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An Office Full Of Mice

Today I feel like throwing a thousand proverbs. Why not, we have an ample supply of anecdotes and other sayings that embody folk wisdom. They lend their use to the most boring writers and speakers. And whenever ideas betray me, I use them; they are handy fillers for a marathon speech and long treatise, or articles as we commonly refer to them. Challenge me if you can is what my friend Amanuel Hidrat said. He has reached the zenith of his patience with the useless dime a dozen intellectuals. Those who prefer to live in shacks they think are ivory towers. And we are surrounded by them, dime a dozen, and if you persist and negotiate, you can ‘buy a dozen and get a dozen free’.  And I was in the middle of an office full of mice.

The room looked gloomy, everyone has dropping jaws. Blank faces, standing on their toes on top of every cranky furniture in the room. A man enters with an ear to ear smile and then laughs like a child in a playground. I am standing on top of a chair, shaking, on one corner. The man looks at me. For some reason I recognize him. I know him very well. He moves around inspecting the swarm of mice. I asked him, “why do you let all the mice into the room?” He looked me in the eye in a way that made me think he felt sorry for me. He roared: “You wanted to save that old clay mogogo, that easily replaceable clay oven, now deal with the mice that have owned the floor and the mogogo.”

Yes. That is the reason. Every time a mouse sneaks in, we have the urge to whack it flat to the ground but are afraid our pretty mogogo would be destroyed, not easy to hit a fast mouse with a crude stick. The mice of the neighborhood discovered our weakness, our love for our mogogo. News spread quickly and all the mice planned a camping season in the offices. They overwhelmed us. Now our offices are known as the mice sanctuary that has a mogogo we cannot use.

That has been our problem with challenging our leaders, and that continues to be our problem with challenging the leaders of the brand new, 2012 model national council.

Now. If what follows makes you mad, want to break something you are holding, please go ahead, vent your frustration. I have given you some easy stuff as a bribe to forgive me for what is to follow.

The First Test

The basic lesson in politics is to define a crisis before your opponents, detractors, define it for you. If you allow them to do that, in a culture of wild accusation without any evidence, they create a wrong perception. And since we are using proverbs, for now, leave your “betri haqi tqetn ember aytsbbern” wisdom in the drawers. Defining a crisis is the first step in solving it. And the leadership of the Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (ENCDC) is facing its first testing crisis which it created. The whys would follow.

Two months after its election in a congress that was convened in Hawassa, Ethiopia, between November 22 and December 2, 2011, the ENCDC has a crisis. At the center of the crisis are several administrative and legitimacy issues. Two months after its election, zonal members do not know how they are supposed to operate. Two months after its election, some zones are eager to create a different structure, a parallel executive body. True, most zones are following the structure set in the congress except two zones: North America and Europe. Members in these zones are still debating two views: to form their own local, sort of executive, committee or leave the task to be determined by the elected executive body. And for those who are blessed with at least a 12-month old memory, this is exactly what happened to Daniel Tewelde, the local “leadership” would not have him around at all though he was an executive committee member.

The council leadership needs to give clear instructions so that Daniel’s predicament is not repeated. But I hear that instructions has been loaded and sent on a camel caravan from London and Addis Ababa and are expected to arrive by next season. Understandable: courier service is expensive, and e-mails, well, blame it on the on-and-off Internet connection, and what the heck, the power grid. That is the standard, even if you are in Europe—you have to remain loyal to the third world Internet connection and power supply—pretend Europe is a third world. There. But the fact is that our elected people in North America need their autonomy from the leadership they themselves elected. That was article 1 of section 1 of the ENCDC crisis list.

Article 2, section 2.

On January 8, 2012, the chairman of the ENCDC issued the first proclamation appointing an unelected member to the council. In a letter he sent to the appointed “political heavy-weight”, Teklai Abraha, chairman Tzeggai Yohannes wrote: “after evidence from two relevant council members, Yohannes Asmelash and Kahsay Gufla, your case has been successful.” He further states, “I have been cleared to inform you that your name will be added to the list of council members.” He added, “Yusuf Berhanu [chiarman of the executive body] is supportive of your case.”

That would be one of the mice in the office; if people do nothing but watch the mice get in without control, no one should blame others when the office is overwhelmed.

Of course, Teklai claims he is a member of the council; he can wave the council chairman’s letter at your face. This issue has been going on since the loud clapping and cheering at the congress hall in Hawassa. Being fair-minded people, we at sent repeated messages to the chairman of the council and the chairman of the executive committee: on the 11th, again on the 13th, and once more on the 14th, 17th, 19th and finally on the 26th of January. The messages carried a simple question that needed simple answers: 1) Has the list of elected members that was read at the congress changed in any way or form. 2) If it did, what are the legal avenues followed to effect the change in the congress list? And what are the changes? 3) If again there is change, was it officially communicated to all the 127 members? 4) Finally, is the number of members still 127 or it has increased, decreased or been changed in anyway?

Apart from beating around the bush, the questions were not answered at all. The intention here was, since the crisis was fomenting, a prompt reply would help frame and define the crisis properly, and inform the public accordingly. Being an ally in the fight for a democratic change, I thought myself and have a vested interest in resolving such crisis. But the leadership might have a different opinion on that.

As predicted, and as my messages implicitly warned, you cannot throw your trash everywhere and hope that stray animals do not sniff it before the crisis dies a natural death. No. Crisis have to be strangulated and not watched until they die naturally; experience teaches us, that doesn’t happen. Alas, that lesson is lost on some people.

Two days ago, someone sniffed the crisis and halleluiah, the gist of the comments on the suspect website clearly implied there is an Ethiopian hand in the appointment of Teklai. I can imagine some people calling for a wild party to celebrate, but this is not a mouse the 600 people who gathered in search of genuine democratic change and their constituencies, would give a free pass. It has to be wacked regardless of the mogogo and regardless of how many gwaylas the predictable crowd hold. Consistency is vital. Again, a Tigrinya proverb comes handy: you cannot stay awake for fear of a bad dream.

Representatives of the North American constituency have whined enough to increase their representation to the congress. They fought for more seats (proper and legitimate political move, and it was successful). They managed to snatch three more seats, actually goodwill (alms) from the constituency in Sudan who gave up 2 of their seats and the constituency of Ethiopia who gave up 1 seat. That increased the North American quota by three more seats to 16. Now the inter-neus zoba semen amarika swinging started. Teklai, the hardliner representative of what he calls “civic society” fought for two seats. His calculated allocation was 1 point-something rounded to what would be termed in the Tigrayit language as Hatte Kursi Letta. He insisted on two. The wrangling went on for a long time. Then, he did the bravest thing to do while in Ethiopia: walkout. He even declared, “I know how to struggle on my own, I want to be able to say what I please!” Some took this as a disrespect and a veiled threat. Others attempted to convince him to return—at  first they were half-successful and then they embraced total failure.

Of course the 70-something North American delegation immediately carried out its elections (most had no intention to overstay their invitation to Hawassa,) and Teklai lost a chance to compete for the seat (which I believe he would have won.)  But wrong, I mean bad, decision stood on his way.

What is amazing is that the delegation of Sudan (where a minimum of half a million Eritreans live) gave up two seats from their allocation and the Ethiopian delegation (where not less that 100,000 people live) also gave up one seat in favor of North America (where not more than 40,000 Eritreans live.) Teklai was not satisfied by all that and insisted on securing an additional second seat—maybe because he represents Eritrean Global Solidarity (EGS), the most formidable organization in North America and whose influence on Eritreans is compared to the influence of the PFDJ on its crowd. This is not an outside observation, I was the impregnator and the midwife of the EGS, my hijacked, ransomed and now dead baby. It is my brainchild that I formed in 2006 together with the Eritrean Public Forum, Dallas-Fort Worth, to which was invited later. It was in those days that I began a working relationship with Teklai, who coordinated two projects brilliantly and Dr. Yonas, who did more than his share in making the EGS projects of 2006 a phenomenal success. But that is history, though there has been a heavy propaganda onslaught that portrayed EGS as a giant a thousand times its not exaggerated actual weight (unfortunately it seems some Ethiopians were gullible enough to buy into that). EGS has become a phantom association, a PR outfit for the self-promoting “board members,” a club for the not more than seven persons. In due time one might delve deeper into that sad history just to show what ails the tens of so-called ndemocrasn n’sebawi meselatn associations. In due time.

Was there an Ethiopian intervention as some elements close to Teklai have been insinuating? Honestly, nothing  will be clear on this issue unless those who are supposed to clear things up come out and explain the allegation. I have been around enough to know where this is leading, thus my decision to face it head on. And I would be mad because I defended the opposition against this allegation repeatedly.

After most of the congress attendants departed Hawassa, Hailemariam Tesfai had gathered most of those who were elected from North America and asked them if anyone would volunteer to leave his elected council-seat for Teklai. Hailemariam insinuated that Teklai has the support of Ethiopian authorities, naming two authorities, hinting that leaving a spot for Teklai would be advisable, or else! Bringing up names of Ethiopian authorities was an obvious psychological pressure. But the reaction of those who were asked to leave a spot for Teklai, of EGS, was bewilderment. Hailemariam was told to leave his own seat for Teklai if he so wishes instead of asking elected members to leave theirs. This didn’t stop there. It went on for six-weeks more until January 8th 2012 when Teklai finally received a letter from chairman Tzzegai.

Sometime in that period, SE.DE.GE.E, an opposition group to which Hailemariam is allied to, apparently decided to kick one of its elected members out and gift-wrap his seat and give it to Teklai. I have talked to tens of people: several executive and council members, as well as to people who attended the congress and all of them are angry, they have no idea how the gift offering happened; thus my describing the issue as one concluded by the issuing of a proclamation. And still, the insinuated Ethiopian connection has not been cleared—Ethiopians can advice as allies but they cannot appoint council members.

After a comment appeared three days ago on the usual suspect website, I asked the council chairman to confirm or deny the comment. He simply said it was nonsense and that “There is something which I didn’t say included and some tampered and others distorted.”

Getting an answer, let alone a straight answer, has become worse than dealing with the mice.

My Application To Buy Lake Tana

How about our Ethiopian allies, would they comment? I would rather not try that avenue again, I had a bad experience—make it plural if you wish, experiences. Of course, one cannot always deal with the PM whose answers are detailed and clear, and he leaves you contented, regardless. That is exactly what happened when I sat with him for an interview last year. Right after we were finished with the interview, I asked him for a favor: I want to buy Lake Tana. “Sure” he said. “I will inform a gentleman who will help you with the process.” A few days later I spoke with the said gentleman for hours and he probably said ten or twenty words. But he promised to communicate to me the details of how the sale would be concluded. He was cordial and expressed his willingness to help expedite things. Almost a year later, I still do not own Lake Tana! Worse, when I shared my frustration with a friend, he was unsympathetic, “you think the Ethiopians will let you have Lake Tana just like that?”

I replied, why not?

He went sarcastic on me, “you should have asked to buy Gonder instead, that would have been easier.”

Gonder, the city?

“It is less important than Lake Tana,” he said.

It was my turn to laugh. I didn’t ask to buy Lake Tana, the source of the Nile; I intended to buy “Lake Tana Wefcho Bet.” And right there I realized why the gentleman was not enthusiastic, maybe he thought I was trying  to buy the entire Ethiopian and Egyptian water source. Maybe I was dumb enough not to explain my request properly.

See! There is something wrong in the way we communicate with the Ethiopian authorities. We are shy and bashful and maybe, just maybe, we do not explain ourselves clearly. True, communication is supposed to be a two-way street; no one wants to be engaged in a monologue. But most of the authorities I met are known to express themselves in barely-enough words. They speak in the old telegram style, where messages are charged by the number of words. Understandably one has to be thrifty, words could be very expensive. You can sit and talk with them for two hours and when it is their turn to talk, they almost say nothing and leave you guessing what is in their mind. You say 100 words, they say ten, it is fair game.

On many occasions we have criticized the mismatched communication between Ethiopian authorities and the Eritrean opposition, a few times when Hebour Gebrekidan handled the so-called Sana’a Forum’s office. That is now history and we have new issues to address.

Understandably, our Ethiopian allies do not have to see the opposition as equals, they cannot be equal as, say, the PFDJ would. They are just a miserable lot, rolling stones, weak, poor, unorganized forces that should be left to wander around depending on how they fit in the large scheme of any strategy. And situations would not change unless they become formidable enough. But HOW they could become formidable is another catch 22, or the classic argument of the chicken and the egg. For example, I cannot go and buy a grain mill in Kassala since AlBashir has sold the entire Eastern Sudan to Isaias. For me, going to Kassala will be akin to going to Asmara when Melaake Mot is roaming the streets there. The Ethiopians wouldn’t sell me anything for that reason, even Lake Tana Wefcho Bet. But luckily enough, I got myself out of the ambitious project of buying anything in Addis Ababa; I discovered the Ethiopians have better, and more important, things to do than deal with my petty questions or deal with the logistics of my pettier projects.

Now for the final stuff. Let’s break the mogogo and drive the mice out with the following wishes:

  • It would be prudent and wise for the chairman to retract his appointment letter.
  • If that is not possible, it would be noble of Teklai to pull himself out, call it resignation if he wants, and continue to do what he sees fit just like anybody else.
  • It would be nice if zoba amarika and europa would immediately get their instructions on how they should operate—of course, speed is needed. The council leadership is already two-months old, and counting.
  • It would be marvelous if the Ethiopian connection to this case is cleared, I publicly offer my help here.

That was the final stuff, now I have to do my ‘finally’:

Finally, whatever happens, the overwhelming majority of Eritreans have pinned their hope on the ENCDC and they are determined to make it work. We all have enormous vested interest in its success: emotional and political. If some would be discouraged by such mishaps, the struggle is not for the fainthearted, stand firm and continue to watch closely, criticize and straighten up the performance of the ENCDC or simply get out of the way and do your thing. The ENCDC is a public domain and the public should not allow it to be either hijacked or crippled. It is our achievement and the best tool for the struggle, and we should protect it from within (inefficiency and foolishness) and from without (declared detractors under the moral guidance of the PFDJ). Don’t quiver because your institution, the ENCDC, is criticized. It is an attempted contribution towards its perfection. Welcome to Democracy.

Related information: ENCDC: Names Of Assembly Members And Executive Office Heads

About Saleh "Gadi" Johar

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A longtime ago in the environs of Kulentebai, the late Tesfai Tekhle, the liberation era …

  • Daniel Mehary

    My best advice to Hailemariam Tesfay & Teklay Abraha is …The most important political office is that of the private citizen.
    Louis D. Brandeis 

  • Kahsai (with new different blanket)

    We have the sniffing power to smell and identify the individual person in his style of writing, his language of preferences, the idea he espoused, his way of thinking; even if he tried to switch his name several times. I could bet anything this pen name “kahsai” is the old pen name Mogos Tekeste who asked clemency for Issayas. He always talk about his credentials and the school he attended when you start to argue politics one on one. He is “me’kan Muhur” like a woman who can’t ovulate. Don’t take him serious he is whacky individual. For those who are curious, keep this comment (his comment) check with the articles he wrote under mogos tekeste or with the upcoming comments in the future. The taste, the structure of his sentences, his unfading love to the flawed constitution, his language of clemency to the despot are some of his identifying traits. He need “political-dialysis” to make him clean and an inclusive human being who can understand his society.

  • Hameed

    The word ABHOR that you state in your comment is the central word that revolves around it all our wretchedness. Brother Serray, they ABHOR our ethnics, tribes, sects and regions and wish to get rid of them by throwing to “GOHAF”, as brother Aklilu has put it. It is the wonder of wonders to abhor the very tribes and ethnics that nurtured our revolution. How these guys abhor the tribes and ethnics who received our martyred and alive tegadelti with milk and all warm welcome? Weren’t our tribes the safe haven for the Eritrean freedom fighters? Those guys don’t want to descend from their fake towers and work among their people to lift them from the misery they found themselves in.

    The dictator in Eritrea is with same psyche, he abhors our tribes that is why he endeavored hard to get rid of them, but failed. He tried to swim against the current and the result as you witness the destruction of the nation. Eritrea has turned into a big prison; its youth organs are for sell by retail and wholesale as spare parts in the international mafia markets. The world swarms with Eritreans who seek asylum. Is it wise, Mr. Serra, to repeat mistakes a number of times? Please, stop the function of your mind for a moment (don’t be afraid, you will not be considered clinically dead), barrow the minds of Aklilu and Kokhob and look all our people through their minds. Definitely a new picture of Eritrea will flash in your mind.

    Believe me brother Serray, I am not against any Eritrean to get his rights, but I oppose severely those who attempt to suppress the rights of others. I am against exclusionists. I am with those who are willing to share a piece of loaf with their compatriots.

    It is a shame to abhor the tribes and ethnics that hosted our tegadelti with milk.

  • Serray

    Selam Aklilu and Hameed,

    With all due respect, some people are genuinely secular and abhor ethnic/religious based struggle. The views of these Eritreans are informed by what is happening around us.

    You seem to forget the contradiction inherent in ethnic and religious based struggle. The galvanizing effect of ethnic/religious based struggle wears-off (or ever reverses) when the tactic shows no victory and stagnation sets in. The meeting in Awassa is just that, a meeting. And judging by Gadi’s piece, it seems to suffer from the same illness that plagued its predecessor such as …shadowy influence of the host and unexplained power play. What is weird and different about this round is the pfdj like posture of you guys. In this comment section you two are swinging blindly.

    What is the deal here? Gadi seems to denigrate civic space. The way he describe EGS is telling. Awate is a one man show and look what it is doing. I don’t think 650 people in Awassa represent the eritrean people more than the five people of EGS or the one man giants we call awate, asmarino and assenna.

    Plus, remember guys, we are all commenting on an article that is critical of the ENDCD leadership. If you truly respect diversity, you should respect other peoples right to choose the method of their struggle. The road to asmera doesn’t necessarily start from awassa.

    • Dear Seray:

      You said ” What is weird and different about this round is the pfdj like posture of you guys”.

      It saddens me to be labeled pfdj (even in posture) but I also feel happy for pfdj has become the object of derision.

      You also said ” If you truly respect diversity, you should respect other peoples right to choose the method of their struggle”.

      I agree only if the method does not utilize Machavelian principles.


  • Teweldeberhan Weldedawit

    Who is this Aklilu Zere who denies other Eritreans from expressing their opinion on Eritrean matters. Imagine this guy is the president of Eritrea would he be different from the dictator we have in Asmara? Aklilu, you should know that it is the birth right of any Eritrean to criticise constructively any Eritrean political organisation be it ENCDC or PFDJ. It doesn’t matter whether you abhore it or love it. It is not yours and Gadi’s monopoly. Imagine someone telling Aklilu don’t criticise PFDJ because you don’t own it or to use Aklilu’s own words “why do you care about an entity(PFDJ) you abhored”. For a democrat it does not make any sense but for dictators like PIA and his likes that is their philosophy and principle. Like Aklilu they will tell you “ can hate us and abhore us but don’t critisize us. Live us alone.” Can you see the similarity in attitude?

    • Dear Teweldeberhan:

      I am not against criticism but I am against defamation. A true criticism is constructive in content and form. Its intent is to correct, remedy or rectify a deviation from core principle, policy or guidline. It should also be presented with clarity and simplicity.

      Let’s take what you wrote “The ENCDC being what it is, a bunch of ethnic and relgious groupings…”

      Is this criticism or defamation? A neutral reader will interpret your catagorization of ENCDC as nothing but gohaf.

      If I am wrong, I apologize.


  • Kahsai

    Dear Aklilu,

    Thank you for your reply. If I were to succinctly summarize and simplify your reply, it basically falls into two categories. They are criticisms and labeling.

    (I) Criticisms:

    It appears that you are advocating that I have no right to ctriticize the ENCDC since you surmise that I do not support the organization and in fact you insinuate that I want it to miserably fail. And from this you conclude, why bother with the organization, just leave it alone. In a nut shell that is your first qualm.

    In this, Akililu, you are treading on thin ice. The ENCDC is an “[Eritrean] institution.” It is an organization ostensibly claiming to play a significant role in freeing the Eritrean people from the clutches of the collectivism of the PFDJ. The Eritrean people include my brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and etc. inside Eritrea. The ENCDC whether I like it or not is speaking on behalf of my people. I have tremendous interest on what it does. I have a moral and God given democratic right to criticize it if I believe it is marching on a wrong track, more of this later. This has nothing to do whether I belong to the organization or not, whether I support or oppose the organization. It appears you want to deny people whose views do not align with that of yours the right to voice their opinions and speak their minds.

    My fundamental quarrel with the ENCDC is that it legitimizes and enshrines tribal organizations in Eritrea, which does not promote democracy and the rule of law. A citizen of an ethnic organization will have stronger alignment with his ethnic organization and not with the modern liberal democratic state and will always be against other Eritreans who are not part of his ethnic group. The same goes with the religious organizations. Bluntly, this is a call for disorder and instability in Eritrea.

    Societies develop through different phases to reach a modern liberal democratic state. The most difficult phase is the transformation from a tribal society to a liberal democratic modern state. In a tribal society, the allegiance of the citizens to their tribal organizations is much stronger than their allegiance to the state. In such a situation, there is no prosperity to speak of and development is curtailed. The tribal organizations are prone to align themselves with foreign enemies than with other tribal organizations within their nations. All the civil wars that are going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia etc. are fundamentally because they have been unable to create a modern liberal democratic state, they are still tribal societies. (See: The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution, by Francis Fukuyama.)

    (II) Labeling:

    You asserted that I am “jealous.” This a common ploy that dictators and collectivists employ to dismiss ideas that are not to their liking, by labeling people as an “opportunist”, a “reactionary” and a “liberal.” In fact “Hasadat” is a term president Isaias usually uses to dismiss ideas of the opposition. He asserts those “Hasadat” or in English “jealous people” to use Akililu’s word. One labels when one is out of fresh ideas.

    And then jealous of what? I would be the last person to be jealous of an organization that is aptly and accurately described by none other but by Gadi himself as: “They are just a miserable lot, rolling stones, weak, poor, unorganized forces that should be left to wander around depending on how they fit in the large scheme of any strategy.” I rest my case.

    The other issues of “learn”, be “kind” etc. are nothing but unnecessary pontifications in a political discourse. There is no need to be more saintly than others.

    • Hameed

      Mr. Kahsai,

      From your discourse, you seem to be a parachute man. You want in a twinkle of an eye our people to depart their historical legacy and become pure democrats that even the West didn’t reach. I think we make the first step from where we stand and not where our final destination is found.

      To reach the stage your call requires a lot of work among our people; throwing stones from towers to our societies is not a solution. Think about it, Mr. Kahsai.

      By the way, please, allow me to ask you a naive question. Have you reached the stage of democracy you advocate for? Please, answer honestly.

    • Peace 2 Peace

      Dear Kahsai:
      The last paragraph of you Criticisms section said it all about current eritrean state but failed to include Eritrea in the country you listed. WHY?

      As everybody knows and as you agreed indirectly in your statement , the Tigray-Tigregna project failed miserably becasue it is a tribal organization which has stronger alligance to its group at the expense of other Eritreas. Even though this project failed badly and what is left in Eritrea is a single hand trying to achieve what two hands failed to complete.

      Lets all see ourselves in the mirror before labelling others for what you do knowingly and unknowingly.

    • Dear Kahsai:

      Only the neutral is free. You are not (correct me if I am wrong). Your visceral message sounds as if you belong to a neutral/civilized/cultured tribe where as the ones you persistently harass belong to a backward/savage/uncultured tribes.

      May be (I am not in the business of blackening fellow writres) you do not meant it to be or sound that way. But as a neutral reader I have an obligation to honestly respond what I felt and if I am mistaken I ask forgiveness.

      You take your writing to be political. Then stick to it. Why don’t you use words like progressive; conservative, nationalistic etc rather than highlanders; Christians; tribal agenda etc.. etc..

      Dear kahsai:

      Politics (that affects people’s lives) without kindness; civility; fairness is nothing but tyrany and I hope you are not in any way affected by that contagion.

  • Kokhob Selam

    Aklilu has said it all.
    For those who are not used of accountability, both PFDJ supporters and opposition this article was totally misunderstood. Supporters of PFDJ will continue in calming “we said it earlier” (Aybelnan dooooo) while the weak among opposition will be demoralized. But here the lesson is clear for the real revolutionary man and the mass.
    “ Awasa congress has to perform its duties we are here working with you and it is ours. “ is the massage in short. Then comes the method of correcting and others like knowing how to deal with the problem in general starting how to deal within and with the matured political leadership in Ethiopia.
    Johar and others in Awate are leading us when they inform frankly, without hesitation and to the point. I would like to encourage them even to continue challenging and correcting.
    PFDJ has to know that we will stand firm to replace a democratic government by any means and nothing will stop us. They can imagine and dream of anything they want but nothing will stop us in preceding our job in and outside. Congress is only the result of our struggle, and we will work hard to get the fruit no matter what. We knew and we know there will be some difficulties and we are prepared and ready.
    Brother Johar, thank you very much and believe it or not we are watching the poisonous mice and but let me tell you our pest control group will do the job. Don’t panic.

  • Saleh “Gadi” Johar ,

    Thank you for treating us like adults & presenting it in a balanced way….Papa Isaias /PFDJ treats us as irrelevant ..and a good number of the opposition ,specially the ex – tegadelti opposition ,treat us as retarded children . Thank God ,to web we read aiga forum ,bbc & even aljazeera. An Ethiopian analysts ,I am sure connected to the Ethiopian administration ,defined the Hawasa meeting ,at aiga forum as nonsense ,vacation & non-productive, despite the selected participants…tried to paint it in a sexy color. Remmember ,we the “gebars “are opposed to PFDJ ,because we have brains ….maybe we did not roam around with weapons ,but ,we are fairly bright. THANK YOU Mr. JOHAR AGAIN, ACCEPTING WEAKNESS IS A SIGN OF STRENGTH.

  • Daniel Teclegiorgis

    መርዓዊ ከይሓዛስ መርዓት ይሕዛ (ምስላ) ኣበ’ይ ዘላ ሞጎጎ’ያ ደቀይ ዚ’ኹሉ ዶናጉላ ዝድርበየላ ዘሎ። ሰብ ቀደም ከምዘዘንትውዎ!!! እኽሊ ተረኺቡስ ተጣሒኑስ ተባሒቑስ ተላፍዩስ ጣይታን ሃንዛን ቅጫን ሕምባሻን ምእንቲ ኽስንከቱ ሞጎጎ ንምርሳን ሓዊ ይእጎድ ኔሩ ይበሃል። ኣብ’ቲ እዋን’ቲ ሞጎጎ ማለት ክብርቲ ናይ ውሻጠ ንብረት ስለዝነበረት “ምእንቲ ሞጎጎ ትሕለፍ ኣንጭዋ” ዝብል ምስላ ትርጉም ኔሩዎ። ሎሚ ግን ሞጎጎ ዘእጉድ ምኽንያት’ውን ዳርጋ ስለዘየለ’ዩ’መስለኒ ሞጎጎ ክብረታ ትቕንጠጥ ዘላ ትመስል። እንተ’ቲ ምስላ ግን ኣብ ትሕቲ ሞጎጎ ንዝተዓቑበት ኣንጭዋ ምቕታል ነውሪ’ዩ ኣይትተንክፋ ማለት ዘይኮነ’ሲ ካብ’ቲ ትሕቲ ሞጎጎ ክሳብ ትውጽእ ተዳሊኻ ተጸበያ ማለት’ዩ። ኣብ’ቲ እንዳ ሞጎጎ ናይ ወራዙት ውሻጠ ከም ድላይካ ፍንጥርያዕ ኣይበሃልን’ዩ። ናቱ ሚዛንን ባህልን ኣለዎ። ቐንዲ መልእኽቱ ድማ ሓሲብካ ስጉምቲ ውሰድ፡ ወስ ቅድሚ ምባልካ ዝምእምኣካ ቦታን ኩነታትን ምረጽ ዝብል ናይ ለባት ምኽሪ ንለባማት’ዩ። ምኽንያቱ ኣብ ሃገረ ሰብ ኣንጭዋ በየን ወይ ድማ ካበይ ከምትመጽእ ከምኡ’ውን ናበይ ኣቢላ ከምትኸይድ ክትቆጻጸር ኣይከኣልን’ዩ። ኣብ ከምኡ ዝበለ ቃልዕ ዝነብር ሰብ ከኣ ኣንጭዋ በብዝመጽአቶ ቁጽሪ ሞጎጎ ክሰብር እንተኾይኑ ይዋእ ሰበይቱ። ሞጎጎ ድማ ወላ ካብ ጭቃ ይሰራሕ’ምበር ክንደይ ሓውን ማፍጥን ዘድልዮ ናይ ውሕልና ምህርቲ ኢዩ። እቲ ዝበሃል ዘሎ ዘዛርብ እንተኾይኑ እንዳ ዝናን ባህታን ኣይበልናንዶ ንኽብሉ እንተዘይኮይኑ እንድዒ???

  • b’Alti dragon w’qatto (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

    Saleh Johar,

    I’ve this seemingly irresistible urge to say a word or two about the Hawassa conference but with out further ado I will cut right to the chase. Why didn’t they elect you or nominate you to lead ENCDC? You’ve the clarity of events, courage not to mention a political will to sail through uncharted waters. Again, what was the reason?

    • He is a journalist not a politician!

      • b’Alti Arwe W’qatto (As in a girl with a dragon tattoo).

        What is a politician?

      • sara

        is he a journalist?

  • wed garza

    Thank you for your insight Gadi, corrupted persons and actions are every where, we have to be vigilant to look through behaviours like that. It’s a test we have to prove ourselves countable enough and accountable enough.
    Clearly breaching rules and norms of functioning priciples to yield it dormant before it even starts is shameful as it sounds, however, we have to make quick damage control and halt galloping horse or horses.
    thank you again.

  • tek

    Mr Saleh Gadi, a job well done. I am on your side. There is no going back now. Those who are trying hard to make us give up hope, they are doing it in vain. In principle I support what Hameed is saying. The only problem is how do you get rid of a rotten tomato. Besides, how many of us agree if a tomato is rotten. If we are not ready to encourage and support and even join a political organization that has a platform, a vision and experience to lead us to victory, I do not know how else we can get tangible results. I am actually generally worried, on how we can help, push, cooperate and be watchful on the checks and balances with the leadership of our baito, without a clear guidance of platform and organizational structure. At least to my understanding. I would say an intensive networking would be indespensable to make this leadership and the Front in general to succeed. I would not worry and care what the Ethiopians might have advised or instructed, we are supposed to be the decision makers.

  • Hameed

    Amazing politics, when sectarians to the bone hide behind secularism and throw stones to those who honestly organize themselves, be it in ethnic or religious ogranization. What kind of democracy did these frenzy sectarians speak about when they shamefully compete to suppress the rights of others. In real democracy people are free to organize themselves in any form they choose whether ethnic, religious, secular or any other form of organization and the ballot box is the arbiter. This is the democracy I understand and excuse me for not understanding the democracy the concealed sectarians calling about.

    They have got in this constructive criticism their golden opportunity to cough out their ill-spirit. It is better to cure themselves before they call others to be cured. The time these guys become rid of their ills, Eritrea will be cured, because treating a patient who doesn’t conceal his illness is more easy than a patient who always in hide of his illness.

  • Teweldeberhan Weldedawit

    Kahsai you are perfectly right. The ENCDC being what it is, a bunch of ethnic and relgious groupings, will not go a step further. It will die a natural death from its own internal contradictions. Already the seeds of destruction is germinating from within. No problem with that. The problem is with the self appointed people like Gadi who try to put life on the terminally sick ENCDC to promote their own sinister agenda. To encourage and promote religious parties in countries like Eritrea where people are divided equally on the religious lines is not only idiocy but insanity.

    • wed garza

      Do you know the majority, if not all,where the ethnic Eritreans dwell in Eritrea? Have you heard that there is/was conflict amongst them? Learn the wisdom of co-existance, the art of Beherat Eritrea instead of belittling them as if they cannot rule their own affairs. Do you know the name Eritrea is a foreign invented name but not the ethnic Eritreans, degrade not them but honour them and accept their demands before you doom to your whims!!! You are also clan related in your relations, don’t you your friends, you are not better than them. The only difference: they are honest but you’re a liar, pretending while your’re the worst….

  • Kahsai

    The ENCDC does not have a coherent unifying message. A slogan of that “we are against the PFDJ regime” is not enough; it does not have a common platform that the majority of the Eritrean people — in particular those who are inside Eritrea can support and; a simple message that the international community can also easily understand and render its encouragement.

    A conglomeration of groups with a religious agenda, an ethnic agenda and a secular agenda do not go together. Right there within itself in its won organization are volatile ingredients that will make the ENCDC fail. And when you come to the international community if you examine some of the names of the organizations that make up the ENCDC, they create an impression of terrorist organizations in the USA and Europe. And we know at least in the USA they see terrorism everywhere and thus nobody is given the benefit of the doubt with names that “connote” that. The name tells it all.

    More than half of the Eritrean people are Christians. Hell would have broken lose, if a political group with a name of the Eritrean Christian Congress were to be created. And this after a thirty year war to establish a secular liberal democratic Eritrean state.

    It appears that some of the members of the ENCDC do not understand these elementary facts cited above. If one is unable and unwilling to create a coalition with the Christian Highlanders, the PFDJ or a regime similar to the outlook of the PFDJ regime will be in Eritrea for a long time. The way out is a secular organization with a secular agenda.

    The Eritrean ratified constitution with all its imperfections is a secular document that can unify the multi ethnic and multi religious Eritrean people. It has appeal in the international community. To the last man, the USA and European Union included have been badgering the PFDJ regime to implement the ratified constitution.

    Now, Gadi is shooting his arrows at the wrong tree. Gadi is not confronting the fundamental weakness of the ENCDC. He picks on a single individual and cries foul. He plasters his name in the internet with all kind of unsavory foul-language (Mouse and Mice).

    Gadi: who gave you that right? This is a violation of privacy and disrespect of property rights. It is tyranny. Just because Gadi owns the he wrongly believes he can insult people and for heavens sake people who are in the opposition with him. Not only that, he also allows his columnist to demean educated Eritreans who are in the democratic opposition in his site. No wonder the majority of Eritrean intellectuals are in the sidelines.

    Eritrea does not have that many highly educated Eritreans. These Eritreans are an asset to Eritrea. The PFDJ regime hates intellectuals. In this respect, Gadi is no different than the PFDJ regime. Our intelectuals be they in ivory towers or as Gadi puts it in a shack, they are our assets. Deal with it. We will not allow a one eyed man be a king in Eritrea, if that was the case we have the PFDJ.

    • Dear Kahsai:

      If Saleh Gadi writes (anything) about the ENCDC, it is because he cares. He cares because he vowed ownership. Not by words but by deed. It is not only Saleh that vowed owneship. Many thousand others also do. I am one of them. If you take ownership of something, you fiercely guard it (from internal and external tesabati) because you have direct and live interest in its growth and development. Criticism from acclaimed owner matters because it has credibility. It is a necessary fertilizer that improves health and increases yield.

      What about you? Why do you care about an entity that you abhored? weren’t you against it from day one? Why care about something that you rejected? Isn’t what you wrote a sign of frusteration? Or is it jelousy? Why get jelous of something that you don’t own or care about?

      Dear Kahsai: Jelousy is a psychological condition, if not cured, will develop into grudge. And grudge is the foundation of tyrany. I cannot understand why you filled your head with innuendos and false fears and suspicions? Why do you preach hatred? Who annoited you to do that?

      By the way who made you an advocate (tehalaki) of the highlanders, which I proudly belong to? Who asked you to be a speaker for the Christians which by faith I belong and practice?

      Please brother, think hard before emotions take over your cosmos. Sobriety and calmness are the best tools a good writer has. What you write is a permanent stamp that cannot be erased. And if you write falsehood it will haunts as long as you are alive.

      Last but not least I advice you to learn. Learn to love humankind. Only active learning will open your heart. The first to heal shall be you, and there is nothing that can compare with a healed soul. Then you will lough at the “old” you: your old thinking.


      • Malick

        in your response to the wounded soul you stated “grudge is the foundation of tyrany” perhaps we shouldn’t hold any grudge towards our current tyrant issias for fear of become one in the future ? how can we avoid this dilemma ?

        yours student.

        • Dear malik:

          Do not hold grudge but actively, consistently and persistently oppose evildoings. Grudge and hatred will eventualyy consume the grudge holder and the hater.

    • wed garza

      An intellectual who shames his land doen’t deserve the title for that land. Gadi has full right to quide you and the likes who willingly blinded themseves, you try to smear him, but your written scene smears you back harshly. You are not there to fight religion and ethinicity, they are there as corner stones, Eritrean identities as long as they are under the constitution and rule of law.
      Do you know how many parties and movements were in Tunisia after the revolution? perhaps around 50. Do you know how many palestine parties, more than 37. learn now, both of them later reduced to a few number. This will naturally be the fate of any country that passes through drastic/tragedic live time of Eritrean state and its people.

    • Ghambit

      Dear Mr. Kahsai,

      1. You said, “More than half of the Eritrean people are Christians”. Based on what? for my benefit does that includes the displaced, refugees, settled and roaming nomads.

      2. If a political group with a name of the Eritrean Christian Congress were to be created. It will be enriching so long it’s declared with a clear program , vividly demonstrated action, even if with adjectives (social democrat, liberal, left etc “) at least it may drain deception.

      3. You said, “The PFDJ regime hates intellectuals”. It is claimed it did at its infant stage.. But since adores intellectuals, as long as they are obediently subservient. No one or group hates an obedient slave in politics.

      4. As a side note I have a hunch that intellectual is mostly confused to educated by most Eritreans.

      What I admire in Gadi’s article is the gist. Constructive criticism and application of what one calls for without breaking the “Mogogo”.. His keeping by- standers likel myself in the loop is highly appreciated. Well done

    • sekafino

      Mr. Kahsay,

      “More than half of the Eritrean people are Christians”, does this need justification? What is the source of statistics?

      • sekafino

        “More than half of the Eritrean people are Christians”. May be Mr. Kahsay is right if he defines Eritrean people as those who lead their normal life inside the country, meaning: they work, and raise their children peacefully. If that is your definition, allow me to mend your figure to more than 75%. Please cite the source.

        Selam N’khuluna

  • Tadewos

    Hi Saleh

    Where were you until the news come up at Meskerem website? Geab news should do it’s home work.
    Your article is too late.Deihri Mai abe Baiati. Anyway better late than never.

    Thank you

    • awatestaff


      Looks like you didn’t do your homework (reading the article) before you reached your conclusion. Here’s the relevant part:

      “This issue has been going on since the loud clapping and cheering at the congress hall in Hawassa. Being fair-minded people, we at sent repeated messages to the chairman of the council and the chairman of the executive committee: on the 11th, again on the 13th, and once more on the 14th, 17th, 19th and finally on the 26th of January. The messages carried a simple question that needed simple answers: 1) Has the list of elected members that was read at the congress changed in any way or form. 2) If it did, what are the legal avenues followed to effect the change in the congress list? And what are the changes? 3) If again there is change, was it officially communicated to all the 127 members? 4) Finally, is the number of members still 127 or it has increased, decreased or been changed in anyway?

      Apart from beating around the bush, the questions were not answered at all.”

      The difference in approaches between and is that we want the ENCDC to succeed and meskerem wants it to fail.

  • Teweldeberhan Weldedawit

    you said it all ” They are just a miserable lot, rolling stone, weak, poor . unorganised forces that should be left to wander around…..”. So how do you think such ethnic and religion based reactionary forces challange the dictator. It is a dream and wishfull thinking. What we need is a strong united democratic and secular opposition which is inclusive and fights for the democratic rights of all ethnic and religious communities.

    • Hameed

      My friend, Teweldeberhan, we have passed through the experience of one front and secular, but the outcome was the worst dictator in the world. If you have other more workable option tell us otherwise, prescribing a medicine which we have taken a bitter dose of it doesn’t work and will not be a solution.

  • Do you mean the Ethiopian ,sorry Woyane more intersting the great Tigringa Tigria then the nowday Eritrea?First were DEMHE and Sagim qiXil in 80s with help of Yemane Kidane and are now AnqeX 39 and they are few.Then came Abdela Adris and Hurue Tedla Bayru and the one is already dead and the nr two are an old politicain are most of his time in Sweden.
    Bel Kingereka Salih Arkey I can tell you purely to you I hope you get my engilsh slowly.
    they need a Kunama I mean the Gash Barka area(not Badme the land of Gerezmach Ardis or Silla Abel)I say the land
    Afar land I mean the whole Denkelia with Dahalk Island

    Ankits 39:- The Saho,Biln……….
    The federalia Kebesa,Metahit and Afar….

    The muslim Jihad and Islah

    The Tewahdo Bet-Kirstian
    Rest?the answer is non!!

    If I made mistak on this I am sorry!!

    • Hameed

      You didn’t make a mistake, Mr. Rezene. All the opposition organizations went to Ethiopia not in a one patch. The issue is not how and when they go to Ethiopia, but why they go to Ethiopia. I am sure, they didn’t go to Ethiopia to sell Eritrea to Ethiopia. If the opposition have the desire to sell, they don’t need to go to Ethiopia. All of us know, why they go to Ethiopia, therefore, no need to try to fool each other. Our people are in dire condition that require an urgent move to free them from the dictator

  • Yemane Johar

    ENCDC, thank you for trying hard to kill our HOPE. There will be a day that we the people will totally give up on you!

    • Hameed

      I have searched the name Yemane Johar in the list of ENCDC, but there is no trace of such a name in the list of the members of the ENCDC. My friend, the people of Eritrea elected the national assembly to speak openly, not to hide behind pen names. I am sure, the person who has written this comment is not from ENCDC. He might be one of the opportunists who try to fish in the troubled waters. Sir, we have elected the national assembly to serve the people of Eritrea, we didn’t elect them to be worshiped like that of the regime supporters. The ENCDC will be criticized if they fail to shoulder their responsibilities properly and act swiftly. Our problems demand leaders who move without delay. Mr. Yemane Johar, if you are from the national assembly face the questions of our people openly and not behind pen names. It is a shame on you, Mr. Yemane, to attempt to cheat us by pretending that you are from the ENCDC.

      • SAAD M MUSA

        But br. Yemane jowhar did not claim ENCDC membership in his comment. Is it not br. Hameed? It seems to me the brother is expressing his frustration …..
        I’m curious about the name, though; could it be frattello yamanu of inda badre in keren, my friend Abdalla’s brother. whatever the case…salute.

        • Hameed

          Thank you brother, Saad M Musa, and I say sorry to brother Yemane Johar. I understand the message is to ENCDC. Thanks br. Saad and sorry for br. Yemane Jo


    BRILLIANT. This is an invitation or shall I say a proclamation to move forward the people’s project with all the seriousness it demands.

  • Hameed

    Well done, Mr. Gadi. The national assembly is a result of a hard won struggle, no one is allowed to toy with it be it Dr. Berhanu or others. If we got a rotten tomato or lame persons who could not move themselves an inch then it is a must to take out the rotten and the lame that doesn’t help itself. The people of Eritrea have no more nerve to wait for leaders who could not respond to issues considered the a, b, c of their leadership, organizing their representatives in different regions and following their activities on daily basis. Almost now two months elapsed and Dr, Yustuf and his team didn’t move even a fly. The national assembly should act quickly and answer the demands of the people, no need to wait for persons beaten by sleeping-sickness. Let the mogogo be broken; we have nothing to lose, at least we may think of arranging for a new mogogo. No more mice to play on our floor. Eritreans acquired sensitivity from mogogo and mice story. Ya sheikh, let the mogogo be broken and mice be killed; don’t be afraid, we will eat bojboj until we arrange for a new mogogo to eat enjerra with zignni. You made me pine for enjerra and zignni, Mr. Salih; Allah yisamhak.

    • Kokhob Selam

      I like your comments in awate. Allow me to inform you that we can continue without stopping Injerra while eating bojboj as we need all to get the necessary nutrition. Unlike before we will not let the mice alive while Mogogo will be there. we don’t have to use stone to kill the mice we are in advanced world but we have only to take care of the chemical that kills mice as there are procedures to follow. Do you agree with me?

      • Hameed

        Kokhob Selam,

        Your are the star , as your name indicates, of peace and democracy in Eritrea. As far as we have stars like you, we have unbounded hope that democracy and peace will prevail in Eritrea. Yes, you are right; we will utilize modern technology to destroy all parasites without breaking our mogogo and miss enjerra and zigni. You relieve my worries. Allah yadik al-afyah.