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A Constitution or The Constitution?

On the occasion of the new year, Isaias Afwerki was interviewed by the ruling party owned EriTV and as per the promise he gave his supporters six-months ago, he said that he has “assembled people to prepare the constitution, and that the old constitution, though [he] didn’t declare it, is dead.”

The issue of governing devices imposed by the PFDJ has always magnified the difference between the grand camp of the Eritrean opposition. However, those devices and proclamations stir little debate except when the ruling party (mostly its leader Isaias Afwerki) takes a decision concerning those devices; the debates mostly start as a reaction to what the ruling party does.

Though the “1997 constitution” was drafted under the patronage of the ruling party, some in the opposition camp have considered it a legal tool to fight the PFDJ tyranny while others have rejected it altogether.

The following assessment of the ongoing debate at Awate Forum is by the master debater and political analyst Haile who is also known as “Haile The Great.” It’s is a concise viewpoint of the opposition block on the current issue of the constitution. Haile states that he is attempting “to interject to the ongoing debate wearing opposition spokesman hat.”

A gentle detour is in order. The Eritrean opposition block is essentially composed of ALL persons, entities and organizations (Eritrean) who are opposed to the current unlawful and dictatorial rule of Eritrea by the regime of Isaias Afwerki. This principal opposition block is also connected to entities (non Eritrean) at varied levels that include governments, NGOs, int. organizations, regional organizations, faith associations, and other interested parties and individuals sympathetic to the central cause described above in a deliberate broad category. Geographically, the opposition block spans virtually the whole globe, including neighboring countries and extending to the heart of Eritrea, the capital Asmara itself.

Before delving into the political configuration of this increasingly expanding political formation that is opposed to the dictatorship in Eritrea, I need to clearly outline the key tactical and strategic parameters that are of paramount importance to the opposition block as a WHOLE in achieving its goal.

Goal: to effect the removal of the regime of Isaias Afwerki and ensure peaceful, legitimate and inclusive transition.

Guiding tactics/strategy: to expand the block as vast as possible till it is sufficiently large to swallow and bury PFDJ.

Against the above backdrop, it is important that we believe in our diversity of opinions, causes, expectations and so forth. To have such healthy appreciation of our diversity isn’t detrimental in/by itself. However, the manner in which we manage discourses pertaining those diversities could serve for/against the grand tactics/strategy of the opposition block as a whole to expand itself in reaches and bounds.

Now, what are the various component subgroups of the opposition block?

a) Eritreans who believe in 97 constitution and the preceding political development (from 93 – 97) and demand that such statuesque must be restored. This group also includes many who have paid with their life in demanding so, G-15, the late wed Ali and comrades can be few examples.

b) Eritreans who believe complete and fundamental system change needs to be effected in order to chart a brand new path. Weed out the PFDJ system in its totality, fully without traces of its ideological footprints. There is a good deal of youth, armed groups and other parallel umbrella groups that are included here.

c) Eritreans who have ethnic grievances and have elected to organize (and be armed) along their ethnic groupings.

d) Religious freedoms/influences advocates)

e) Women’s organizations

f) Silent opposition

g) Former EPLF veterans who see the ideals and promises of their front had been hijacked and are organized in various forms (Medrekh, Association of EPLF veterans…) to correct the course.

h) Youth groups (EYs..can also fall in a or b above)

As you see, such is an expansive list, differing interests and priorities. For example, “a” or “g” may not use Ethiopia as a base for struggle, while “b” and “c” may see it as a viable (and indispensable at this time) to do so. Most of the people in “b”, “c” and “d” might have fundamental misgiving of 97 constitution, where as “a”, “e” and some in “h” might see it as a viable way forward.

Hence, if any given event is considered, the notion of everyone (a – h) taking identical position is highly unlikely. That is not expected either, nor is it inconsistent or in breach of the Goal/strategy framework stated above. But as I stated above “the manner in which we manage discourses pertaining those diversities could serve for/against the grand tactics/strategy of the opposition block as a whole to expand itself in reaches and bounds.”

When the expectation is that because “b” or “c” oppose the constitution 97 (which is the bases of struggle for those in some of the other sections), then “b” or “c” see it fit to condone an illegal undertaking by the regime, or because “a” or “g” aversion to struggle in Ethiopia leads them to condone the most barbaric dehumanization of Eritreans by the regime as “sell outs”, or even when others believe one thing and expect that gives them to nullify the justifications of other to be legitimate members of the opposition block as a whole… is where things become detrimental, borderline irresponsible.

The above problem also directly contradicts and undermines the basic Goals/Strategies of the Eritrean opposition forces as a whole, it disunites the ranks and delays progress.

We need to be clear as to where we belong in the vast opposition that is proving formidable threat to the existence of PFDJ (more in some areas than others). Yet, we must also understand the local vs. global strategy in the play book. One’s own group strategy shouldn’t traverse or undermine the global strategy of the WHOLE opposition.

In the end, the opposition will result in the overthrow of the regime, and what needs to be instituted in its place is the guarantee of peace and liberty. What people wish to do with it would then be left to their individual or group choice.

In subsequent comment Haile writes:

I will jump straight to the crux of the matter. There is a valid point in the legality sphere. However, such could be a great impetus if we can realistically expect spontaneous and rapid uprisings. However, on the protracted nature of the struggle we are conducting, things tend to unfortunately take complex and delicate route.

1 – Let us consider the case of our brothers from the RSADO or DMELK, considering that the very defining cause of their movement is their opposition to the set up as proscribed by the 97 constitution. Could it be considered a probable outcome to expect them to trade their very existence for the expediency that you foresee? Mind you, that the Afar peoples did actually had an elaborate workshop on the very topic of constitution (I think it was in Canada and also attended by Dr. Bereket Habte Sellase who also presented us some articles about it at

2 – We have read the ELL group, The Covenant by Mejlis Ibrahim Mukhtar, other minority groups, and established organizations that have pretty settled charters of their own. What is the incentive for them to enter the trade off**? Can we itemize the potential benefit to be had (in discrete and finite terms), and most specifically what that would mean to them organizationally? What does the promise of “legality” offer them in practical terms?

Now, I ask this without prejudice to the ongoing discussions. I do actually favor the constitution as a transitional set up, but I am more concerned on the big picture here from the point of view of maintaining the integrity of the whole opposition. And that is proving a fine line to tread.

** By trade off, I mean that they would give up their existing stated platform and adopt for campaigning for the restoration of Constitution 97.

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  • Nitricc


  • AMAN

    To add some to the ongoing discussion
    Unless one tries to resemble and copy all the US is about, China is not a single party country
    it has about eight autonomous independent parties. The fact that it is called one communist
    party is a label by the US as if to pretend it has better party of systems and only to support
    its case. Afterall why should different countries who grew up different political,societal and
    cultural backgrounds try to have the a copy of government of the other.
    If so then US can also be called one party system that is CAPITALISM because the socialists
    and populists do not have a say as an organized party in the USA.
    So my point is that the label on China as a country of one communist party is wrong deliberately
    put for propaganda purposes. COMMUNISM like CAPITALISM is a system of world view NOT
    a party.
    China and the US are in two distinct blocks of world systems and their world views and approach
    to governance. While the party system of each belongs to their respective internal administration
    as they see it fit to their historical background. And doesn’t necessarily mean absoulutely right.
    Even towards making capital and wealth the two countries approach it from two different corners
    and starting points. So communism is only a SYSTEM of world view like IMPERIALISM and as
    there could be “different” parties Democratic/Republican within the domain there are also “d/t”
    parties with in the domain of or under the umbrella of COMMUNIST SYSTEM.
    But my point here is not to say that this one is better than the other. I am only pointing out the
    organizational systems of views vis a vis the world and vis a vis the respective countries only.
    It is important to note that both US parties – the Democratic and the Republican operate only
    within the parameters of (western) CAPITALISM and towards IMPERIALISM world view as their end goal through Globalization or other means. And the parties do not go an inch outside these
    parameters set out by Capitalism as a system leaving the other half of their society either to
    conform and assimilate or to its fate-that is poverty,ignorance,alienated,ruled and so on.
    The democratic change of government is only a change from the rule of one group of Rich men
    to the other group of Rich men. That is DEMOCRACY !!!!!

    • Berhe Y


      I did not use US purposely because I didn’t want to divert the discussion and make it about the “sins” of imperialism and the “the punch bag” of all known dictators.

      I picked India for this simple reason, and all the reason you given to the U.S. System would not apply to India, poor but yet viabrant and emerging world power, with its own challenges.

      I am also not implying that China system of government is bad compared to India or the U.S.

      What I wanted to have it clarified is, what is the Shelved constitution suppose to be?

      I agree it’s better than the current “no government” we have, but really?

      Nezi kitgEta do TrihTsa?


  • haileTG

    Selamat AT,

    I don’t know if you already have plans to do this, but I would suggest a staraight forward Poll asking: Regarding the announcement of the 97 Constitution as “dead”, do you view it as:

    a) A good thing for Eritrea

    b) A bad thing for Eritrea

    c) Indifferent/not bothered either way


  • Berhe Y


    Thank you Aman. I think I understand the difference between India, multiparty parilamenrary democratic government and China single party government.

    What I want to understand is, the Eritrean shelved constitution, compared two the two systems where does it fall?

    I see this is the first question that needs to be clarified before we move to the next aspect, which is centralized vs decentralized, parliament vs presidential, representation, resource allocation etc.

    One point that I would like to add is, we shouldn’t be experimenting with any new form of government that doesn’t exist today in the world.

    The Eritrean constitution today and that of 1952 (I would like to read it again) is such system, and it’s setup to fail before it starts.

    In case of communist China as an example, there is one party and all the political actors belong to the same party. The vision is clear like it or take it, you go by the party line and decisions. NO body outside the party have a say.

    In India its multiparty democracy where the majority party or the coalition gets the mandate to rule, while the opposition have a critical and sometimes supportive role of the government.

    The Eritrean constitution is a Confused system. It allows multiparty democracy but those elected, all of them together form the government and elect the president. It’s confused because, how on earth one expects a person who belongs to different party is expected to endorse or vote for another person of different party. That’s the whole point of having different party to begin with? If the end game is to go to national assemble and the forget all your difference and ideology and work with the same leader who you oppose his ideas and plan to begin with.

    I know Saay interview Dr Bereket and the constitution discussed in Dehai and other venue, I really do not understand how this fundamental flaw in the system really escapes all these smart people.

    I have discussed this with a lot of people and even here at AT with even people who were part of the draft, and the best answer I got is, well it’s a start and it can be improved.


    Can you give me one example of such syst of government ? So far None.

    The conclusion I have come is:
    1) I am really stupid and I don’t understand what everyone seems to get

    2) This constitution was designed to serve the leader, IA and the party, EPLF/PFDJ and its purpose is to assimilate everyone to its system with the prevention (to get donor support) of democratic institution.

    I think the only problem with it, it put 2 term limit for the president. If it wasn’t for this, I couldn’t see any reason why Isayas chose not to implement it.

    Do not even get me started with the power of the president and how he controlls the judicial system with its “hand picked commission”.


    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Haw Berhe Y.,
      I think the question and your comment should be directed to me rather to “AMAN”. So here is my straight answer: The constitution calls for a “centralized unitary government” (we call it in Tigrigna mu-ekul mengisti rather than Zerguh mengisti) (a) where all the power springs from the center (b) Where there is no any devolving power to the periphery to the new regional units of administration (c) where our populace in the regions couldn’t elect their own administrative Governors but receive a delegate from the president’s office to Governs them (d) where it allows a party to own “private property.” I am sure you have already heard “the state property”‘ and the “PFDJ property” as two distinct ownership. So clearly it is Centralized Unitary governance. The only thing that makes this constitution unique than any constitutions of centralize unitary government is, the formation of a hybrid Government where the president is elected from the assembly (he is the head of the executive as well as member of the legislative body). In all the normal governments the head of state is either the prime minister who is elected from the parliament (hence parliamentary) or the president elected by popular vote (hence the presidency). Clearly this constitution is tailored for one party system. The agreed with the rest of your comment. I hope I answered your two critical questions.

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • Berhe Y

        Thank you Amanuel for confirming.

        Having said that does it really matter if it’s centralized or Decentralized? If there is going to be one party state at the end of the day, who dictates all it wants.

        Why are people pretending there is “constitution” that one can speak about?

        The president have all the power to appoint to create the commission that selects the judges, to appoint the judges, to control the judges with the term limit and salary, to accuse them of corruption and remove them while their case being investigated.

        Under what circumstances one can really challenge the ruling president and the system. They talk about reform where the president has all the power to kill the reform with the power given to him by the constitution.

        • Amanuel Hidrat

          I am glad we are in the same page.
          I can’t agree more haw Berhe. That is is the value of their document that hasn’t moral and legal virtue for enforcement. A document intended for marginalization and dictation. That is how I read it then and now.
          Amanuel Hidrat

      • Abraham Hanibal

        Mr. Amanuel H.,

        As I’ve quoted it several times here is the Article in the 97 Const. that deals with the system of governance in Eritrea.
        5. Eritrea is a unitary State divided into units of local government. The powers and duties of these units shall be determined by law.
        There is no doubt this article is telling us that Eritrea would have a unitary government. But it also says the country would be divided into units of local government whose duties and powers would be determined by law. From this information, we don’t know how far reaching these local powers would be, it is therefore not appropriate to conclude that absolutely all power would be concentrated at the level of the central government. It is also not clear if the people would have the opportunity to elect their local administration leaders and Governors. This issue is something that would be handled by the electoral law that emanates from the legislative body. This is to refute your claim in (b), above that says there would not be any devolving powers from the center to the periphery. In your point (c) you claim that the local units would recieve delegated Governors from the executive. I’ve to say that there is no any article in the Cost. that supports this claim.
        In point (d), you write the Const. allows a party to own private property. Again there is no such an article that allows this.
        Regarding the system of gov., you’ve the idea that a decentralized unitary gov. is the best option for Eritrea. And as a basis for this decentralization you’ve suggested the former division of Eritrea into provinces. I’ve tried to point the potential shortcomings of this type of division in one of my responses to you, though you’ve not replied it. When it comes to decentralization there are many options like administrative, fiscal, and political, or a mixture of these. I support the idea that the Eritrean people should be given the chance to elect their governors locally, but when it comes to the practical issues of delegating or devolving power to the local administrations, one is faced with the reality of human and resource capacity of both the central and local units. The question is how would one address these issues, when even the capabilities of the central government are limited, let alone those of the lower administrations? I think the issue of more decentralization is something that develops gradually through time with the progress of nation building.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Awatistas and for the attention of saay7 in particular,

    I believe that saay7 is knowledgeable enough more than average Eritrean on the International norms. I believe that saay7 is conscious enough on what he meant while he stood with the Human Rights group mission to Eritrea and expose the brutal system committed to Eritreans in general and victimized innocent children (including his brother’s daughter and his own father and brother). I believe that saay7 was using the international laws to bring the atrocities committed to the world attention.

    But, I question his own fighting legacy, whch I have great admiration and respect, when he nullifies the international legal system to pursue his argumemntative justification.

    Let’s see his sentences to make his argument to the forefront:

    saay7 wrote, “Does the opposition have a strategy to deal with the second leg of that stool or are we going to have a wobbly two-legged stool indefinitely? If it is going to make a legal argument and it ignores the 1997 ratified constitution, isn’t it going to rely on international laws and norms?”

    Well, my answer to saay7;

    1. The opposition had, has and will have a strategy to make their fight justifiable because PFDJ is “Illegal junta” who rules based on “Rule of the jungle”. To proof whether PFDJ uses rule of the jungle (rule of the jungle is rule of lawlessness and free fantasy as per what the judge wishes to be and no accountability for what is done), saay7’s own family are best example. Did saay7 used the ratified constitution when he brings his family case to the human rights mission group?

    2. What the the legal argument that saay7 is expecting to be in the forefront? Can’t saay7 know that constitution is only meant a political document that rules the country within (domestic document)? Can’s saay7 remembers the international treaties suuposed to be signed by Eritrea are legal tools to make accountable the government of Eritrea on its international partnering?

    Eritrea has so far signed some international treaties and is a member of UN, AU, to mention some and has legal obligation to follow the accountability demanded as a member. Such treaties are Basic Human Rights agreement, especially on children, where saay7 used while dealing his brother’s doughter. How come, a man, with high calibre and a mentor and champion on fighting for justice, simply ignores such norms to make his argument valid omits the internal laws and norms? Did ssay7 forgot that the international community cares less on domestic constitution but cares more on the international laws and norms in which one has signed for?

    Did saay7 forgot that PFDJ government cries loud when UN puts sanctions only because Eritrea is a member that didn’t follow what a responsible member country should have done?

    For today, I will stop here. I have 100+ simple rehoretic questions targeting saay7 but I prefer to stop here as because saay7 is just messing up because of the new year else I believe he is is still a man who knows well what the international norms is.


    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dealing with Eritrea, still the opposition will talk on “verdict” not the ratified 1997 Cons. Dear saay7, let’s follow Haile TG’s fighting principle. Let’s make HUMANITY at our center of fighting principle.

      Let’s not forget our history but let’s not be sucked by it. PFDJ is an illegal ruling junta and what he produced remains “Illegal”.

  • Kokhob Selam

    you got change your mind system from false to truth and that takes time and effort. the problem with you is not the software only, the hardware seems old. can’t help.

    • Gud

      I figure you will not get that. Tell you what? Let us play a game. Tes goes first and translates your post, then you re-translate his and so on. The winner would be the one who would bring your original post closer to any HUMAN language, got it? Now be a good boy and call Tes

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Selamat Gud,

        Here I am and I perfectly understand what KS is all saying about. It is very clear and no need to translate. If you want, let you wait me to develop a tigrigna google translater software.


        • Kokhob Selam

          ይኣምነለይ ልበይ :: ክብረት ይሃበልይ ተስፋ ብርሃን ሃገር ::

      • Kokhob Selam

        lucky me, I am surrounded by real human beings. hey, don’t be jealous, it is just easy. do you want my advice, contact me at

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Salam Awatistas

    I have taken some minutes to gloss over the constitution. I am an average reader, not an expert at all. First I will log where I see amendments may be needed, and then I will ask both groups some questions related to the debate.

    1. Article one (5) states Eritrea is a unitary government. Although it allows “The powers and duties of these units shall be determined by law”, it doesn’t spell out if this sub-units are merely administrative (extensions of the executive branch) or an autonomous entities or regions with meaningful powers devolved to them, including legislative powers. Emma has been pushing for a DUG, I see the advantage of Amanuel’s argument. There are also other competing ideas, such as federalism. The bottom line is: this article needs revision under a democratic environment with all stakeholders given equal opportunity. My position was using the 1997 constitution as a tool, and amending it using its embedded provision (article 59) once an accommodating political climate settles in the country . But I understand for the need of a creative thinking, and revolutionary ideas in making the structure of the government reflecting our diversity.
    2. Article 4 in its entirety.
    3. Article Article 8 (3) all land, water, air and resources shall be managed by the state..

    I come from an agro-pastoral region, and spent my entire life in rural Eritrea, particularly the lowlands. I am also fortunate to know our Kebesa people and their way of life. I see the need for a dialogue regarding the concept of land. In lowlands, the mode of production makes land communal, they see it in terms of mobility, postural life. Therefore treating it the same way Kabasa treat land (strictly managed farming plots) is erroneous. What we see in the past 23 years is the insatiable appetite of the government to confiscate tribal land, take away the fertile of it and distribute it among its supporters (mind you, I am not talking about poor Kabassa farmers, they have the right to move freely as they have done it for centuries; I am talking about the few suckers who have accumulated wealth at the expense of our people), and business interests leaving poor communities out of postural lands and drinkable water sources. There should be a system that comprises reserved community land and state owned sectors.

    3. Article 9 (1) “The State shall be responsible for creating and promoting conditions conducive for developing a national culture capable of expressing national identity, unity and progress of the Eritrean people.”

    These reminds me of projects like the students summer camps; sending high school kids to Sawa, and to some extent the project of National service. PFDJ has done everything to mold Eritreans into one culture. It has not created a culture, but it has been able to destroy the social fabrics of our people. Today the ideas of parent-child, husband-wife, family, church, mosque, community have been reduced to militarized society. The workforce of villages has been wiped out. The bearers of our culture (mothers) have been widowed and traumatized. Instead of having colorful and vibrant diversity, we have shaky and confused unity. The state needs to get out of creating or destroying cultures. Eritrea will remain to be the mother of multiple cultures, given equal opportunity, it will make a generally accepted culture which will be expressive of its demographic reality through market and peaceful interaction.

    4. Article 10(2)” Courts shall work under a judicial system that …be understood by and is accessible to all the people.”

    The language factor is important here. There were many cases, while I was there, where people would come from lowlands to the high court in Asmara, and then, they were made to translate their papers on their own expenses. Which takes us to the language close. If all languages are equal then they should be served in the government equally too. Citizens should not burden discriminatory excessive brunt just because they don’t speak the administrative language. The history of languages in EPLF has a long story; we may better do it in a separate occasion.

    5. Article 31 (3)” election of national council members through secret ballot.”

    Administrative and legislative districts will define how democratic this is. If the legislative districted are mapped out in a way that skew this towards the majority social group, then smaller ones will not have power. They may want to create coalitions; anyway, this is one part I think needs to be revised.

    6. Article 32 (8) “gives the national assembly the authority to elect the president”

    This is at the core of the philosophical debate; it’s also related to article I.

    7. 1.
    Article 32(10) “The National Assembly shall have the power to approve an appointment pursuant to this Constitution.”

    Too weak, it should spell out what level of government positions should be approved by it
    and what levels should be left for the executive. Article 42 (7) should have
    been expanded here; it reads…[…]… Court and any other person or persons who are required
    by any other provisions of this Constitution or other laws to be appointed by
    the President;” There are some positions mentioned that needs legislative approval, but this close leaves open for the president many other high level positions that should be approved by the legislature to the president.

    8. Article33 stipulates that the national council approves drafted laws and send them to the president. Very vague/week; what if the president declines?

    9. Article 34 vs article 32

    Both the president and the chairperson of the national council, a person who is the
    desidnated next in line in case the president is thrown out of office or is
    incapitated, will inevitably be from the same bloc or party, which will create
    less power of check and balance, Since both are elected by absolute majority from the NC.

    10. Article 36 emergency sessions, quorum of NC needed just 50%!

    This means in a legislative system where the president and the chairperson are elected by
    by absolute majority (THEY WILL LIKELY BE FROM THE SAME PARTY OR RULING COALITION), it’s possible they could at any time convene a simple majority and pass laws which leads to majority dictatorship.

    11. Article 42 (11) appoints high ranking officers of the armed forces.
    Legislature needs to get involved on some of these. chief-of-staffs, police commissioners, custom…high
    ranking officers eg. Generals (and their numbers.)

    12. Article 42 (13)legislature should be involved.
    The above is meant to see where areas of amendment are sought. This not to promote my position. It’s meant to get the debate to substance. I do see both sides having legitimate points. My intention is on finding which way is more galvanizing. I see the benefit of the document as having a rallying effects. I also see it’s frankly a document that needs to be overhauled. At the end there will be a new constitution which reflects Eritrean society and its diverse political stakeholders.
    I am going to skip my questions to the two groups, my kids are bugging me.

    • Kokhob Selam

      any how, listen to the innocent man who believe PFDJ leadership and work with DIA and this time you will know what ever we write if it doesn’t work it is just nothing. and here the ordinary man (me) said at that time professor and his followers will not succeed. my main reasons were only 3 points.

      01. PFDJ leadership will not allow to stand in front of justice and constitution is for justice.

      02. The mechanism used didn’t include all the items – the quantity of participants don’t matter, the sides matter. big part of political lines was not included.

      03. PFDJ was not and is not transnational government. only in transitional government you can think of creating legal body.

      • Abraham Hanibal

        This interview of the Commissioner of the Constitution Commission of Eritrea is a blow to those who’ve attempted to defame his name. The respectable Dr. Bereket Habtesselassie is telling us by his own words that the processs of drafting and ratification was reasonably participatory, and even though the dictator had tried to hamper the direction of its development, the Commission had succeeded to lead the process in the way it envisioned.

    • Tesfabirhan WR

      Dear Mahmuday,

      No matter how much you narrate, your core message will remain the same and that is, “to overhaul the document”

      Ok; lets examine your conclusion: “My intention is on finding which way is more galvanizing. I see the benefit of the document (1997 constitution) as having a rallying effects. At the same time, I also see it’s frankly, a document that needs to be overhauled. Either way, at the end, there will be a new constitution which reflects Eritrean society and its diverse political stakeholders.”

      Lets break-up your sentences.

      1. My intention is on finding which way is more galvanizing.

      2. I see the benefit of the document (1997 constitution) as having a rallying effects.

      3. At the same time, I also see it’s frankly, a document that needs to be overhauled.

      Mahmuday, your sentences are full of venom. You have covered with good looking words to make your argument valid and yet for an average reader, just like you, your message is very clear: “To keep the legacy of dictatorial system”.

      A friendly response to you,

      1. Your intentio is to find ways which is more galvanizing. Well, I can only say, you are naïve enough to be shocked now and to start moblizing on creating a ground to protect the decaying of the 1997 constitution. If there is a “RESUSCITATION” under the brutal system, well and good, good luck.

      2. If your base of argument is on the “rallying effect”, well, again, I am just sorry for you. Nazi party of Germany could have much stronger legitimacy had rallying effect was considered as a political argument to evaluate the benefit of certain thing.

      3. You have seen the document that needs overhaul.
      OVERHAUL is defined as, “to investigate or examine thoroughly for repair or revision” Well, even DIA said the same.

      Just, I will ask you, “who will examine the document now?” PFDJ? or PFDJ + his supporters?, or PFDJ+his supposters+Opposition groups+Justice seekers+the Silent Majority+….

      Worse, your last sentence is just a trash. You put, “Either way, at the end, there will be a new constitution which reflects Eritrean society and its diverse political stakeholders.” Do you think that a country called Eritrea will exist without a constitution.” Surely, there will be a constitution, as far as Eritrea is going to exist. Eritrea will be strongest country once again PFDJ is gone.


      • Hope

        Prof Tesfit,
        Please,be so kind to yourself and respect yourself only as the Vet your trying to ” challenge” negatively is, not only the Challenger of the Challengers” but someone who beat up all the unbeatable and who survived against all ODDs.
        BTW,he is the Awatista of the year.
        Your job as a debater is to challenge his ideas without personalizing issues and without attacked the persona.
        Keep it up buddy as the forum and the debate is tea or coffee without sugar….andel or erre’

        • Hope

          “Attacked “should read as “attacking”
          Btw, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU Tes and to your loved ones.

        • Tesfabirhan WR


          Just make sure my pen will not be merciful to reformers and PFDJites in 2015. I tried my best to define PFDJ in 2014. The definition was successful but was not complete because of the chauvinist school of thought. I will be here to expose naked those chauvinists so that the opposition camp will have a clear delineation on “who is who”. And surely, you will not be free Hope. Take not for this.

          If you have sometime, read this document:


          And short but brief on what I mean chauvinists


          • Hope

            That is a serious Threat,Dude!
            We might end up suing you when you hit the Airport here in the USA

    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Selam Mahmuday,

      Look how your revision expose the fatal flaws of the document. Even myself I didn’t go that far in detail to dismantle it as you did. My concern was (a) on the structure of the government (b) on the issue of land (c) on the issue of language. if you are really you mean it by what you have detailed the flaws, then we have no difference in our take as to the nature of the document. You saw the need of overhauling the document and that is where I am looking in order to bring peace and stability to the nation we gave everything possible. As to how we shall do it, I am somehow writing the possible process in an article form to share with awatistas. With this comment of yours we saw eye to eye as to the value system we are looking forward. Hence I gave you two thumbs up and glimpse of smile to show my approval. Good job.

      Amanuel Hidrat

    • haileTG

      Selamat Mahmuday,

      Clearly, even cursory look as you presented here, shows the immense complexity of piecing together a national constitution. Beyond that too, it is even incredibly challenging to develop appropriate delivery mechanisms for its practical application in a manner that would feed forward the sense of appreciation and development of constitutional culture in the wider society. Just like you, I lack the specific expertise in the area, but here is one I picked for further comment from the above listed:

      “3. Article 9 (1) “The State shall be responsible for creating and promoting conditions conducive for developing a national culture capable of expressing national identity, unity and progress of the Eritrean people.”

      Now, what would constitute a “national culture” that can be seen as expressing:

      1) National Identity

      2) National Unity

      3) National Progress

      as stipulated as per the article above? For example, what does the “creation” and “promotion” sought therein signify? Can the management of national Art, historic sites and museums, research and development in the field of national heritage, Universities and international collaboration… fall into these? The closure of the Asmara University, and replacing them with institutions without international standing for instance, undermines the possibility of “progressing” aspects of “national culture”. The fact that the history of the Eritrean Ghedli was deliberately distorted, not documented, left to become oral tale… also is a direct assault on the heart of what the article or “national culture” espouses, especially as it pertains “unity”.

      In summary, it is rather a daunting task than meets the eye, to actually synthesize a given text of a constitutional article and formulate a national strategic frameworks for policy and implementation guide that would “create” and “promote” a “conducive condition” for its realization in the day to day life of the citizen.


      • Mahmud Saleh

        Salam HTG;
        It’s indeed mind boggling. I can tell you, revising it again was an eye opening for me. I did what I usually do, that’s, for contentious issues, I go back and take the best look I could in order to “study” them. I was surprised with the impression I have got compared to the impression I had when it was ratified. I have been away from politics and I didn’t really revisit it. With this topic discussion still going on and among my kids’ hassles, I glossed over it today and I came out with the impression that both sides have legitimate concerns. I was going to ask both sides the following:
        Group A: Ok, we want that constitution to be restored as it was ratified using the then available means. Are we ready to consider revising these issues (the ones that I outlined plus other issues experts may dig out)?
        I commented along my original discovery of the areas I thought needed amendments, how about saay and Abraham? Let’s see what you guys say.
        Group B. Let’s say PFDJ is gone and you assume power. How ready are you to compromise to those who claim the 1997 constitution should be restored, and should go through legal process for improving it? Basically, what do you say tom those who will say they invested heavily in its process, who will say that it went through required process?
        ###To come to your point regarding the specific article you mentioned,Haylat, for me it’s understood, because the document was written around the time I was also afflicted with the notion of creating a nation (common culture, common language and identity…). Basically, in socialist societies, the state plans, just like economic planing, which music, arts..those cultural expressions which promote the morality of a socialist society… subjects of studies would reflect the demand of graduates in the planned economy… how many engineers, doctors…what type of soap Opera are right for the working class, children….it all goes back to creating one out of many, but unlike western countries, it’s done through forced mixing and planned selection of what they think constitutes the model culture culminating into one culture.
        As you noted and I underlined it earlier, the state should be out of the business of creating or destroying cultures. Issues of national heritage ( such as museums and arts, historic landmarks…belong to the state. And it’s done for the purpose of preservation. These institutions actually thrive when the state leaves cultures alone to go through natural process of evolving; then the museums will have diversified collections, the music and arts will be more colorful, novelists will flourish to satisfy demands of growing literates and middle class, private economy will sponsor different sports, etc..etc. If we let few bureaucrats decide which one to promote and which one to demote, we are in trouble.

    • Hayat Adem

      The ER-Cons97 is not a constitution in the normal sense. It may be better fitting to call it a party manifesto. People may think it is better than a no-constitution and may even hope new amendment entries may as well make it more and more sensible. Even with that consideration, it might be more of a problem than a solution. Well, I am saying this while very aware the one DIA is cooking now would certainly be worse than the one that was murdered in its shelf.
      I never respected that paper and i can explain why if need be but if I were of the view that the cons was perfect or somehow adequate to start with, there would be things to say. The reason why Isaias didn’t want to function with the ratified Cons has nothing to do with the war or the other way round, meaning, the war was not created in order to delay the implementation, as some are heard saying. Isiais never bothers himself in creating a pretext unless he saw an immediate danger. For instance, the Constitution was ratified in May 1997. Life of a constitution is supposed to be immediate. it should have started kicking that very day. But there is one full whole year between the start of the conflict and the day the const was declared ratified. People who believe in the idea that this was a good document should have demanded an immediate functionality of the Constitution. The other point is, let’s not underplay the fact that the war was Isaias’ own making. That will mean, we should not yield to a flawed reasoning that since we were in a war time, he probably had a legitimate reason to delay it. He didn’t need any justification, war or non-war. Did he need any justification now to tell us it was murdered while shelved? Issu gives, Issu takes. If we have to, we should blame him for four things: 1) for not getting it ratified earlier than 1997, 2) for 1 full year of shelving after ratification and before the start of the war, 3) for creating the war and 4) for continuing the shelving of the cons during the war and after. Who said, Cons are not useful during a war, anyway?

      • haileTG

        Hey Hayat,

        Regarding the 1 year delay, it was claimed (including Dr Bereket) that it was agreed time frame to resolve the issue of persons that were incarcerated at the time (many still do) under rulings by Special courts (military Kangaroo court system). As per Dr Daniel Rezene (who was personally privy to the matter) that something close to 9000 persons were in jail under such system (without due process). Hence, it was agreed that about 1 year was needed to resolve their cases because such method of incarceration would then be illegal under a constitutional government. By then even people like Teg.Bitweded and others had been i jail for years. Hope this gives you something to factor too.


        • Hayat Adem

          That is the issue, Hailat. look how mean it is to think that way: 1) you are putting people in prison 2) you are making it sure they don’t get the benefit on an arriving constitution, 3) you prefer to delay a national constitution over releasing prisoners. And we are talking even about the hard crime prisoners of law. that was bad. and as if that is not bad enough, no body, not even our knowledgeable lawyers such as Daniel are talking how weird it is to negotiate over activating a document of such national importance once it is ratified by the higher body. Function is automatic except the maximum one month (may be?) until the president signs it. No body has a power of negotiating over delaying its start of effective date.

          • Abraham Hanibal

            One of the major flaws I see in the 97 Constitution is that it lacks an article or provision that shows when and how the document would be put in force. This means that you cannot speak of a certain timeframe for the implementation of that particular Constitution. But it seems that the government had a plan to prepare the ground for its implementation, for example, by appointing a committee that would look at contradicting laws or courts that existed at the time, as Dr.Bereket has stated. This process was aborted for a reason that Dr. Bereket doesn’t understand, and just a few months later the war broke out. This situation may support some peoples’ views that IA never had a plan for following the process of democratization, instead he had to create all hindrances, like provoking a full-scale war by sending a mechanized brigade to remove the Ethiopian militia and administration from Badme.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        I totally agree with you with the caveat that what HTG mentioned below would be reasonable enough to make us rationalize the “stay of implementation” period, Dr. BereKet had an interview today, I did not hear it all.
        I understand IA had no intention to rule under any constitution, but I also know for a fact that there were forces which where pressing for it. My points are:
        a/ The document could be a starting point
        b/It could be used as a rallying tool
        c/ Once a democratic environment reigns, it could go through revision
        Like I have shown today, there are some major areas that need to be worked out whether restoring the 1997 Constitution and undergoing revision, or writing a new. If I were a political strategist, I would be interested in seeing where the majority of Eritreans fall. I’m going to the stuff/substance rather than hanging on its psychological dimension, just for enhancing the debate.

    • Berhe Y

      Dear Mahmuday/ Amanual,

      1. Article one (5) states Eritrea is a unitary government. And I think Amanual said “decentralized unitary governance”.

      I really have hard time to understand why does Eritrean need a Unitary government? Is there a government/country (democratic) that we can think off that has “Unitary” government that we think works really well. I can only think as “Unitary” means “Communist” part of China or former dictators like that of Ethiopia/Derg (which was also communist). Where everyone who is elected belongs to 1 party where they all agree. Other than that, what’s the point of being in different party, if at the end of the day you are going to belong to the same “Unitary” parliament to begin with (who ever happens to be elected president).

      The basis for my questions are two things:

      1) The 1952 Eritrean Constitution, which was I think based on a Unitary government. I think it’s important to note that, other than blaming Haile Selassie, his enderase and Andnet for annaxing Eritrean parliament/ federation, was the constitution was the bases for this to happen? If there is a credible source that I can read, I am happy to learn. But based on the limited knowldge that I have, here is what happened:

      i) Tedla Bairu resigned, reason being not able to work with the king and the interference
      ii) two people nominated to take his position. 1) Haregot 2) Asfeha Woldemichael. A vote was casted and Asfaw Woldemichael become the president. Then he uses his influence / power and went ahead to abolish the parliament.

      a) Was he member of the parliament to begin was to even allowed to be voted for the president?
      b) If this wasn’t for the Unitary government structure, could this have happened in the first place?

      The reason I ask is, is there something we should learn from this form of government from our history? The only explanation that I recall from Dr. Bereket was, “parliament is messy” and “presidential ~ I don’t know exactly what he said”.

      2) second point, and I think this is very important point in my opinion. I think those in power (the gedli, the educated class, which I think Tes calls “the chauvinists”) think and believe that they know better than the public what’s good for us. Where as the opposite is true. We can all agree that, based on our long history the Eritrean people (Muslims and Christians) due to their deep believe and faith, they follow their respective religions. So in my opinion, it’s NOT the people that needs to be controlled with the “constitution” but in fact, the constitution needs to “control” those in power.

      Berhe Y.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Merhaba Berhe,
        Good question if I wasn’t clear enough. In the world what ever ideological belief any government has, the type of governance are either centralized unitary governance (CUG) or Decentralized unitary governance (DUG). All the types of government you have heard or read will fall one way or the other in this two. There are no other alternatives.

        Centralized means all the power is pyramidal and all the dispensation of power comes from the head of state only. Unitary because there is only one state. On the other hand Decentralized means certain powers are devolved from the “center” to the “periphery.” example power is devolved from the center to the states (maximum) in cases of federal government. Or certain power is devolved to provinces (limited) in cases of short of federalism. Remember I am hinting also there are different types of decentralized governance. The unitary (U) in the DUG refers that there is a central government that represent to all the states or provinces in defense, foreign and other powers deemed to the center and hence unitary. In short you will see “unitary” in both of them because central government that protect the sovereignty of the Nations. Other wise they differ in the dispensation of powers.

        So Berhe the current drafted constitution calls for CUG, which I oppose it and written about it intensively. What I promote for multi-ethnic Eritrea is DUG to limit the power at the center and devolve the political and administrative power to the periphery, which I also believe the “old provinces” could be the “units” where certain power could be devolved to them if Eritreans agreed on the future constitution. There is no remedy, Berhe, and let me repeat again that there is no remedy to our political malaise and deep mistrust within our social groups except DUG that gives them equitable power in politics and economy. Trust me there is no remedy with the shelved constitution where the power is fully centered at the presidency in the executive and the legislative body.

        • Abraham Hanibal

          Dear Amanuel H.,

          I think you’re mixing stuff here: when you say all governments fall on either CUG or DUG. The term “unitary” doesn’t include federal states, according to the information I gathered from Wikip.

          Unitary states: are usually with a single central gov. Hovever, they may also include a number of self-governing entities or regions whose autonomy is granted or devolved from the central gov. The agreement between the central gov. and regions is not entrenched in the constitution, and hence can be revoked by either party.
          Examples: most world states, both democratic and undemocratic fall in this category.

          Federal states: component states are in some sense sovereign and have some powers reserved to them by the constitution that may not be excercied by the central gov. The divisions of power between the autonomous states and the central gov. are entrenched in the constitution, and neither of the parties has the right to alter these powers unilaterally.

          Examples: the US, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Germany, etc.

          The Eritrean constitution from 1997 envisions a a unitary State divided into units of local
          government. The powers and duties of these units would be determined by law after the formation of a democratic gov. We don’t have exact statistical information, however, we know that the majority of the Eritrean people are followers of Christianity. Also the majority, again, belong to the Tigringna ethnic group. We also know that the Eritrean People have lived together in peace through centuries, in spite of their ethnic and religious differences. Now one has to ask, is it right to base the political life of the country on the basis of religion and ethnicity? If one does so, one is giving too much power to a certain section of the society, a situation that may lead to internal friction and disharmony. It means one is planting unrest and disunity, in an otherwise, peaceful coexistence.

          My view is that political parties in Eritrea should not be based on religious and ethnic grounds; they should be based on their party-programs that deal with the economic, social, political, cultural, environmental, foreign affairs, etc policies.The parties should be nation-wide, having members and electorate throughout the country.

          I also disagree with the idea of dividing the country on the basis of the old system of Awrajatat. Because this type of division would, in practice, lead us to ethnic and religious divisions. For example, the provinces of Hamasien, Akeleguzay, and Seraye would predominantly have People from the Tigringa Ethnic Group, and Christian followers, while provinces like Sahel, Barka, Denkalia, and Senhit would have predominantly followers of Islam. In addition to this if one is to divide the country on this basis, there would be an assymetric division of human and natural resources, which would show up in an unfare creation of development opportunities of the people. The country has, therefore, to be divided into regions that allow for a balanced share as far as human and material resources are concerned. This would also help to strengthen the inter-religious and inter-ethnic relationships among the people, which would in, turn, lead to peace, stability and collective prosperity.

          Mr. Amanuel H, you write: “Trust me there is no remedy with the shelved constitution where the power is fully centered at the presidency in the executive and the legislative body.” According to our Constitution, power is centered and originated from the people by virtue of the peoples’ representatives, the National Assembly. Though the President has a number of powers as the executive branch, he is bound by the Const. and can be empeached and charged by two-thirds majority vote of all members of the National Assembly should he break the terms of the Cont.. His most importand appointees have also to be approved by the National Assembly. The Const. allows also certain degree of local governance, so what is the big problem here? In addition to this, there are a number of provisions that deal with the participation of the people, I quote three of them here:

          Article 6.3: The State shall ensure peaceful and stable conditions by establishing appropriate participatory institutions that guarantee and hasten equitable economic and social progress.

          Article 7.1: It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social and cultural life of the country.

          Article 30.2: The National Assembly shall enact an electoral law, which shall ensure the representation and participation of the Eritrean people.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Haw Abrham,
            There is nothing mixed in the concept I brought forward. But I will let to make a little research abut CUD and DUG. All centralized unitary governance are the same but there four kind of decentralized unitary governance. Now again another hint “all federal government are decentralized unitary government but all decentralized unitary government are not federal government. I am sure these will help you in your research.
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abinet

            Ato Amanuel
            Please excuse my interjection here . I am learning a lot .
            My question to you is why do you subscribe DUG in a very volatile region where your neighbors including Ethiopia and The Sudan are watching every move you make and influence the outcome?
            Don’t you think it is very difficult if not impossible to implement DUG in a country where people are not trusting each other and prefer their region before their country?
            Do you know how how many people lost their life because of ethnic and regional politics in ethiopia back in the 90’s. People got kicked out from places where they lived for ages just because they are not originally from that region. Do you remember the word ” nefTegna?” How do you avoid it?
            Honestly back in the 90’s it felt like ethiopia was back in the “zemene mesafint” little kings everywhere . Do you know one of the little kings said?
            ” lene yematibej ethiopia shi bota tibeTaTes”
            Mind you , my questions and example are to get your take on the issue not to interfere in your affairs.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Abinet,

            I don’t want to interfere in to the Ethiopian politics. But I can assure you one thing, that Federal government is the best kind of government that fits to the multi-ethnic Ethiopian society. Giving power to the people to govern themselves is the best gift from the current ruling Ethiopian regime. Any other problems can be addressed within the frame of federalism. That is my take in general.

            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Abraham Hanibal

            Hi Amanuel;

            The problem I see is that you’re adding the term ‘unitary’ to federal systems. All definitions and explanations I get on the net put the two terms in contrast with each other. Either you’ve unitary or federal. In the unitary type the degree of centralization varies from high, where the central government has absolute control over all the affairs of the state, to low where the central gov. delegates certain powers to the local administrations.

            Here is one link for comparing the two main systems: unitary vs. federal.


          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Hi Abraham,
            Go for more research. Don’t be in harry. It took me a year to make research and write about it. You have no a clue yet. Even you don’t know the defintion of dug and cug and how they relate and differ each other
            Amamuel Hidrat

        • Berhe Y

          Thank you Amanuel for the clarification.

          Not to over simplify thing but if the system of government in China and that of the India as example, be both called Unitary because they represent one country then I think the term is redundant and it doesn’t mean much.

          Otherwise how can these two forms of government, India a democratic country where all its citizens have equal rights in all political aspects, where in China the one party have all the political and other aspects of the country and the people have no say.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Haw Berhe,
            China has centralized unitary governance. While India has Decentralized unitary governance which is federal government. While all centralized Unitary are the same, there are four four different types of decentralized unitary governance. I am sure you will find it easy to discover.
            Amanuel Hidrat

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Berhe Y
            Emma remains to be the “go to” person with regard to the topic of the discussion. However, I would just add the point that these and similar issues need a political will from the stakeholders. It also requires a free political space where grievances are advanced to debates without the fear of reprimands, and on the other hand, it needs a courageous and receptive leaders or delegated participants. It all boils down to:
            a/ how collected revenues are redistributed, or how resourced/budget/expenditures are allocated.
            b/ issues of local concerns, such as the grievances of minority related to identify, culture, language, religion. ..
            I believe there is no such a thing called an absolute remedy, but one system could be better than another depending on given challenges a country faces. There is not a single panacea. Nations decide which system best suits them. Amanuel has been eloquent in advancing DUG, there are also other proposals. For these ideas to get hashed out, all stakeholders need to get a chance of getting together. We are not there yet. It’s sad to see such a continuous fracturing of the opposition when there is a single Uniting challenge in front of them. There could not be any clearer objective: vhallenging pfdj. Why is all this mistrust then? I can tell you, it is because there is no courage in facing the issues we are discussing. I see opposition leaders putting the cart before the horse. The squabbles we see are all about strengthening their position and for acquiring as many bargaining chips as possible for post PFDJ Eritrea. Who brings post PFDJ Eritrea? Who does the real fighting? Well, you guessed it. The kids will again have to do it.

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Berhe Y,

        The Chauvinists and hence School of chauvinists, the sal’s school of thought is not as you described it. The school has nothing to do with those who are in power. It is a school that is teaching chauvinists to keep the legacy of PFDJ and transfer it to PFDJ-2.

        The sal’s school of thought, the school of chauvinists,is a school which is promoting “Reforms” through democratic coup and is guided by FEAR of the future. Because of FEAR, they want to keep the status quo. They don’t want to disturnd the system built by the dictator but wants to remove the dictator. The school of chauvinists is an extention of PFDJ which will be PFDJ-2.

        The founding curriculum of this school is based on PFDJ national Identity and threat based politics.

        Here you have a read:

        Therefore, The Chauvinists are the educators at the school and those who are graduating from (like Nitricc) and new students like Gud.


  • Kokhob Selam

    ውልቀ መላኺ ቅ ዋም ኣብተግባር ክውዕል ማለት ኣብ ነጻ ቤት ፍርዲ ክፍረድ ፍቂዱ ማለት እዩ :: ነጻ ቤት ፍርድን ውልቀ መላኽን ዝተሳነይሉ ታሪኻዊ ኣጋጣሚ ዓለም ካብ ትፍጠር ኣይተራእየን ::

  • Gud

    “… as per the promise he gave his supporters six-months ago [Independence day speach of the President of Hagere Eritrea, to the Eritrean people]….”

    his supporters?

    Ala nisikatkin!

    • Kokhob Selam

      of course to his supporters. was that to the mass? But hey, don’t think he believe them, he don’t. Deep inside he knows if G15 won, they could have forgotten him.

    • Hope

      Please be so kind to express your thoughts,your suggestions , your recommendations rather than picking on people here and there,as U Sem very articulate.
      My challenge to you:
      -Why has the Ratified Constitution been hijacked and I implemented then finally officially declared dead?
      -Give us some feedback the innocent People and Top Politicians and the Best Generals and Heroes Eritrea has produced ,who are either dead or suffering incommunicado
      -give us some idea as to the Youth is running away in thousands and dying in the deserts and the Seas never seen in the World history let alone in Eri history

      -Give us some input as to why the Private Sector is dead
      -Tell us something about the role of Demhit

      • Hope

        This crap smart is messing up.
        Please read “Sem “as “you seem to be articulate”

  • Nitricc

    Gorge TS is one those Africans who believes that the west is heaven and the whites are gods. It is true but sad.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear george,

    Forget the Zionist bla bla. Come out from cold era (PFDJ ideology). Only then you can understand what the talk is all about.


  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Haw Saleh (Saay),

    I will bring our argument about the constitution (which I call it a political document but not a legal document) on this page. Because Awate staff gave it a special place and framed it in and article form for a more debate, despite we did it several times. So here I will respond to your last reply to my comment. Four things I have observed from your last reply (a) ambivalence (b) the winner takes all (c) you spuriously avoid my questions (d) in order to divert from our domestic politics you peaked Ethiopia for comparison.

    Let us see each of them to make my point. You have said “I could take or leave most of the articles” in the document. You see Saleh you can’t even tell us where you stand on the shelved PFDJ constitution. I will interpret your quoted statement as follows: if the Eritrean people want to keep it I will go with it, and if the Eritrean people rejected it I will also reject it. That is unresolved ambivalence in your mind (don’t be angry. if you are not straight forward we have the right to interpret it). The articles which deals with civil rights (the bill of rights) they are universal and will not be superseded. The question is the structure of the government (the hybrid government), the land issue, the language issue. If you change these three issues in the document the 1997 document dead for good. So my friend either advocate for CUG which you have it on the shelf or advocate for alternative and come with specifics.

    You also tried to remind me the bad news about me on the nature of the process I advocate. As far as I believe the process I am advocating is fair and square to our diversity whether the power of the day rejected it or the public didn’t understood it, it will first satisfy my conscience and second history will remember me as judicious to our diversity. That is what it matters to me. So your argument is not to bring new idea but to reject and boycot any view that is outside of the shelved document.

    As smart as you are and well read than the average Eritrean, I wasn’t expect from you to tell us “the winner takes all.” If that is the case you shouldn’t complain of what the system is doing against our people, because by virtue of being winners of the armed struggle we are to be dictated and accept every misfortune Eritrea is facing. Hummm.

    A constitution is a legal agreement between stakeholders as well as between the political organizations and the the general public at large. Besides the document was ratified by the central committee of EPLF and hand picked individuals by the president – the so called Assembly.That is why the process is not only a flaw but was deadly wrong. As expected, the outcome also brought the hybrid government that gives the president full power in the legislative and executive body.
    The issue of Amendment under PFDJ-2 which you openly advocate requires 75% of the vote will be difficult to happen; And the forces for change understood it very well the trap you are calling. So in short there is no moral and legal ground to advocate for it.

    As to your question what is the legal basis of my argument. The answer is simple. There is no legal document for the Eritrean people to make their argument against Issayas. We didn’t give him a contract as he alluded in one of his interview. He knows there is no any legal tender he can abide with and that is why he acted as he wishes. Kubur Saay Issayas has built a strong system (which you keep denying it). If Issayas goes there many issayas’s in line. The document is his document he will keep it if he wanted it and throw it into trash if he doesn’t want it. How difficult to understand it.

    But, But, if it happened like your wish another PFDJ (reformed or unreformed) comes to power without due process the political document will be enforced and Eritrea will remain in chaos, extreme agitation and disorder. Eritrea needs remedy in its governance and that is only by decentralized unitary governance. There is no other remedy. If there is any other remedy show us by not advocating the statuesque.

    Amanuel Hidrat

    • Nitricc

      “if the Eritrean people want to keep it I will go with it, and if the Eritrean people rejected it I will also reject it.”

      Aman the above statement is to be your understanding of SAAY on the old constitution. what i am confused is, what is wrong with that understanding? is not what democracy and majority rule is?

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        To have your view about the nature of government that Eritreans should pursue is different than whether the majority will have the mandate and legality to rule under a given constitutional rule of law. Democracy is not only the rule of majority but democracy is also governing by equitable power sharing (fair share among the shareholders of any given diversity). I will ask you to increase your political prouse to understand how democracy works in diversified society. Just visit how democracy works in India – the most populous and diversified democratic society that took them three weeks for the electoral system to function and elect their representatives and their leaders. Every country has its specific democratic process depending on its diversity. Keep in mind the rule of majority in diversified society will always bring the tyranny of the majority.

        • Nitricc

          So what your saying is this …
          SAAY took the easy way out by saying that instaed of explining the cons and pros of the old constitutiona.
          Am i right?
          I will get to the rest. I just wanted to understand the mine issue.
          Thanks Aman for taking time to expline.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Haile TG,

    Thank you for educating us.

    I want to tell you that a “democratic coup” was done on you during the nomination of the “Awatista man 2014” and I followed who did that.

    You are the “TRUE AWATISTA”

    You have the knowledge, passion, knowing, kindness, greatness, love, genuineness, wisdom and above all HUMANITY.

    Keep on teaching the school of chauvinists.

    And here is my share for groups who belong to ‘a’, ‘g’ and ‘h’:

    Again wishing you a successful 2015 year.


    ++ SGJ and Amanuel H. Keep on your struggle. Surely, your struggle will be rewarded;

    • Kokhob Selam

      thank you Tesfabrhan.

    • Hope

      So , U R endorsing Haile TG’s stand of creating other RSADOs and The DMLEKs in Eritrea,knowing fully that those movements were created by the bloody enemies of Eritrea so as to break down Eritrea into pieces?

      • haileTG

        Hope, you remind me Mengistu’s “… that those movements were created by the bloody enemies of Eritrea Ethiopia so as to break down Eritrea Ethiopia into pieces?”

        • Guest

          Didn’t they break ethiopia into 2 and more to come for the future.

          • haileTG

            was it popular movement or the work of “bloody enemies” as Hope, and Mengistu, would have us believe.

          • Saleh Johar

            HaileTG, you deserve to laugh before the end of the night. This is what I just read:

            Paulos Misgena: Finally, awate seems to settle that for highlanders you have to sell it with highlander names. So It is not even difficult to tell which one is commenting as Haile the Great, repack it and sell it in the form of feature article again. Please stop insulting our intelligence for Christ sake.

          • haileTG

            Hahaha… I am dumbfounded!!! Mr Paulos, what is wrong ma man? I am as highlander as you can get (less the shumbash horseback and barneTa…haha) anta gele k’nsemE ena…

          • Saleh Johar

            You missed it HaileTG,

            Paulos says, “…It is not even difficult to tell which one is commenting as Haile the Great…” Who do you think he had in mind? He is commenting as HaileTG?

            This part (I lost count) of the usual campaign. Maybe cousin Hope can help us explain it 🙂

          • Abinet

            I think Paulos thinks SGJ and Haile TG are the same person.

          • haileTG

            I get it. The good thing is that this Haile won’t bring you any bad luck 🙂

  • saay7

    (Imported from a different thread)

    Selamat Haile TG:
    What’s in it for them (RSADO and DMLEK) is the ability to expand the size of the Eritrean opposition and getting critical mass for change. It’s not the advocates of the ratified constitution that are taking a rigid take-it-or-leave it approach because we are saying there is a mechanism for amendment and you can amend it but u have to make your case to the people and there will be no backroom deals.
    All the ones that came after RSADO/DMLEK are, unfortunately, a manifestation of the radicalization of Eritrean opposition. Remember, however it’s brilliance or even superiority, nothing they write can be a legal argument simply because it’s not a ratified document. It’s simply a political program and a vision statement which they can use as a roadmap to make their case to the Eritrean people and then to abide by the decision of the people.
    In short, the time for all the current maneuvering was in 1995-1997. That’s when the opposition should have been organized and made their case to the people, even from exile. Now, all the charters and constitutions floating around are simply bargaining chips. They are political documents, moral statements, vision statements but they are not legal documents.
    So what we are really saying is that in our protracted struggle (protracted, in my view, because nobody forcefully has spoken for the ratified constitution) we are going to make moral arguments and maladministration arguments and we are going to cite UN documents and AU charters on human rights but we will not make the case for the Eritrean constitution.

    • haileTG

      Merhaba saay (I knew that comment of mine was longer than an article..haha thanks for AT’s nice words too:)

      Back to business, I would like to put the value of the “legality” argument and my questioning of its certain aspect side by side. I don’t want one to be used as a justification of dismissing the other however.

      1 – The legality argument has inherent value in a sense that it can lend itself to providing concrete legal framework for the violations the opposition (some sections of it) wish to redress. Let me give a simplified example here. Suppose my rights of movement or access to legal protection is curtailed. This could be any one of thousands or even millions of people who find themselves under such situation at the moment. What this means as per the legality argument debated here is that I can specifically pin point to an article of that constitution to make a legally credible challenge to stave off the violation imposed on me. That clearly is of a value, it is much better than arguing “under the universal declaration of human right, all persons should be guaranteed free movement and access to lawyers…” The former makes my case readily identifiable as a clear violation of rights as per legal contractual governed/governing binding agreement in the body text of the constitution. It is viable and credible asset under many situations.

      2 – The issue of RADSO/DMLEK and such like groups however isn’t something that departs from the 97 constitution as a starting point. It is a violation claimed inspite of that document and the answers for their claim isn’t found in that constitution. Even if you go back to 1995 KUKODISU gathering of our Kunama brothers (predecessor of DMLEK), their basic demands were neither included, entertained or given due consideration in the making of the constitution. The case of the two Kunama brothers incident predate the formation of the constitutional making process and and it is interesting to see how the drafting process reflected (if not, why not) the case of our brothers in Gash (Kunama). There is no article our Afar brothers can point in the constitution to add legal credence to their grievances. The same with the other groups who are saying they are not represented. So, if the constitution doesn’t give them legal bases, how can they benefit from the legality argument? If the particular angle is pitch for expanding the opposition force, that of course may/may not be a worthy consideration but entirely the prerogative of those groups if they wish to sacrifice the very reason for existence to make room for expanded opposition force.

      Again, I don’t intend to use #2 to invalidate #1. There is definitive benefit to be had by a section of the opposition by the virtue of the legality argument. At the same time, there are legitimate questions as regards the scope of that argument in as far as what it covers and what it doesn’t.


    • Amanuel Hidrat

      Kubur Saay,

      Indeed, precisely there is no legal and moral argument for the 1997 document. But like what you noted in your comment, for simple recognizing their rights we will accept as a political bargaining chips as the other stakeholders will also come with their own bargaining chips which bring us to a document from compromises of the political organizations and the general public at large. What is wrong with that if it is going to bring peace and stability among us.

      Amanuel Hidrat

      • saay7


        When you say “Indeed, precisely there is no legal and moral argument for the 1997 document” you make it sound like you are agreeing with something I said, or that you are answering a question asking “is there a legal and moral argument for the 1997 document?” My question is without the constitution what is the legal argument for demanding the removal/dismantling of the system? I think you already answered that in a different thread: there is none. And you are ok with that.

        This will be my last debate with you on this subject, or any subject for that matter, for a period of time because your misrepresentations are too many for me to dismiss them as “misunderstandings.” So good luck with the dismantling without having the law on your side.


    • Hope

      Come on Cousin , just tell your Haile TG to his face that Eritrea does NOT other RSADOs and DMLEKs.
      We have a simple (but not easy) ways of bringing in Eritrea.
      If we work hard in mobilizing and Unifying the Silent Majority, we can have an Eritrea we should have.
      Plus, leave Emanuel Hidrat alone to live n his own world of political fantasy.
      You will never convince or persuade some one ,who does not want.
      That does not mean that U free and perfect either.
      Just be honest and truthful to your Ideology and Recommendations.
      As a Team and a unique Eri website, you guys can make a lot of difference if you really push for a Real National Reconciliation with out preconditions ,U can expedite the real change we deserve.

      • Hope

        Read as “Eritrea does Not need other l…RSADOs and DMLEKs.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Dear AT;
    Indeed, HTG’s last analytic comment deserves a fore-seat. Thank you for considering it for that privilege. And this sort of quick editorial judgement and flexibility could come only from AT the great.

    • haileTG

      ኣንታ ማሕሙዳይ ሰላሕ ኣቢልካ’ዶ ኣብ ገለ ኣእተኻኒ፡ ኣንታ ክንደይ ትሓስም….haha, just kidding Mahmuday. Thanks for the complement too.

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Salam HTG;
        You remain the great buddy, I somehow learned how to get the cream( ልግዐ ድዩ ዝበሃል?) out of you. I will follow you guys; HTG, you are really helping the debate by assuming your rightful place as a mediator/leader; and in order to take out the EPLF factor, I will take the rear seat. I may have one entry in this thread for Emma and SGJ. Other than that, rest assured the “democratic coup” over you by “chauvinists” has been thwarted.