Home / Articles / A Coup In Eritrea: Reality Check

A Coup In Eritrea: Reality Check

I would like to thank Amanuel Hidrat for his well researched and educational article. I really appreciate the time and energy he spent to make his articles educational; I can only say he has expanded the subject matter and it’s going to be helpful in understanding articles and arguments which revolve around it in the future.

As I have come to understand it, there is no such thing called democratic coup so far—a coup staged merely in the interest of the people. I have not read the entirety of Ozan Varol paper which served as a working paper for both Saleh Younis and Amanuel, I only read its abstract. However, even as Saleh introduced that concept, I had some reservations with regard to the fact that we don’t have a professional institutionalized military and an educated class of officers who separate matters of state and the ruling entity. We seem to agree at this level, hence the question will be about the possibility.

Amanuel says, if there will be any type of coup it will be similar to any other coup; there is no such thing as a democratic coup. He actually goes beyond the possibility of its occurring in Eritrea and he sort of seems to refute (and he is) Varol’s own concept.

The three countries and their military institutions that Varol cites as his basis of his paper were known to have been institutionalized in the politics and their interests were embedded in their respective countries’ constitutions, and were represented in the law-making bodies. Essentially, they had been recognized forces in the politics of their countries and their interests were delineated by law. Furthermore, they acted only when their interests were at risk, not out of goodwill to install democratic governments. Turkey’s military has been a visible feature as a state guarantor since the foundation of modern Turkey by Kemal Ataturk. The Egyptian military was so since Gamal AbdulNasser, and it runs a vast economic activity in the country; it had a weighty say in the politics of the country. Portugal’s military also had similar roles, conducting coups when it did not seem to it that its interests would be guaranteed. And finally after its humiliating defeats in Africa (Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Angola), it staged a coup because it thought the hate of militarism by the Portuguese people would risk its political and economic interests. It had to lead the inevitable transfer of power.

So, I agree with Amanuel that so far, we have not seen an example in which a military of a country has carried out a coup intended for the sole interest of the people and the nation. I also agree on the historical record of coup leaders regarding their inherent tendency to drawing the transition process longer than needed or creating diversionary conflicts (another Badme?) in order to ensure their retaining the power.

Reality check?

Could we see a popular uprising in Eritrea, is there a possibility?

  1. HaileTG presented his views in many of comments rather well, and I would err on the side of its possibility. What we see at this stage is a society being squeezed, we don’t know what its triggering episode will be; it’s getting pressured. And for a pressured substance or society, all it takes is one additional force that breaks its tensile force. The Eritrean experience in falling together and in sharing sacrifices together has been the gluing force which has been resisting our people’s innate and rightful resistance to counter the pressure exacted on them by the ruling party, the PFDJ. A tangential incident could act as the triggering factor, such as, say, a melee in one part of Asmara on defending their children, or the lack of some services (water, bread, medicine), as HaileTG excellently explained it. The risk one incurs reduces significantly as the flood of onlookers and participants grows (people of Asmara are well known for their quick group-forming behaviors when an incident happens). Of course Amanuel’s argument will be, “hey, we are not talking about Tunisia, this is PFDJ country, and they will mow them all down!” That is quite possible. It’s also possible that a courageous colonel intervenes between the security forces and the people; that could create a cascading effect—and that brings us to Saleh Younis’ take.
  2. If we look into popularity of the army, and whether it is liked by the people or not, as far as I know, in Eritrea the army represents the oppressed people. It represents almost every family. It’s underpaid and abused, therefore, there is no credible evidence that Eritreans hate the army as a social class or as an entity. Eritreans have been abused by policies formulated by the PFDJ and enacted by a top-down hierarchy of the military. As Amanuel mentioned, the military as an institution is part and parcel of the ruling group. I agree Eritreans hate their policies, but there is no evidence that they could not unite with them on common purpose, even though it appears remote.
  3. Amanuel’s argument is the most compelling against a possible coup in Eritrea, let alone a “democratic” one. Leaving that possibility aside, however remote it is, I guess we can expand on the type of coup.

I understand and agree with Amanuel on the nature of changes that a military can bring about. I mentioned the weighty presence of the military institution of the countries I mentioned to show that they acted when they felt that the forthcoming change might go against their entrenched interests. I brought it to support Amanuel’s idea that even in those examples used by the original author of the concept, the military did not act out of desire to see a democratic government installed but from their desire that the inevitable change should be controlled in a way that ensured the continuity of their embedded interests in the systems.

Military should out of politics, but of course, the desperation that emanates from the fear that what a protracted popular revolt could cause, could be more damaging and its results may not even be foreseeable. That’s why I believe, as Saleh Younis said, it might be “the best option.” He is not ruling out that there exists other options, but in his best judgment, he believes it could be the best among many scenarios. Please think on how the military in Eritrea, as an institution, is benefiting from its implanted existence with the PFDJ; it is open knowledge that every activity is controlled by the economic arm of the PFDJ, and at the end every little decision is done in the presidential palace, every little penny earned goes to Hagos “Kisha’s” account.

It’s true there are high level commanders who have been rumored to have benefited financially by running their mini economic projects. But can we say that the military as an institution benefited? If not, can’t we expect some latent grudges and sentiments which could mature to the level of explosion when the right time arrives, like a popular unrest? Do we have the type of independence Egyptian military enjoys in terms of running their economic resources? For instance, do we know how the PFDJ owned Harat company is managed? Does the profits it generates go to the military? Do we have the type of modern military with its own semi independent installations and institutions, free-of-security clubs, academies, where officers could freely exchange experiences and talk freely about what’s going on in their country?

I’m told that even the procurement of weapons is done by non-experienced non-military personnel and that had impacted the border war against Ethiopia. After all, do we have an army that operates within a certain constitutional parameters? I think Eritrea is an example of every exception that there is to the rule. Therefore, we should not rule out the occurrence of even remotely considered scenarios.

The opposition is at a disadvantage when it comes to the advent of change. Despite its long years of fighting for it, it has yet to gather enough popular guarantee that things would lead towards its anticipated goals of dismantling the PFDJ. On the contrary PFDJ still has multiple options. It can, with a stroke of a pen, release prisoners, let free press function according to the laws of the past experiment, form a committee to draft a constitution (it’s has already declared that); mend its relations with the West; come clean on Somalia, solve its problems with Djibouti (which is doable); it could even call for the opposition to come to Eritrea (well, we know what that will entail: those who “collaborated with our enemies”, etc.)

The above scenario seems naive, but it could happen.

What’s needed, in my opinion, is the beginning of a process. We can’t anticipate a fully functional democracy from the first attempt, but if a process with built-in guarantees is established, that will eventually lead to a progressive improvement. I think it will get acceptance from many quarters of our people. Let me just say it: genuine reformation is less costly and more controlled than a drastic revolution. There is no signs that Eritreans are ready for a drastic change. What we need is correcting what has gone wrong in 1998-99: the refusal to implement the constitution.

The following is what I mean by genuine reformation:

  1. It’s mainly driven by the demand of the people, and happens only when;
  2. PFDJ is cornered by popular pressure, and,
  3. A new transitional government (a caretaker with enough representation) is installed,
  4. A constitutional overhaul is done,
  5. National reconciliation process is initiated (believe me, without a genuine reconciliation, there won’t be a lasting peace), and,
  6. What if all crimes are pardoned because it ensures a safe transition? I know this sounds odd, but I am saying it.

So far we have discussed the type of government, the military, and the politics and I can say that there are multiple directions things could go and that is why I would like to further expand on this.

[Editor’s Note: the above is compiled from two lengthy comments by the prolific commentator Mahmoud Saleh. It is being presented here with minor edits to read like an article as opposed to disjointed comments]

About Mahmud Saleh

Check Also

Of Guerilla Diplomacy and Granary Courtship

Of Guerrilla Diplomacy and Granary Courtship (ኩሽማን ደርሆ ኣብ ኣፍ ቆፎ) on Eritrean American mask-less …

  • Abraham Hanibal

    The prospects of a democratic coup, a military aided popular uprising to bring a democratic change, in Eritrea is unrealistic. We have to ask who is going to undertake the popular uprising? The women, children, and the elderly who are left in the towns and villages? We know that in today’s Eritrea the force of change-the youth is out of town, bogged down in serving the regime indefinitly. The top military commanders have everything to lose from any change that might lead to accountability and rule of law because they’ve blood in their hands, and because of their vested economic interests arising from the status quo. The second option is a pure military coup. This may be possible to some extent, but to believe this would lead to democracy is naivity without border.
    Now, what are we left with? I’ve said this before, and repeat it now: We’ve to co-ordinate and focus our efforts towards assassinating the centrer of gravity of the regime-Isayas Afewerki. This by itself is not going to lead to democracy, but it will, certainly, produce a fertile ground for change. Removing Isayas from the picture is like severing the head of the snake. Isayas is the architect and the locomotive of the repressive, evil PFDJ policies. The rest of the few people arround him are weak opportunists who’ve surrendered to his absolute power. It would practically be impossible for those left behind to rally arround any one of them. Given the politically charged situation, and the majority’s hidden aspiration for freedom, the death of the dictator could lead to a process of political change. Personally, I don’t believe there would come any Eritrean with such evil aspirations as Isayas has towards the Eritrean people.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      salam Abraham;
      quick notes:
      1. There is a nation with a potential to pull it off, there is no lack of experts inside the country; their peers can come in to help them too.
      2. Even though it seems unrealistic, a popular uprising aided by the military could not be ruled out. In an entirely closed society, prediction is difficult; because we have not seen it before doesn’t mean we won’t see it.
      3. I think it’s important we refrain from calls of assassination, it’s illegal.

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    ምስ ስእነትን ካብ ንምሓዞ ዓመታት ኮይኑ ከምዘሎ ምስትብሃል ዝኸብዶ ወዲ ሃገር ክህሉ ኣይክእልን። ባኒ ካብ ዝውሕደና፡ መንበሪ ዝኸውን ቤት ካብ ዝጨንቀና፡ ላምባ ካብ ዝጠፍኣና፡ ኤለትሪክን ማይን ካብ ዝሓጽረና፡ ስጋን ጸባን ካብ ዝርሕቀና ሓያሎ ኮይኑ ኣሎ። ንዓና ነዞም ተራ ዜጋታት፡ ፍሽለትን ውድቀትን ቁጠባ ሃገር፡ ውሑዳት ‘ኮነ’ዶ ኣይኮነን’ እናበሉ ዝካትዕሉ ሓሳብ ዘይኮነ፡ ምሳና መዓልታዊ ዝነብር ክውንነት እዩ። እቲ ንስእነትና ዘማሓድር ዘሎ መንግስቲ ድማ ኣብ ቴለቭዥን፡ ኣብ ሬድዮ፡ ኣብ ጋዜጣ፡ ነቲ ብስደትናን ጥፍኣትናን ደገ ዘወጸ ሕሰምና፣ ጠንቁ፡ ሽርሕን ጓል ሽርሕን ኣመሪካ፡ ከደምቲ ወያነን እገዳ ዓለምን ምዃኑ ከእምነና ክንደይ ዘይበለ። ንሕና እዞም ንምሕደራ እዚ ስርዓት መዓልታዊ እንምኮሮ ዘለና ግን መንቀሊ ሕሰምናን ሽግርናን ኣብ ውሽጢ’ምበር ኣብ ደገ ከምዘየሎ ኣጣሊልና እንፈልጦ እዩ። ነቲ እንፈልጦ ክንምጉተሉን ከነረዳኣሉን ግን ብጽሑፍን ዘረባን ደጋጊምና ክንገልጾ፡ ክንትንትኖን ብዝርዝር ሓበሬታ ከነህብቱሞን ግዲ ይኸውን። ከምዚ ብምግባር ጥራይ ኢና ዝኣክል ሓሳባት ዓጢቕና ንለውጢ ክንቃለስ እንኽእል። ብዓንደ ርእሱ’ውን ብናጻ ሓሳብካ ናይ ምልውዋጥ ናጽነት ንዕቤትን ለውጥን ሕብረተሰባት ይሕግዝ እዩ ዝብሃል’ሲ በዚ ምኽንያት እዚ እዩ።

    Republic, Vol.1, October 2014 [First Edition], page 8: Political Economy, Asmara, Eritrea


  • Sarah Ogbay

    Dear Author and participants in this discussion of coup.
    I like the idea of a coup in Eritrea which I believe is and will be our only solution as the regime does not seem to budge an inch towards any kind of change except going to the abyss. However, I have a question, some questions rather. When you all say ‘military’ or Eritrean ‘Army’, who are you referring to? A lot has been said about the relationship of the people and military. To Eritrean people. to those who live in Eritrean and bear the brunt of it all, military/army refers to those who command orders for the detention/release of their children, those who can take any one they want to the police station and say ‘nezi eske atsnahaley’ and leave for as long as they want; those who you can go and beg for the release of your child; those who can send your child anywhere they want and make your child work anywhere they want (including in their our personal gardens and villages); those you pay so that your child can stay with you or work somewhere; those you give money so that they can take your child to Ethiopian or Sudanese boarders; those individuals who have the power to do anything with your life, etc etc. the others, the ‘agelglot’ are not considered as military in the minds of the people. They are referred to as victims or ‘the taken’, not part of the army. They (‘agelglot) also do not consider themselves as part of the army. I am talking about the majority of them. They hate their bosses who they associate with the regime. So who is going to conduct the coup? Which layer of power is going to be trusted for a coup that would bring change and not vindication? Who is to raise their arms on who?
    I think the opposition (lame and weak as it is) should get together to, in unison, promise amnesty to very few of the above mentioned monsters if they get rid of those behind the wheel of power. I know and believe that it is not fair to let these man-eaters go fee but we have to do it for the sake of tomorrow. Otherwise our country is on the verge of not only civil ware but vultures are watching for the moment to grab Afar, Kunama etc. there will be no one to stop them. With the kind of deafening silence we are hearing, it is scary… really scary

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Sara
      Thank you for depicting a clear picture of EDF composition. As far as I understand it, we are discussing possibilities. When peaceful assembly and the right to express your opinion are killed, people will resort to extremes, the responsibility of the escalation rests on the shoulders of the oppressive rulers; people have every right to defend their dignity. In Eritrea, there are no constitutional rights which could be claimed by the oppressed people and used as a rallying banner for a peaceful resistance. In such a situation, where every rights, even the right to live, have been robbed by the ruler, citizens have nothing left of a peaceful resistance. Therefore, if things continue, violence is inevitable. SAAY’s quest was to find the safest way of lessening violence and ensuring the continuity of the existence and functions of the state. His proposal appeals to me to that effect. As you mentioned above, we are not talking about a normal state where things are clearly defined, and their relations well marked, etc. Therefore, my point was the fact that our people are extremely oppressed, things could go multiple ways. If we could have an organized opposition that could serve as an alternative, the prediction would have been easier. We don’t have that. My point was a spontaneous uprising (which could not be ruled out) which could challenge some officers’ conscience as to whether they should continue serving the regime or side and protect their people, which could eventually cascade in to a force that could lead a transition is possible, however remote it may be. Anyway, that’s out of our control; if the potential is there it will set itself off. I personally would not want to entertain the idea of military involvement. But as you know, the only organized and potent force is the military. The military move, either by a disgruntled group, a group that’s grown sick and tired of PFDJ and which decides to give the ongoing misery of its people the much needed attention, or by a spontaneous initiative of a certain unit lead by a brave commander to save his people, which then grows to a formidable force, could not be rule out.
      I do agree with you on the unity of the opposition and working along the lines of amnesty with accountability.
      The problem with PFDJ is this:
      – it propagates the notion that it’s the sole guarantor of our sovereignty, but our sovereignty has been compromised severely during its rule.
      – It says it’s for growth and development, well, the barren land of Eritrea which has been pocked with mini dams with nothing greenery around them, idle markets, long and dark nights of our cities, lines of Asmara resident’s for a piece of bread, rusted cranes of our ports…tell the opposite.
      – It portrays itself as the champion of social justice, well, justice has been exiled during its reign; if we want to keep the Afars and the Kunamas you mentioned within their rightful family- Eritrea- then the prerequisite will be to change the statuesque in Eritrea. The danger, in my opinion, of igniting civil war and disintegration is PFDJ; what we see in the expression of armed ethnic groups is a symptom. Once we cure the malady, we won’t see the symptoms (sorry, I don’t mean to lecture you this; I am just putting my relevant ideas for the general reader).
      – It says it is for strong defense when its policies are emptying our nation from its young people. It caused us to get in to the trap of sanction, etc., Eritrea is now under the mercy of its enemies. It will take it long time until it regains its sovereign right to defend itself, to move its resources as it wishes without the supervision of the UN, May be even long after PFDJ has been removed.
      So, what is missing is a genuine opposition that has enough credibility to pull it off by attracting Eritreans to rally under its umbrella. The objective conditions have been met, what’s missing is leadership. I hope whatever, we exchange here serves to that effect.

      • haileTG

        Selamat l’ex Combattente Mahmuday and Dottoressa Sara,

        I like the idea of civil uprisings for the following reason:

        – The armed forces are capable, trained and organized to effect regime change. The fact that they are armed also means that they could engage in generalized civil war in a moment’s notice. If the army moves, civilians stay home and whatever they would bring about is entirely their call. Hence, popular uprisings need to call the shots and the armed forces need to mediate the confrontation by taking the peoples side. When Wedi Ali marched to Forto with tanks, men and light arms, that is hardly an opportune time for the civilians to call mass protest. The people need to be emboldened to come out in mass and conduct uprisings where stones and sticks are the preferred tools than guns, tanks and artillery pieces. That is actually less environmentally friendly 🙂

        – Once the people assert their will like that, it would set precedent and would go a great length to restore their confidence and self esteem. I don’t know but it sure feels to me that we do a lot of negative self talk. Our people have been humiliated badly and understandably their confidence has been shaken. But on the bright side, they are still very intelligent, hardworking and determined people. The role of coming together to conduct an uprising would restore their faith on each other and make them to value one another.

        – IMO I feel Eritreans in Eritrea shouldn’t be underestimated to do this job. The country has up to 2.5 million people between 16-49 (CIA Fact book- population est. 6.1million) and it hasn’t run out of people (MoHealth Eritrea estimates Eritrean population to number 3.8million in 2010). Every opposition group can encourage those in Eritrea in their own ways to facilitate that. But the civilian population should be the driver.

        – Opposition Uniting is a good idea but the reality on the ground would suggest there probably won’t be a country called Eritrea by the time we do. I would say they need to work harder and better for whatever group that they are affiliated to. In the bigger scheme of things that would strengthen the whole opposition than wasting their time on political unity process that would divert their focus from the urgent task of removing PFDJ.


        • Sarah Ogbay

          Dear Mahmud and Haile,
          Thank you for the response and matured comments.
          Mahmud, you would be perfectly right in a normal society which has any shape of hierarchy of power in both the military or civilian administration. In the case of Eritrea power is very fluid and difficult to pin down. In most cases some people without any military rank are more powerful than those with one, or those with lower ranks are more powerful than those with higher ranks. We have to be very, very careful about what we wish for. Most, if not all, of the people in military rank are not educated or well informed one anything other than being mean to your own. We have to have a clear knowledge of the fact on the ground when it comes to our Army. And more so of our enemy the PFDJ. One fact is that the soldiers who carry arms with ammunition are limited in number. Not everyone carrying a rifle has bullets. Our enemy is more shrewd than we would like to believe.
          Haile, I also believe that civil upraising can do a better job for very good reasons. They are reachable and can be directed and guided and are better informed. The civilians can embolden they children in the ‘agelglot’ and can get in control of any consequences that may come from the any armed PFDJ side. But for that to happen the opposition has to show unity within itself and solidarity with any uprising than can bring about change. So that the people back home can believe ‘We can do it!’

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear sara
            Thank you for the information. I find your insightful feedback helpful, I have tried to reflect similar observation in my past comments ( under saay’s article) regarding institutional independence, and clarity of the chain of command of our armed forces (how politicized it is). But I’m of the belief we should not rule out EDF+popular move. The important take-away is that we should strive to improve our grasp of the situation. I’m all with you on the need of consolidating our efforts.

  • said

    Time and again, we have seen how deceptive and crude,overbearing demagogue regime is – Today, more than ever before, they depends on deception. Some of those who have fared worst oppression under IA are the ones who
    admire and love him the most. The cult personality built over years ,one would be hard-pressed to find a better example of deception and perception-of one person driven politics, Why are part of our society so loyal to IA who
    isn’t loyal to them ?He is seeing as one of them.

    They do not contemplate for just ruler, true leadership and extraordinary statesmen is needed to improve their situation. Yet it is very unlikely IA and bunch his comrades will come to their sense and conclude they
    need to provide more rights and freedoms to people and provide basic need.

    For IA it seems to give more freedoms you give to the oppressed masses, the more demanding they become. Far better never to offer those freedoms in the first place is mentality of IA and bunch of his comrades. No chance for genuine democracy and introduce representative government. IA and his top comrades would vehemently opposed the slightest change, it is a realm of fantasy.

    They will “continue with no change whatsoever and for as long” Yet the facts on ground are deeply distributing and unflattering. In account of all suppression, suffering and fast deteriorating economic and living conditions adding to the increasing marginalization and disenfranchisement of significant percentages of the Eritrean populations. One
    would hope will be acting as further catalysts for the formation of new potential sources of opposition. Social and economic deprivations would only be compounded adding to an already worsening social and dire economic situation.

    The regime has no vision nor policy. It simply keeps doing the same thing for as long as possible, are masters of deception and muddling through in repeating the something. They are firmly attached and frozen to the
    status quo, whatever that happens to be. With no idea and administrative sophistication.
    Since 1991 its governance remains just frozen, backward, unenlightened and unsophisticated as before. Given the mounting challenges the country faces.

    To oppose Asmara regime without seeing through the deceptions currently being practiced by PFDJ that honesty and self-awareness is not really their strong suit. IA appoint all loyal general’s and top Eritrean army brass – Few have good reputation as a respected commander who fought heroically —— as mentioned number of times at this site, the truth about how the Eritrean Army oppress and extinguished the young who are idealistic, committed and at times frightened s norm of the day.
    They are dealt very harshly, what barbaric crimes against young people will continue and will take place unabated? The people have long dealt and summited with heavy-handed by crop of Eritrean army officers unabated. Which our people hate and disdain obviously for the unjust governing political system, the regime is brute is known and capable of acting of pure unadulterated evil and have proven it.

    The message is clear who ever resist will crash you and bury you alive, unless people totally summit is massage and is massage of by gone era of hard core Communist ideology. PFDJ political, social, cultural and military backgrounds are, of course, totally different from Mao Communist era, but some similarities are clearly evident. We would be
    well advised to learn from the Mao Communist era and red army crimes of late 60th.

    Eritrean Army can only be compared to North Korean Army to some extent, the elite of PFDJ are bunch of murderer and barbaric! Eritrea army manifestation is to believe in their rigid and uncompromising supremacist ideology that enforce militarism as the mechanism to enforce the core ideology.
    Is a symptom of a systematic process that has been taking place in Eritrea for years? PFDJ are Bona-fide war criminals.

    It is not enough our lands where it’ve previously being wreaked doomed and havocked by long thirty
    years of struggle. That produced hundreds of thousands of victims. The country is drenched in innocent blood from east to west and top to bottom that being dusted, wanton destruction and smithereens ever where .Town and cities were
    being leveled to the ground courtesy of the poorest nation and penniless medieval empire regime? While Ethiopia was languishing in an endless abyss of extreme poverty and famine. Its army was committing genocide. We are all aware
    the war of aggression waged on our people nothing is lost and nothing have changed.

    That the reality of Eritrea today, ruled by dictatorship.But in the fact that PFDJ seemingly insatiable appetite to gnaw at our own flesh and blood seems at time even surpass that of the Ethiopian aggressor’s quantified of their long list of crime and over long period of its hand fist ruling, will not be less .

    We need to be liberated from our own army barbarism,in defending own people, one wonders which one is “lesser of
    two evils” but Eritrean army equally acrid incarnations of it former enemy , the Corrupt political class that practice and profit from human smuggling ,the traffickers are top generals and top officials. Part of state capture in trading human is not a self-respecting professional army. Called visceral term for it, the smugglers, traffickers
    –what a political culture, what an awful terrifying concept. Being ruled by cruel and corrupt generals and self-interested profiteers generals can be bad.
    But imagine being ruled by sociopathic generals and extremely cruel, behaving like gangsters. Were domination is reinforced with force and violence by Eritrean army. It is clear that the people are not the ones to be “protected and served,” Eritrean sovereignty relies, to a large degree, in the power and capacity to dictate who may live and who must die at will. Repression and oppression is used with brutal efficiency to maintain their hegemony. It’s
    a terrible fact, but a fact nonetheless. What is our military going to accomplish, more misery, country in constant conflict with its people and with all its neighbours?

    The land or state represents the site where sovereignty consists fundamentally in the exercise of a power outside the law. And in reminding ourselves of this reality, we can remain clear about what forces and interests we should oppose and with whom to be in solidarity. – The self-interested generals near their death bed who are now in their
    sixties or seventies, nothing is expected from them – they will not change and no hope to be the saver of the nation, they plundered it resources ,think of the current tragedy and how and who will bring change and when will the change come is anyone’s guess, the corrupt generals and Eritrean army have terrorized Eritrean five million wretched people by a combination of fear and terror.

    As Eritrea continued to sink ever deeper into an abyss of poverty, disease and hopelessness. The top man IA is paranoid monster who routinely had his foes, real or imagined, shot at for no reason , in final analysis the people must do something in not allowing themselves to be oppressed , killed and terrorized without seeking to overpower their
    captors, the Eritrean army leader is a miserable creature, afraid of his own shadow.

  • Semere Andom

    Dear Mahmud:

    The AT team just invited you to contribute and also they had an epiphany that you will start saying that you have problem with English as you said with Tigriniya and Arabic and they preempted that:-). So here you go you found your voice and your platform.

    The following stood out in your article:

    “It can, with a stroke of a pen, release prisoners, let free press function according to the laws of the past experiment, form a committee to draft a constitution”
    PFDJ as it stands now is beyond redemption, it is like a cloth after much neglect and abuse what our mothers call “teremisu” and no amount of washing can clean it. Many opportunities presented themselves for PFDJ/EPLF/IA to redeem themselves. First was may 24, this was time when it was squandered to unite the nation. And all the blood the leadership had in its hands would have been forgiven, people would have moved on to rebuild their lives. But still I believe that like King David who God forbade from building his temple because of the murder the innocent Uriah, they should have been forbidden for presiding over a democratic Eritrea, even after they were forgiven.
    Second opportunity came when the G-15. most of them his allies in the bloodshed called for change, instead of uniting the nation IA plunged the nation into an other blood shed. Now for us to expect PFDJ helmed by IA to use the mighty pen to release the non-alive political prisoners worse than our previous delusion Even if IA does that and the people clap their hands and the opposition dismantles their forces and pack to go to Asmara to be part of this new dawn, to participate in the d-coup by IA on PFDJ one would be better of living in exile for the rest of his life

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Ahlan Sem A Hfoonaay
      I am merely mentioning the fact that they have options; I am not saying they are good or just. The thing about dictators is my friend, Semere, unlike elected leaders whose hands are tied by the constitution and the legislature, they have innumerable options. Shall I tell you more of their options:
      – They can declare you wayanay, so that they could monopolize the power.
      – They can concentrate you in containers, no question answered.
      – They can release you after years of languishing in their dungeons without any explanation given to you, and actually, warn you not to talk about it (basically, as if nothing has happened). ሕቶ የለን፡ ርኢቶ የለን። ነቐፌታ የለን፡ ነብሰ-ነቐፌታ የለን። ” ፈሽ ኣበልከኒ” የለን፡ ” በዓል ሻም” የለን። በቃ፡ “ደሓን ውዓል። ንኣደኻን ሰበይትኻ/ሰብኣይኪ ከይትነግር/ግሪ። ”
      – They can hold your 80+ years-old dad accountable for crimes he did not commit. They can even hold him for 50,000 Nkfa for the desertion of his adult great grand son.
      – They can send the whole nation to war, they can reverse and make peace within a split of seconds.
      – They can dance in night clubs with kids
      – They can outsource their dirty things to paid propagandists who have no idea what they are talking about.
      So, what’s the deal of reversing their rhetoric and saying ” FM has met his American counterpart and discussed the historic bilateral…or the historic ties of the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia…or the people and government of Eritrea gave a blanket amnesty for …?” They could do it if they feel they are cornered. Those measures are reserved for the worst scenarios. Remember, everything that has happened so far was with the stroke of that mighty pen, it knows no boundary. It’s not being delusional, expecting the unexpected; actually, it is more of a reality oriented state of mind. Because that’s the hallmark of dictators, they have abundant options, they have the liberty of doing the unexpected. Elected leaders, on the other hand, are predictable because they execute their duties within limited and known boundaries.

  • Abraham Hanibal

    What about the possibility of the PFDJ holding its long awaited conference? Is the PFDJ just existing as a name? I mean if it is still an organization with members of leadership, then how can it accept to be led by the same individual for indefinite time? Do the members of the PFDJ leadership and the members in general really accept the lame excuses being traded by the inner cicle of dictator Isayas? How is it possible that members and leaders in the PFDJ-system wouldn’t like to have a say in how the policies of the front, and hence the country’s, are formed. These policies have, after all, a direct impact on their every day life?
    I’m bringing this idea because once the members of the PFDJ convene, they are going to have a chance to debate the impact of their policies in the past and the existing situation. The great majority of the Eritrean people are the victims of the failed policies of the last decades. This means that the participants of the conference would come with proposals of amendments and changes to current policies. They would even have the chance to elect a new leadership. So for me it is beyond comprehension how the PFDJ would continue indefinitely without having the chance to evaluate its policies. I’m not so naive to think that the PFDJ would, in a course of a single conference, change to a democratic entity. But at least when people come together, they get the chance of exchanging ideas, which means they’ve the possibility to correct past mistakes and come up with alternative policies.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      salam Abraham
      It is possible it could call a conference, but it won’t be any different the day after the conference. It may do fanfares, but it won’t be able to do the kind of assessment needed. It’s not in its culture to do serious evaluations; it may come out with precooked resolutions, predetermined leaders, but that won’t solve our problems. PFDJ has been given more than enough time to readjust itself. However, evaluating itself critically is not in its DNA. The attendants will all be cadres who are approved prior to the conference. They are expected to repeat previous practices of adopting preapproved resolutions. I believe, It won’t get acceptance by the majority of the Eritrean people.

      • Semere Andom

        Hi Mahmud and Abraham:
        The most likely scenario will be IA is assassinated or dies peacefully and then the power struggle commences in earnest and the fluid situation ushers an opportunity for a d-coup, but it can go either way, the bad guys can win and since their legacy is intertwined with IA they will preserve his legacy and a new era of energized dictatorship is created, in its wake purging everyone with the slightest dissent. The new dictator taking his cue from IA can be more brutal. The second scenario would be the d-coup that found an opportunity will win and then will the least blood shed we can begin the transition and work hard to ensure the longevity of this scenario.
        The following facts in the gound in Eritrea make the d-coupe less likely:
        1. D-coup through public obedience is impossible as the youth that can effect this re in the trenches hungry, demoralized and any attempt at rebellion would be crashed in the way towards Asmara, every rebellion must be in the capital to create the catalyst for the d-coup, this fact gives PFDJ advantage . If Eritrea was normal dictatorship like Libya and Egypt and the university was open and the young were going to school in the normal university things could have been different IA was lucky he learned from the university student attempted disobedience in 2001 and he closed the university
        2. The military forget it: no one has power, someone can hold the title of a general and the real power can be vested on his errand boy, that is how it was in EPLF and how it is now
        3. IA has well fed, well paid army of 6000(Wikileaks) that directly report to him. IA does not have to control the entire EDF, he needs to control these very loyal mercenaries and they will fight for their life, plunging the nation to a blood bath. If the Forto incident was successful let say they were able to broadcast their massage and some EDF members supported them, IA would have ordered his loyal mercenaries of 6000 and DMHT to squash them.
        I believe that there are some Eritreans in the EDF, in lower ranking who are angry at the kidnappers of our cause and waiting to revenge, but they do not have the needed means to effect the change and they are doing their best to save that girl from rape, to protect the weak from the preying eyes of the “alliance killers” and these group has always been there in EPLF but they were always squashed mercilessly. Firs thing is any attempt at d-coup is to do its homework and learn from the money d-coups attempts that failed from the beginning of EPLF and preserve itself by having a backup plan, otherwise the attempt will end up in a suicide like that of G-15. The paradigm should be that PFDJ and IA are enemies like the Dergi was to the Eritrean people and Ghedli and not “kalay tselaEi”. Bracing for a turmoil in the wake of any changes in our country is not crippling thought given how PFDJ and IA are wired to stop at nothing. The Maihabar incident is a painful reminder to how PFDJ thinks. Introducing some chaos in the EDF even targeting the next heir of IA is a good start. EDF will never be for any meaningful change let alone d-coup in its intact shape while those who killed for pleasure helm it and the crimes are their career that funds their lavish livelihoods

  • Abraham Hanibal

    Let’s say the government in Asmara is removed by any means. The question that follows is what to do with the parallel government of the PFDJ. As we know the PFDJ is the only economic, political and social power base of the reality in Eritrea. The organization, regardless of the legality of its practices, draws membership from almost every Eritrean residing inside the country, even some residing outside the country. Right after its transformation from EPLF in 1994, the PFDJ was engaged in massive registration of the Eritrean people in its member mass. Even the existing associations in the country are almost run by the PFDJ. This means any political trasformation in Eritrea can’t proceed without taking into account this fact into consideration and dealing with it. In its effort to monopolise almost every aspect of life in Eritrea, the PFDJ has created this intricate conflicts of interest in the Eritrean society. If any tranition to democracy in Eritrea is going to succeed, one has to consider how to deal with the fate of the PFDJ as an organization. And this process would be among the most challenging issues when Eritreans are finally going to build a democratic government.

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear Mahmuday,

    Here I came to put some highlights on what you put and filter them out. You wrote,

    “If we look into popularity of the army, and whether it is liked by the people or not, as far as I know, in Eritrea the army represents the oppressed people. It represents almost every family. It’s underpaid and abused, therefore, there is no credible evidence that Eritreans hate the army as a social class or as an entity.”

    Well, here your ambivalence is so clear that still you are mixing things. Due to PFDJ constant militarization strategy, almost the entire population is recruited under the military file. If so, how can you distinguish military and civil society? I read on my FB page that the atrocities committed to Afar Women and those victims explaining their feelings. They said, “We do not our kids, we do not own our husbands;” This is the reality. We are not talking here whether the people hates the army or not. The question is who is the army. In the PFDJ ideology, The people is the army and the army is the people. I think you will agree with me that no one hates himself as far as the mind accepts it. Here is then the point where we need to distinguish between hating the army, the army and the ideology. If we calculate the militarization process of the Eritrean people right after the birth of PFDJ, the Sawa rounds, and if we take on average 30,000 man power going to the military camp every round and taking the recent reach, the 28th round, then on minimum we have 840,000 youths who get recruited.

    Hence, the people hated to be militarized not the people is hating the army. Eri-Tv tried to make a shade in trying to propagate as if the people and army are different entities and the people loves them and express his loving through different occasions. Mahmuday, if a wife is left with more than 5 kids in an empty house and here husband is not allowed to take a vacation within a year, definitely, she will be ready to visit him and since it is difficult to do it by her own self, she will try to organize wifes on similar condition and hence it will be a kind organized visit. Sometimes, the Women’s Association organize such events for political exhaustion.

    Then, we have simple deduction: Eritreans hated to be militarized.

    Second, the army in Eritrea never represented the oppressed people. Rather being guided by the militarization policy, the whole population became oppressed by his own army. Tewelide Niadeye eyu ko negeru haw Mahmud. Do you forgot that and this means everyone is born to be sacrificed not to live a normal life journey, but abnormal.

    Think on this Mahmuday!


    • Mahmud Saleh


      well said, that’s one point I knew I needed to expand. But you put it clearly now, and you know the situation better than me. The shortcomings of my information could be atributed to the following:

      1. I left Eritrea when Eritrea was on the right track, when the military was revered

      2. The information that I get for most part is from ex-tegadelti who may have skewed assessment

      Therefore, I can’t for sure defend my position, but more expansion is needed in your part. I liked the simple presentation you have made. Military as an institution, You said, ” The question is who is the army.In the PFDJ ideology, The people is the army and the army is the people.” I also touched this concern in my reply to Aman H, and in the past when SAAY published his article saying the army was piggy-bagged to the ruling group and hence setting a democratic Coup would be less likely . What I think I am saying is this: I am not ruling out people+EDF cooperation simply because as you said the people are the army and the army is the people and both are squeezed to death. That’s if a scenario erupts out of the people’s sheer defiance of the regime, like I sated yesterday if a spontaneous popular uprising occurs, an event which could unite the suspecting mass and disgruntled elements of the army. Is it a solution? I doubt it for the same reasons Aman Hidrat mentioned, but it’s a possible scenario. What killed wedi-Ali attempt was not his mission or that he was from EDF and people did not want to follow him, but the lack of information.
      a/ it was not a continuity of an already started popular uprising, it was brewed somewhere and no body knew about it; no body knew the balance of forces ( usually society gripped with suspicion needs chains of events to embolden it),
      b, The mysterious group that controlled forto did not have an opportunity to convey its message and consolidate their forces, this is in addition to the betrayals which occurred within its ranks.
      So, I want you to understand my hasty statements within this thought lines. I would encourage you to give us one article dedicated to the points you mentioned above.
      Abi Hawkha

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Mahmuday,

        It is not because you are either trying to flash back to your old days of army popular movement or because you have contacts with x-tegadelti. It is the ideology that brainwashed your brain in your early days of the revolutionary era prohibiting you to separate the army and the people. For obvious reasons, during the 30 years war, one can accept if all the society took a gun and defend his rights and this chapter was over in 1991 or more precisely in May 1993. After that, there was no reason to army the entire society unless some ideology forced to do it so. To make my point clear here, I am not saying an army is not needed for a nation. but, once you have a free nation, the people and the army need to be separated. The people needs a normal life and defense force is meant as a force who acts as a guardian while the others are doing their normal life. This force can be build based on setted guidelines and is obliged to have its limits within the normal life interference, both to those who are recruited and those who are protected. If the army sucked 20-25 years of life and for some now almost 50 years, what is this?

        Dear Mahmuday, I think you need to de-program your old ideology. Separate please, military, politics, economy and society. Society comes first, second economy and then politics. Then only a sound security system can be build up-on. let’s remember that there are countries who have no military force at all. I wish Eritrea will have this one day.

        Hmm, are you laughing at me? I can see it. because you might be considering me as a naive to belive so on world rule of law. It is all a matter of public strategy and political choice and sure it can done so.


        • Mahmud Saleh

          Salam tes;
          Thank you for the reply. I think we all understand there is no such thing as sanitation or deprogramming. Those things are done by dictatorial regimes such as PFDJ. In the free world, people exchange views, views clash and their holders enhance their grasp of the area they are talking about. That’s my view on improving one’s understanding. Dear tes, I’m well aware of the systems of North Korea, Cuba, China, previous systems of Albania…and the rest of communist area ideologies. We spent considerable time during the ghedli era translating and studying literature of their parties’ history, economic plans, their internal conflicts and rivalries (within the socialist camp),etc, that was years ago before EPLF made a semi U-turn move in its approach and refocused its efforts in Eritrean realities. During my brief stay after independence, everything was going towards the right direction given the situation. The point is: I have been in the free world for about 20 years and I am well adjusted and assimilated to American society. I understand the difference between army, politics,economy,etc. I have been an active voter since 2000; I’m engaged with my local government, I know what the role of the national guard, Army, law enforcement agencies..in a society is. I understand how a normal government functions. So, it’s regrettable that every now and then you pass subjective judgements. If I have a difference in a certain area, it will either be due to the quality and quantity of information I get or based on my personal political/philosophical convictions. I don’t have an emotional connection with PFDJ let alone a physical one. If you could cast off their brainwashing why shouldn’t I? I revoked my membership voluntarily decades ago, and I am glad I did it. In 1995, one of their leaders preached me for long hours why I was not getting involved in my local PFDJ here in America, he said ” You (tegadelti) should be an example.” I thanked him stating I was tired of politics. I also brought to his attention why I could never work with the entities who represented them in my locales which were embroiled in religious, regional and church feuds. I told him my conscience would not allow me to meddle in that dirty environment. I am going at length in order for you to understand me. Whatever I say is personal to me, and it’s from my desire to see a better future for my people; it’s spontaneous, and it represents my understanding of the subject at the moment it is being discussed. I always accept corrections and have done so many times.
          To summarize it: there is no question that we need to improve by learning from each other, to strive to refine our understanding. However, if there is a point where you would disagree my writings, it’s probably due to a gap in the information we get and the experience we have lived which could be narrowed by exchanging information, not due to an indwelling ideological restraining.

          • Tesfabirhan WR

            Dear Mahmuday,

            When I put something that I feel not comfortable with, I am not meant to take it for personal judgements. I have an intention that parallel to what is written, we can dig it further. I have evoked so many times that every time I do more clarification is coming and this is helping for many readers how clear lines can be drawn. I thank you for your relentless clearance of my ambiguity. I am on the safe side to say confidently to understand your lines of purity. Just when ever I feel something has to go further instead of staying in old times (sometimes I find such lines), I dig into further and filter it out; The more I do so, the more enlightening ideas flow. Therefore, dear Mahmuday, do not take it personal attack. If my lines are feeling like that I will work on it.

            The rest, get engaged.

            Huka wo wed adka

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Dear tes
            Understood, it was just a way of me clarifying things so that we don’t have to revisit similar misunderstandings. I I really appreciate your input, and keep coming,tes.

      • Tesfabirhan WR

        Dear Mahmuday,

        With the rest of your analysis, I am fully in agreement. I just brought this for discussion purpose as it is part of the PFDJ system to confuse the society by mixing the old revolutionary spirit with that of an independent country in order to pursue his adventure of militarization.

        Huka and I am proud of having you

      • Hope

        Wait a minute!
        No matter what and irrespective of what,how,why,etc—Your points would have been,could have been,are and will be the Conrner Stones of our Solutions to our Core problems.
        “The following is what I mean by genuine reformation:
        It’s mainly driven by the demand of the people, and happens only when;
        1)PFDJ is cornered by popular pressure, and,
        2)A new transitional government (a caretaker with enough representation) is installed,
        A constitutional overhaul is done,
        3)National reconciliation process is initiated (believe me, without a genuine reconciliation, there won’t be a lasting peace), and,
        4)What if all crimes are pardoned because it ensures a safe transition? I know this sounds odd, but I am saying it.”
        Courtesy of Mahmoud Saleh
        What we need is:
        Strategies how to implement them.
        As to Army Vs People and vice-versa:
        Except few ranks and files,NO EDF member or his/her family member is fond of the PFDJ despite its deadly brain-washing and deadly security apparatus.
        Fear,applying posionsous mistrust among people and divide and rule tactic are the major engine behind the survival of the PFDJ and its Policy.
        Prof Tesfalidet Weldghebriel Redie’ Articles and Thesis are great but he has to finish his project,i.e.,now that we might have disected albeit only partially the PFDJ mindset,we should move on to further for disecting the solutions,where we have lagged behind.

        • Mahmud Saleh

          I think it’s has been an exciting time with a lot of ideas coming. Hey thanks, I am also following the sanction subject, could not join because of time constraint. Ya shaHan ful we berad shahi.

          • Hope

            Thanks Mahmoud.
            As to the Sanction Saga, you already said it sarcastically in your ” interview” with Hayis Sem.
            There is nothing to be done other than respecting your Teacher’s advice and doing the home work he or she assigned you to do.

  • How I see it, from the position of an outsider.

    1) Democratic coup – Nobody seems to know what it is.

    2) Military coup leading to a Military Dictatorship – Could the new dictator be benevolent, compared to the malevolent dictator IA? One should not always hope for a full-fledged democracy, at least for an african country, provided that the dictator uses his power for peace and development. Compare African dictators with dictators of SE Asia. The later seem to be benevolent, because they have managed to develop their countries. Nevertheless, who will own the heinous crimes? Could the new dictator be without a sin himself to be able to bring the culprits to the court of law? This, in addition to some improvement in the life of citizens and some level of political freedom, might help the dictator gain some approval in the eyes of the Eritrean people, compared to DIA. This is possible, but not guaranteed.

    3) Civil unrest (because people cannot take it anymore (Tunisia type)) + Military disobedience (young officers and soldiers refuse to obey the regime, and they are ready to face the security). Possible, but who would counter the false alarm by the PFDJ that Ethiopia has invaded Eritrea, in order to confuse the situation? The outcome of this scenario could be a military dictatorship, or
    the formation of an inclusive transitional government that would lead the country to an election – a miracle.

    4) DIA and the PFDJ say that they are ready to change. Can evil be good? Can the victim forgive the victimizer? Is it possible to forgive when the crime is so big? There are many who would accept and many more who would reject it, and choose to stand for a complete change.

    5) DIA and his legacy (son, or a trustee) continue to rule Eritrea under the same principle, reminiscent of N. Korea. God forbid.

    6) Ethiopian intervention – at this stage it is equivalent to an invasion, and should not be entertained.

    Therefore, it seems that we are facing an enigma, for which no clear-cut solution is available, at least for the time being.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Dear Horizon;
      There are some signs which signal the inevitable defeat of PFDJ.
      – deteriorating living conditions; Horizon you mentioned Southeast Asian dictators, but they are compensating their humanitarian record with economic progress. Societies do choose at times less liberty in exchange for security and economic progress. In Eritrea, you have a government that has condemned a nation to communal or collective agrarian campaign without anything to show; it keeps blaming CIA/Wayane for all its failure. There is no question our people are going through the toughest episode of its history, there is a day when all will break loose. Is the nation ready for it? I think that’s what all of us are attempting to suggest.
      – As tes has just pointed out, the military is not a privileged institution. It’s equally oppressed by the same system, and the populace is tired of militarism (I’m really tired of it).
      -Rampant human rights violations touches every family
      – People seem to be aware of the propaganda that aims at keeping them at limbo, hence there is one day when people will say “enough is enough.” We don’t know when, but it will happen. What and how we (opposition) act will have a direct relation to events inside the country.
      – Your views on Ethiopian rule has always been clear, and I agree with you.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    Dear AT,

    Thanks for considering my little contribution.
    You caught me off guard. Thanks also for aligning haphazardly placed comments;
    I knowit takes time to get them coherently flowing. This is also a message to
    me and my friends Nitrikay and Semere ( I don’t know who is on my right side
    and who’s on my left side, although they seem to be doing really well these
    days, Nitrikay, you didn’t reciprocated semere”s gesture), what we thought
    would just be a passing remark may end up on the front pages of Awate.

    Ustaz Amanuel Hidrat, Tesfabirhan WR, KS, HTG
    and the rest thanks all. I have a coworker who has been complaining of her
    daughter. She said she really wanted to train her daughter as a professional
    swimmer. Her daughter is coached and has been doing well in her swimming except
    that she hasn’t overcome her diving fear. Every working day, the coworker would
    come complaining her daughter would not make a progress, until one day when she
    came smiling to show me her daughter’s picture diving off the board. She said
    she had given the coach a consent to push her off the board at an agreed upon
    moment while she would tape the whole episode. The plan was executed. They
    inched her to the edge, ready and then a little push. The daughter did
    remarkably well, and has since been diving. So, we have many better writers,
    all that is needed is a bit of a push. I’m eyeing on HTG, Hope, Semere (doesn’t
    need a push, I enjoy his satire, and I would love to read more of them). How
    about Nitrikay? Where is Fanti Ghana? I also find Horizon to be a well wisher,
    Hayat? what a writer! (if she could focus on areas she is most productive and
    constructive). I really miss yodita. How about Tzigereda? Dr.Sara? Pappillion?
    I enjoys every type of input as long as it condemns the crimes of this uniquely
    cruel regime which shuttered our dreams, and if it could propose solutions and
    radiate hope. The rest of arguments show how strong we are, not how weak. When
    we openly challenge each other on honesty and accuracy, it shows our resolve
    not to let things go for personal friendship. Imagine if we had delegates who
    would contest opinions and fight passionately for the people who delegated
    them. We would not go through sanctions, wars, and the predicament our beloved
    nation is going through. So, let ideas flow, we are all students, we are all
    teachers. Thanks again AT.

  • Kokhob Selam

    ኣናብስ እንዳ ዓዋተ ሓደ ካብ ሓደ ዘይሓምቕ ተሳትፎ : እሞ ድማ ንሓፍነት ኣልቦ እርኑብ ምትእልላይ :- ክላ ዋእ ደጊም ሞት ከም ኣዳም ::

    ማሕሙዳይ ግርም ስራሕ !! ተዓወት ::

    ንዓ ወዲ ሃገር ዘይውዳእ ዘይጽንቀቕ ምህሮ ኣብዚ እነሀልካ !

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Awate Team,
    Good job AT. Mahmuday is not only a prolific commentator and debater, he is also a good writer. The question is what holds him from not writing a structured article. I hope the action of the team will encourage him to stage his effort in to writing articles. In his six point plan, except on # 3 & 6 I fully agree with the rest.

    On # 3, in order to make the transition peaceful I would recommend “independent technocrat” who have not affiliation with the organized parties and political organizations to lead the transition period (that will give to the parties to start on equal level field). It will be very hard to make to use you own word “enough representation” or fair representation in the two dozen PO’s we have at this time. Let them only compete when the transitional process complete and the election process started. By doing that we will avoid the hurdles of forming fair representation transitional body.

    On # 6 I believe Eritrean should start with setting justice as “prima facie duties”. It is up to the victims and family of victims to decide whether they want to seek justice or not. The new government should open the avenue for them to seek justice. By doing that the society will make a closure to the crimes and inhumanity befallen on them. Remember if we can’t make justice on the past and present we can not make justice for the future. If we don’t observe justice reigning, It is a good precedence for future criminals. So I would like Mahmuday to rethink about this “two determining factors” on how Eritreans will make peaceful and judicious transition – and their implications both politically and legally. Thank you AT and Mahmuday. I am really happy on our focus now.

    • Mahmud Saleh

      Ustaz Aman H

      Thank you for the constant encouragement.

      On #3 What I am looking at is a representation of ideas and interests of all factions and segments. In my view two processes are simultaneously underway at the transitional stage. One is the executive body which will run the day to day functions of the government. This body will need to be setup on merits, you may call it technocrats, I just don’t like the word, but that’s personal taste. However, even here, it’s acutely important that it represents Eritrean diverse social segments. It will be challenged with a lot of pressing issues. For instance Saleh Younis on number 5 of his article: ” Why Democratic Coup Is The Best Option For Eritrea” lists the following:

      ” The chair reports to the committee and the committee is tasked with implementation of the 1997 Constitution provisionally (because we have to have law and order while drafting a new formula for law and order) and party-formation and electoral laws and securing the funding for the immediate (a) demobilization and reintegration of the National Service; (b) the repatriation of refugees as well as (c) drawing a pension plan for the aging civil servants.”
      And on number 6:

      “The Committee is responsible for the implementation of border demarcation between Eritrea and Ethiopia in accordance with EEBC, which, as the EEBC Judges repeatedly said, doesn’t preclude the two countries voluntarily swapping territories. (What the judges objected to was one party conditioning the demarcation on territory swaps.) This is followed by immediate normalization of relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia.”

      As you can see the overtaking government will be faced with overwhelming challenges. Of course, in my opinion, some of these are not the mandate of that transitional period, and I don’t think it’s doable. But it shows you the magnitude of challenges the transitional period will face.

      The second and equally important process is the works to lay down foundations of a democratic societies. These could include the drafting or reforming the constitution, questions of reconciliation and accountability, reviewing of departments and national assets, charting out the way forward (Eritrea’s road map to rehabilitation and reintegration to world community, the nature of its future government….). Here, the participation of our elderly, educated…civic societies…representatives of all social segments…is crucial. The other day when I commented on your article I was pressed with time and I was going to expand on them (I didn’t, and what you see here, as you can see, is a comment that needs to be developed).

      So, generally, I agree with you that the care taker government should be composed of independent individuals chosen by their administrative and negotiating skills. If you remember back when we discussed this issue, I had similar comments.

      On number #6, I think time and the composition of the forces effecting the transition period will determine it. I’m of the idea that we should stress on reconciliation. Of course, we are not talking about persons and entities who committed war crimes, egregious human rights violations, and economic crimes such as financial embezzlement..

  • Tesfabirhan WR

    Dear AT,

    This is a magnificent work. Dear Mahmuday, see now how strong your comments are and how lengthy article type comments you were putting. You have great ideas put forth just under one topic and imagine how rich and resourceful ideas you have put in each article and debate?

    Just it happened by coincidence, but, I have also spend my whole Sunday morning in compiling Haile TG’s work and hopefully it will be published soon [I have already sent it to AT]. reading such comments, it is easy to learn Awate Forum is endowed with gifted individuals who have wide spectrum in digesting ideas spontaneously and make debates at super civility.

    Dear AT, as ideas flow while discussion is going on, most of time, to come with ideas and put it in an article form could be hard. As some are gifted in analyzing what is on table. The discussions here are letting ideas to flow at high flux and this why we have very resourceful comments. But once put under the comment section, I call you to intensify your harvesting and put them in format that we see here.

    thank you and I will come back soon on your ideas.


    • haileTG

      Dear tes, thank you and thank you brother. I think you diagnosed my situation correctly because I tend respond to source information that is put out by writers here and the process yields good value information that one would consider better to be organized as a lead article. Your harvesting idea is unique and I am sure would expand the what AT provides (already rich and varied). Anyway, you’ve now made me indebted by investing your valuable time in doing what needed to be done, that is humbling and thanks again.


      PS: BTW You have put something very interesting in your reply to my questions in “uprising”, I will reply to that soon in a comment:-) ah…you see how things work, you made important observation in that section of the uprisings topic and it has given me more ideas!!