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On GiE: People Come, Organizations Go, Values Remain

“What are the new Eritrean questions that have been neither asked nor answered during our Revolution and, in fact, going back to the 1940s?”
~ Historian Samuel Emaha

This is my 3rd article on the Government-in-Exile (GiE) proposal. The first (It’s Time for a Unity Government In Exile) dealt with introduction of the concept and its rationale: the total loss of legitimacy of the PFDJ as a ruling party, the failure to gain legitimacy by the opposition to declare itself as people’s representatives and, thus, the urgency for reinstitution of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) headed by its exiled Central Committee members to form a unity government in partnership with other opposition parties whose roots were in the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF.) The second article (Fleshing Out Our Unity Government In Exile) attempted to answer some of the questions that were posed as a result of the first: why government in exile? Why back to ELF and EPLF? What is the process to be followed? In this third installment, I will include the Concept Note (Concept Note) (Tigrinya and Arabic editions to follow) that was presented to the media by the National Taskforce Team (NTT) on Government In Exile. I will also attempt to address the questions that were raised to the NTT such as: what do you mean by ELF, Jebha, Te.Ha.E, and EPLF, Shaebia, h.g.Ha.E? And what is this “school of thought” you keep talking about: can you give us specifics? These organizations are long gone, some for decades: are you trying to resuscitate the dead? How do they, in any way, meet the questions posed by the youth? Do these organizations even believe the same things they believed when it comes to Eritrean self-determination and territorial integrity? Why do you want to take us back to them when we have vibrant social movements? And what exactly is meant by “unity government”?

I. Concept Note Summarized: Whereas, the Government-in-Power has lost all legitimacy to govern on legal, political and socio-economic grounds; whereas it has rejected all calls to return power to the people and earn its legitimacy to govern; whereas there are a million Eritreans in exile in comparison to the 3.65 million Eritreans in Eritrea, and whereas all prior attempts to create an effective opposition to meet the challenges Eritreans face have not succeeded, a National Taskforce Team (NTT) has taken the initiative to attempt to help the leaders and members of the two historic organizations and their iterations to convene organizational congresses, draft/renew political charters and call for an Inaugural Plenary Assembly and name, in equal numbers, their nominees to a Consultative Council (CC). To ensure accountability and checks and balances and to avoid deadlock, (a) the CC will also include members of Civil Society and Esteemed Citizens and (b) the Executive Council (EC) will be ratified by, but not from within, the CC. Instead, the Directors who make up the EC will be nominated by a joint commission of NTT and CC, and then will be ratified (or rejected) by the CC. The NTT, which is entirely independent of the government, will end its mandate once the government is constituted and will dissolve itself.

Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

II. Jebha (ELF) & Shaebia (EPLF)

By Jebha & Shaebia, what is meant is the value system and not the people or the organizations. And by value system, what is meant is the formulas they espoused for an Eritrea that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, a democratic, just, prospering Eritrea where citizens (and peoples) have guaranteed rights and shared obligations. While Jebha and Shaebia are historical entities, and they happen to be the two Eritrean trunks–ELF: 1961-1981; EPLF: 1971-1991–they have given birth to many branches. The call now is to focus on the trunks and not the branches.

III. “Schools of Thought” or Political Tendencies or Belief Systems

Just as religions have their tenets, political organizations have their programs & principles. These programs and principles encompass the tangible (mission, goals, objectives and vision) as well as the intangibles (culture, will, fortitude, etc.) For comparison only, let’s list how these two different schools of thought deal with a variety of controversial tangibles, as outlined in their most recent definitive political documents of the two schools of thought: 1997 Eritrean Constitution (yes, the document espouses EPLF Value System) and the 2019 ENCDC Political Charter (ELF Value System.)

1. State Structure: “Eritrea is a unitary State divided into units of local government. The powers and duties of these units shall be determined by law.” (1997 Constitution, Article 1.5) “Recognition of a decentralized system of government guaranteed by the Constitution…” (ENCDC Charter, Chapter I.12). There are strengths, and weaknesses, to each view.

The above–degree of autonomy of Eritrea’s regions, and its outline in a constitution or statute–is the most fundamental difference between the two Schools of Thought and it informs their views on all other issues including:

2. Land Ownership: In Eritrea, says the EPLF School of Thought, “[a]ll land and all natural resources below and above the surface of the territory of Eritrea belongs to the State. The interests citizens shall have in land shall be determined by law” (1997 Constitution, Article 23.2) No, says the ELF School of Thought: “[l]and belongs to its own people, and any land and property appropriated unlawfully belongs to its owners….” (ENCDC Political Charter, Chapter I.17.) Again, there are strengths and weaknesses to both. If land belongs to the State, then the State does not have to negotiate with every district, every province, every region, every self-proclaimed collective, before mapping out its macroeconomic policy for rapid development. The negative to this is that it places the balance of power between the State and the People heavily in favor of the State and in countries like Eritrea where identity and citizenship are strongly tied to land, it creates layers of confusion.

3. Language Policy: “The equality of all Eritrean languages is guaranteed”: so says the EPLF in the 1997 Constitution, Article 4.3 and all its political programs that preceded it. No, says ELF, in Eritrea, going back to the 1940s, the very agreement to have a country called Eritrea was partly premised on the idea of having Tigrinya and Arabic as official languages. Therefore, while all languages are equal, “Tigrinya and Arabic are the official languages.’ (ENCDC Political Charter, Chapter I.9 )

4. Definition of Ethnicity: In Eritrea, ethnicity is defined by language and uniqueness of customs: there are 9 languages spoken in Eritrea, so there are 9 ethnic groups. So says EPLF in every single EPLF poster, every festival, its currency & textbook.  Nope, says the ELF School of Thought: ethnicity is not just defined by language and customs only but uniqueness of history, ancestry, social treatment and psychology therefore it is the people, not the government, that will identify the number of ethnicities Eritrea has. “Any nation has the right to call itself the name it wishes, and the enforced integration of the regime should be prevented.” (ENCDC Political Charter, Chapter I, 16 )

5. Citizens vs People As State Units:  Rights and duties are applied to citizens, in the EPLF political culture. Citizens have rights; and people have a right to develop their culture. In contrast, in the ELF political culture it is not just citizens but a people who have an individual right and group rights.

In addition to the 5 above, there are other issues that deal with Eritrean Narrative, i.e. how we interpret history where the two schools of thoughts have different perspectives.

Sadly for Eritrea, these two schools of thought have never been allowed to see one another as anything but “The Other” instead of what they actually are: different approaches towards the same goal. To the extent they even acknowledge the existence of each other, it is in accusations. One accuses the other of being an exclusive hegemon-wanna-be, and the other accuses the former of being a dangerous agent of fragmentation across religious and regional divide. Those who want to “rise above” this division think it is best to ignore it, or to pretend it is not there, if only we can have discussions only with people who think exactly the way we do. But the above are healthy, issues-based-differences and, yes, there is a lot of overlap: but the fundamental difference is about degree of regional autonomy, which manifests in any number of ways.

IV. What About The Youth?

Well, to go back to what Samuel Emaha asked, “what are the new questions, and new answers the youth have that were not asked and answered?” Incidentally, these questions were posed by the youth and answered by the youth of the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, etc. So what are they? Even radical question like:

“Is Eritrea really necessary? Can’t we just be part of Tigray or Ethiopia? Can the Eritrean people really co-exist together? What do I, as _______ have in common with ______? I actually have more in common with ________”, were asked and answered decades ago.

So, what is it that the youth are asking that haven’t been asked and answered by the Schools of Thought mentioned above? If it is a case of “well, I agree with their questions and the answers, I just don’t have faith in their ability to lead”, remember: people come, organizations go, but values are permanent. We are asking the leaders to be transitional leaders and transfer their knowledge and experience to a new generation so they don’t keep reinventing the wheel, or building houses on a sand. Besides, this is deja vu: over a decade ago, “the youth” said the same thing and formed EYSC, which was supposed to transcend everything we do not like about our political organizations: fragmentation on the basis of the usual fracture lines. Where is EYSC now?

In organizational psychology, there is a new concept called “radical candor”, which is very different from “brutal honesty.” Radical candor says the most effective way to lead or to follow is to (a) care personally and (b) challenge directly. If you are not personally vested in the success of leaders, and if you are unable to follow, you can’t challenge effectively and bring the desired outcome. On the other hand, if you challenge directly but don’t care personally, your behavior is mistaken for obnoxious aggression and rejected.  Besides, why is it that these Eritrean leaders (Arkan!) are only praised when they are dead? Appreciate them when they are alive, then you can challenge directly. But nobody is going to give up on the tried and true for the untried and untrue.

V. What About The Social Movements & Civil Society?

A government is a composition of political parties. It is not a collection of individuals (concerned or otherwise); it is not civil society (professional associations, cultural institutions, religious institutions, advocacy groups.) In fact, the very definition of civil society is “organizations not affiliated with government.” However, since some Eritrean “civil society” are political organizations masquerading as civil society, since the success of the GiE requires that nobody feels left out,  the National Taskforce Team (NTT) envisions a role for them and “esteemed individuals” in the Government-in-exile. This is an outcome of the feedback from Eritreans responding to the GiE proposal. (Refer to the Concept Note.) Otherwise, a civil society is supposed to keep a watchful eye on the government, not be part of it!

VI. Why “Unity Government”?

A fairly intelligent friend actually thought that unity government means working on uniting ELF and EPLF.  Heavens, no.  If she mistook its meaning, chances are others have: it is actually the opposite. It is asking the ELF and EPLF Schools of Thought: please do not give up your beliefs, stand for your principles because your constituencies believe in what you stand for. Do not give up the demands of your constituents for the sake of faux-unity that won’t stand the test of time. Safeguard it, fight for it. Just make sure to serve your people by forming a partnership because, on your own, you don’t represent the entire people of the nation and without negotiating in goodwill you will achieve nothing but standstill.

VII. But Why GiE? Why Not An Umbrella or United Front?

At NTT, we are convinced a Government-in-Exile is the answer to the total absence of legitimacy of the Government-in-Power, which continues to enter into ruinous relationships with Ethiopia, UAE, Saudi Arabia using our name. We strongly believe that we owe it to history to say that there were two governments for a period of time and one of them rejected all the secret treaties, all the adventurous wars when the bill comes due to future generations of Eritreans.  Remember, a GiE would not be necessary if a GiP had not totally and completely betrayed the promise of our Revolution.  We also believe, strongly, that a GiE will enable us to speak with unified voice and help the world to separate the pretenders and posers from the true advocates. But, at the end of the day, whether we have a government or an umbrella organization is the decision of the people and the leaders we will elect. What matters is that (a) we, not fringe groups, own what it means to be an Opposition (one that, at minimum, accepts the formulas for peaceful co-existence, uncompromising position on Eritrean sovereignty and the righteousness of its Struggle for Self-Determination that were argued and settled by the historic organizations); (b) we in exile present a less ominous and less threatening face to our comrades-in-struggle inside Eritrea who, ultimately, are the stakeholders who have to live with the decisions that are being made.

VIII. Who Is Going To Be The President?

I was once asked, jokingly, “who is your Shelebi?” I had dismissed this question as entirely hypothetical but since people might be serious about the question, the answer is (a) there will not be a president but a Chairperson of Executive Council and (b) I have absolutely no idea: that is a decision for the CC. While we are on the subject, one of the requirements of being a member of the National Taskforce Team is to NOT be a contender for the Executive Council. Hope that answers another question that may or may not have been asked. While we are on the subject of answering the unserious questions, no, this has nothing to do with Weyane and those who say the “defeat of Weyane” and the “GiE” are related are the same people who say the arrival of Abiy in a town is related to rainfall. In logic, that is called the false cause fallacy: if A preceded B, it doesn’t mean A caused B. But for those who see that there are no accidents, no coincidences and everything is synchronized, and for those who have allowed Weyane to live rent-free in their head for decades, trying to explain this is a lost cause.

IX. What Is This Thing About NTT Members Who Want To Remain Anonymous

When we started NTT, we had to start with people who understood the urgency of getting started. Some had said they want to do the work but for reasons we found acceptable, they could not be public. But equally understandable is the people’s demand that ALL NTT members be transparent. So, the anonymous members have become advisors and the NTT is now in the process of replacing them using the same criteria it has outlined in the Concept Note. We will update the people on the make-up of the entire NTT which is now composed of myself, Samuel Emaha, Dr. Almaz Zerai and Habteab Yemane. NTT is under no illusions that it has all the answers and it will continue to have conversations with all stakeholders because the objective is a government that enjoys the support of the people.

X. What Can I Do?

First, we would like to thank all those who have praised us and criticized us and given us the platform to share our views.  If you want to volunteer your services, you can reach us at eritreangovernment@gmail.com.   Yes, we will have an EriGie website too. The Opposition is composed of human beings with human frailties. Some are afraid to try something new, fearing failure. Some are afraid of trying something new because they think they are being asked to leave their comfort zone. Encourage them, support them, and challenge them directly and respectfully. At the end of the day, all politicians want to make sure they have the support of the people. Show them by words and deeds that you will support such an endeavor which is the least we can do to bring relief to the long, long-suffering Eritrean people. If you are an organization, endorse the proposal. The time was yesterday, but yesterday is gone, so let’s do it today!

About Salyounis

Saleh Younis (SAAY) has been writing about Eritrea since 1994 when he published "Eritrean Exponent", a quarterly print journal. His writing has been published in several media outlets including Dehai, Eritrean Studies Review, Visafric, Asmarino and, of course, Awate where his column has appeared since the launch of the website in 2000. Focusing on political, economic, educational policies, he approaches his writing from the perspective of the individual citizens' civil liberties and how collectivist governments and overbearing organizations trample all over it in pursuit of their interests. SAAY is the president and CEO of a college with a focus in sound arts and video games and his writing often veers to music critique. He has an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BA from St Mary's College.

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  • Amanuel Hidrat

    ሰላም ዓወታውያን,

    እዛ አብታሕቲ ተቀሚጣ ዘላ ጥቅሲ አብ ሶሻል ሚድያ እየ ረኺበያ:: ንዓአ ምስ አንበብክዋ ነቲ “መንግስቲ አብ ስደት” ንካተዓሉ ዘለና አዘኪራትኒ:: እታ ሰዓት ናይ “መንግስቲ ኣብ ስደት” ሰዓታ ሕጂ እያ ክብል ጀመርኩ:: ሓደ ዕላማ ኣብ ሰዓቱ ክንገብሮ እንተዘይ ኪእልና ኸአ ዘምጽኦ ክስረት ብዙሕ’ዩ:: እዛ ጥቅሲ ምስ ስምዕታኣ ተዛኻኽረና አላ:: እሞ ሓደራ አዳዳ ክስራን ከይንኸወን ነዚ መድረኻዊ ጽውዒት ብሓባር ንበገሰሉ::

    “እታ ሰዓት ሕጂ እያ! ጽባሕ ዋግኣ ከባድ እያ፥ ኣይንኽእላን ኢና!” (ዮሃንስ ኣልማዝ”

    ምስ ሰላምታ
    አ. ሕድራት

  • haileTG

    Selamat Awatista,

    As a last link for this weekend, here is a DW (dimtsi woyane) news caster fighting back tears as she read out an item on Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s anguish about the plight of his folks in Tigray. If you you’re not watching the whole thing, watch just a minute and half between 8:11 – 9:54

    Empathy doesn’t wait for a convenient to be expressed!

  • Brhan

    Merhaba Saay,

    Thank you for the update. It is well written and to the point.

    My question to NTT is that if it has a strategy with regard to the public opinion. I believe GiE is getting attention and day after day the number of members of the public is increasing due the coverage of the social media to the issue and of course the news release and the VOA coverage have boosted its publicity. But as you know these days we are bombarded by the news of the war in Tigray and Eritrea’s involvement there. I find many people very occupied by the news to a degree you find persons who still do not have an awareness of the initiative. There are of course persons who balance their exposure to the two issues and are able to prioritize GiE while still reacting with the news of the war. Also add to this the regimes method of distraction where it releases info to divert the public opinion. So, is there any strategy to NTT or what is your take on this?

    • saay7

      Thanks Brhan

      Our outreach strategy includes holding weekly meetings with ad-hoc groups and influencers and weekly media interviews. One of our members has an interview with SBS that will air soon.

      As you know, there is a such as overexposure if the explanation is not matched with corresponding action and we are trying to pace ourselves.

      The issue of Tigray and how much it absorbs from Eritreans attention is what it is and in many ways it’s very understandable. After all it’s a war theatre which involves tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters.



  • A.Osman

    Selamat Saay,

    So far so good, the idea of the school of thought is quite clear and well crafted to bring the majority of Eritreans onboard on representation while containing the political parties into two blocks temporarily The public support so far is quite encouraging and with this article, hopefully the youth organizations are convinced and supportive to it.

    One thing that is not clear to me from following GiE formation process here at Awate and partly in fb, if the particular individuals/organizations encouraged to take a lead under the ELF and EPLF historical beloging/school of thoughts have started to take steps. It is creating an opportunity that will be foolish to ignore.

    Hopefully, after the NTT dissolves itself, an advisory role is formed by CC or EC to keep you and your team members onboard.


    • haileTG

      Dear A.Osman, so nice to hear from you. Hope all is well!

      • A.Osman

        Thank you Haile TG, all is good on my end, except 2021 has been the busiest so far with no breathing space, Hopefully we hear you join the NTT soon or at the least you keep it up with the excellent idea you share here.

        • haileTG

          Hey A.Osman,

          That is good to hear (just wondering how your 2021 turned out busy for you, hasn’t Mr. Covid made it to your neck of the woods yet:-) kof’yu z’fetu).

          Yes, helping the GiE is an exciting prospect, so far I am impressed by the quality of their selections of NTT team. I would like them to continue combing the Erispora far and wide to get the best of the best. I would sure be helping the GiE drive in many ways they see fit. Due to my early higdefite beginnings, I was sadly programmed to only be a work horse and not look for fancy positions (else I would’ve attracted the suspicious attention of Abraha Kasa 🙂

          • A.Osman

            Selam HaileTG,

            Ewe haqikha Mr Covid nkhulatna aygedefenan, kof ilka sirah ember koynu alem. Hiji kea nay South Africa nay India da belu nab kalAy kolel keEtiwuna iyom. Yimharena iyu zibehal negeru

    • saay7

      Selamat AOsman:

      Yes, the process has started. But I am not telling you something you don’t know if I tell you the process is not going as fast as it should. The issues I outlined are real: the political blocs can own them and serve their constituents, or, in the interest of faux-unity bury them under the carpet and yield the issues to fringe elements of our society.

      It’s up to the two blocs which means it’s up to their constituents to pressure them to stay true to their principles. We all know what has happened in the last 20 years when the elite, intoxicated by feelings of goodwill and throwing caution to the wind abandon the issues of their constituents: they become hollow organizations with no followers. This will make our differences issue-based (horizontal) instead of religious and ethnic (vertical.)


      • A.Osman

        Selam Saay,

        Positive response from ENCDC Chairman Negash @ 25mins and 58mins, there may be more as I did not finish it. – if link is not allowed check AAN News (26/04/21)


        1:19 covers the issue of Assenna and NTT.


  • haileTG

    Selamat saay,

    ወዲ ነብሪ ልኢኽካ’ስ ድቅስ ሕደር!

    Thanks for this timely clarifications. I would say this one would add another mile of depth to our understanding of the setup and processes involved in this amazing project.

    The public enthusiasm and media interest being shown attest to the fact that GiE is now a right idea at the right time. On Friday, the EU de-committed 120 million Euro assistance earmarked for nine projects in Eritrea. The reason was that the regime has failed to show interest on carrying out the projects. It only started one of them and left it unfinished. It frustrated the personnel attached to the projects and now diverted the national priority to a major and unlawful war in Tigray. The EU split the money meant for Eritrea to SS, Somalia and Sudan. That is what a regime that has lost legitimacy to govern looks like in practice.

    Just like we get daily covid infected and covid deaths tally, if we were to get daily tallies of Eritreans wounded and killed in Tigray, many of the regime supporters would have no where to hide. But, we should imagine it and thereby appreciate the urgency and seriousness of this initiative of GiE.

    Thanks for the email to reach our Eritrean Government at.

    Thanks saay

  • Amanuel Hidrat

    Dear Saay,

    On your three consecutive articles on the GIE, the second is better than the first, the third is better than the second, in clarity and to answer many possible questions along the way. Well done. Now I have few questions for more clarity on the proposal as a project.

    – On your number (II) in explaining the ELF and EPLF as “organization” and as “value system”, you have said :

    “ While Jebha and Shaebia are historical entities, and they happen to be the two Eritrean trunks–ELF: 1961-1981; EPLF: 1971-1991–they have given birth to many branches. The call now is to focus on the trunks and not the branches.” Your call is on the “trunks” and not on the branches. Now, how NTF will handle on the offshoot organizations that are not part of the ENCDC, say for instance EPDP?

    – On the “Concept Note” (I) (b): you have said “the Executive Council (EC) will be ratified by, but not from within, the CC. Instead, the Directors who make up the EC will be nominated by a joint commission of NTT and CC, and then will be ratified (or rejected) by the CC.”

    Is there any difference between “Executive Council” and “Directors” or are they same exchangeable nomenclature for one identifiable structure of GIE?

    – On social movements and civil societies (V):

    You are right that they should be part of the process. But like the NTF they should neither be part of the “government in exile” nor does part of the Assembly. They should be strictly the watch dog of the GIE. Civil society as one of the three pillars of the “state” the other two being “ the government” and “private sector” each of which has its own mandate to maintain the balance of power of the state,

    – On about the Youth (IV) : You have said: “ I agree with their questions and the answers, I just don’t have faith in their ability to lead”. Youth is relative, and the youth group we are talking about is the age group of Samuel Amha and Habteab Yemane the generations that follows our generation (the ghedli generation). If they are knowledgeable and some from their generations are working as members of NTF, then why do you lose faith in their ability to lead? What good qualities of the old generation are not transferred to the generation of, say for instance, to the generation of Samuel Amha?

    With respect,
    A. Hidrat

    • haileTG

      Merhaba Aman,

      I thought saay was referring to the many youth organizations as EYSC, not individual youth. This week we learned about Eritrean Professors leading the Pfizer group and one becoming top USA scientist. And Daniel Teklehaimanot’s success. No doubt the Eritrean youth are the best on individual scale.

      • Amanuel Hidrat

        Selam Hailat,

        If the EYSC have failed, the leaders of the political orgs also have failed to be an alternative force to the Eritrean regime so far. I hope with this platform “GIE” will see a change in their willingness to welcome the proposal and cooperate with the NTF. Second, I look forward to learn more about the Eritrean professors leading the Pfizer group.


        • A. D. White
        • haileTG
          • Berhe Y

            Selamat HaileTG, and Amanuel,

            I am not sure if you read the news but President Biden nominated Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, to be the new director of science in the federal department of Energy.



          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Hailat,

            What a delightful success story it is! Dr Asmeret Asefaw Berhe who will hopefully be member of the Biden’s administration as director of science on the Energy dept and Dr Aida Habtezion as CMO of Pfizer made us to be proud on their success. And yes Alewana, to use the word of our late Dr Russom. Thank you Hailat.


          • Brhan

            Hello Amanuel,

            This is good news. And they can be voice to the voice less. I read in another source that Dr. Asmeret and Amanuel Asrat, the Eritrean journalist and poet, (who was arrested in 2001 and is believed still to be detained in a maximum security prison in Eritrea) graduated the same year from the same university: Asmara University.
            With the new US adminstration that is paying so much attention to the issue of human rights, having Dr. Asmeret, in the adminstation is an asset to raise the issue of human right abuses in our country.

          • Aman Y.

            Selam Haw Amanuel,

            Per you and Saleh J’s. suggestions to combine my comments, I just finished and sent it and the title is going to be GiE: Integrative discourse for Eritreans. I am a little concern on their out reach to all Eritrean sectors. And it is not advisable for them to decide and organize the NF and GiE as centralized . There might be a reason for that. Personally, I do not know the NTF members except Saleh. There might be a reason for that to. I was a business man once, and branding and marketing are very crucial for success.
            “Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”

            EYSC did not fail but morphed in to Yiakle. I was a founding member of EYSC and it was an awaking like never seen. The challenges on the the embassies, the birth of Arbi Harnet, the involvement in Wedi Ali are a few to mention. I was a founding, and an Ex. candidate of Yiakl as well. And now I am excited with GiE.

            And Yiakl has been working on its next metamorphosis stage. I hope GiE would a viable habitat to sustain. Improve and take our people to peace.

            No one failed, we just tried again and again. And we are trying now. Did we individually fail. If they failed it could be because we did not participate. And if GiE is to succeed we have to be able to make others participate as much as possible. Even if it takes 5 days on the phone.

            Please take it as a constructive criticism. This is a gentle effect remainder for NTF to entertain the integrative approach.

            On the bright side, thank you for the news about Dr. Asmeret and Dr. Aida. Dr. Asmeret had a long advisory talk with my son as he was deciding where to go for college. What a boost for our young ones. She was my younger sisters batch and first batch of Asmera University after 1991. And most of that batch achieved tremendously.

            Have a nice rest weekend.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Aman Y.,

            I am glad you structured your views in an article format. Hopefully to continue as one of the contributors of Awate. Second, I believe the NTF are working hard to familiarize the project and to find full support from the political organizations and civil societies. The task is a huge overtaking, and if we can not coalesced to this unifying idea, we are not worth of anything politically. I mean it. Because for over 20 years many ideas and proposal are failed, not of their impracticality, but of personalty clashes. At this point, myself I will take any proposal that unify the opposition camp even with some reservations. Third, however the Yeakil metamorphosed (either to civil society or political organization) along the way, they are part of the process, and I will keep advocating for them to have a big role in the process. Forth, Eritrean “individualism” is always successful as we have seen with the two exemplary doctors, but are always failures on “collective endeavors”. I hope we will improve with our young generation. So continue with your constructive criticism as a tool in our collective endeavors.

            Looking forward to read your article,

            A. Hidrat

          • Aman Y.

            Selam Haw Amanuel

            Indeed a coalescing idea! NTF has to work hard to sale the project and to find full support from the political organizations and civil societies. Of course, The task is a huge undertaking, and it has to be done differently.

            The organizational charts with the council, cc, executive hierarchy makes one feel go back to the centralized tyranny era . Let’s
            not make it like doing the same thing again and again and expect a different result.

            I talked to a few of the opposition leaders and they sounded as if they haven’t heard much about GiE. Besides, these are organizations with short and long term plans. Infarct, one of them informed me his organization was already able to present their post Isaias programs and policies to the state department. And he asked me what is the name change going to serve them. My response was at least it will unify the Diaspora Eritreans and give hope to our people back home.

            On the Yiakl, it would be better if it stays close to the people side and may be change its name to Peoples Representative in Diaspora/Exile.

            Per the personal clashes GiE has to appropriate individuals and organization their share in the struggle. It is like in the bible the same way organs work in the body, every one has their function in a group.

            And on individualism, you reminded me of Wedi Vacaro. Infarct, I wish we could produce some one to represent አቦይ ኢብራሂም ሱልጣንን አቦይ ወልደአብ ወልደማርያም for this campaign.


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Aman,

            “I talked to a few of the opposition leaders and they sounded as if they haven’t heard much about GiE.”

            I don’t know who the opposition leaders you spoke to but don’t you think the problem is of the opposition leaders and not NFT.

            If they are not reading Awate.com or watch Eritrean popular YouTube channels or VOA, or EBS and several live discussion channels…

            If someone actually calls himself or herself as Eritrean opposition leader, committed and serving the people, don’t you think at least (through many different channels they have) should at least know what’s going on?

            Talking or sending document to the state department is not really a big deal. I don’t know now, but there was actually publicly listed phone number of the country desk officer that one person can just pick up the phone abs call and speak with the desk officer, for example responsible for Eritrea. That will take your call or call you back if you leave a message. It’s their job to speak to you. That doesn’t mean, they will agree to all you ask or they act on all what you propose but they will actually listen to you.

            So I don’t know what the big would be, can’t he say something like this:

            “By the way you remember me: my name is x and I spoke to few months ago. I am a leader of x opposition party where I send you my party program post the UA regime. We had since then met with most of the opposition in exile and we have formed a government in exile which the following programs and plans. I will send you this new updated program which has the support of all members and including my party. I would be happy to talk to you more about and see how we can collaborate and work together.”

            I am not trying to minimize their efforts but I think some of them they take themselves too seriously.


          • Saleh Johar

            Berhe Y.,
            Both of you might have a different list of the opposition leaders. Maybe he didn’t talk to the ones you have in mind. I wish he mentioned the leaders of the “organizations” he asked. I am certain that there is no political opposition party leader who doesn’t know about the GiE. There are many civic leaders and movements who I have talked to personally. But if by now, no one knows about it, after all the campaign and information drive, they must be missing in action and as you said, they don’t follow the news and discussions.

          • haileTG

            Hey SGJ,

            I think you’re forgetting one opposition who might have not heard of GiE – our Aba and monks in Debre Bizen 🙂

          • Saleh Johar

            Are you sure HaileTG? I think someone sent them a telegram and then a fax 🙂

          • Aman Y.

            Selam Ahwat Berhe, Haile and Saleh,

            What I wrote was “they sounded as if they haven’t heard much.” I did not mean to say they did not hear at all. My approach would have been to have them engaged and have a give and take discussion with them. My feeling is if GiE doesn’t work for us, nothing will. Sorry if I sound pushy or emotional.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Aman,

            Thank you for clarifying, sorry if I misunderstood what you mean. Yes, it’s up to all off us to do our best to move forward.


          • Aman Y.

            Selam Haw Berhe

            First of all what you suggested to the task force is plausible. Yes they need to take care of them selves and may be add and diversify them selves with more people.

            The introduction by AAN was helpful to those of us who did not know the NTF except SAAY. Popularity crucial to garner support. I was first to suggest SAAY to lead his initiative. And the presenter did not need to say all those insults to who ever he thinks opposed the initiative. It does not serve the purpose of unifying Eritreans.

            “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” This saying has been attributed to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Holy Roman …

            To come to your questions the opposition leaders are those SAAY mentioned on his VOA interview. I do not think it would be wise for them to hear on the radio and com running to GiE. NFT has to engage with them.

            Infact, I suggest Awate add “Engage’ to its Inform, Inspire, Embolden and Reconcile vision.

            About two years ago. I asked one politician why they did not engage at “Yiakl” his response was አብ ስሩሕ ጸብሒ እንዳተዓደምና፡ ገሌና ሽኮርያ ገሌና ኸአ ደም ብዝሒ ገሊኡ ኽአ … ሕማም ሒዙ ከመይ ጌሩ መአዲ ይቕረብ ነናቱ ክቕረበሉ የድሊ።

            What I was informed was beside discussing document to the state department they also giving some kind of consulting about the war in Ethiopia. You know they always want to hear from the affected. May be it’s not much but its something.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Aman,

            I should not dwell too much on the negative if that’s how I appear to be. I also am not trying to down play their role but I find it a bit surprising they don’t know about it GiE so far.

            If you know some of the opposition leaders and if you know there are those who haven’t been invited for what ever reason, please by all means, make all your efforts to make sure they know about it. eritreangovernment@gmail.com


          • Berhe Y

            Dear Aman,

            With regards to Personally, I do not know the NTF members except Saleh. There might be a reason for that to
            AAN had covered the NFT members.



    • saay7

      Selamat Emma:

      ክብረት ይሃበለይ ኣያ ኤማ:)

      1. It’s not a perfect solution but a “will do” solution: we are saying 2 blocks are better than 30 and they are definitely better than 1. We are saying align with a block that represents even 51% of your values, on all the issues that matter to your constituents.

      2. The body is the Executive Council and the personnel who head the offices of the executive council are Directors who are headed by a Chairperson. We are trying to avoid terms like cabinet and president and Vice President. We want the know-how not the ego 🙂

      3. You are right, In principle (and per dictionary) civil society is not part of the government: it’s actually a watchgroup over a government. But we conceded this point in the interest of having a body that checks and balances the two political blocs.

      4. I was paraphrasing what the youth say about the leadership of the political blocks. I am saying even if you have no faith in the leadership, remember they are transitional figures and you have to join and take over instead of boycotting, or even worse, creating parallel organizations and throwing away institutional knowledge. I am also saying to the youth who blame the opposition for failing, we all own the failure and the youth (if they are candid with themselves) own it too. I am not big on fetishizing the youth.


  • Bayan Negash

    Dear Sal Y.,

    Chief Explainer, indeed. I simply wanna say many thanks for rising to the occasion for giving Eritreans a chance to keep their priorities in order. This Frequently Asked Questions will go a long ways in reiterating the intention of GiE. The latter is having this phenomenal feeling where one is seeing it live as it is not only being hatched but also evolving to something monumentally important historical marker that Eritreans will live to remember as the pivotal moment in opposition movements. Nobody can calibrate the wheels into a well oiled machine better than you. Keep it up, bro!