Below Passing Mark

A close friend of mine has prompted me to write this article. He was a PFDJ passionate member. I think he still is; though he started to disagree on some points with his party members. I believe he is not an active member anymore like he uses to be. We used to talk on politics. Despite our close friendship for many years, he never invited me to join the party. I didn’t know yet why. But I guess he might have felt that I didn’t fulfill their membership conditions. We argued on Eritrean politics as two extremes (pro and anti PFDJ).  He used to advise me to look into the party positively taking in to consideration  its contributions towards Eritrean independence (Ne’Zi W’D’B’Ezi B’Ki’Nu Men’Fes Kit’Ri’O Ale’Ka Na’Zi’Net Zemze’A W’D’B E’Yu.) However, recently he has started to criticize the party openly without softening his stand on anybody who calls for a comprehensive restructure or regime change.  His new stand is “Let us be fair and evaluate the government’s actions in a balanced way” and further says “let us appreciate the good job and propose suggestions for the areas that need improvement, if any.” He admired the developmental projects the regime pursued. Nevertheless he openly declared for the first time that he is against the endless National Service ( Hage’Ra’Wi Agel’G’Lot). I said “count one” ( Hade’Be’Le’Lei). Being a close friend, I can understand what he was trying to convey by his new stand. 

It was his terminologies –“evaluate” and the “Balanced way” that encouraged me to include an assessment matrix in to my article. By the way he is familiar with evaluation matrices. He is a manager by profession and he evaluated his staff at least twice a year. I will not be surprised if he liked the evaluation template. But I will definitely be, if he agreed with my appraisal score.

As per my friend’s suggestions let me “evaluate” the regime in Asmara in a “balanced way”. I think an appraisal process should at least contain an Assessment Criteria, the Weight or the value of each criteria and Period of the Assessment. My disagreement with my friend is not with the assessment as a tool but with the type, definition and number of criteria against which we assess the regime .He judged the regime using only two standards. Developmental projects ( We’F’Ri War’Sai Yi’Ka’A’Lo )and the National Service ( Ha’ge’Ra’Wi Agel’G’Lot.) He agreed with the first one and disagreed with the second. He proposed that the length of the national service should not exceed two years. As a result he concluded that the strength of the regime outweighs its limitations. And he further assumed that all other drawbacks should be considered as minor ones. Therefore his overall recommendation for the state of Eritrea was to “wait for the regime to fix its flaws & weaknesses” (Recommendation/Action Items #2 in my Evaluation form below.) I am not confessing a secret here if I tell you this is the core row not only between me and my friend but also between PFDJ sympathizers and   those who call for a comprehensive assessment of the regime’s actions in terms of its usefulness to Eritrea and Eritreans.  I think it is time to see the regime’s full picture (use the below evaluation matrix as a tool) and use it as base to reach in to a conclusion to recommend course of action for our country.

The matrix consists of seven parts.  Assessment Criteria (the measure against which we evaluate the regime), Weight (the maximum expected performance degree for each assessment criteria), Score (marks the assessor applies to measure the performance level against the expected) and Comments (clarifications that support the score).  It also includes Assessment Level (AL), Recommendation (Action Points) and Remarks (explanation that the assessor wants to add to action plan for the recommendation.)  The first four parts helps the assessor figure out the overall performance (score) of the regime during a particular period of time.  The Assessment Level (AL) quantifies and interprets the total score. The Recommendation/Action Point and Remarks trigger the appraiser to suggest a course of action. 

I hope I will not be considered as PFDJ’s hidden backer if I accept the ideas that the assessment period to start from 1994 and passing mark be as low as 35%. This to just avoid the regime and its supporter’s saga – “the EPLF received a bankrupt sate. They had to start from scratch.” “ Neza’Adi Tir’Ha E’Yom Te’Re’Ki’Bo’Ma .”  Now let us as see how the regime stands in the test below which I wish many will not consider it as an easy test prepared to suit poor performance movements.


Assessed Name:-                 PFDJ Regime Assessors:-            Well Wisher
Country :-                             State of Eritrea Assessment Period:-
1994 – 2011
Assessment Criteria Rating   Comments
Weight Score %
1.       Justice Freedom and Democracy Guaranteed freedom of expression, freedom of worship, equality under law, Protection from harassment.  10 0 0% Eritrean has no constitution, no opposition parties, and no private media. It is a private property of the president. He publicly declared that Eritreans are not ready for democracy.  Eritreans jailed, disappeared and even executed without due process of law.
2.       Government InstitutionBuilt institutional governance.  5 1 20% Eritrea is a one man company. The country’s affairs are decided in the president’s office and by the president himself.
3.       Attitude Towards EritreansThe regime’s leader respects Eritrean people.  5 2 40% In his interviews he characterized the Eritrean people as unproductive who spend their time on hear say, spoiled brats ( Hun’Ku’Kat) who want to eat 3 meals a day and expect Spaghetti for their meal.



Assessed Name:-                 PFDJ Regime Assessors:-      Well Wisher
Country :-                            State of Eritrea Assessment Period:- 
 1994 – 2011
Assessment Criteria Rating   Comments
Weight Score %    
4.       Development of  Eritrean Youth Youth provided with personal development and employment opportunities. 10 2 20%   The only employment opportunity for Eritrean youth is in the government’s projects with meager salary that does not exceed 20 US dollars per month (with no employment benefits) as part of the endless National Service.
5.       Basic NecessitiesProvided basic necessities to the people at the right time with reasonable prices.  10 4 40% There is always shortage of basic necessities. Inflation is very high beyond the rich of the majority of the population. Water and electricity cuts are frequent ( for instance,  1st and 2nd week of June,2011 there was no water and  electricity many areas of the capital Asmara)
6.       InfrastructureBuilt infrastructure (roads, electricity etc.).  5 4 80% Visible achievement is seen in the construction of roads, clinics, schools even in remote areas.
7.       Organizing EritreansOrganized and mobilized Eritreans to stand with their country during good & bad times. 5 4 80% The regime succeeded in mobilizing Eritreans to stand for their country by all means, though in most cases the regime’s leader exploited Eritreans’ love for their country to prolong his stay in power.
8.       Disparities among EritreansImplemented practical policies to narrow the vast socio economic disparities among Eritreans.  10 1 10% In the present Eritrea ,the highest percentile access to post elementary education, scholarship to study and train abroad, admission to local colleges, government employment, political assignment, governorship, assignment in diplomatic missions, management of state owned enterprises, military and civilian leadership, national and local administration are awarded to one community only. Basically, the whole state apparatus neither reflects a national characteristic nor the diversity of the Eritrean people.


Assessed Name:-                 PFDJ Regime Assessors:-
Well Wisher
Country :-                             State of Eritrea Assessment Period:- 
 1994 – 2011
Assessment Criteria Rating   Comments
Weight Score %
9.       Refugee RightsPut in place a right policy and exerted enough efforts towards refugees’ return to their home land.  5 2 40%   Since libration the regime has not put adequate effort for the half million Eritrean refugees in Sudan to return to their homeland. Now new refugee destination (where Eritreans never reached them even during the harsh Derg period) has been added. Mass exodus from Eritrea is on the way. There are more than 60,000 refugees in Ethiopia; aprox 10,000 in Israel, many in Yemen, Djibouti, Libya, Tunisia, Uganda. You can even find them in Romania, Mexico, and Venezuela.
10.   Conflict Resolution Seek for negotiated solutions for internal and external problems facing the country.  10 1 10% The regime does not prefer solving issues through negotiation. It begins with the denial of the existence of any problem. Then followed by refusal to negotiate directly or indirectly claiming no issue to negotiate of. When issue goes out of proportion and action imposed on the regime, they agree to negotiate or simply accepts a settlement with severe conditions detrimental to the country and its people.
11.   Charisma of the LeaderUtilized his charismatic personality to the best of the country and its people  5 2 40% He has utilized his charisma to mobilize Eritreans to undesirable wars, and interventions in other countries’ internal affairs.
12.   Relationship with Neighborsfostered good  and peaceful coexistence with neighboring  countries and beyond 5 1 20% The regime’s military adventure with Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia & Djibouti are few examples. The UN security council imposed sanctions on the regime on Dec. 2009.
13.   Eritrean HistoryPresented Eritrean history (pre our revolution, during and post independence) in a balanced way.  5 2 40%   The regime twisted Eritrean history to its favor. They deliberately ignored occasions, political parties, civic societies and personalities (in pre, during and post federation with Ethiopia, and pre EPLF era) who had contributed a lot to Eritrean independence. PFDJ portraits the Eritrean history as if it has been started after the formation of the EPLF.


Assessed Name:-                 PFDJ Regime Assessors:-                                          Well Wisher
Country :-                            ( Provisional )State of Eritrea Assessment Period:-                         1994 – 2011
Assessment Criteria Rating   Comments
Weight Score %
14.   Overall People’s SatisfactionGenerally Eritrean people’s standard of living have  improved and  are satisfied with the government 10 2 20%   Youth express their dissatisfaction by fleeing their country en-masse; elders through complete silence and mass participation in burial ceremonies; students through school dropout, girls through early marriage or having babies from extra marital relationships; Diaspora Eritreans through participation in the civil societies and position parties.
Total 100 28 28%    
Remarks   Recommendation ( tick in the space below) 
Eritrean Commission For a Democratic Change (ECDC) and similar forums can be used as tool   1 2 3 4 5 6


  1. Leave the regime as is; no change (Eritrean People are happy with government’s performance.) 
  2. Wait till the regime fixes its flaws and weaknesses (Despite low marks, Eritrea will only be stable with the PFDJ.) 
  3. Wait till the regime calls for a negotiation with the opposition for a democratic change. 
  4. Oppose the regime through peaceful means (change the leader & make cosmetic changes in the system.) 
  5. Oppose the regime through peaceful mean to force it to negotiate for a democratic change. 
  6. Topple the regime by any means necessary and establish democratic rule in its place. 


explain the next step about the above decisions in the remarks cell


Assessed Name:-                 PFDJ Regime Assessors:-  Well Wisher
Country :-                            ( Provisional )State of Eritrea Assessment Period:- 1994 – 2011
Assessment Criteria Rating   Comments
Weight Score %    
Assessment Level (AL)
>90% Exceptional
70% – 90% Exceeds Requirement
50%-70% Meets Requirement
35% – 50% Needs Improvement  ( Passing Mark)
<35% Poor/Failed

Name & Signature                                       Agree               Disagree
Assessor                                                            Eritrean (Name & Signature)

Having secured only 28% and not crossing the passing mark (i.e. 35%); I recommend Action Point # 6 i.e. “Topple the regime by any means necessary and establish a democratic rule in its place.”

By the way, I am willing to understand anybody if he provided me a different score using the same template. Even if the score was above 90 percentiles. I do also expect readers will tick one of the two cells (refer above-Agree /Disagree – Name & signature). However the purpose of this evaluation (article) is not to survey Eritreans to find out how many of them have agreed or disagree with my score, but to encourage Eritreans to list out as many assessment criteria ( with right definition) as possible and to appraise the PFGJ  against  the core  AIMS of the Eritrean People’s 30 years struggle for independence i.e. To liberate Eritrea and its people; To establish justice freedom and democracy ; To make Eritrea for all Eritreans who live in  peace and harmony among themselves and with others ; To enable Eritreans share their national wealth fairly. If these AIMS are the core measure to evaluate the regime against, I believe very few people only will disagree with my score.

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