build trust for the foreseeable democratic political system in our nation? Why do we give the “critical stage” to any party before we create the leveled plain field for the parties to compete for power? Can’t we learn from our own history and others that when that critical stage is given to a single party, it will dictate and shape the outcome for its own leverage? Why are we blind to see the consequences and are still driven to the same experience? I need an honest answer to these questions, Saay Nebsi.

    Senay MeAlti,

    Amanuel H.

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear awatistas,

    Below is an advice from Meconnen A/Michael to our youth in this forum:

    1) ንጸላኢኹም ከም ቀሊል ጌርኩም ኣይትርኣይዎ (Don’t under estmate your

    enemy) ህድእ ኢልኩም ሰጉሙ፡ ኣብ ጭቡጥ ነገር እመኑ ጸላኢኹም ነዚ ከምዚ ናታትኩም

    ምጥርናፍ ሓያል ስለ ዝኾነ ህዝባዊ ስለ ዝኾነ ዘይተባህለን ዘይተገብረን ኣብ ውሽጥኹም

    ክነዝሓልኩም ክፍትን እዩ። ቋንቋኹም ዝዛረቡ ሕልምኹም ዝሓልሙ ተመሲሎም መሳትኹም

    ክልእከልኩም እዩ፡ ህድእ ኢልኩም መዚንኩም ሰጉሙ። ትዕቢትን ጃህራን መንገዲ ናይ ውድቀት

    ስለ ዝኾና ከይትኽተልወን፡ ዝዕበ ዝጃሃር ሰብ ድሑር እዩ ረዳኢ ወይ ሓጋዚ የብሉን። ከምቲ

    ኣቦታትና (ቅንፍዝ ከመይ ጌርኪ ደቅኺ ትሓቁፊ ከከም ገጾም) ዝብልዎ ብዝተኻእለ መጠን

    ንኹሉ ከከም ገጹ ክትሕዝዎ ፈትኑ። ንሓድነት ህዝብን ሃገርን ተቃለሱ ብዝወሓደ ደረጃ

    ሕድገታት እንዳ ገበርኩም ንክትሰማምዑ ምረጹ ግን ዘውድቐኩም እንተ ኮይኑ ደው በሉ።

    2)ንውልቀ-ሰብ እንባ-ገነን ኣይትግበሩ ንዓና ንህዝቢ ኤሪትራ ኣብዚ ኹሉ መከራ ዘውደቐና

    ኢሳያስ ኣፈወርቂ ዘይወዓሎ ንሱ ጌሩዎ፡ ገጽ ውግእ ከይረኣየ ንሱ ተዋጊኡ እንዳበሉ ብዘይናቱን

    ብዘይወዓሎን ስለ ዝወደስዎ ዘዳመቕሉን ኣብ ክንስከሞ ዘይንኽእል ጸገም ኣውዲቑና ይርከብ።

    እዚ ኩሉ ሰበብ ስልጣን ዝደልዩ ሰባት እዮም ፈጢሮም። ኣንባ-ገነን ክትኮኑ’ውን ኣይትፈትኑ

    መውደቒኹም ከይከውን። እንባ-ገነን ክኸውን ዝደሊ ዲኽታቶር ወይ ካልእ ኣጀንዳ ዘለዎ ጥራይ

    Amanuel Hidrat

  • haileTG

    Here a picture of IA receiving donations of about 10 basketballs, few rucksacks and fishka (fits fits) from Sudanese visitors (the only ones) to the independence day. Shukran ya all, hiji’wn btsfrna 🙂

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Haile TG,

      Lol, you are really haile the Great!! aye, aye aye aye, shame! Nay bihaki wudket PFDJ. receiving electricity, recceiving printed Nakfa currency, oil, and now kkkkk, 10 basketball playing balls.

      Nay Qatar kea ba aytiresie. Kidawinti (second hand – haraj niblo zineberna) kea tekebiom nerom.

      Where is Self-reliance?


  • Guest

    ናብ ዝኸበርክንን ዝኸበርኩምን ኣነ ቅዋም ሕጋውነት ‘ ኳ ኣይንበረኒ ‘ ምበር ብዘይሕጋዊ ቅዋም ክትካእ ኣየፍቅድን እየ :: እሰሩኒ ደርብዩኒ ግን ገና ጽርይቲ እየ ኮይነ ክነብር ::
    ካብ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ናብ መሰጋገሪ መድረኽ ዘጽብሕ ጉዕዞ ባብሩ ቅዋም ኣይኮነን ቅዋም ሕጋዊ ዝኸውን ብምሉእ ተሳትፎ ሓፋሽ ምስ ዝንደፍ እዩ ::

    ካብ ቅ ዋም ሃገረ ኤርትራ ነበር
    ዒራ ዒሮ
    ጎደና ሳሬት ዓለባ
    ቁጽሪ ፩፱፱፯።

  • Guest

    ናብ ዝኸበርክንን ዝኸበርኩምን ኣነ ቅዋም ሕጋውነት ‘ ኳ ኣይንበረኒ ‘ ምበር ብዘይሕጋዊ ቅዋም ክትካእ ኣየፍቅድን እየ :: እሰሩኒ ደርብዩኒ ግን ገና ጽርይቲ እየ ኮይነ ክነብር ::
    ካብ ስርዓት ህግደፍ ናብ መሰጋገሪ መድረኽ ዘጽብሕ ጉዕዞ ባብሩ ቅዋም ኣይኮነን ቅዋም ሕጋዊ ዝኸውን ብምሉእ ተሳትፎ ሓፋሽ ምስ ዝንደፍ እዩ ::

    ካብ ቅ ዋም ሃገረ ኤርትራ ነበር
    ዒራ ዒሮ
    ጎደና ሳሬት ዓለባ
    ቁጽሪ ፩፱፱፯።

    • Kokhob Selam

      Dear Awate Team this is from Kokhob Selam. I have problem in posting and still I am trying to find out why. sometime it works sometime not. help me to delete the duplication. thank you.

  • sara

    hey sis, zegereda.
    com-on we have seen this before, what are you trying to tell us ? say it in your own words.

  • Tzigereda

    Dear Nitric,
    This might help you understand whom you are talking about ( up 9:43).

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Tzegereda,

      Where have you been? This forum have missed you for sometime, especially Yodita and Pappi, as you are the added value in this forum from our female side. Keep up your light to shine.

      Amanuel H.

  • yonas

    DIA unstable and deceiver, 2 months before he declared people of Eritrea to despair from democracy, waiting democracy means just like living in moon he said. Now what a paradox then rule of people we will draft. Amazing what a moron gov. what kind of ignorance to his people

  • L.T

    Kab awetino..agamino….good job

  • ALI-S


    This is a very timely and on-time post and very interesting way of seeing things. I completely agree with you (unless I am making my own interpretation of what you wrote) that the 1997 constitution has been contaminated “terakhisu”.

    First I agree with the president in what you attributed to him in seeing some including Dr. Berekhet as damaging the value of the constitution. I also think he would have given the document more weight if he had stayed out of politics and avoided using it in opposition politics.

    Second I agree with what was implied in that the 1997 constitution does not belong to the Eritrean government anymore. I would say does not belong to Eritrea any more. If the 1997 constitution is implemented, those who will declare victory are not the ones who deserve credit for changing their minds and implementing it but all those who would claim the constitution was implemented because they defeated the PFDJ.

    From a tactical point of view therefore it would have been extremely dumb of either the president or the PFDJ to keep it alive. Even if the PFDJ had decided to implement the 1997 constitution all including Dr. Berekhet would have demanded that it be modified for the defects he referred to repeatedly. Why then is all the complaining instead of sending the president flowers on this? For me I am glad the 1997 constitution has died and I hope they do not even take it as reference.

    A very critical issue that you almost mentioned (is implicit in your arguments) but evaded is the fact that Eritrea has changed a lot since 1997. After the border war and all that followed including the emergence of ethno regional activism, it would have been stupid to implement the 1997 constitution that assumed none of the new developments.

    You have made some speculations in straw-man style but nothing major. Like you assumed the president will always be a power-grabber and you concluded that it will be a constitution of power-grabbers. But I think this is a development that deserves the benefit of the doubt. Good job!

    • Amanuel

      Hi Ali Salim
      I am not sure if you are deliberately trying to create confusion or you don’t know what a constitution is. A constitution is a long term guiding document which helps a country how to govern its self. It is not a diplomatic document used to help gain short term wins in your foreign policy. For that matter, it is a more inward looking and defines the relation ship of the people and its government. Imagine, the American take up your idea and try to draft a new constitution to suite their temporarily foreign policy and development in their region.

    • saay7

      Hala Ya Ali-S:

      Questions, if you don’t mind. You say “For me I am glad the 1997 constitution has died and I hope they do not even take it as reference.” Could you elaborate on that? That is a very “Second Way” way of thinking and I would love to hear your thoughts.

      What is it that has changed since 1997 that requires not amending the constitution but drafting a new one? Specifics, please. Remember, you have to show not that the constitution had to be amended but RE-drafted.

      Which of my speculations are straw-man? Is assuming that “the president will always be a power-grabber” really a stretch: the man does have a 40+ political resume.


      • ALI-S

        Selam SAAY,

        I thought it was my way of saying the article was good and I was pointing where I agree with you. I might have made my own interpretation and decided that was what you said or meant. In communication I think there is always that descripancy: it isn’t what we say that is important but what others thought we said. What am I saying!

        To follow your meticulous way of responding and not referring to what you wrote since you framed general questions:

        (1) On why I am glad 1997 is dead: I always believed that 1997 presumes a Hade Libi and hence fails to address the whole ethno regional politics and hence is structurally defective and unrealistic. This covers all issues of land, language, religion, regional administration and others all of which determined by the extent of unity presumed. I believe it was beyond repair from the get go.

        (2) The question should be what did not change after 1997. Before 1997 and hence during the constitution drafting period we were optimistic mainly on: global cooperation with our vision, the extent of hostility in the region, the sanctity of ghedli, the non-existence of Andnet etc.

        With this of course goes the whole package of whether the constitution should spell out rights and responsibilities in such a way that we do not leave exploitable loopholes unattended. The primary question in the next stage (triggered by post 1997 developments) will be whether all human and political rights should without exception be taken as God-given irrespective national security concerns. Like I understood you as saying (correct if I am wrong) it is likely that people who would be more actively involved than others by virtue of political positions would be leaning towards leaving a limited number of individual rights such as the right to trial and procedures of arrest and so on and freedoms of belief and others as categorical and God-given, while treating rights that might be exploited in situation of national emergencies more controled.

        (3) On the straw man: you are not alone. I just made a straw man by presuming what the new drafters will do even before know who they will be and started hammering it. But you were right I was referring to demonizing the president and concluding in what the demon would be doing.

        (4) On more unrelated issue with Emma’s comment in mind, the relation the constitution as legal document and the constitution as a political public relations instrument is valid. Constitution I believe is not the substance of the document. If that were the case any article in aware with modification of wording would serve as constitution, i believe constitution is the legitimacy that the document carries.

        I believe in constitution process comes before substance in raking. 1997 lost legitimacy because the PFDJ lost the opportunity to own it and gave it away to primarily regime change conspirators to use as a PR instrument. Since 1997 lost legitimacy, it is as good as any article in aware,

        The exclusive PR value of the constitution in opposition politics can be observed in one contradiction. One (of several) arguments behind the regime changers is that the Eritrean government is an illegitimate regime because it came to and stayed in power without election. By definition the parliament that ratified the constitution was illegitimate. Then how can 1997 be legitimate?


        • saay7

          Selamat Ali-S:

          I went straight to our area of disagreement; didn’t feel it was necessary to acknowledge what we agree on:) Will do more of that here:

          1. When I said specifics, I was hoping you would quote chapter and verse of the constitution. Without details, you really are giving me “Second Wave” arguments; Saba may rescind your Third Way membership.

          2. You did not answer my question as to why the constitution is being redrafted and not amended. I actually expect able spinsters like Yemane Gebreab to bridge the gap between “drafting” and “amending” by saying something like “qwam yierem/yimaHayesh alo and in any event the basis for the 1997 and the future constitution is the National Charter so what’s the big deal? 95.5% of the 1997 constitution and the new constitution are identical so let’s stop crocodile tears…” Wild applause.

          3. It’s not using a strawman to draw assumptions based on past behavior. Do you think all the things that give you pause about the 1997 constitution –unitary state, no official languages, land belongs to the State–are going to be removed from Isaias’s next constitution? And do you think the saving grace of the constitution–the fundamental rights of a citizen– will not be diluted? That it will not restrict language on political pluralism and right to worship? Compare the strong language in the 1987 EPLF program, with a weaker 1994 PFDJ chapter, back to a stronger and explicit language of 1997 constitution.

          4. I honestly don’t know what you mean by “regime change”? From your derisive reference to it, i suspect you mean the traditional opposition which is working for the removal of the Isaias regime? If so, from the dozens of the organizations, none except for EPDP has embraced the 1997 constitution (and the reasons for rejecting it are very similar to yours, by the way) so your claim that they have adopted it is inaccurate. Even if they did, does the constitution lose its merit by association?

          And if you don’t like “regime change” how do you want to refer to us who want to change the Isaias Afwerki regime without a full-fledged civil war? “succession planners”? “Retirement party organizers”? I am all ears.


          • ALI-S


            Apology for the late reply. Your challenges are very pointed and I cannot claim to know the answers or give definitive details apart from an opinion as guessed to the best of impressions.

            You know I am not a lawyer guy so you may be able to help here. You made a distinction between choice to amend 1997 Vs drafting a new one. My guess is that a constitution that was never implemented cannot be amended from a procedural point of view.

            Implemented I mean translated into active laws and institutions including a working parliament established in accordance to its guidelines. For example this is what the constitution of 1997 says:

            Article 59 – Amendment of the Constitution

            1. A proposal for the amendment of any provision of this Constitution may be initiated and tabled by the President or 50 percent of all the members of the National Assembly.

            2. Any provision of this Constitution may be amended as follows:

            a. where the National Assembly by a three-quarters majority vote of all its members proposes the amendment with reference to a specific Article of the Constitution tabled to be amended; and

            b. where, one year after it has proposed such an amendment, the National Assembly, after deliberation, approves again the same amendment by four-fifths majority vote of all its members.

            Right now given the circumstances, say the President decided to take your suggestion and amend the constitution. What options would he have to get around the requirement set forth by 1997C? I will wait for your legal mindedness and may be help from some lawyers in the forum.

            My guess is that he would alternatively call all the hzbawi baytotat and what is left of the PFDJ CC to convene and give them the task of rubber stamping his proposals since that is what most expect of him.

            Would such a move be more acceptable to the opposition? Would you have supported that as a welcome development more so than drafting a new one?

            The answer to these loaded questions, I believe give us the answer to your second question regarding the opposition playing politics and hence aborting the value of the constitution with all its ills. Constitution (irrespective of its content) is a rallying issue the way nearly all the opposition sees it, I believe including those who say we should rally around rejecting a single-man dictatorship.

            The reason is because the way opposition rhetoric has been framed so far: dictator is one who rejects constitution in order to prolong power-grab. I think Semere H said it better in his article: by breaking this logic and proving that Eritrea can have a dictator with a constitution, he essentially pulled the rug and left us fumbling for explanations.

            The rest of the points you mentioned we are either together on some or we have differences. The Third Way dimension here is that we applaud when we see something good.

          • saay7

            Selamat Ali-S:

            That’s an interesting take. Let’s see if we can have a different take at it and, why not, I will start from bottom and go up: it is, after all, the Alem gmTlsh: Mai naQeb era:)

            1. One way to look at things is that Isaias “essentially pulled the rug and left us fumbling for explanations.” (Mai naQeb) Another explanation is that Isaias, after 14 years of stalling and having to have it both ways, just couldn’t and gave up to join the very large club of Dictators with Constitution. A large reason of why he gave up is due to (a) us in the opposition, (b) the sensible People’s Fronters (they exist) and (c) the Country Reports Factory in the West.

            For the last 14 years, the Isaias Regime (mostly in the person of Yemane Gebreab, but there were others too) had taken all these positions SIMULTANEOUSLY: (a) We are in a no- war no-peace situation we can’t talk about the constitution now; (b) The constitution is actually implemented and working “just because we didn’t hold ribbon cutting ceremony doesn’t mean it is not implemented” (a verbatim explanation I was given); (c) you don’t have to have a constitution to have rule of law: look at England, Israel, New Zealand.

            And for 14 years, the traditional opposition ridiculed them, mocked them for running a country without a constitution (rightfully so); and the new opposition (the young ones with “Implement The Constitution” placards) saw it as the way out for Eritrea (rightfully so.) The sensible People’s Fronters–the rank and file, the cadres–asked about “our constitution” at every public meeting for the last 14 years (rightfully so); and the Country Reports factories–State Department, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, etc–always included the fact that Eritrea doesn’t have a constitution in every annual report (rightfully so.) It was a relentless and sustained four-pronged attack each for its own very valid reason.

            After years of boasting that they have foiled and rebuffed the challenges of running a country without law, the Isaias regime waved the white flag. But it couldn’t do it honorably and it couldn’t blame the death of the 1997 Constitution on the usual suspects (Langley, Mekele.) So it blamed it on Dr. Bereket Habteselassie because, according to its convoluted logic, Dr. Bereket had, by exercising a right granted to him by the constitution (freedom of speech), and by lamenting the absence of a constitution he helped draft, he had tarnished the Constitution’s reputation, when in fact he was rightfully tarnishing the Isaias regime’s reputation. If only he had been like his fellow commissioners and said nothing the constitution’s reputation would have been intact, is their argument. (What they wrote with a pen name in 2012, they wrote in their quasi official website, madote, this week with a personal attack on Dr. B.)

            [Note to Dr. B: A scene from an Egyptian play for your amusement: Adel Imam is asked by a flirty girl if he is rejecting her request for a date because he was safeguarding her reputation (d’anta khaif An Sum’eti?) and he responds no, I am safeguarding my reputation (La, ana khaif An sum’Eti!)]

            So now if Isaias wants to be a dictator with a constitution, he leaves the exclusive club he wanted (England, New Zealand, Israel: democracies without a written constitution) and joins a long list of a dime-a-dozen African tyrants. And he was forced to stop hiding and admit it, and he did.

            2. Thanks, for being very specific on why the Constitution couldn’t be amended but re-drafted. It is an improvement over your previous “the world has changed since 1997” argument which conveniently left out who changed it. My knowledge about law is as limited as yours. So, to help me make my case I will borrow a literary device called “Magic A is Magic A.” It is mostly applied in sci-fi and it is this: people are willing to suspend disbelief for as long as the author is consistent in telling his fantastic stories. If the author tell me that a fearsome alien has only one thing that terrifies him, a cat, he can’t show me a scene where he is holding a cat. Magic A is Magic A. Similarly, if the Isaias regime was telling the world “never mind Dr. Bereket or the Commissioners: it was we who have written the world’s most wonderful constitution”, it is fair-play to call them on it when they say, “there is one catch, we can’t amend it.”

            Beyond that, let’s follow your citation of Article 59. It is the duty of the opposition (and indeed for the Silent Majority to silently murmur as I am sure they are): “and why is it that you don’t have a National Assembly that can’t be convened to amend the constitution?” Because this will force him to speak of a National Assembly which last met in 2002 (12 years ago) and has been frozen/disbanded by Isaias. It will remind people that the NA’s last directives were that the issue of the G-15 be resolved expeditiously and that the Office of the President make its case and evidence against them public and the Isaiasists haven’t. It will remind people that many in the NA are dead, imprisoned, exiled and being tortured by the Isaias regime as we discuss draft vs amend.

            The opposition is under no obligation to shield the dictator from embarrassments; in fact, it is the job of a patriotic opposition to point out the flaws, excesses, screw-ups, blunders and crimes of those in power.

            You make a very good point that, practically, there is no difference between a rubber-stamp National Assembly amending a constitution to his liking or Isaias single-handedly drafting it. But there is one difference. The Isaias Administration is the first in post-independent Eritrea. Everything it does, everything, is precedence-setting for future government. And sometime when our great grandchildren are our age, there will be a president who will use Isaias’s precedent. And, once again, Isaias will be to blame.

            Finally, we don’t know whether Wed Ali wanted any constitution or the 1997 constitution. If it is the former, Isaias wins; If it is the latter, then there is a possibility of an Isaias vs a People’s Constitution and that’s worth fighting for.


  • HayaT1

    Wonderfully written article. I believe the tyrant wants to rewrite another waterish constitution to:

    1. Legitimize the illegally imprisoned journalists, prominent political leaders, religious leaders and the rest. The long imprisonment of those people, some of whom may have already been dead, is a serious liability for the tyrant and he knows very well he will be held accountable by Eritreans and global organizations. Hence, the new constitution will be written in a manner that support his criminal deeds.

    2. He wants another constitution so that he can run, rerun and lead the country until he dies. He wants a new constitution that affirms the thug is Eritrea and the people are his properties.

    3. Drafting and ratifying a new constitution takes time, and this serves acceptable reason for the gullible for 3,4,5 or 6 years.

  • Ermias

    Selamat all,

    I see a lot of excitement about IA’s one line mention of a constitution (seems like a new one) on his independence day speech.

    But is that what is really needed now in Eritrea?

    Please dig deeper. We have had a mass exodus for almost a decade now and at this point there is no guarantee that a constitution will stop any further departure of youth in droves. Is the damage already done reversible enough to continue as a healthy nation and society? As I mentioned before, my eyes are no longer fixated on IA and PFDJ. They are just a symptom of a bigger problem. These youth lived there recently and they had trouble seeing the resemblance of a nation state in Eritrea. They are looking for freedom not only political but economic and social; confinement in Eritrea, in good or bad days will not do for them.

    As I have done a few times in the past, let’s start to read between the lines of what YG is saying. But I am afraid the guy simply arrived a little too soon for Eritreans because the insatiable nationalism hasn’t started to get worn out yet. He has asked – what is the core or the glue that holds Eritreans together, or what is our epicenter? Arguably the Kebessa people but they have been dealt with a big blow (one after another) for 50 years now, even before that, there was no great sense of unity amongst them.

    Let’s start putting all our options on the table before getting super excited about the old or a new constitution. A new constitution can easily take 3 years. If he starts it in 2015, it can be completed in 2018 or so and then ratified in 2019 and first election in 2020. Give him two terms of 5 years. That is 2030 before you have another president not named Isaias Afwerki. By that time there will only be “bahtawyan and menequsetat” in the highlands of Eritrea. Some people will argue that he will die prior to that but it doesn’t matter so much. He has mini-me’s.

    Strong alliance with Ethiopia with strong negotiating power is the best way a sustainable change can come.

  • Abe z minewale

    let me keep my promise while breaking it

  • Mahmud Saleh


    Election Campaign HQ: Our reporter Semere Andom reports that the seasoned campaigner Nitricc has been assigned to run the campaign. Nitricc was reportedly quoted hinting that the toothless opposition would be welcome. Asked if the toothy ones could be accommodated after some dental work, he was unyielding. Our reporter further reports newly discovered glitches on the newly to be inaugurated 8 bit chip PIA invested heavily in with an unlikely partner, AMERICA. The problem, observers comment, is due to new lethal virus unleashed inadvertently from “tes laboratories inc.” The renowned Amanuel Hidrat is reported to have flown to the lab. Reached by telephone in an undisclosed location somewhere in the West, the commander of the toothy opposition, Haile TG, was reported to have reiterated the group’s long standing position that any form of participation would be considered after having eliminated the possibility of any ex-tegadalai and their traces participating in the election. PIA campain manager,Nitrrcc, was quick to dismiss the participation of what he called “toothy opposition.” This is in contrast to his long running characterization of the opposition as “good for nothing” or “tooth less.” When asked if he knew there existed a toothy opposition, he refereed the reporter to the campaigns PR manager who was not present for interview. Professor Saleh Y and a long critique of PIA, SGJ were bewildered by the speed of events. They both stated that they were taken off guard and the elder statesman, Dr. Bereket, was away from his office.
    The campaign Manager, Nitricc, was asked if he is aware that PIA had announced the drafting of a constitution, and if he could comment on the legal ground of starting of a campaign before the rules governing it were approved,he simply shrugged it off saying the president is the constitution. ” PIA announced the drafting of a new constitution, it was PIA who shelved off the first one, he can start his election when he feels it is time, you know what I mean?” he said heading to his office; turning to the reporters, he said ” We are dealing with toothless opposition anyway” with a visible glee on his face.

    • Pappillon

      Un-profiled psychopath with children of uncertain future.

      • Nitricc

        Pappi I say not and I say
        A selfless hero who determined to do the right thing before his time is up.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Dear: Nitricc; he is in power consuming the selfless innocent tegadelti and halefti who had brought him to power. Tegadalay Issayas has been a liability to Eritreans than he was a liberator; we would not have been in this dilemma had Issayas chosen the right thing, had he been selfless. I have no doubt on that, he is responsible for every misadventure, lost opportunity, wasted lives and material, abuses of power and human rights, mismanagement of resources…..etc. He is a madman, as far as I am concerned and all the small circle around him is collaborating. It is clear that he has been a failure, with no gut or will to assess and change course. I do not believe he is serious for drafting a constitution, and even if he is serious, it will be a constitution that will be more exclusive, as saay put it. He is going to create a constitutionally wielded one party system. My difference with most of the forum participants is on how do you bring the change. I believe in domestically driven change with all diaspora efforts playing an augmenting role; no civil war, of course and no foreign interventions.

          • ALI-S

            Selam Mahmud,

            I will propose to our priory in the forum to confer the title of Great to you in addition to Haile although “meda Ertra kab Hade Great nilaEli aytsawern ikhewn”. Utmost respect being in its place allow me to intrude.

            I thought we almost agreed yesterday that we should tone down the “selfless tegadelti and Halefti” thing. Mabelash yabasha! (:-)

            This I think should specially be true because it doesn’t fit when you say such angels are serving a mad man bound to take the nation to hell. One side of your equation must necessarily be wrong. If he is what you described then the perception of many of us is true that they do not deserve your description. If they are as you described then give me one reason why we should not follow what the angels are doing as role-models and assume he is an angel and support him.

            i would love to hear one method for regime change in Eritrea that does not involve a civil war of some kind.

          • Saleh Johar

            Ali, I think I agree with your comment. Though one small detail, Kab Hade Great nlaAli tsegem e’yu. Let’s call Mahmoud Basha.

            Aby Hmed, it disturbs me when people blame all Tegadelti wholesale. It also disturbs me when you praise some brutes simply because they were tegadelti. Those are the ones who think being veterans gives them the right to enslave the people. So, it is Mahmoud Basha if you don’t appeal it in the next hour 🙂 “I was sleeping” is not an excuse.

          • ALI-S

            Selam SG,

            I made it before the deadline. I second the Basha on two conditions: that it always be written with a capital B and that unless preceded by the name Mahmud, it be sufficient to refer to “The Basha” just to make sure its use is unique. Please vote if you haven’t or Mahmud Basha please come forward by the deadline.

            I agree with your limitations on the blanket demonization. But I think you agree with me and does The Basha that the good ones and those who have no intention in abusing the title, have no use for it anyway. People I think do understand that the blanket would include only the intended pricks.

          • haileTG

            Selamat Ali-S and SGJ,

            – Let me remind you friends that it wouldn’t be possible to have another “great” here without igniting civil war 🙂

            Concerning the Tegadelti and civilian issue, it has occurred to me that we were making one slight logical slip all along. Ghedli (is not equal to) Tegadelti!! This is the same as saying that a soldier or a battalion is not the army. That is speaking at conceptual level, the concept of ghedli can’t be accepted or rejected based on the act of tegadelti. In fact, ghedli includes more component parts than tegadelti. The latter only involves those engaged in the military aspect of ghedli and most of whom failed to maintain ghedli and commandeer it to its intended target (after shutting out everybody else and claimed the winner takes all). So, I sense that YG has ended up equating Ghedli to tegadelti and used that to justify his take on the subject. Were hafash wudbat part of ghedli? were non EPLF part of ghedli?…. Many questions. hence, if tegadelti are not equal to ghedli, the entitlement they wish to drive from the achievements of ghedli should be weighed against their standing vis-a-vis the noble objectives of ghedli and all those that made up ghedli. A short example is how a group of specialized tissues make an organ. But in order to be an organ, they need to function in a certain way that would result in the overall function of the organ. A tissue can’t take credit for the work of an organ since it wouldn’t be considered as such in itself. And the equality that is often (yet erroneously) assigned between ghedli and tegadelti is logically defective. Regards

          • Saleh Johar

            Haile TG, that is why you rightly earned the title: The Great. Excellent and logical explanation.

          • ALI-S


            Is Haile the Great taking some pills or attending Saba Clinics secretly? How come all of a sudden he is starting to make sense? (:-)

            Haile I completely agree with your reference to ghedli as a whole and tegadali as part and the whole is greater than the sum. Not only that but I would add the time dimension as well. Even if the sum of tegadelti was ghedli, where there is no ghedli any more tegadelti are out of context and their demands are retroactive.

            How about you take the task (homework) of framing a term that preserves the dignity they deserve but reduces the concept into a mere title such as buluqbash.

          • Saba

            Hi Ali-S,
            I can not talk about HTG’s visit in the clinic, due to patient confidentiality but i guess all from the cyber opposition will attend it sooner or later:) I think HTG is trying first to consolidate his bond with the cyber opposition then he will have his own school of thought like SAAY. In my classification SAAY does not belong to the cyber opposition.
            That term buluqbash makes me laugh the way it sounds:) I heard it before a couple of times.

          • Saba

            Hailuwa, good post. I will keep your TG title for now:) I think you have greatness but you are too emotionally involved to unleash your greatness. YG is using the mistakes of ghedli to tarnish the initiation of ghedli itself.
            About Tegadelti, at least there are 2 groups: 1)those who fought for independence and the people and 2) those who fought for independence and later for themselves.The latter group got privileges. They should have left up to the public to provide them freely with basic needs[like housing and food etc] but for something higher privileges they should compete with the civilians and get it by merit.

          • Semere Andom

            Selam Sabi:

            Trivializing the issue is tell-tell sign of an affection for the dictator!

            You hanker on trivia. The issue we are facing is not that of inequality or tegadalety have more privileges. I would not have problem with that as they have spent their time while others were in enriching themselves, it is ok to have some sort of affirmative action for former tegadalti and the state should mobilize resources for their training and integrating them to civilian life. I am for all that as inequality can be tweaked, refined with time if the Eritrean people were left alone. What we are asking from the government and the supporters is to live us alone to tend to our lives. Government and trained killers (soldiers) should be checked and that is why we need laws. Ghedli may have protected us from the crimes of Dergi, but we have nothing that protects us from the crimes of ghedli, which has turned out to be more heinous than Degi’s. So we are not “bitching” about inequality as The Nitricc has called it.

            The issue is those Yodita called the creepy, corrupt and cruel opportunist segment of ghedli won and wreaked havoc that you slink around is the “lahmet” of the issue. Let me say it again, the Cause of the ghedli was just, what ghedli Delivered was shameful and that is why your binary grounded question to Serray, are your free or not borders on the superficial understanding of the reasons the ghedli was ignited in the first place

            natki Semuriley 🙂

          • Saba

            Semiruley, keniI-Ka dika about the TG title? 🙂 I am not trivializing but i should have used a better term though. Tegadelti should have left to the public everything including the governance system and let the people decide. Instead SOME of them abused the power and stripped the rights of the people, imprisoned many. Some of them ended up being victims of their system. It is like big fish eat smaller fish. Do you remember the old food chain system in bio101? You have not answered if you were with the”kulu dihiri hager iyu” Team or not. Just checking if you were a medium fish or not. The medium fish are the silent enablers of the DIA system.
            I do not understand your defense of Serray. He is saying that we should not start ghedli in the first place. And now he believes whatever the Ethiopians ask give them, why fight for a piece of land, be it whether Assab or massawa? He wants to fight for freedom with out the land, i know it does not make sense. Based on his theory he might even accept the annexation with ethiopia if that allows him to live in freedom(they are called Neo-andnets). Were you in ghedli? If yes then you have first hand knowledge than me.
            Sorry i can’t say Natka Sabina:)

          • Semere Andom

            No am not jealous because Sal, who is in charge of titiels in awate already has a title for me and am not talking about “itegadalai’ this is when he freezes me:-)
            I was never “kulu dihiri hager and never been tegadalai that is why Sal calls me “iTegadalai”

            My question is why cannot we have both land and freedom? we have our land, it is not that we are occupied although DIA and supporters gave away some of our land to the Ethiopians and when they decided ti take it back the Woyane said ‘”hibu hibu zehidig….” and claimed finders keepers.
            I understand you cannot say” Natka Sabi” and I should not have said “Natki Semulrely”, but it was intended for Sal, it is an inside joke. Now I will get in trouble for saying that and I will apologize for it it to those who matter, but I will keep quite until I am found out that I did say it 🙂

          • Ermias

            Selamat Hailuwa, this statement is not accurate:

            “So, I sense that YG has ended up equating Ghedli to tegadelti and used that to justify his take on the subject.”

            You may be mixing up YG with Serray. YG actually laments the unfortunate fate of tegadelti (specially kab hageresebat tegefifom zikedu and the kebessa females) and he sees them as victims of Ghedli but more so of Shaebia. The man has seen something that we are all refusing to see for fear of being labelled unionist, anti-Eritrea, weyane, kada’e etc. This is the culture of Ghedli and the Eritrean Kebessa elite and it is being continued rampantly. We need to break this culture of fear and keybluni if we will ever get anywhere in bringing justice and peace to our people, specially the young victims. At a very young age in 1998, I saw nothing but genocide looming when IA ignited war with Ethiopia and I was labelled ‘Teraray’ but we as a people still cannot see farther than an inch from our eyes.

          • Mahmud Saleh

            SGJ, ALI-s, HaileTG


            1. I was sleeping as you suspected Saleh Johar, you have chosen the right time
            to deprive me from appealing. I would rather keep my Tigre tagyet rather than
            putting on an Egyptian kofia.

            2. The title of TG so far has been monopolized, and this is anti-democratic
            culture and goes against the spirit of Awate. So there should be a time limit.
            HTG can not complain of PIA dictatorship when he assumes a title for life. Thank you Ali-S for campaigning on my behalf. (problem is: gdmna yebleyn)

            3. Sharing the title will surely ignite a civil war, and since I am against it, I will
            use democratic skills acquired here in the west and try to civilise the few tegadelti in this
            forum and get a domestically driven change where we create a climate suitable
            for drafting a new constitution which could ensure the peaceful transfer of the
            title, “The Great”.

            4. Ali-S has again brought something I have not prepared for: how do you avoid
            a civil war?

            I have no idea. I will just have to pray that a domestic combinations of
            possibilities take place ( we debated these possibilities in the past, under
            Omaro or Gen.Tawil- pulic push for change which we see getting momentum, EDF,
            PFDJ initiated….a combination of diaspora domestic…etc, but I see there is
            a possibility unless aborted by Ethiopia’s reckless interventions. Ali-S asked how I could reconcile ” such angels…serving a mad man bound to take the nation to hell.” I never said all tegadelti were angels, but I am of the belief that the majority of them have been abused; what my “sources” (acting like Gedab news) tell me is that they are with their people asking for change. Up to 1994, I can tell you for sure, all of the Ts were under military administeration; we did not have a say on what to do; we could not leave, we could not resign..we were not given inservices or rehabilitation workshops on how to do civil duties, on how to interact with our people…etc. Despite all that failures by our leaders, I still feel we failed to live up to the standards and ideals our martyrs would like us uphold, even putting our lives on the line. (easy for me to say that from the USA).

            5. On tegadalai , PFDJ, Issayas things: (for the last time, I am really exhausted)

            a/ I have made myself clear as to the “T” word, so I don’t want to go
            back to it; that’s what Ali Salim is reminding me, and I will respect that.
            That’s why I did not respond to Haile TG’s last reply; my policy is to listen,
            because I have been away for long time and encased in my small “T”
            family even here. Therefore, I can not argue with someone who tells me the way
            they have seen/ experienced things when I am not in the environment in question. I asked Ali to
            see if he can come up with a paper on this issue, he has not replied either
            way. I am waiting. No kolol melol, no U-TURNs, a straight answer is expected.

            b/ PFDJ: I don’t know them. The only person who can claim seniority in opposing
            PFDJ is Saleh Gadi. I disassocited myself from it in 1995, opposed it since
            1998 (war with Ethiopia), openly criticized them since 2001 (tea shop
            opposition) and went to the media since Lampedusa. I never benefited from it,
            nothing. Those who came out of the country through scholarship raise your hands, please.

            c/Issayas: I lost confidence in him after 2001, period. I have either said it
            openly or implied it in some of my writings. For today I am presenting the following article I wrote after the incident of Lampedusa;


            PFDJ has forfeited its right to be respected: it must surrender power to the
            rightful owners.

            By assenna on October 23, 2013

            PFDJ has forfeited its right to be respected: it must surrender power to the
            rightful owners.

            A couple weeks ago I wrote an essay entitled, to the unknown soul. It was an
            attempt to share my shock and grief upon the peril of hundreds of young people.
            I had the opportunity to enter Asmara on May, 24, 1991. On that day, despite
            battle exhaustion, we were at the height of our energy and optimism. Asmara had
            just erupted in euphoria, the suburbs where Ethiopian army had vacated were
            burning. Apart of sporadic gun shots, there was no organized enemy, there was
            no position to attack. Kidane, a veteran fighter, had thrown his cigarette’s
            butt away and said, “This, I hope, is the last bullet I fire” and let two shots
            out to the air, stating they were celebratory shots. He took out his
            two-years-old daughter’s picture muttering he had completed his commitment to
            free Eritrea.

            Recently, I heard his daughter survived the perilous journey out of Eritrea.
            Most of Lampadusa victims would have been Kidane daughter’s age. The tragedy
            has affected many people around the world. The response of the government was
            shamefully inadequate. As usual, the government would want to wait it out. The
            bodies and their horror stories, though, shocked the world. Although too late
            and somewhat clumsy, the government scrambled to damage control mode. Sadly,
            this is the future Kidane did not anticipated. For those of us who spent our
            prime time in making Eritrea a country, this is not an exciting time. What
            makes this predicament so shocking is the fact that it is our own creation; I
            will come to it.

            This should not be the fate of a country like ours. This was a country of
            difficult delivery with a bright prospect of growing fast. Yes, the delivery
            was complicated and strenuous, surrounded by stories of dedication and
            selflessness. Many heroes and heroines did not live to see her birth. They did
            not experience the euphoric atmosphere that engulfed her birth; they did not
            see the sheer determination and optimism her stewards felt. She was expected to
            make up lost opportunities with her caretakers, ready to chaperon her along the
            path of the winners, not the losers. The future was bright. She did have
            time-tested custodians who were keen to see her success, ambitious to spread their
            confidence to their continent, proud to tell their children stories of their
            sacrifices, and how they achieved the improbable one, the birth of Eritrea.
            Twenty two years later, for these men and women of courage and doggedness, it
            should have been time of reflection and satisfaction. It should have been time
            they felt confident they had made the right decision in passing the torch to
            the next generation, for every generation has limited time to accomplish so

            Thanks to the leaders of PFDJ, of course, all that’s been squandered. They have
            made Eritrea an example of everything bad. The number of Eritreans fleeing
            independent Eritrea may, by some estimates, exceed the number of Eritreans
            joined the resistance for its liberation. This is in contrast to our
            anticipations. We were people of great expectations; they were not unrealistic
            ones. Eritrea had all the ingredients of becoming an example of rapid post war
            recovery. But we made a costly mistake. We kept trusting our leaders. Eritreans
            believed those leaders would take us to a better future and greatness; we
            believed our leaders would herald a new era that had eluded Africa for half a
            century. We believed in them, that was it. We surrendered our liberty to the
            whims of men with no mechanism in place to check if we were served decently, no
            rubric of grading them, none whatsoever other than trusting them. What we
            should have known is the fact that very few revolutionaries turned out to be
            democrats. Very few of them, actually, make good statesmen.

            In 1994, the dust of war had barely settled when the popular front (EPLF),
            transformed itself to an instrument of suppressing popular demands. We kept
            quiet. Unwanted and avoidable wars ensued. We danced, and within days behaved
            as if we were the generals conducting the war, updating our imaginary maps at
            every coffee session. After that disastrous war, constitutional and democratic
            demands were crushed; their proponents, politicians and journalists alike, were
            purged. We acquiesced, moreover, argued that our leaders must have been
            justifiable, although no credible justification was presented. Years of
            additional callous adventures followed earning us an embargo which has sent
            things spiraling down. Again, this latter was also avoidable.

            Eritreans have been so generous to PFDJ leaders (if they are to be called
            leaders.) PFDJ has been defended for its failures, forgiven for its blunders;
            practically, allowed to redo Pol Pot’s failed experiments for so long. The time
            of rationalization has long passed. The time for validation and waiting for
            wishful twist has certainly evaporated. Particularly, for those of us who
            invested so much trust in it, PFDJ’s devastating policies have caused us so
            much trauma; our conscience is in turmoil. How long is enough? The pleas of our
            sons and daughters are pounding our hearts. The plight of our people has become
            so loud and desperate that it has challenged our notion of what it should mean
            to be patriotic. Something is raging deep inside our hearts and the conflict
            and tension down there should resolve; that begins with a bitter
            acknowledgement: We created PFDJ, it’s become unfit to rule us; we decide it
            should be dismantled.

            PFDJ’s policies, if continued, will have only one certain result: the unmaking
            of Eritrea. Twenty two years is a long time. In human terms, a child would have
            been raised and able to chart his/her own life. In twenty two years, nations
            undergo major changes, in some cases, to the extent their present image
            contradicts their past one. To the contrary, Eritrea, has been in a steady
            decline. Recently, that retroceding has been gathering speed. After twenty two
            years, becoming tiers with Somalia and the DRC should have been a position we
            should not have found ourselves in. How could we settle for this outcome? How could
            a generation that has endured so much for the making of Eritrea becomes an idle
            observer to its unmaking? This is a question social scientists should find

            Eritrea is ravaged by years of Khmer rouge style policies. Nothing of a miracle
            will reverse its astounding back fall except the realization of the bitter fact
            that we created PFDJ; admitting that it has failed us, therefore, demand it
            surrenders power to the people. It’s more than likely the situation will get
            worse unless PFDJ’s unruly behavior is not checked. However, with its present
            arrogant attitude, there appears no room where PFDJ leaders would brave the
            admission: “Sorry, we messed things up. We tried to the best of our ability to
            stay in power, but you know, even staying in power could sometimes become
            numbing, particularly, when your fans number gets drying up. Can you help us
            locate the constitution? “This choice would be desirable for the country. It
            would be similar to Nyerere of Tanzania’s exit strategy. Some may go for reform.
            Nonetheless, hoping PFDJ to refurbish itself, at this point, would be akin to
            an exhausted lioness switching turn with the lion in attending to the cabs so
            the lion could keep killing the poor antelopes.

            Many concerned Eritreans have been sounding the alarm for many years. Many
            thanks to these patriots who endured years of name calling and abuse. At this
            juncture, it all boils down to whether the calls of our conscience breaks us
            free from the shackles of fear; whether pleas of our youth will shudder our
            deep-rooted loyalties and affinities to certain historical organizations there
            by finding a common ground. Here, there is no more formidable common ground
            than the prospect of the unmaking of Eritrea in front of our eyes. It’s true
            our liberation experience conditioned us to get apprehensive about change;
            therefore, many calls for change have gone by unheeded. Seized by unjustified
            fear that we may jeopardize hard-earned independence, we refused to question
            obvious transgression on human rights, outdated economic ventures, foreign
            policy blunders, and the robbing of our political destiny. We may disagree on
            approaches, but the airport is the same. Listen to your inner thoughts. If deep
            in your heart believe we could and must do better than PFDJ, then as a good
            citizen, it’s your responsibility to dissent. It’s your right to demand for
            change; if deemed unattainable, then trash your organizational loyalty. No
            organization is bigger than the country.

            Mahmud S Hamed

            Ps: By “we” I mean anyone who has some connection with/contribution to the
            creation of PFDJ; anyone who has been exercising restraint in criticizing the
            government for various reasons.

          • House of Stark

            Dear Mahmud S. Hamed
            thanks for writing this wonderful article. I know, it’s deep from the heart.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hello Nitrics, I have no problem with you describing Isaias the way you do. But calling him selfless is not a bit of a stretch, it is stretching a yard long thread to go all the way from California to Eritrea. A dictator can never be selfless. That is a logic even you cannot deny. …. I hope.

          • Nitricc

            Hahahaha SJ
            Well first Pappi pushed it and I pushed back. And I don’t think it is that much streach
            I never heard sending his kids to oxford like every other dictators do. I never see his name among other African leaders who stashed millions of dollars. If we to talk honestly
            I don’t think he is like other Aftican leaders. For that calling him selfless I don’t think it is that much a strech.
            However; when you come PIA’s desir for power then that is entairly a different story. But what is power if you can not gaine fainancialy and put your family a head?
            You see; you will forced to use the word selfless.
            Fair is fair.

          • Saleh Johar

            Ok Nitricc, most of the time, power is pursued for its own sake. Just like a bully who gets a kick by humiliating school children with no other benefit but to be feared.

            As for sending his children to Oxford, ask people in the know, why did the Sawa policy of allowing those who fail 12th grade matriculation to go redo the test start? All who fail were being sent out of school until a golden child failed. They couldn’t send him out of school, they introduced a new policy that allows those who fail to redo the test. Because of one child, the entire policy was changed. Find out why.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        dear pappi: I hope you do not mean that to me.

        • Pappillon

          ዝኸበርካ ማሕሙድ

          ከመይኢለ ንዓኻ ክብለካ ይኽእል ንስኻ ወዲ ሓላል ኢኻ ኢሳያስ ኣፈወርቂ ግን ወዲ ጸልማትን ናይ ጸልማት ልኡኽ እዩ።

    • haileTG

      haha..nice one. I saw this video but didn’t saw it like that! However, I also felt something different about this particular whisk through that was purported to be “dancing to Tigre song”, or is it how dance to Tigre music? hmmm

    • Nitricc

      Hahaha Mahmud.
      I could have be the best election manager but I won’t be for PIA. Let him rest let the new generation and the fresh blood flow though the system. Enough is enough. He has done his part and let him guid the young blood and let him keep his legacy.
      Again let the man keep his legacy.

      • Amanuel

        Hi Nitricc
        The problem is that no fresh blood is there to take up the legacy. All the young are leaving the country in a mass. And those in the west (YPFDJ) are only talking the talk but not walking the walk. Even Nitricc election manager for disaster is not ready to reveal his real name let alone do his national service. Poor old IA, I feel sorry for him.

        • Nitricc

          The truth it is a better way.
          All the slackers and good for nothing are out of the country and who is left is the one who believed they can built their country and the once with gumption and fortitude to face what ever comes. So, anytime the decks are clear and you have the few, the visionary, the determined in the country. It is the best option.
          So, what you thought negative look how it is a blessing.

          • AboyTesfay

            You are outside of the country is that mean you are one of “slackers and good for nothing “?

          • Nitricc

            Aboy Tesfay ; what is up? Long time. Nice to see you around.
            Hahaha good and fair question. At the moment I can be discribed as them slacker and good for nothing. But there is a difference. They are feeling their country instead of making their country to their liking for the one hoping to reach. On the other hand I am out side the country making my self better and arming my self better so I can my country better. So, if I was sitting and getting fat and doing nothing but insult the government of Eritrea. No. I am working toward my life long goal. Make my country the best country there is. I am working my butt off.
            So, don’t you think there is a difference? Aboy Tesfay!

          • Amanuel

            Hi Nitricc
            Did you watch ERTV last night about Gemil history? If you did ask your self “am I ready to sacrifice a fraction of what he did, just to reveal my real name and identity and write about what I believe in” I am challenging you and don’t forget to keep your promise, i.e. fulfil national service.

    • fithawi

      Now I am convinced more than ever how embarrassing and denigrating to be an Eritrean is seriously and if I could trade off my race or Eritrean blood I certainly would.We are bad and Kezab hizbi and no wonder we got a crooked shifta leader. We deserve it and long live the shifta.

      • Kokhob Selam

        Dear Fithawi, no you should not. you will regret on that decision. don’t do that. first ask yourself, how did it look last year and go back counting till 1991. you will see big different. again how much among the crowed know the truth? again what is the quantity of people happy within this crowed. you see as far as there is a “government” there is always a group of people who will dance around him. see Mengstu or just go back to Qadafi’s last days.


  • Semere Andom

    “Any one who says that there is justice in Eritrea is a criminal”, Pilot Dejen Ande Hishel in today’s interview with Assenna

    • Pappillon

      Dear Semere,

      You can call me sentimental but I believe Dejen is the last straw that broke the Camel’s back. He will single handedly bring the tyrant down and the clique around him. There is no doubt in my mind that, before we know it, the ICC will hunt the tyrant down. His miraculous escape from prison is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil where we are not only looking at a time-tested, hardened and way matured young man as we listen to his gut- wrenching testimonies but a young man who is sent to bring Eritrea out of the pitch darkness she is in. Dejen is destined to be a leader where he will lead the Eritrean people into the green pastures for decades to come. That is not an over-stretched optimism but a fact.


      • Semere Andom

        Hi Papillion:
        It is refreshing to hear that 15 years of darkness did not break him. He is still suave, persuasive, reasonable, responsible, optimistic and gallant and he will no doubt unravel the secrets buried in Karshelli, the same prison the Degi tortured, killed and raped people. The same place Deg tortured and tormed innocent Eritreans like Weld-Dawit Temsghen, I bring this founding father because Dejen’s testimony reminded me of his diary while he was in prison in Semble. Twenty three years of bondage reigns on with people like Aster, Ermias and Bitweded and thousand nameless children of Eritrea incarcerated and tortured. It is mind boggling. But more shocking is the attitudes of some people here in this website that facilitates justice and democracy who sanitize the crime of Isaias and some of us engage them as if they have some traces of humanity in them, instead of calling them for who they are as Serray does at every opportunity

        Dejen is very articulate and I am sure Eritreans inside are hanging on to every single syllable he is pronouncing. Those who have little acquaintance with freedom, honor and love tell us they respect the tegadalati and the war disabled, but justify the crimes of Isaias no matter what they hear. Even if you show them video of the torture they will not change their minds. Have you noticed when you were debating with them they never mention Dejen and they talk about the constitution that will be drafted.

        Isaias has no agenda of rule of law (a note to Serray: no constitution will be implemented while Isaias/PFDJ are in power), because one of the properties of rule of law is someone will be accountable to the crimes that Dejen has so lucidly, vividly and succinctly articulated.

        I am a toothless opposition and as you can imagine I dream at night I dream in the day, I fantasize and even now I am dreaming and one of my reverie is that I will write a book telling a story of a prisoner and one of the prison guards character is named Nitricc. Even if Saleh Gadi beats me I will make sure I will write it 😉
        News in the New Scientist says that in the next 5 years natural teeth can be regrown by marrying Nanotech and biotech, in case someone is wondering 🙂


        • Ppappillon

          Dear Semere,

          What is so amazing about his interview is that, if we for a moment take away Dejen and all the prisoners from the scene, we are left with the prison itself. Karshelli or Karchelli. Here is the deal: Karshelli is not in some remote island where it is off-limits. It is with in the heart of Asmara. Just imagine! That is where the horror is taking place. The unimaginable horror is taking place with in the heart of Asmara! The wailing at night due to a torture gets absorbed not by a sound-proof but by the either learned hopelessness of the people or by their utter indifference. In the day time however, visitors-diaspora bustle around the area and confuse the prison with an era where Dergi violated prisoners when in fact the former is an angel compared to the man the visitors-diaspora are bending backwards for.

          As you have aptly put it, what strikes me about Dejen is that, he didn’t let them break his spirit. I would assume, he is a man of tremendous physical courage with a powerful mind as well. As much as every generation has its own heroes, he could as well be our own Mandela for his story is not only pristine but it has a divine touch to it as well.

          P.S. Semere, you’re a gifted and a brilliant writer and I wouldn’t be surprised if you publish a book with a stellar caliber about the fall and triumph of the Eritrean people.


          • Pppapillon

            This is Papillon. I am having problem with Disqus and I seem to have lost my regular nick name.

  • Pappillon

    Professor Bereket, where are you when we need you the most? I hope you will render the tyrant bare naked armed with your facts and legal facts. Waiting in earnest.

    • Rodab

      Dear Pappi,
      The professor will likely appear on VoA-Tigrigna soon.
      They’ve said they’ll talk to experts….

      • Pappillon

        ሮዳብ ሓወይ የቐንየለይ ንሓበሬታኻ

    • Nitricc

      Pappi I know you are having a sleepless nights becouse if PIA do the right thing then you and team of doom ang gloom will be proven wrong. How sad are you people?
      No you calling on a person who wishes to see Eritrea reunite with Ethiopia before he dies then you call upon this toothless guy to expose PIA?
      Why can you people be happy and positive and wait and see?
      Some of you need a freaking life
      I have told PIA will do what he wants to do and there is nothing you can do! That is the fact and you need to deal with.

      • Pappillon


        ቅድምቀዳድም ክቡር ፕሮፌሰር ዓቢ ሰብኣይ እዮም ንዓኻ ይኹን ንኹላህና ኣባሓጎና ይኾኑና እዮም ከማኻን ከምዚ ከማኻን ዝኣመሰሉ ደቂ ዕዋላ ኢሳያስ ግን ምስ ኣዝማራ-ሮዝ ዝመራሒትኩም ክብረት ዝባሃል ነገር ኣይትፈልጡን ኢኹም ኤሪትራውያን ኢና ክትብሉ ኣይትኽእሉን ኢኹም ምኽንያቱ እቲ ናይ ብሓቂ አሪትራዊ ዝባሃል ንዓበይቲ ዘኽብሪን ንዓበይቲ ዘይዘልፊን እዩ.

        The ratified Constitution we were told can not be implemented simply because, the border issue is still in a limbo. Now we are told that, a new Constitution is to be ratified when the border issue is still in a limbo. That is the colour of schizophrenia. The macabre abnormality is not about the tyrant anymore, it is about you and others who run onto the grass on a cliff to graze it oblivious of the latter. What a pity!

        • Nitricc

          Pappi I have no idea what you wrote in Tigrigna because I can’t read it but from the English version you wrote; let me give you an honest answer. The reason why PIA made the U-turn is not because of the border issue is resolved or TPLF gangs withdrew but he is running out of time.
          He took it as long as he could but at the end he understands he have a country to take are and a legacy to protect.
          Again let me retreat this, PIA will do what ever he wants to do and you and your toothless opposition will do a diam thing. So, my point is, be happy what else can you do? You and your opposition insult; degrade and scream at the guy and the guy did always what ever he wants. As usual did what ever he wanted to do; what the point for you and your doom and gloom story bend out of shape and getting sleepless nights?
          That is all I am saying.
          It is sad on your part to reach out and inquire for a person who his dream is to see Eritrea united with Ethiopia. Can you be more desperate than this?
          Talk about pity?

  • berrie

    as my asmarino friends would say “babba constitution ‘ba reayelna..” and issu promptly delivers…
    Issu “ze gret” is doing exactly what he wants and expecting us to talk about it as a reaction. Two years ago he was playing hide and seek when apparently he died and at the third day… no pardon, it was at the fourth week, he resurrected with the help of Langley (i.e. according to his media). there was a lot of talk…
    Now Isu is telling the world that the 1997 constitution is dead and I expect he will create a new one in 7 days.. in is own image and resemblance (or maybe that would take him 7 years… you know these things take time)
    In the meanwhile let’s be patient and enjoy the show… I mean by that time the so called occupied sovereign territories (which are the real culprits for the homicide of the constitution) will come under custody in one of iseyas’s secret prisons (we all know they were conspiring with langley and CIA and were in DIRECT contact with the woyane) and ISSU and the new constitution shall live happily ever after…

  • haileTG


    Here is a 15 second brief about constitution from Yemane Gebreab, Presidential adviser:


    Mind you this happened in less than 12 months (May 2013). So some PFDJ were telling us that IA was working on this from his NY appearance time!! So, why wasn’t Yemane Gebreab not privy to that? This tells you that PFDJ is in crisis mode, the current announcement is neither planned nor predictable. The only predictable constant here is that IA can dish out any BS and his enslaved PFDJ “elite” and rank and file would just take it. I compared them with butlers once, because if you’re a butler you have no say on how the home is administered, you just keep your nose clean and support anything that is done.

    IA’s actions here is a desperate reaction to mounting pressure on his regime and has no clue whatsoever how it is going to pan out.


  • ghezaehagos

    A gem, Sal. God bless your heart.

    Indeed, the objective for the tyrant is not about constitution. It will NEVER be about having new constitution..It is about TALKING about having new constitution. He calculates this line will buy him few years. ehi hiji ke? ‘Quwam yindef alo’…wait few years…’kiwam kixedk iyu’…and then Mekalf agatimu!

    Ghezae Hagos

  • Abe

    Hi Sal,

    “Lewahat” means “good-hearted” in Tigrinya. The corresponding word for “naive” is “yewahat”. Good article.


    • saay7

      Hi Abe:

      Thanks for the correction. Unlike Sem A who told me I completely made up the word, the way Canadians made up words like loonie and toonie and I, being yewah, almost believed him. He has already called my friend Nitricc protozoa (ንጽል ዋህዮ); God knows what he will say next:)


      • Semere Andom

        Hi Sal:
        Let us ንቲ ሰነድ ትኽ ክነብሎ (set the record striaght) 😉

        I did not call our Nitricc protozoan, Serray did, I just dramatized it by using Latin or Greek 😉

        Lewhat: Kindness

        Lewah: Kind

        Yewahnet: naivete

        Yewah: naivet

        Lewahnet: does not exist, if it did it is in the category of “irregardless” and “handebetnet” 😉

        • saay7

          Hey Sem:

          Well, well, well, aren’t you ብርኪ ንህቢ (bee’s knees)

          መዓት ገደደ (much obliged)


  • dawit

    Happy Veterans Day to all Eritrean Fighters who live in America. Don’t worry about Constitution, You will not miss what you don’t have. PIA has promised to give you one, let us hope he will keep his promise. Remember ‘Zbereke Tshaina, Zhareme Maina, Znegese Ngusna’ The wisdom our fathers!
    dawit the HIDEF-MENDEF
    Awet Nhafash!

    • dawit


    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam dawit,

      When I watch the video clip posted by the commentator “guest” at the top, I can’t agree more with you on the old adage you like to echo often. I don’t know whether you believe on it or it is for “political Halki” but the general public at home from the reaction and dancing with the despot clearly reflect to the proverbial adage “Zeneges Negusna, zibereQe Tsehaina.” It is sad to watch them celebrating with the despot who destitute them.

      Seanay MeAlti

      Amanuel H.

  • Serray

    Selamat Sal,

    Timely analysis.

    I always felt that independence came not because of isaias’s leadership but despite his best efforts. If he could, he would have preferred to stretch the struggle a couple of decades, this would have given him only twenty years to stall, instead of forty. Isaias can not live a normal civilian life not just because he is addicted to power but because, for him, to live without power is death. Some love power because it is a means to something; isaias loves power for power sake; that is why he doesn’t enjoy the trappings of power – giving his supporters an illusion of selflessness. The right way to understand isaias and his love for power is to imagine him without power.

    For example, you can picture meles in a college setting, in diplomatic setting; try to picture isaias in any setting other than where he is. Go ahead, close your eyes and try to picture him. He fits nowhere. He is too dogmatic to be an intellectual or a diplomat and he can’t be an elder statesman (too much blood in his hand plus he doesn’t believe in the idea of an elder statesman anyway). Isaias is trapped in power; if you want him out, you have to take him out.

    The mistake his former comrades make is, they ask him to do something that is exactly the same as taking a gun to his head and pulling the trigger…and they are surprised when he decided to shoot them instead.

    His biggest mistake was drafting the constitution. In many ways, it was a constitution custom built to fit him. It gave him the best of two worlds (head of state and head of government); gave the State he sits on top the ownership of land and all natural resources and the party he leads the power to be a government and for-a-profit owner of vast enterprises at the same time. The 1997 gave him everything he needs except time. Just like every single honest one of you can not picture him without power, the constitution threaten to strip him of power after only two terms of five years and he can’t picture himself without power and so he did the most logical thing to stop its implementation.

    His enemies, that includes you, Sal, transpose your humanity on him and refuse to accept that he ignited a war to stop a constitution from taking effect. When faced with an unambiguous proof that he declare war on a country 20 times bigger than us and only seven years after thirty years of gruesome war, we searched for reasons in skirmishes and the intentions of people who walk like us and talk like us instead of the long-term plan of a man who ordered “at least two brigades of regular soldiers, supported by tanks and artillery”.

    So what now? Well, the 1997 constitution has two glitches: time and the assumption of multiparty system. He fixed the time glitch with badme and he is going to fix the other glitch with writing identical constitution with a single party democracy. Is he going to get away with it? Yes, because the single party he has in mind showed it is willingness to go to any extent to keep on enjoying its loot before and it will do so again. Maybe not always but isaias is now identical to the party he leads. Him and his party are no longer capable of being out of power. So what should we do? Push for the drafting of the new constitution as soon as possible or push for the old one? It doesn’t make a matter as long as we understand the nature of isaias.

    • Saba

      Dear Serray,
      From your posts i can say that you sound skeptical and pessimistic. You remind me of my high school period, when i was questioning the conventional wisdom just for the sake of debating and while my peers found it irritating because they believe in them and they had to defend them. But i was enjoying it because i do not take sides, i do not have to defend them and hence i had an explanation for everything. I think you are against everything everything everything and you have an explanation for it and you do not have to defend nothing. You can deny everything and feel the winner always. I have not seen so far what you support or what would you fight for. If you tell me that you support for heaven-like life style then still you are denying the reality. Are you mad that the planet earth is so uncomfortable? Well in that case the answer is not in eritrean politics.

      • haileTG

        Lol Saba, you remind me of some of the techniques enda 72 use day in day out on prisoners (often highly intellectual Eritreans) to cause them mental instability. They expose them to non-stop nonsense continually in solitude till they finally divorce from reason and become insane. Serray is one of the greatest contributors around here, great to debate with and often presents a very insightful analysis of the topic he would be engaged in. We know that Saba opposes all means of struggle, belittles all, denies the existence of many forms of opposition to the PFDJ that are swelling by the day and has nothing to defend. You don’t defend anyone or anything vis a vis the current misery of the Eritrean people. That is the telltale sign Eritreans follow nowadays to figure out who is who. Serray is of the view that the ghedli experience is the source of our suffering, he disagrees with YG beyond that and thinks it isn’t necessary to downplay Ethiopian oppression that necessitated. So, he does have a clear stand and he defends it well. That we don’t agree, doesn’t mean he doesn’t. Your approach bypasses the subject and plays the belittling card (yet again) for unspecified reason. We are taking notes.

        • Saba

          Lol to you Haile T G. I thought you are in “Tirkim” mode:) Anyway i was waiting to hear his reply but i see you again defending, like you did with the debate about TPLF. So in your next vacation to Eritrea, are you going to demonstrate? Peacefully though.

          • Peace!

            Demonstrate? you mean writing poems peacefully?… but I would ask him if his “acting innocent and playing Dumb” tactic works in Eritrea.

          • haileTG

            You kidding right? Playng dumb and innocent is the only way in Eritrea under HGDEF Mendef unless you can work with their core vice, money. I told you earlier that if you have the right lines connected (with money) one can hang you all hgdef bootleggers from bahti meskerem lighting poles for all to see. Your scum here doesn’t mean a rats behind there. money money money… 🙂

          • Peace!

            Nah Nah Nah …not money my friend Haile (please stay the Great!). You have been advocating for weeding the PFDJ out, and so far, you have yet to come with practical strategy, except poems, Playing Dumb tactic, and countless emotional victims’ testimonies. What I am saying is: in your next vacation, since the change agents are in Eritrea, would you demonstrate peacefully, as saba suggested, or “Play Dumb” your favorite tactic to win the popular support of the Eritrean people??

          • haileTG

            You really don’t know Eritrea or can’t see outside of you niche of contact there do you? The Eritrean people will rise up and you will see that soon. I say make a confession and repent before it is to late. The average reader may not be aware of what you guys are doing here, but trust me the dumb and stupid who specialize in poems are closer than you think. I hope you’re already done with having kids and raising them. Trust me, there is a line linking you with the blood of innocent you’re helping shed, just a saying 🙂 (Saba take note too)

          • Saba

            I know Eritrea very well, i am asking YOU, Haile T G, what is your contribution? Are you going to demonstrate in Eritrea? It is not fair to ask credit for doing nothing.

          • haileTG

            Let us get this straight, I am questioning you and your job is to answer. Where is a single issue of the opposition you didn’t try to belittle? How long did you spend in slavery Saba? Are your kids gonna take up your profession? We will discuss serious things once you grasped the meaning of serious 🙂

          • Saba

            Dear Haile T G, If you have honesty and you care about your people, you could answer Yes or No. The cyber opposition has nothing, it is empty, that is why i am trying to rehab them. Anyway all your posts are based on emotional tactics as if IA will listen to you. Can you try and tell me if this one works: Take a big picture of IA, where he looks ugly, and curse him all the day. You can start by saying “mendelay temen yinkeska” 🙂 That might work and all “mekuhat’ will be broken and we will be free. Teraiyuni ikua!

          • Nitricc

            Saba you are a trouble maker.
            Stop asking those kind of equations. : – )
            Watch out the confused Semere will come to get you.
            Stop it. Do you see how the group of doom and gloom watch each others back. You started talking to Serray the mother of gloom and coward ness and Haile came to defend now you are toying with Haile and expect the confused to show up.
            We know what Serray did and didn’t do. I can’t wait to hear the rest of doom and gloom.
            We know they are good at raining tegadalay.
            So let’s here what they have done.

          • Saba

            Dear Nitricc,
            These equations are possible if not probable. I know you will defend for Assab but can you defend the freedom of ordinary people?

          • Nitricc

            What does freedom mean? Does freedom exist? Are you, Saba, Free?
            Please be honest?

          • Saba

            Dear Nitricc,
            We can talk about freedom and its components all day( probably you have googled it before many times) but let’s make it simple, freedom is to do and say whatever you want with responsibility. Do you agree with this simple statement?

          • Nitricc

            I don’t google. I don’t even use dictionary. I solely relay on my own take, from my own experience; from what I see.
            I could have told you responsibility and freedom contradict at some point. But I am not going to bore you with that staff. May be next time. But for now, please answer this. Are you, Saba as a living person, are you free?

          • Saba

            Yes i have the basic freedom and the rest of it i will try to get it! Absolute freedom is in heaven:) Lol. And you? I think you should learn to read books/e-book since you do NOT know everything.

          • Nitricc

            Saba so your question should have to be rephrased to mean as ” basic freedom” right?
            By the way I did not say I know jack all I said is what I know is from within.
            So, is your inquiry to me is ” basic freedom”?

          • Saba

            Dear Nitricc,
            No, more than that. It was a suggestion to read about what you do not know.

          • Nitricc

            Saba I know what you meant; I just want to give you hard time. If you stick with basic freedom then we can talk
            : – )

          • Saba

            Dear Nitricc,
            Lol, i know you enjoy debating with the tootless cyber opposition. I am trying to give them a “tooth” but they do not listen. Blash ni kontu!

          • Peace!

            Haile The Great

            “You really don’t know Eritrea or can’t see outside of you niche of contact there do you?” Lol ..take it easy, and by the way, don’t take it personal. Well, here we go again no plan except “The Eritrean people will rise up and you will see that soon.” Why do you expect other people to do the job? Do you know the Egyptians’ Haile the Great, Mohammed the Great? He didnt wait for the Egyptian people to rise up; instead, he turned his computer off, flew to Cairo, and led his people into tahrir sqaure. My friend don’t be naive weeding out PFDJ is not as easy as it may sound, even your TPLF masters understand of which they are already exhausted.


          • Saba

            Dear Peace,
            Good points. They do not want to turn off the computer and go to the street to demonstrate, they are stuck in the “computer on” stage.

      • Serray


        But I take sides, I am for constitutional government and I am not even particular who brings it. I am fine with isaias regime drafting a new one or implementing the old constitution. You see, unlike you, I believe the thirty years struggle was for freedom and justice and not for territory; not for piece of land, specially not for a piece of shit called badme. The reason you are confused about me is, you don’t take sides anymore; you are a semi-pfdj.

        I hold freedom and justice so high that I equate it to having a country. You are for “country first”, just like the right-wing republicans in past and losing US elections. You and the rest of the semi-pfdj crowd value having a country so much, you are willing to lose it in the process of defending it. I start from a question that you failed to ask why you want a country in the first place. If you think I am putting words into your mouth, answer the following honestly: You had a country for the last 23 years; a country that jails, terrorizes, disappears, enslaves and traffics on its people; telling me then what exactly are you celebrating? If you are a sadist, you will tell me “the heroism and sacrifices of our people”; if you are mindless robot, you will tell me “for having a country”; if you are human, you will tell me “I don’t celebrate but simply mark the day”…. “because the 30-year struggle was for freedom and justice and the last 23 years have been anything but”.

        I see you and people like as defective; you started fine supporting an armed struggle for freedom and justice but when it failed to deliver, you turned the means into an end and keep on cheering. If I am wrong about you, tell me why you celebrate May 24 without using the following words and concepts: “struggle”, “heroism” and “sacrifice” because these are the means to an end, not the end.

        • Saba

          Dear Seraay,
          I knew you will reply with a heaven-style, unfortunately, we people in the earth have to choose . Let say a new party in Ethiopia wins the election and they vote in the parliament to get back asseb(Mr. Amanuel Hidrat, the PM will follow the rule of law). What would be your decision? Would you live without this piece of land called Asseb and hence its ports ? Actually massawa is enough as a port and we can live with freedom and democracy without Assab, happily forever. Or would you fight for Assab? Sorry this is not heaven, you have to make a choice.
          Cool, now in your piece you graduate me from a “‘PFDJ supporter” to a “semi-PFDJ”, but sorry I was not a PFDJ member in the first place, you see in this case i did not have to take sides, like you would like to do usually:)
          I give you credit for saying “I am for constitutional government and I am not even particular who brings it” but I am afraid that as soon as it is implemented you might say the next day it should not and you will share with us all the explanations to why. So now I have you on record: )
          If you believe “ghedli” should not occur in the first place, whether it was done properly or not, and you just want to live in democracy, why do you support Eritrean independence from Ethiopia? You can fight to live in freedom and democracy within Ethiopia, like TPLF did. I do not see your point of supporting independence at all.
          Can you have freedom and justice without a country? Do you believe in fighting for
          freedom and your country simultaneously?
          Which individual is living better: The one with dead brain but beating heart or the one with normal brain but failing heart or the one with normal heart and normal brain?.
          If you can not answer all of these questions, Haile T G will come to the rescue and distort your thoughts so you better hurry:)
          PS: We are debating about our ideas, nothing personal. You could be someone I know: )

          • Serray


            Have you noticed how you equate freedom and justice to territory? If aseb is gone, freedom and justice have go. If badme is gone, freedom and justice have to go. For you, to be free is to be demarcated; no demarcation, no freedom; no demarcation, no justice.

            You are a typical product of how ghedli evolved from freeing the eritrean people to a nation of our own by any means. Your idea of freedom, free nation, is twisted and volatile. It only exists if the ethiopians behave. The moment they crave aseb, the moment they crave an inch of eritrea, you lose your shirt; damn the people, damn freedom, we have to turn eritrea into a dark, corrupt, inhuman nation run by human traffickers. For you aseb is above the wellbeing of the people, badme is above the wellbeing of the people. If either goes, there is no reason for freedom and justice to exist.

            Funny you bring up the mind and the heart. I am the one who believes that we can still be free and just (have a heathy mind and heart) even if we don’t have 100 percent of our land and you are the one who thinks evil should rule if we lose an inch of our land. Eritrea suffers from two sick minds: a regime led by a dictator who will do anything to stay in power and people who rationalize his sickness.

            Very soon one of us is going to win. We will either lose the nation or lose the dictatorship. You are wrong on another count; we are not just discussing ideas, we are discussing life and death.

          • Saba

            Dear Serray,
            You have not really answered the specific questions. I have not equated freedom and justice to territory. Either you lack the capacity to understand or you do not want to answer, for
            your principle of ‘against everything except heaven”. I guess you think you are addressing either the cyber opposition or the PFDJ camp, the ones who have revered you already as the great debater. If you understand better with organs, so do you choose to have a heart or a brain or both?
            They are specific questions and I am waiting your specific answers. Have the courage to
            say in what you believe in. If not you will be like YG, where he opposes Eritrean independence in the first place but he disguises naïve people by explaining the negative side of ghedli. In YGism the question of Eritrean independence was wrong whether ghedli was done perfectly or badly. If you ask YG whether he supports Eritrean independence if ghedli was conducted properly, his answer would be NO because it is not about ghedli. It is about separation of Eritrea from emama Ethiopia. If you do not follow YGism then the timeline of your problem dates back to the creation of earth where life started to be so uncomfortable and you have to choose. But you disguise it by talking about Eritrean politics. However i think you believe in YGism, because you said “Very soon one of us is going to win. We will either lose the nation or lose the dictatorship”. So if we lose the nation(for example annexed to emama ethiopia) you win, if we lose the dictatorship i win.

            PS: do not equate the heart to the brain, they are different organs that are, however, interdependent.

          • Serray


            While we are in the demanding for answering mode, you didn’t answer my question about celebrating the anniversary without using any of the words and concepts I mentioned above. I have already answered your territory equals freedom but I will again if it pleases you but first answer the question why you celebrate 23 years of darkness.

          • Saba

            You did not want to answer the Qs, you can try again if you want. You are stuck in rhetoric.
            I am trying to widen your “spectrum of thinking”
            Let me try to extrapolate from your rhetoric: You will give to Ethiopian leaders whatever
            they ask you, whether Assab or massawa as long as you live in freedom and justice. And if they annex Eritrea with Ethiopia you will be ok with that too as long as you live in freedom and justice. If that is your view then you will agree with YG in the future [if the Ethiopians request again to annex Eritrea].
            I have passed may 24 by working and debating here in the forum. One of my posts was that may 24 is a milestone and next step is to get our freedom. It would be nice if we got both of them at
            the same time forever, as it happens in your heavenly earth. It is a day that we got our freedom but we lost it in the successive years. How about you, how did you pass may 24? Were you free before may 24 if you are Eritrean and if you were living in Eritrea? I hope you did not pass may 24 to rewind time with “time machine”. If you had time machine where would you land? [if you are allergic to terms like land, territory, in this case i am saying land in terms of time, not which place]

            Anyway from the people they directed me to you i thought you debate scientifically and lie out your thinking clearly. Probably those people are infatuated with you and YG because before that no body had told them that ghedli was bad with that gruesome details.

          • Serray


            It is difficult to have a discussion with someone who has no point of view. You are allover the place. You said 1991 was a milestone, you dropped the word “independence” for just this post because you guessed I will push you on that.

            When I am generous, I compare isaias to an ugly street whore who parades on the streets where her decent parents live. People take it as an insult to the worst dictator on earth but it is my way of capturing what I truly feel about the guy. Here is what I mean (now pay attention: in the following lines are again the answers to your questions). In May 24, 1991, tegadelti defeated dergi and achieved the goal of having a nation. It took them thirty long and brutal years; thirty years of turning every eritreans life upside down. Because they didn’t create a new space to fight the ethiopian army, they turned our houses, farms and backyards into battlefields and in the process millions of eritrean paid the price.

            When it ended, the ethiopians were holding a piece of land shaebia conceded to them in order to push jebha out; a piece of land that anyone who spends anytime analyzing the colonial maps can see that it belongs to eritrea. Since we are a nation now, isaias could have challenged the the ethiopians in court and would have gotten the same decision he got from EEBC. After all, in africa, the supremacy of colonial borders is the law (by the way, he could have done the same with yemen and spared hundreds of lives). He knew that but he wanted to stop a constitution from taking effect. So he used one border war after another until he hit a jackpot with badme.

            To stop the constitution he counted on people like you; people who can easily be agitated when land and ethiopia are mentioned in same sentence; people who will completely forget the meaning of freedom, the rule of law and justice until their backs are against the wall. People like you who fantasize aseb been taken over so that they can play a hero and a victim at the same time to an imaginary hurt.

            Here is the difference between us; when I asked a question, it is grounded on reality; when you ask me a question, it is based on a sick fantasy where you picture yourself a hero by losing a port. In your sick fantasy world, we are victims of ethiopian invasion; in my reality grounded world, we are victims of the pfdj, the people you kiss and spit at same time. As to your question whether I support eritrean independence, it is another question of your sick fantasy were you are hero who supports independence (and slavery) and we cyber opposition. Have you noticed all your questions are bogus and serve to glorify your fantasy as a hero in a vacuum?

          • Selam Serray,

            It is difficult to convince people who believe in John Milton’s “Better to reign in hell, than serve in paradise”.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          Serray: I find this ” I am for constitutional government and I am not even particular who brings it. I am fine with isaias regime drafting a new one or implementing the old constitution. You see, unlike you, I believe the thirty years struggle was for freedom and justice and not for territory; not for piece of land, specially not for a piece of shit called badme. The reason you are confused about me is, you don’t take sides anymore; you are a semi-pfdj.” an eye opening; are you consisten on this message? I have to read more of your comments starting today. It is not allowing me to go to the disqus to see your comments.

    • ghezaehagos

      Selam Serray,

      Great points!

      One by one, eye-witness testimonies are helping us to gleaming through the face…of the Monster and his unimaginable hatred towards us. The recent one; Amb. Andebrehan in his book as paraphrased by Elsa Chyrum, “because you called me Agame behind my back….”.

      I recently was talking to one tegadalay who was present in the incident of ‘adma tegadelti’ of 1993 when they pulled him out his white cressida car. Another tegadlay pointed a loaded gun at him. Isaias was literally crying on the way and in his anger filled pleading…” ayetedgadelkun dye!..msakum aydekem’kn dye?!”

      Historians will remember as the day that changed the man, the nation. He was done with us.

      He is long done with us.

      Now, he is taking back every little dignity, every little ok thing, every little ray of hope.

      Hence the 1997 constitution. It is about time….”kulu bebgizue eQey gebero!”

      Allow me to conclude with this FB note. “As long as Isaias is in power, Eritreans will
      never see constitution, peace, and normality, rather we will witness the
      undoing of our beloved nation. Hence Isaias Afewerki must GO by ANY
      MEANS AVAILABLE. Whoever make that possible will live as the greatest
      Eritrean ever to walk on the surface of the earth, as the hero of all
      heroes for generations to come…”

      Ghezae Hagos

    • thomas

      Dear Serray.
      l appreciated the article writer on the timely and comphensive analysis of the news. I also appreciated your supplement comment as well. So thank you both. As for my beloved country and people just wait few times. God will deliver them from the hands of the Pharaoh. Just behold. God bless Eritrea.

  • Haben

    If to be judged by his past actions, he is about to shake his system to shade off lose ends. We were told that there will be no rule of law for decades to come, thus announcing constitution drafting now can only be a bait to catch and destroy deki gerhi leba!! Woldemichael Abraha might be one of those…..

  • Senai

    This new topic of constitution talk led me to the movie “Dumb and dumber”. How naïve someone can be? This is definitely the theory of the dumb and his dumber followers. The man is soaked with blood and he can only washed from his filthy clothes if he apologizes to the citizens of the country.

  • Beyan Negash

    Funny, smart, hilariously apt analysis, courtesy of Henos Fikadu. In less than a minute Henos captured the constitution farce of the Imbecile in chief. I am still uproariously laughing as are my kids. Thanks Henos, you really made my day.

  • Saba

    IA wants to draft a new constitution for the following reasons(i have talked to him yesterday:):
    1. He wants to have absolute power in time of war, such as the 1998-2000
    2. He wants to prevent the interference of external powers via eritrean political parties
    3. He wants to mitigate the concept of “fake’ democracy, as seen in neighboring countries
    4. He wants to say “i heart democracy, i was waiting to come out on my own time”
    5. He wants to dedicate a “drafting show” to the toothless cyber opposition:)
    Per DIA

    • Semere Andom

      Dear Sabu:
      I also talked to DIA and he gave me the following reasons, he was pithier with me, I think your LeHtit may have lubricated his openness with you:
      1. To prove that he can do whatever he wants and his supporters will keep supporting and his enemies will be still toothless and soon gum less
      2. To appease his humiliation and insult addicted supporters after they pressured him to abuse them day in and day out
      3. To win the bet he had with his dictator friends hat he will get more claps after upping the ante a notch the indignity he subjects his subject to

      • Saba

        Dear Semere, I think ganinu aLILkalu yimesleni. My investigative journalism was conducted with chena adam. I asked him what was his best wish and he told me that he wants to live forever with his gum less supporters on his right side and the toothless opposition on his left side. Nsu miskinay kulu gizie iyu zi zikrekum and he loves you for the way you are and does not want you to change. What an unconditional love!

        • Semere Andom

          Dear Sabi:
          you are too formal today:-)

          • Saba

            I am trying:) I usually start by saying :Asey iza hasab libeye semiruleye” but today I am trying to be formal because Rodab told me that Haile T G is turned from paragraphs and articles into one line post. But my theory is that he is busy remixing IA’s one line constitution drafting speech, even though it would be better to auto-tune it. Or may be having seen IA’s success with one line speech, he is translating all his future posts into one line post. Hailuwa sound bites work but not with everybody:) You have to have the right “kemem” balance, check it out in “enda semiruley kemema-kimem” store:) But this week they are running out with korerima:)

    • Ermias

      I now declare you the future Asmara Rose!

      • Saba

        Dear president Ermias, are you going to DRAFT again your declaration?
        I was expecting that you congratulate me about my investigative journalism.

    • Amanuel

      Hi Saba
      I have also spoken to him today. He said ” constitution? what constitution? when?”

    • Wedi-forto

      I thought nsu was the only one hallucinating. Asmara Rose too is dreaming that she has been talking to Him (again!)
      wey gud.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Awatistas,

    After reading Saay’s article, I searched on google to search any rejected constitution in the world history. My search is not vast (hope we will do it together in detail), but, I was encountered by one important theory that has a link with rejection of a constitution. The theory is called, “Nullification”.

    here is what this legal theory tries to define and explain.

    Nullification, in United States constitutional history, is a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. The theory of nullification has never been legally upheld.

    The theory of nullification is based on a view that the States formed the Union by an agreement (or “compact”) among the States, and that as creators of the federal government, the States have the final authority to determine the limits of the power of that government. Under this, the compact theory, the States and not the federal courts are the ultimate interpreters of the extent of the federal government’s power. Under this theory, the States therefore may reject, or nullify, federal laws that the States believe are beyond the federal government’s constitutional powers. The related idea of interposition is a theory that a state has the right and the duty to “interpose” itself when the federal government enacts laws that the state believes to be unconstitutional. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison set forth the theories of
    nullification and interposition in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolution in 1798.

    For more detail read on: http://www.ask.com/wiki/Nullification_%28U.S._Constitution%29.

    Dear Awatistas, as Awate Forum has the all able political analysists, let’s come-up from this shocking news and start to open an academic debate on what has happened to the ratified Eritrean Constitution. Probably, I may come-up with an article, but, we can I think enrich the academic side of this recent phenomena and back-up for the continuation of our fight against justice.

    I am not that much shocked actually as I believe from the very beginning the Constitution was kidnapped by PFDJ, starting from its drafting, ratification and then when it was time to implement. PFDJ had betrayed everything and worse
    now his own archive.

    Let’s confront academically to have a way out of this mourning.

    Dear Saay, I am sharing your agony and haile TG is an expert in Melkes and he did a wonderful woye woye.

    Lets not be spoiled by this NEW VIRUS and bark after PFDJites. Let’s have PROPER antivirus to kill this. DIA has just injected it in order to slow down and divert the energy of the justice seekers. He knows how to DIVIDE AND RULE. Already, in this form, Saay is listing Three camps (it mean, the Awatistas are divide again). As haw Amanuel Hidrat said,
    the constitution was not the reflection of Eritreans since its first drafting process. It was designed based on PFDJ’S value system and was opted by the thinkers and democratic revolutionaries. And, now, we reject also PFDJ attempt to start or implement any kind of constitution. PFDJ is a dictatorial regime and we revolt against dictators.

    Academic debate



    * Sorry Saay, alkise aykielon eye. Thanks haile TG.


  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Ahlen Saay,

    Curiosity got the best of me in the last two days. And that is, what will be the swift reaction of my friend Saay on the fate of the 1997 constitutional document in the event the despot threw it into the garbage cans of history? Will he make an eulogy for it or will he continue to resuscitate the document that excludes the stakeholders?

    It was predictable for me that he will come with a bitter lament to defend and protect from all the intention of the despot to discard it. He did it with all kind of speculations and tried to elaborate the possible scenario that could happen with the upcoming constitutional process the despot has in mind. For me and like me, and the rest stakeholders, who were denied and excluded from the process of the 1997 constitutional document haven’t shaken our guts by the new declaration of the despot. The purpose of PFDJ’s refusal to allow other stakeholders during the 1997 constitutional process was to draft the document with their own value system. The purpose of the despot’s desire to draft new one is to alienate his detractors and draft a document that reflect his value system and his lackeys. So the essence of the process and the result of the product will be the same. In short both of them are exclusionary by their merits.

    For us it was a labor for justice that kept us hopeful and continue to struggle, and will continue to do so until we bring an independent, peaceful, and judicious Eritrea. If you have felt that it will be an exclusionary process now, we will remind you also that we felt the same during the 1997 constitutional process. What can we hope out of this sudden reality at least from those who where supporting the exclusionary document of 1997? Like the proverbial saying, what comes around goes around. You were pushing it at the cost of many stakeholders. And now the despot make you to cry and join with us to labor for justice. That is the hope I expect from this drama. So my call is feel our pain as your pain and we will feel your pain as our pain. That should be the lesson as we go forward.

    Saay we hear and feel your lament, when in fact you were deaf to listen our lament. If we fought for an independent peaceful and judicious Eritrea, and still our struggle should maintain for the same purpose till we see that kind of Eritrea.

    With respect,

    Hawka Amanuel H.

    • Semere Andom

      Ahlen McHidrat:;-)
      As you were waiting for Sal’s word, I was waiting for yours after I heard the one liner of Const. drrafting from the Despot

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Ahlen Sem,

        I think Rodab one time dismissed us as minority when we argue against the 1997 document. Since he lives with and around tigrigna speaking people who have his views, he think they are the majority. People make their own statistics from their surrounding. But they don’t notice the composition of their surrounding. That is the problem and we hear always in our debate. My point is clear and straight forward, and that is, any group of society be it minority or majority they should be included in the process in order the product to be owned by the entire section of our society. If not it will be exclusionary and discriminatory in its process and its outcome. How difficult to understand this straight argument is mind boggling. I know some are on a purposeful mission of self-interest.


        Amanuel Hidrat

        • Rodab

          Dear Aman,
          My minority comment was about those who think PIA=PFDJ and without the President the PFDJ will be no more.
          It wasn’t about the constitution at all. I thought I correct you.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Saay,

        ( Allow me me to bring my response up here to make it easy to the flow of our debate and to separate from that of Hailat)

        Aha, “People’s constitution” !! Off course irrespective the numbers of people, as long as it is drafted by “people” it can bear a name people’s document and people’s constitution in this case. What it matters is what kind of document or constitution it is? I know you are good on assigning “identifiable names”. But we know so many good names are empty in substance. Without going far fetching, there is no better name than the “PFDJ”. The name reflect “Justice” and “democracy”. As we do know including yourself there is no justice and democracy in the house of PFDJ. So as long as the so called “people’s Constitution” is exclusionary and discriminatory in nature, it wont reflect to to name you assigned to it. So “people’s constitution” is just for selling. And I don’t think it will go beyond those who owns it. It will neither change the polarity it created already nor will It be a rallying factor against the despot. Sometimes Issayas is an equalizer on his attack. But we don’t sense it yet. Big time we failed to bring “some honest debate” that rally all the Eritrean people around it.

        Saay Nebsi, I know also that you are good in utilizing metaphors to shine your debate skills. I have no argument on your metaphor for it rightly serve your argument. Whether it serve your argument or not, the crux of the matter is, does your “people’s constitution” respond to the grievances of our people based on the way it is framed and the content it bears on it. Absolutely no. I have mentioned the reasons many times.

        Last but not least, I don’t own toy or real guns. If the flawed and disrespectful document is a real gun, we shall see how it will surround Issayasist. I will not rule out the probability of the probability in your hope. What I surely know, and if it happened, there will be no justice in Eritrea. Count my words. Eritrea demand a holistic change of minds and change of approaches. Otherwise we will be “Wedi Demu Kem Qedemu.”

        On the political cards of why, how, when,where, and who issues, those are strictly dealt on a round table and not in this kind of medium of exchange. But to understand the gist of my view, you have some in your domain.

        Arkucha, Hisebelu DeA. Let justice prevail for all of us not for some us.

        With respect,
        Amanuel Hidrat

        • saay7

          Selamat Emma:

          A confession: I am saying Emma but I am addressing people who are following the conversation because something in your head is blocking you from understanding what I want to say. I think psychologists have a name for that: some bias that prevents our brain from accepting new ideas. We all have that, so not picking on you.

          There are three premises I have: if you don’t accept them, then nothing I say will make sense to you. In fact, you will continue to present me “my feelings are so hurt!” arguments which do not advance our debate.

          1. We in exile have a huge role in being catalysts for change, but change is going to come from change agents in Eritrea. Since change agents are the elite of society, this means that it is going to be leaders of institutions in Eritrea. Since the only institutions left in Eritrea are religious institutions and PFDJ institutions, change is going to come from one or the other or both. Or some other movement we haven’t heard of that will emerge spontaneously.

          2. If you accept that premise, then your message must include something that motivates and inspires them. This is called expedience. “The Boston Massacre” was no massacre at all: only 5 people died; but it was enough to inspire people to demand change. If the 1952 constitution moved the elite in Eritrea, I would call for the implementation of the 1952 constitution. It it is Waela Bet Girogis, I will call for that. And if it is the 1997 constitution, you call for that.

          3. My personal opinion of these documents is entirely irrelevant. This is so because whatever tool we are using is the beginning of a long process. I fully expect whatever government succeeds Isaias Afwerki (whether it is based on using the 1997 constitution or the future-perfectly-compromised-all-stakeholders-represented one you envision) to result in an authoritarian government (African statistics say so) and something that we will continue to fight. This is because there is zero tradition of multi-party democracy in Eritrea.

          Those are my premises. And this leads to my call for a democratic coup and implementation of the 1997 Constitution aka People’s Constitution. And here’s why I think it is superior to your plan:

          (a) WHY: We agree on the reason for change: because the Isaias Afwerki regime is totalitarian, abusive and it is violating the human rights of Eritreans including their right to hire and fire their government. Let’s deal with the rest:

          (b) WHAT: Removal of the Isaias Afwerki Regime. I am realistic and expecting incremental change whereas you, in my opinion, are being unrealistic and expecting that a perfectly formulated constitution will result in a just and equitable Eritrea (just because we have the right constitution for it and all the stakeholders were PERFECTLY represented.)

          (c) WHO: Who is the change agent? My proposal has identified the change agents: those who are loyal and feel a sense of ownership over the 1997 constitution and are in a position to do something about it. Yours is waiting for the change agents to emerge. It is a movement in search of Moses and it has been for a long time. You are not sharing yours not because it is a state secret, but because you don’t have any change agents.

          (d) HOW: Democratic Coup. My proposal uses an algorithmic approach to problem solving: the PFDJ demands that Isaias resigns (democratic coup) and if he won’t, arrests him and begins the process of democratization PER the constitution. And if the Neo-PFDJ develops a love for power, we, using a constitution that grants us rights, go after them. We demand that this be on a strict time table (we can demand now because we have a LEGAL document that entitles us) and if they want to be exclusionary, we demonstrate, we rebel INSIDE our country using OUR laws (not the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights outside an Eritrean embassy.) Yours is heuristic, which follows our long trial-and-error problem-solving approach. With algorithmic approach, change is slower but more predictable; with heuristic, change happens faster but only if you luck out–because this process is more prone to error.

          (e) WHEN: With the internal conflict within the PFDJ escalating, “when” can be realistically be expected to be soon, particularly if those of us outside link, strategize and co-ordinate with them instead of threatening them with removal or, in the case of Hailat, extinction. With your proposal, “when” is completely irrelevant. As you said once, just focus on doing the right things. Presumably, good things happen. Of course, once in a while, in frustration, you blame the people for lacking courage. (Mine has the added bonus of not blaming “the people” because I have no expectation of “the people.” They are the “tesabi” in my N3.)

          (f) WHERE: We agree: in Eritrea. Although there are some who were talking about “government in exile.”

          In conclusion, our differences are that while my approach is incremental (all change for democracy is incremental throughout the world), yours is for radical change. Now, I have enough of revolutionary romance that I would line up behind you if you would be able to answer any of the W and H questions, but you refuse to. Trust me, I am not picking on you Emma: I have seen all the programs of all opposition groups–which should really be called “declaration of principles”–and its not there.


          PS: in response to your earlier “qanzana terediuka”, I don’t do qanza:) All of us who have self-claimed/or been given the “opinion-shaper” mantle should refrain from qanza-amplification and offer solutions. “Qanza amplification” is what you will find in a lot of the literature of the traditional opposition, with little tangible solutions.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Merhaba Saay,

            I think we have gone through it few weeks ago. First the change whether it will occur or not, will be from inside, from those who are facing all kind of oppression. Or in short from those who are under the wrath of the despot. Any kind of revolution is incubated from that kind of environment . No argument on that.

            (1) so on “who” will be is either the people come up to an open street show to resist the regime or overthrow by coup from the military rank.

            (2) On the “when” issue no body know the tipping point that determine the exact time when change comes. So the answer is when the objective matter and the subjective matter is matured for change.

            (3) On the question “how” is where we differ our view. You want to give free ride to PFDJ. and I don’t. In my opinion if the removal has happened as stated above on No-1, who ever overturn the regime must allow to form Government of national unity (GNU) constituted by “independent technocrats” as transitional government. The GNU should form a revising body to go through the document to remove the abnormal nature of the constitution (the process of omission and insertion), in the end end the people should be given the right to vote on it. So why is this difficult in your mind my friend SAAY. The incremental talk comes only on the practicality of it on the ground, because it requires the needed infra-structural pathway and human capacity to run smoothly. It is not that I don’t have an agent on the horizon, but it is because you couldn’t make a compromise that could allow us the middle road to all of us. Those who support the PFDJ have difficult to compromise.

            What you are telling us straight forward is, simply that change will come from inside and if change comes, we will use our document that reflect our value system. Other than that I don’t see any new idea that can give us middle ground to run the Eritrean body politics. Just tell me Saay Nebsi, what is the new idea that you brought which bring the two opposite body politics to compromise? I gave you my compromise and that is, we will start with your constitution, but let us remove the unworkable provisions in it. I gave you something and you failed to give me something. I drop something and you failed to drop something from your demand. I think the art of politics is to settle differences by give and take, and all means have to bring that attitude on the equation.

            The “Qanza Neger” if you don’t have I am happy for you. But those who are marginalized we have “Qanza” and we call upon you to be sensitive to our “Qanza.” When someone lost his rights and sense of justice it is a hell pain my friend.

            Senay MIshet,

            Hawka Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Emma Arkey:

            The new idea is this: opposition is not based on seniority but merit.

            The traditional opposition has been demanding that the new (PFDJ) opposition join the existing opposition, endorse its ideas for change and then prove itself that it is worthy of admission to the club. I am saying reverse it: the traditional opposition should reach out to the new (PFDJ) opposition and say: you are more relevant, more effective, and we want you to lead the charge so long as you know that OUR issues will be first on the agenda.

            See the difference now?


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Saay,

            Oh Man!!!

            First they are not in the position so far to remove the regime if you are talking about “Medrekites.” So your message is, if the traditional opposition can’t bring change, they have to take what PFDJites offer them……and on that offer the tag on it will be take it or leave it. That is what the regime is precisely doing to them and us. I thought you are reasonable and judicious person. I am completely blown in the air to hear such argument from Saay. First of all I haven’t heard Medrekites (if you are talking about them) met with the opposition. I want to know when do they met and talk about seniority and merits? If that happened as you have stated it above, it isn’t new idea of yours, but their ideas of argument against them. I was waiting to hear new idea from you that brings us to the middle road. But you can’t avail.

            What is justice for you Saay? relative to our reality (to limit the elastic nature of justice).

            Senay Mishet,

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • saay7

            Selamat Emma:

            You are looking for a new idea from me and I am looking for ANY idea from you 🙂

            I thought I gave you my new idea. It would be redundant to repeat it.

            1. A democratic coup is, by definition, PFDJ. Agree?
            2. So the PFDJ don’t get stuck in their cocoon and talk only about their issues, they need to know what the priorities of the rest of Eritreans (that they have been conditioned to believe via 30 years of programming are their enemies) really are.
            3. I am delegating you as my spokesperson to explain to them what those are but they most likely won’t talk to you because they don’t trust you, they don’t trust me, they can’t relate to you, they don’t relate to me, they don’t speak your language, they don’t speak my language, and we come from a different culture.
            4. Thus I want to delegate someone whom they can trust but who at least has an understanding of what your/our priorities are. Someone who has been exposed to a world outside the suffocating one of PFDJ. (It’s like choosing a hostage negotiator or appointing an ambassador to the Vatican: you don’t send a pro-choice ambassador to the Vatican, do you?)
            5. At this time you will say, “well, how do I know my envoy won’t sell me out? How do I know that instead of him convincing them that I am a citizen who is entitled to the same rights that they are, they will convince him that I am not?”
            6. Excellent question: you don’t. You have no guarantees. Nor are there ANY guarantees in your alternative scenario, whatever it is (which you have kept a secret.) To minimize that risk you stay organized, you build trust, you enter into an agreement in advance, you get yourself a leverage.

            Now, instead of “I am blown away!” and other versions of “Elizabeth, I am coming to join you!”* please give me your proposal.


            * famous line from Stanford & Son


          • Kim Hanna

            Hello SAAY and Amanuel,
            Sanford and son, what a very funny clip, from the good old days. Did you notice how the whole drama changed when the door bell rang. That was Ethiopia knocking at the door. I am trying to make a jock, trying to lighten it up a bit.
            The exchange between the two of you here and before sounds like an argument between a Baptist and Lutheran on the finer points of the differences of their respective dogmas.
            An atheist, being perfectly impartial, can render an opinion.
            It is like that story of a camel asking its master to shelter its nose, then its eyes, then its head… in the tent during a heavy sandstorm. Let us call that camel the Baptist camel. The Lutheran 2nd camel, not in the story for a reason, insists in being in the tent, as a creature of God to protect its life from the unbearable sandstorm.
            A fact that can never be forgotten is the master is armed.
            Which one of the two, the Baptist or the Lutheran camel has a small chance of success. I will put a small bet on the Baptist.
            Well, this is the best I can do. I didn’t say I was Y.G.

          • Kim Hanna

            Sorry, the joke is on me. joke, not jock

          • saay7

            Selamat KH:

            I am surprised you didn’t see this, but the clue to a metaphor that rises to the lofty standards of YG that you want to emulate can be found on your punchline to who was knocking at the door (when the door bell rang.) But if you don’t see it, here’s YG’s camel: it says (yeah, it can speak, it is YG’s world): “let’s go to the bigger tent next door.” Nah: that’s not fair! He never said that! Actually, the camel would just complain that the tent is too small.


  • Isaias Jr(L.T)

    In the US it only takes two weeks to write the state law text introdused for example a A and O..black people are hiding,Latin American is silence,police can kill to anyone,violence on dope as daily bread,8 million people homeless and many of them have no one to eat and begging on the street and so on…Weyane killed a lot people,hunger is everywhere,the disease spread rapidly and quickly,the land from the farmer to sale,most the student is at home ..with more.so we do not want that kind in Eritrea.

  • haileTG

    ኤይ ኤይ ኤይ ኤይ ኤኤኤይይይ…
    ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይይ…
    ኮኑስቲቱሽን፡ ቅድሜኺ’ባ ንዓይ…
    ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይይ…

    ኮንስቲቱሽን፡ ኣንቲ ጽላል ኩልና፡
    እንታይ ተረኽበ፡ ኣሻቡ ተጣሊምና፡
    ናይ ፍየል ወጠጥየ ደቅኺ ምስ መን ገዲፍክና
    ኤይ ኤይ ኤይ ኤይ ኤኤኤይይይ…
    ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይይ…

    ዝኸበርኩም፡ ሰብ-ሓዘን፡ ኣብ ቤቱ ይቀበለልኩም፡ መንግስተ-ሰማዩ የዋርስልና፡ ጠሊ ትግደፈልና፡ ጽንዓት ንኹልና!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Dear saay,

    Excellent analysis as ever, thank you. I have few observations to make እንዳ ሓዘን ስለዝኾነ ግን ስልጥ ክብል እየ። 🙂

    This whole undertaking by IA seems as foolish as trying to overcome economic problems by printing more paper money. I can see how the new constitution may be set up to invalidate the arguments against the detentions. But the opposition to those acts were not because they contravene real or imagined constitutional rights rather because they are crimes against humanity and cruel in their own right.

    Your expectation that this may be used to drag time, my not be consistent with your other assumptions (as mentioned above) and others (such as legitimizing his rule). If those benefits are to be had then it has to be done faster rather than in snail pace as you expect. Because the pressures linked to other issues are far more bigger than the one to constitution (even Yemane was able to dismiss it as partially implemented and the woyane card was working just fine). So, for the real gains to be had by cashing in this ponzi scheme it needs to be implemented faster.

    And finally, your alluding that the PFDJ didn’t get and exit strategy from the opposition is senseless (religious) self beating because neither it needed one nor were in a position to offer such (until recently they were called (in my old book wink wink) woyane), hence it would be tantamount that the “resolute rebuff…” retirement clubs would have taken that seriously.

    ኤይ ኤይ ኤይ ኤይ ኤኤኤይይይ…
    ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይይ…
    ኮኑስቲቱሽን፡ ቅድሜኺ’ባ ንዓይ…
    ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይ ኣነ ዋይይ…

    ብሩኽ መዓልቲ፡ በሉ ከይደ’ለኹ ኣቱም ዓድና..

    • saay7

      Hailat the Gr8:

      People overuse the term LOL but I was really laughing out loud so, yeah, lol!

      Now then, a couple of suggestions. If you are going to go to enda Hazen (prematurely: the person is in the emergency room, not dead btw), you have to ask the requisite question: ውላድ ገዲፉ ዶ? (Did the dearly departed leave children?) That makes all the difference, you know.

      Now then, honestly, for those of us who believe that implementation of the 1997, I mean The People’s Constitution* is the most expedient way to bring about change, Isaias’s introduction of the Isaias Constitution is not an occasion for sadness but happiness. It means that after 14 years of trying to make the constitution consistent with dictatorship, he just couldn’t. He couldn’t explain all the violations of Eritreans civil liberties and he couldn’t say, as they say in countries like Egypt, that we are in a State of Emergency because the People’s constitution says that is not the president’s call but the Assembly’s. He was checkmated so he is now trying to replace it and now we have a clear demarcation line: those who will support the People’s Constitution and those who will support the Isaias Constitution. Serray can now say “I told you so!” because he has been saying that the People’s Constitution is the death-knell of Isaias and PFDJ. (He is half-right because it is the PFDJ elite who will push for the People’s Constitution if we are to have a fighting chance: They are the answer to the question: ውላድ ገዲፉ ዶ?)

      When I say this was his exit strategy because he wasn’t offered one by the opposition, I am talking about those of you who wanted to blow up the PFDJ building and said that the sins of Eritreans require some blood-shedding to be cleansed. Tsk tsk. You (not just you Hailat cause you are new to the blow-them-up sloganeering but those who have been saying this for over a decade) don’t have the manpower, resource or willingness to come after him with guns blazing, but they talk as if they will:) Remember the “down down Isaias” sloganeers were shocked when I called for his resignation. So, if even resignation was not acceptable, what is? He is smart and he says, you know I don’t want to end up in Edaga Hamus:) The People’s Constitution won’t give me an escape clause, so let me write the Isaias Constitution.


      *stolen fairly and squarely (with attribution) from awate forum contributor.

      • haileTG

        hey saay,

        I have a reply to give to brother Mahmud later today (we are in a frank, and heated exchange about the state of affairs wink) but wish to say even at this unique occasion when IA is tearing to pieces the “people’s constitution” and the so called last chance of survival PFDJista gangsta are humiliatingly standing there holding the trash can for him to dump the paper that they were made to sweat to produce. በዚኦም ዝመጽእ ለውጢ ዝጽበይ፡ ካብኦም ዝገደደ ሰብኣዊ ክብሩ ሸይጡ ዝለወጣ ጥራይ እዩ ፡-) Seeking change for the sake of change isn’t sexy as a matter of fact. It has to be daring, dramatic, suspense and exalting. The momentum from that helps to lift moral up and push the needed change through. To expect such, a next to the dead, bunch of yes men to deliver anything other than a miserable ክፉእ ትርኢቱ pant sh!tter for a next president is wishful. We need them out, the lot of them, disgusting bunch. The moral and dignity of our people can only be regained by a sense of victory over these blood suckers rather than a miserly gesture of change that would justify them to continue their criminal thinking based on their past association and facilitation of PFDJ gruesome crimes against the nation. Dejen excited people because he is revealing a small fraction of what is hidden. When the full picture comes to light, having a public demolition date for an ex-building of a terror ridden organization is a small move in helping people regain their robbed confidence. IA can do this because he knows he could, much like a dog #$#$ its balls because it could. Seriously 😉


        • Semere Andom

          Hi Hailat:
          First I here by request Sal for a promotion from the Great to something higher. It has been a year and this looks like the PFDJ people like Yemane G, who do not get promotions for over 23 years. So Sal are you listening, besides the for life title Haile deserves a promotion in title:-)
          About Mahmud I was moved by his last message to you admitting to being out of touch. I am not sure why people think we are not respecting the Tegadalati when people like me and you tell them what we feel based on the situation we all know. We cannot be that disrespectful to the veterans while for many of us they are our brothers, sisters and in many cases our dads. And listening to Dejen and knowing first hand the torture in side karshelli, yelling women and men, are we supposed to believe it that the Torsorawit are doing it or the gebar are doing it. This reminds of some people accusing the media of racism when they describe a shoot and run man as African American to describe his race. We are describing the profession of the people committing the crimes in Eritrea and not accusing every Tegadalay of crimes
          I am happy about Mahmud’s second last message to you

        • saay7

          Selamat Haile the gr8, Emma and Tes:

          There is a lot of “we” in your plan about how “we” are going to do this and then “we” will do that…lots of people power*, huh, which reminds me of this famous dialog between the Lone Ranger (a Caucasian) and Tonto (a Native American). I will copy and paste the dialog):

          The Lone Ranger & Tonto are riding down into a box canyon. At the far end, the Lone Ranger notices an army of Comanche Indians, in full war-paint, frowning down from the cliff walls at him.

          Turning to his left he notices a great number of very mad looking Arapaho Indians staring down.

          On his right he observes a host of Cherokee Indians peering at him over the rim of the canyon.

          Looking behind, he sees every Apache brave in the world slowly creeping into the canyon, blocking the exit.

          The Lone Ranger turns to Tonto and says, “We’re in a heap of trouble, Tonto!”

          Tonto’s nervous reply, “Uhh…who do you mean we, pale-face?”

          The reason that there was no moral dilemma in the Ghedli was that Tonto was on one side and the Lone Ranger was on the other side. Now Tonto and Lone Ranger are in the same family and that’s why the let’s-shoot-em-up won’t get far because (and this is an honor to those of us in the opposition) while Isaias and Isaiasists are quite capable of shooting, killing indiscriminately, and torturing, we are not. So, let’s not pretend that our toy guns are real.

          Emma Arkey and Tes:

          Contrary to your perception, yesterday was a GREAT day for the advocates of the People’s Constitution. We had Isaias surrounded and said, “come out with your hands up!” and he had been ignoring us for 14 years. Yesterday, he came out waving his Ebara constitution. So now the battle ground is clear: there will be a feud between (a) “Implement the People’s Constitution Now!” and those who say (b) “Draft a New Constitution When You Feel Like It!” (Isaiasists) and those who say (c) “We Don’t Care What You Do Because We Are Coming After You!” (Haile the gr8’s group.) Group A and Group C are complementary, for reasons I can get into, if you want.

          Believe me, the holes you can poke in the “Implement the People’s Constitution Now!” argument are nothing compared to the grand canyon under yours:) You see, my proposition answers the Who,What, How, Where, When and How. Can you say that about yours, Emma Arkey? All I hear is a Why and all the other Ws and H are in the “Insha Allah” category:)


          * People power without an organization, a leadership and a unified goal is capable of only one thing: whatever you have, we will make it worse.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear saay7,

            Don’t consider that when we say, “we” you are included or everyone is included. We stands for people which are 2 or more in number and when they address directly. Therefore, the dialog you shared is not necessary meant all are in “we.” But, we are sure you (saay) will join us soon.

            I am not surprised if you put hands-up after the new virus titled by “drafting of constitution” is released from Asmara stadium via Eri-TV. It is so fast, we know that. But, we are protected well even if great hackers here tried to re-tweet the virus.

            Actually, yesterday (24/5) is another signal sourced from PFDJ to divide and rule the Eritean opposition groups to some extent and the PFDJ sympathizers in particular. people like you will sideline soon for demanding a complete PEOPLE’S constitution.

            Rememeber though, we are not boldly rejecting the whole document. We are saying, (1) All the Eritrean community did not voice their rights in the drafting process of 1994-1997.
            (2) It is of PFDJ value system – it does not include all walks of Eritrean people. (3), And within the document ratified, this two listed are legally forced, first by rejecting the rights of individuals and second by formulating the constitution according to their value system.

            And now, we reject, because, the modification that we want is basically, “the people should own the constitution.” Not PFDJ OR any other political organization. There should not be any force above the people. Let the people come with a constitution, and then let the constitution serve the people.

            Constitution is a slave that serves the people, not people are slaves of constitution!


  • Rodab

    Haderkum Awatistas:

    In March 1994, the Provisional Government of Eritrea established a Constitutional Commission to draft a new constitution. The drafting authority was the transitional National Assembly, a body consisting of 75 members of the EPLF central committee and 75 representatives elected by regional assemblies. After 27 months, the resulting constitution was introduced to the National Assembly in 1997. Although the constitution has been ratified, it has yet to be fully implemented, and general elections have not been held, despite the ratification of an election law in 2002.
    Source: Wikipedia.

    So here you have it. That was how the constitutional authority was established, and that was how the constitution got drafted and ratified.
    But now, in the absence of the legislative body, how will you start all over again? Who will have the authority to oversee the drafting and ratifying process? By Presidential decree?
    It is very interesting, to say the least.
    Dear Dr. Berekhet, where are you when we need your guidance the most???

  • talke

    Thanks awate for the prompt analysis about the mad dog’s plan to draft a new constitution. I have checked other Eritrean websites to read some analysis non has it yet and this is the first from Awate. Peoples’ constitution is stolen during day light by the pfdj junta and hence people are left with no choice but fight till we get our freedom and right back.

    • saay7

      Selamat Talke:

      You may have come up with a powerful description: the “people’s constitution.” More powerful than “the 1997 Constitution” or “the ratified constitution.” Political strategists: take note! But there is more…

      Below, Feven refers to the constitution that Isaias is floating as the “Isaias constitution.” That’s brilliant. I intend to use both in all future writing:) Thanks Talke and Feven.


  • Isaias Jr(L.T)

    People told “the only thhing we need is Isaias(EPLF)”.EPLF came from people and have come back to this.The EPLF has its base in people and have services until now and it is a smart card.EPLF has complete their credentials and have available to serve the people Eritrea also the entire horn of Africa people 100 years.We will make the election free and we should vote him another 47 years.

    • Rodab

      Yep, that sounds like the philosopher L.T.
      People have been missing you. Where have you been man? Deskilka?
      Welcome back!

  • sabri


  • Feven

    Isaias is destroying the only document (covenant) we Eritreans have that could see us build a viable country after he is gone. If he goes ahed and write a new constitution, It will likely be refered to as the “Isaias constitution” (like the “Menghistu constitution ” the Woyane found in 1991) and will be shredded to pieces away after he is gone creating a gaping vaccume and instablity in the trasitional period. Untill recently Most Eritreans, either pro PFDJ or those in the opposition, respected the constitution hence why we hear the pro pfdj come up with endless excuses for delaying its implementation rather than rejecting it outright (like they are about to do now!).It is a shame that Isaias is making sure that the last piece of thread that could hold us together after him and help us reconcile is broken. Seems to me like he is leaving us with a good recipe for a civil war, God help us.

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Feven:
      I am not shocked by what Isaias did when he rejected the 1997 document and as you said his new document will useless and even will be more repulsive. I am more shocked by the clapping minions who are addicted to his insults an humiliation. The new constitution will be staffed with people similar to the special court. Dictators do what they get to do get to do to survive but the whole supports to keep wanting to be humiliated is mind bogging to fathom.
      We joke about their stupidity, but it seems to me the minions after 24 years of annual humiliation they still beg Isaias to keep humiliating them. I look at a PFDJ supporter and I see retardation, evil and addiction to humiliation all twinkling through their white clothes that they wear on May 24

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Hailat,
    aybelkun endoye, aybelkun!!!!! . not even 24Hrs. since I said Saleh will come. I know the move of Saleh and Issyas. Lol. now let me sharpen my lovely pencil and let her Jump to say it. but please Hailat give me the title. by the it is early bird service and I will serve the fastest.

  • sabri

    Dear Saleh,

    As always insightful analysis. After I read the announcement of the president about the constitution my spontaneous reaction was this: the announcment seems annulation of the 1997 constitution. Indicative about what he is planning is his careful choice of the word. He didn’t say implementing, amending or revising. What he said is ratifying which indicates he is planing to ratify a new constitution. The president most probably will give different reasons why a new drafting process is needed. The one you mention can be one reason. No matter how much strong argument they present in order to annulate the 1997 constitution, it is important to remember the 1997 constitution is ratified and accepted by special constitutional called Constitutional Bayto (kiwamawi bayto) where Eritreans from different sections of the society are represented. It is only that kind of Bayto who have the mandate to revise, amend, or annulate the 1997 constitution. No other group have that exclusive mandate including the ruling power.

    It is early to conclude before we know what exactly the regime is planning. In the meantime I think it is relevant to mention about the role of silent majority eritreans in this connection. They are known for their support for the implementation of the 1997 constitution but they are silent for different reasons. We don’t know yet but If the regime is planning to annulate the 1997 constitution, it will be interesting to see how this group react. I think active participation of this group can have a great role in shaping the course of the future Eritrean politics. Will they continue to be silent on the government’s new plan for constitution? It remain to see.

    Whatever the government is planning, it seems something is going on within the inner circle of the PFDJ. It became known when the president was talking about reform/rearrangement during his Dongoli meeting last year. Perhaps, his recent announcement is the continuation of that process?


    • saay7

      Selamat Sabri:

      It is good to have you back: you were missed. You are a rarity at our awate forum: to borrow from Plato, you are a charioteer who prefers the rational horse over the emotional one.
      First, one quick correction: Isaias Afwerki didn’t say “ratifying”; he said “drafting a constitution” (ቅዋም ምንዳፍ). So, we really are talking about starting from level 0.

      I would now like to give my input on the 3 important and related comments/questions you contributed: (a) that Isaias “most probably” will explain why a new drafting process is required (b) will the silent majority continue to be silent and (c) is something going on within the inner circle of the PFDJ?

      If Isaias Afwerki explains why he has opted to kill the shelved* constitution, it won’t be to Eritrean journalists (they dare not ask); it will be to foreign journalists. I think he will give the answers I alluded to in the article: that it was compromised by people with ulterior motives and the people lost faith in the document, etc. I would love to hear your take on what you think he will say.

      The silent majority are the permanently-silent majority and not just in Eritrea but every corner of the world. If, for whatever reason, our Ghedli had not prevailed in 1991, the silent majority would have silently endured subjugation under Mengistu or whoever succeeded him to this day, just as the Eastern Europeans would have been living in their version of hell if the Soviet Union hadn’t imploded, just as the North Koreans do now. A strategy that relies on the spontaneous uprising of the silent majority (which, with regret, is the strategy of many of our opposition groups) is wishful thinking. Not that you said that; I am just pre-emptively addressing those who choose to live on that particular Fantasy Island. It was, it is, it will be the political class, the elite that spearheads change: the silent majority follows (mostly silently; unless, as in totalitarian states, they are ordered to be loud.)

      I agree with you that Isaias’s offer to introduce a new constitution is the outcome of continuous pressure he feels within the PFDJ (that’s all that was asked at the recent PFDJ seminar presided over by Wedi Kassa.) This is not necessarily the same as the “reform/rearrangement” of the party and government he mentions because even if he wants to reform/rearrange the party and government, he is incapable of doing it because he doesn’t have the needed human resource that meets his hiring requirements: the Ghedli veterans are aging/exiled and those he is grooming to replace them (the agelglot) are still at the civilian/bureaucrat level. (I could be wrong but I think the chairman of NUEYS is the highest ranking official the agelglot, National Service, have produced.)

      Thus, Isaias’s offer to introduce a new constitution (something, by the way, that he may not follow up on: it might be just a pressure valve) is an outcome of the pressure he feels from within (the PFDJ) and from without (GOs and NGOs who always mention that Eritrea has no constitution in all their country reports.) And since the GOs and NGOs get most of their reports from the exiled opposition, it’s not a stretch to say that Isaias was forced to introduce talk of a new constitution by the PFDJ and the Opposition that sees a tactical or strategic value in the 1997 constitution. Link up the PFDJ dissidents and those who believe in the power of the 1997 constitution and you have a potent force. The unconditional supporters (Nkhid Tray) are irrelevant because they support anything and the traditional opposition (uproot the system) are unimpressed.


      * the constitution was a victim of Gffa (round up) of the early 2000s.

      • sabri

        Selamat saay7,

        Thank you for welcoming me back. And thank you for the correction. As you put it correctly the president said drafting not ratifying. It is an important notification.

        I like your analysis and I appreciate your ability to gather important points and summarize them and put it in perspective. You raise some important points.

        First, I don’t believe Issays is caring so much what NGO and other governmental institutions said about his administration. I don’t think he is pressured by them. The kind of his *governance’ in the last 14 years shows clearly he disregard the diplomatic relationship of the international community. Nahna mengdi alena has been his answer to all demands that came both from inside and outside. So, why is he choosing to draft a new constitution at this time? We can give or speculate different explanations. For me the answer is simple. To kill and bury the already wounded constitution. Why? By killing the 1997 constitution He is killing the hope of the people be governed by the 1997 constitutional government. Instead he is preparing for other brand new ‘made in PFDJ constitution.’ The new constitution will have different purpose. I think it is better to wait until they release their drafting plan for an in-depth discussion on the subject.

        Second, is he going to explain why the new constitution is needed? I believe he will explain it in a seminar form or in an interview form or in some other form. I believe his cadres are already prepared for this task. For instance, the ongoing seminars of PFDJ can be part of the explanation process. Within the supporters of the government there are many who want to see the implementation of the 1997 constitution. Some of them will accept the new constitution but many will not accept it. That means the already divided society of the eritrean people is going to be more divided. The question is what will be their future. Are they going to join the opposition group? I doubt. Are they going to create their own movement? I doubt. Perhaps some of them will join the medrek group. The rest will probably join the silent majority which I think Issayas is wishing to see. By his new constitution he will gather only the most loyal to him which I think is one of the reason why a new constitution is needed. The rest are keddeat, temberkekiti you name it. It is just my assumption, we have to wait until they release the details of their drafting plan before we delve into it.

        Another point you raised is about reform/rearrangement. According to them they are doing their rearrangement process. They started by removing the entire executive committee of NUEYS. And the process is continuing in other sections. Their understanding of reform/rearrangement is not the same as we anticipated. Remember Nhana megdi alone is their core principle. That means they can freely interpret in their own way what democracy, liberty, constitutionalism etc is.

        Best regards,

        • saay7

          PS: Sabri. To understand how the GO/NGO and PFDJ pressure was getting into the Isaias regime, don’t think of Isaias as your thermometer; think of those who have to deal with the GO/NGOS and the Hafash in public meetings, particularly Yemane Gebreab. Isaias has given up on public meetings and when he does, as he did in NY a couple of years ago, he too had to embrace the People’s Constitution of 1997.

          Yemane was in Atlanta last year (for Independence Day.) Look how he completely embraces the 1997 Constitution as a continuation of the 1994 Charter (a continuation of the 1977 and 1987 political programmes) and says that it is virtually implemented. The constitution has three parts, just read it, he says. The only one not implemented is national election; everything else is implemented, he says.

          Begin at the 16:00 minute mark.


  • Alex Deana

    23 years without constitution, and produces more refugees than war torn Somalia in the absence war, and one wonders if Eritrea can afford one gun shot from one more Awate like “freedom seeking” Shifta….

    • Isaias Jr(L.T)

      I do not regret to say this to you..We had no Shifta in our long history.We had said back on again we did not let you take ours and we do not want your either…this is our honor.We know what you have done us..Rasi Micheal Suhul was a service man in Tsaazega during Rasi Teklehaimanot and when he felt that he is storng he turn his arms against his master..Alula came to Eritrea killed many Eritreans and many Kunama slaved them without their will and they are in Tigria until now.Haileslassie use you against us we will never forget this and then Dergue has made just as haileslassie..we remember.Weyane is even worse.Everything you for us is a a scar!

  • kokok

    Be the first..?Enbi

    • Kokhob Selam

      if you don’t want to be first, you may not get chance to be the last as if kokok is not there Kokhob is there.