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The Unusual Absence Of Isaias Afwerki

Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has not made a public appearance since March 28, 2012 when he received the credentials of the incoming ambassador from South Africa. Given that his appearance is the daily diet of the State media, this has, understandably, fueled speculation that he is either seriously ill or even dead. Yesterday, Eritrea’s Ministry of Information issued a statement claiming that the president’s health is “robust” and that the rumors of his failing health are propagated by the CIA. There is wildly conflicting information from sources which awate.com considers highly reliable: some say he is critically ill; others say he is dead; still others are in a total state of confusion. As of today, this is what we know:

(a) Isaias Afwerki suffers from a serious liver ailment. This ailment is, no doubt, exacerbated by his heavy drinking. A US Embassy cable of October 20, 2009 reporting on the activities of the Chinese embassy in Asmara reports (wikileaks) that “Isaias ate little during the meal but drank almost a whole bottle of high-proof Moutai, becoming visibly inebriated.” This ailment requires medical attention only available outside the country. Between the winter of 2010 and the end of 2011, Isaias Afwerki traveled to Qatar seven times. These “state visits” are often appointments with his physician.

(b) Isaias Afwerki is omnipresent in the State media. Whether he is receiving guests, presiding over Cabinet of Ministers meeting, or conducting “inspection tours” throughout Eritrea, the image of Isaias Afwerki is a fixture in the state media and, most of the time, the media lead their reports with his activities. That he has not made an appearance since March 28, 2012 is highly unusual.

(c) This is not the first time there have been rumors about his health—but this is the first time that the Ministry of Information took the unusual step of denying it. According to our sources, this has to do with the fact that his absence had begun to create agitation among the Eritrean Defense Forces. The denial by the Ministry of Information is unlikely to quell the speculation since the report was not accompanied by new clips but old videos of the President in a state of “robust health.”

(d) There has always been tension between the “civilians” and the “military” hierarchy of the ruling party—a tension which Isaias Afwerki stroked expertly. The “civilians”—Yemane Gebreab (“monkey,” the presidential adviser/political director of the ruling party), Yemane Gebremeskel (“Charlie,” the Chief of Staff of the President’s Office), Hagos Gebrehiwot (“Kisha,” the economic director of the ruling party), Abraha Kassa, (the National Security Chief), Ali Abdu (Minister of Information) along with Sebhat Ephrem (the Defense Minister), have formed an emergency committee (now derisively referred to in Asmara as a junta or a Derg), to deal with any emergency from the corrupt and autonomous generals and colonels. Some of their pre-emptive strikes include confiscation of cell phones from officers and re-assignments.

(e) For whatever it is worth, in his New Year Address, Isaias Afwerki had announced a plan to restructure the government by the end of the first quarter (31 March, 2012.)

(f) Asmara-based embassies have received no information on the whereabouts of Isaias Afwerki and they are, bewildered, sending reports to their home countries, telling them of the state of denial and confusion in Asmara.

(g) Isaias Afwerki publicly attends or presides over every official secular holiday, and privately visits the patriarch on religious holidays. (This year, like last year, the Eritrean patriarch was reportedly on a pilgrim to Jerusalem for the Easter Holiday.) There are no official secular holidays in April; the next one is in May 24,2012, commemorating Eritrean independence.

More news to follow.


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  • Kokhob Selam

    is that final and binding like Badme’s case?

  • awatestaff

    No comment, just sharing with you a sample of the junk e-mails that we receive:

    From daniel gebreselassie
    To awateteam@awate.com

    “Awate you have killed Isayas long ago you have a blood on your hand. Eritrea will not forgive you no matter what.”

    • Kokhob Selam

      poor guy, he thought he is alive by being under Isayas. who could teach him and show him being alive biological with our dignity is worst than death.

      • Kokhob Selam

        please read without dignity not with our

  • The president of state of Eritrea is a live! And he will appeared on the Eritrean tv at 19:00 gm at its been confirmed by the eri tv

  • Lilly

    Reporter asked “Where is Isaias?”
    Isaias answered “I don’t know him”
    Reporter asked again “Do you know where Isaias might be”
    Isaias answered “I don’t know him, how would I know where he might be if I don’t know him”

    is what exactly happening in the country if after his death>

    • Jonas

      Haha I remember that on his Aljazeera interview. Is this guy dead or what ? I have my chamange bottle on the table since yesterday waiting to hear the confirmation of his death.

  • Gobian Garibaldi

    Please post the last note I posted from the multiple posts of the same post above. Thanks!

  • Gobian Garibaldi


    So, people think there is a chair without a chairman in Eritrea and are either excied or worried about what will tomorrow bring. People like our comerade ‘sara’ who were and are still hypontized by the man who was in the chair and still unable to come out of it and may not come out of it before Kingdom come and follow their master to where all devils go in the hereafter:-). Little sara, I thought you crossed over to the people of democracy form the mistress of autocracy and deserved moQshish, a nice house title, a princess of the house:-). Well will give the title now to sweet Eritreawit if the Moon does not wake up soon:-)

    Back to the dead chairmain and his would be empty chair. The chairman is rumored dead and the wife is left with an empty chair that somebody has to sit on. Is there a man who can fit the chair or does she have to burry the chair with its dead chairman and make a new chair for a new chairman nobody knows where he will come from or even if he exists? Can a former slave rule or govern as good as his master who left his wife hypnotized and only knows to eat, drink, dance, and lie to please here master who is now dead? How about Obama and America? Yes, the rule of law and democracy brought Obama to the biggest chair in the world of Earthlings and he still reigns. The rule of the Jungle and tyrany brought Isaias to the biggest chair in Eritrea who is rumoured dead now.

    Could there be a little jungle-man and a despot who can still keep ruining Eritrea like his master Isaias? Who knows what wizardary the wife of the wizard can come up was in order to fill the dead wizard’s chair or one that is smaller, fit for a former slave who has neither democray nor rule of law to legalize his chair. The only way out, if the rumour stands, is to form a trasitional care-taker government that should usher another Eritrean dawn, the dawn of a constitutionally institutional and democratic Eritrea where all citizens will be governed by the rule of law and not ruled by power-mongers. If the chairmain is still alive, then, he and his queen will most likely keep rolling down the hill they climbed on the shoulders of giants and then the end will come when they hit the bottom. ‘Same old same old’ is the wrord, they do things that were done by their likes and keep doing it till they die. All is about time, about life, about death, and about the after-death, and the son of perdition will go to hell. May the Almighty bless brother man with peace and bread and help him end war and dread! Amen!

    Cheers and Peace!

  • Joseph

    I am not very positive of what can come after him, but what ever the future is, it is positive to be get ride of such a devil

    • Lilly

      nobody is sure what is next, but what is the worst can happen?

      • Jonas

        Right on ,everything worst has happned already , nothing worst will come after Isayas no matter how bad situations change.

  • sara

    tewdros gebremedhin… from ADIGIRAT who is employed by the diocese of catholic church wishes death of the president of ERITREA.
    imagine some one who earns his living from the church has this wish…. I am not surprised he is from adigrat!
    i am curious to know how many are here from adigrat…and beyond?

    • ኣባ ዳህሪ

      sara፡ ዋዕሮ
      እን ሓንሳብ የስተውዕለክ’ሞ፣ ኣጨማምታኽስ ጠለልታ ይዀነኒ ኣንቲ ለሚነይ ሓብተይ፤ ንድህለለሉ እዋንት ቐደም… ጥንቲ ቅድሚ ጥቅምቲ ሓሊፉ’ዩ በልለይ በቲ ዝስቆሮም ቝንቍናታቶም።
      ካልእ ዝባሃልስ ነይብለይ !!
      ኣኽባሪ ኣያኺ

  • Tewodros

    Isayas Afewerki the dictator must die.

  • nurhussein s

    Dear Ali Abdu what kind of a tour takes place at 3:00AM intekeberkayas?hakis biriisa intekeberkayas bichiraa twesii ?

  • nurhussein s

    Poor Ali abdu u r caught lying ¡what kind of a tour is this at 3:00am ?u reminded me of one stooge information minster of other country called Iran!!!!!

  • softy

    As for my take on this news the similarity of issyas languge and the ministry of information denial statment language indicates he is still running the show. if there was a committe formed in asmara composed of the likes of charlie and monkeys then we would have deffintely seen charlie style statments. i hope i am wrong i really hope he is not the president of eritrea anymore.

  • breakingnews

    Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki is Healthy & Sexy

  • Merahay

    He must just die to make our lives simple. It is better now than later, if we happen to have a crises on who will take over.


    Funny people! OK. Lets say it is true that the president is dead or seriously ill. Is that the jackpot you were playing for in the last 20 years? What do you expect to harvest from that? Chaos? You will never get it. What if your dream didn’t come true as your previous reports and the president is healthy and fit? Is that going to be the end of your rumour campagns? Or will you come up with more MayZeyte’ame 03 rumours?

    • Aklilu Zere

      Dear HGDEF:

      If Isaias is dead, his legacy is not.
      If chaos ensued, it is not the result of our wish (dream) but the product of his legacy.
      If he is fit, nothing good will come out of it. To Eritrean people and us in diaspora it is all the same.
      But what differentiate us from you is we never gamble with our peoples lives and aspirations.


  • reducing the whole saga of Eritrea to a one man issue is even more dangerous than all the miscalculations that has led Eritrea to where it is now…As long as the culture and the myths that has been constructed through his reign remains within Eritrean psychic non of the neighbors that have been a victim of that culture will rush to take a political risk to invest their trust on Eritrea. and it is not good to assume your neighbors don’t have ears and eyes to sense all the ill intentions Eritreans have for their neighbors specially Ethiopia. ….Of course it would have been worse had Isaise been removed 12 years ago during the last war as he would have remained as eternal hero as Che Guevara is to many south Americas….but although the last 12 years has brought some sanity to many Eritreans I have to be honest I as an Ethiopian I wouldn’t mind a few more years of reality check for Eritreans under Isias or his regime….

    • HGDEF

      What did Eritreans think evil about Ethiopia except demanding our freedom? Did we wish your Abay as you wish our Red sea? We see Ethiopia and Ethiopians as neighbors not as you would like to have Eritrea but not its people. Did we kill tens of thousands of your inocent people as you dit to us?
      It is up to us if we would have a dictator or a saint as leader. That shouldn’t be a case you can use to legitmate the brutal act of your leaders on Eritrea and trying to convince us we better have been with Enat Ager (mother land). A brutal mother. I wouldn’t even call her a step mother.

      • T. Kifle

        Zikones koynu’lo ts’n’At yehabka ayte HGDEF!!

    • Eritreawit


      you are rude and stupid to assume ERITREANS have ” Iill intentions” Isayas’s government does, and it’s only target is Meles ( his cousin) . Is it us who rub and kik out ppl who born and lived in ethiopia thier hole lives. Don’t even start with this nonesece. Thank GOD not all Ethiopians think that way. I know you likes heatefull good for nothing. And dream on it, Isays is dead, ERITREAN ppl will trive as alwys. for your info.. ISAYAS IS ETHIOPIAN. not a good one. GOD BLSS ERITREAN AND ETHIOPIAN PPL. WE WILL AHVE PEACE AT LAST.

      • Isais is Ethiopian? …so why are you blaming me for wishing our agent a long life?

    • jonas

      How did you come to that conclusion? Recent opinion polls in Eritrea perhaps? Isayas is not an elected president who really show the will of the people .It is an insult to think Eritreans are brainwashed by Isayas and they have same trait like him. Isayas is a half Ethiopian who never trusted Eritreans. Probably you don’t know this but key security positions are held by Ethiopians of Tigray origin because Isayas never trusted Eritreans and his treatment of Eritreans is selfevident. A narrow minded person like you may have witnessed the sale outs in the diaspora who adore this evil man but true Eritreans are busy trying to survive day to day or trying to escape Eritrea. So keep your delusion to yourself.

    • Zeray

      You are brainwashed by politics. Ethiopians and Eritreans are peace loving and would like to live in peace. But your non-sense politics creates a wall between the two peoples. I am an Eritrean who has many Ethiopian friends and know hundreds of them but our relationship is cordial and respectful. I can discuss and even do business with any of them without any inhibition. You politicians will destroy each other while the majority of the population will wake up to your politics and will choose to live in peace with each other. Enough to hate mongering rhetoric. The people want peace and economic freedom.

  • kaddis

    Fewsi and Sir Daniel Jones (hope ‘S’ stands for Sir:-)

    If Isaias keeps ruling Eritrea – it is a 100% proven fact the abnormality continues. I am not talking about democracy. I am talking about the Military conscription, the right to movement ( menkesakesi ), no passport, regional mess and so on. Isaias is not a normal dictator; there is none like him. So if he dies -there is definitely no possibility someone will repeat exactly what he does to Eritrea. There is a chance to be normal but if he stays there is absolutely no chance of change.

    I say – Eritrea will have a chance to be a regular African State which needs to struggle for the usual shortcomings. Corruption, fake or half cooked democracy, ethnic tensions, poverty, regional power struggle, and so on. But she will deal with it as other African nations are dealing with it; using international or regional support, the Diaspora, few restructuring, education and so on.

    So do not fear at all – his departure will give ‘Normal African State of Eritrea’ a chance.

    S Daniel Jones – I advise you and your peer Eri’s to trim your expectation of Eritrea and what you can do immediately. Let alone Eritrea – Sub-Sahara Africa industrial output is equivalent to Mexico’s. We live in the poorest neighbourhood. So do not expect a miracle if Isiaias leaves. Disappointment comes from wild expectations.

  • Eritreans all over the world!

    Eritrea is made, what remains is making a democratic ERITREA.

    It’s time for us to unite against our #1 enemy the tyrant dictator and his followers PFDJ.
    We must stop the dictator from destroying our land, our people and our culture.
    The tyrant dictator and his followers have destroyed our heroic national liberation fronts.
    ELF 1980, EPLF 1993.
    The tyrant dictator and his mercenaries have turned us against one another and against all our neighbors, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen.

    The tyrant dictator and his armed force have killed our heroes, our disable veterans, jailed our parents and our religion leaders and members.

    The tyrant dictator and his followers must go!
    – His boss (Mubarak of Egypt) is thrown.
    – His adored brother (Gaddafi) was killed like a rat.
    – The international community’s talking peace and carrying big stick [sanctions] is having an effect.
    – The Eritrean people are beginning to realize that there is no point in waiting for the regime to reform itself – that it needs to be overthrown.
    LIBYA style!
    This is the moment we must come together to save our land and our people.

    Let all our nationalities…
    Afar, bedja, Bilen, Hidareb, Kunama,Nara, Saho, Tigre, and Tigrigna stand up and fight to save our land and our people.

    Let freedom ring in Akeleguzay!
    Let freedom ring in Barka!
    Let freedom ring in Denkel!
    Let freedom ring in Hamasien!
    Let freedom ring in Sahil!
    Let freedom ring in Semhar!
    Let freedom ring in Senhit!
    Let freedom ring in Seraye!

    Let freedom ring in ERITREA!

    • HGDEF

      Tsemam Hade Derfu

  • Kokhob Selam

    if he has gone that is only a lesson for everybody. if it is true, his soul is under god unlike when he was a live he will not have that free will to do good or bad. now the question is to those alive no more to him. It is not good to talk of the died much. and good plans better to why he took him in such way. when comes to heaven and hell it is gods work and no one can interfere on his decision. but let’s pray to every one who stays in this world for those few years to get the chance of heaven. it is only ignorance of human being that makes him greedy and even criminal. lets forgive everyone who has gone from this world.

  • asmerom habte

    1. Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctk9ep1Pokc&NR=1&feature=endscreen
    2. His Mother and Brothers left USA for Eritrea.
    3- Funaral is being prepared

  • wed garza

    The cruel leader who engineering wars and disaters is nearer to his halt. The power he was mocking against all odds seems to have concluded his mission with a total failure: as nation and people. The cruelity he showed to all neighbours, world communities has isolated him to the verge of irrelevance. His existance equals to his death. Nameless and soon to be forgoten.
    He seems far worse than his ex-friend Naizghi Kiflu awaiting a blessed hand from somewhere somehow. The news of such good tidings makes many hearts rejoice and the tears of anger and frustration overwhelms the common sense. It’s our first bright date to count on, and the begining of a bright future to all of us. The oppressor seems eroded, the machine of torture finalized, the junta’s leadership will be uprooted. Soon the already deseased or the gasping to his last will be clearly shown how detested he was by all Eritreans even the zombies will soon deny him.
    Thanks the worst chapter is about to turn off and finalized its worst phase of terror in Eritrean history. We will soon breathe truth, compassion and be humanly valued.

  • asmerom habte

    this is the best gift of Isayas to Eritrea- Thank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Isayas-
    Nayzgi is waiting for you

    • Asmerom,
      I hope it is gift ,to Eritreans,like you stated it. I have a big concern ,Isaias´s death may become deadlier than when he was alive. There are a lot of angry people,not only at Isaias but at other people.The warsai in the trenches …..soldiers revolting…To a good number of people ,the uniting factor was hatred toiwards “Agames” & Amhara..and mostly fake one ,as easter comes “nationalists” in diaspora used to run to get to “Amhara & Agame” churches.This is not one of my sarcasms/satire. Ofcourse ,it has been manifestation of Eritrean tigrawot /”hizbe Tigrinya” like my tribe/region.When I see the whole picture ,I get scared .BUT , I TRULY WISH YOU ARE RIGHT AND MINE IS UNFOUNDED FEAR.

      • Jamjam

        you are just a paranoid douche bag!

  • As a human, he should not die, but this Devil, wicked worse than Joseph Kony needs to be brought to justice for all the lives he is liable. I am a Christian and I believe firmly he will be judged by Jesus, but he needs to answer many questions. he will not sleep peacefully nowhere. I mean it, nowhere and not only him, many others will follow those questions. he signed for many atrocities and others helped him. all of them are liable for those lives. remember those lives, 400 innocents who died in the Mediterannean Sea, but many miles away from their home. In times of peace no human leaves his Mom and Dad.
    We are the only sons of the Moms and Dads who suffer alone for their family fate, and we as the only survirors, we will not run from these demons who made our families perish. United always are the kids of the many religious and political prisoners and we are the kids who used to play happily in our home, yet once 20 olds we fled alone, with no one to feed us nor look after us, not even a mother, but we got united in our sufferings. Many questions and unanswered but we are Eritreans. I just realized I live one life and Abraham will not rule over my fellows nor neighbors not my family. I promise!!!

    I am heading back there once this demon is dead. And I will build a Church and I will build a mosque and I will call my old peers. I will open the borders and I will help every kid do his dream. Because I have lived my life saving my own throat and this demon because of his hatred to my own father crushed my dream, but I’m safe. If this evil is dead before justice, I will call his brothers and ask them how you are. they will say we’re as usual. I am an America, but I was born an Eritean, and I will teach the Eritrean people, no matter what, to be happy. I miss my people and hopefully, I will open the borders.
    If I cannot bring him to justice, I promise one thing to make those innocents free.

    • This time I really expect replies. I am me

      • Eritreawit

        S Daniel Jones.


  • ane

    60 alata

  • ArBi


  • Romario

    a) As usual DIA will appear on the 24 May independence day.
    b) He is granted immunity and they have to convince Eritrean people to resign from bringing him to the court of justice
    c) If he is dead, there will be crack in the rank and file of PFDJ, but the mafia group (03) will remain as driving force and core of PFDJ.
    Basically, our problem is the system that we need fundamental change not cosmetic. DIA was himself a creation of that system in 60s of Haile Selassie. Hence, we need to be vigilant in a weeks and months to come.
    Finally, I don’t watch TV Eri as it consume a lot of electricity.

    • kaddis

      Like: the electricity part

    • Jonas

      I don’t think so, Isayas’ rigime was a one man dictatorship than a party dictatorship. It was more like Gaddaffi’s rigime. Isayas to be the sole power in the country has weakened everybody else around him. PFDJ hardly met , they dont have any manifesto or ideaolgy to live by, they are just there to shelter Isayas and say yes to him.When there is no man to say yes to they are doomed. PFDJ will disintegrate and it will be interesting to see what the army will do.

  • rodab

    We may not know anything till the big day – May 24. Let’s wait patiently…
    One thing I noticed earlier today, Ali Abdu gave interview to VoA Tigrinya and he stated that PIA had a busy day yeterday visting several places around the country. I didn’t watch EriTV news today, but if they didn’t mention/show his tours, then something is definetely up.

    • awatestaff


      If you want to make any sense of what Ali Abdu said, remember, all the PFDJ and YPFDJ say: “there are 5 million Isaias Afwerkis in Eritrea.” (Never mind that nobody knows the population of Eritrea.) Same slogan that Saddam Hussein used. So all Ali Abdu is saying is “I saw a lot of Eritreans all day.” Beyond that, it is the usual hyperbole of the PFDJ. Hope this helps.

      awate staff

      • sara

        I couldn’t say it better, you are right there are 5 million eritreans/afewerkis inside Eritrea. by the way ask any Iraq now how they see the years Saddam was leading the country in comparison to almalki and co… you will not believe it… according recent poll taken by an Arab/gulf news organization 78% said Iraq/Saddam was much better than the current political system.
        Iraq is now a place for death and distraction and fractious… practically Somalia but with difference.

    • Guest

      Ali Abdu said Isias was on tour at 3:30AM. Does this make sense to you?

      • Lilly

        nop, Usually he is drank at 3:00 am