It is commonly said that there is no problem without a solutions; and dialogue is the noblest and the most mature of these solutions. Dialogue is a civilized feature in finding a solutions for problems that faces a society and the nation if [parties] agreed on that as a means [to resolve problems].
The Eritrean National conference for Democratic Change (NC) is one of the most important milestones in the history of the Eritrean people; all Eritrean opposition forces have agreed on the importance of its convening but the EPDP expressed its opposition in regards to the timing and the way the preparatory committee was selected.
After more than two months of debate on the points of differences, and almost three weeks ago, the EPDP announced its withdrawal and its decision not to participate in the conference.
I do not intend to talk about the points of disagreement between the Eritrean Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (EPDP) opinions [on one side] and between the opposition organizations and their reasoning [on the other]. I am here to make some observations and expectations if the EPDP decides to participate anew—here I will try to address some issues and I will give some proposals. But it doesn’t mean I that I can envision all the scenarios, obstacles and solutions, but this is [an attempt] to answer some questions, or to throw stone on a silent pond; the rest could be completed by the specialists, the politicians, the skilled and the experienced.
As I was sad for the leaving of the EPDP and the suspension of its participation in the NC, I was also happy for the pullout because of the impossibility of [EPDP’s] participation—in the same spirit that prevailed in relation to the situation at that time—when all attempts ended in failure. The period of break up gave the parties an opportunity to think deeply and with an open mind.
The withdrawal and the distancing gave the parties a space for reflection and offered an opportunity to review the situation far from external influences and impacts.
I had already said that the entry [of EPDP] to the NC in that tempo would have made the NC an arena for tensions between the parties involved. I also write today to clarify my observations and reflections stating my concern for the public interest and with a spirit full of optimism, derived from the deep patience and perseverance of the Eritrean people—the same premises with which I wrote in the past is the same principles that prompted me to write [today].
Before beginning to state my observations regarding the manner of participation that would culminate in the activities of the NC, let us find an answer for a question that is very important in my opinion:
Who bears the responsibility for the failure of Congress or failure of its convening?
The responsibility for failing to convene the NC lies on the shoulders of all the leaders of the EDA and all organizations, including EPDP.
Also the responsibility of its failure after it is convened would lie on the shoulders of all of them whether EPDP participates or not.
It is also expected that some will say that the participation of EPDP would be in order to disrupt the NC from the within. The answer is simply that EPDP will be held responsible by the Eritrean people.
Now let’s move into the means and proposals that would enable EPDP’s participation and also the means that must be used beginning with the decision to participate until the NC successfully reaches to the safe shores.
I. Convening an emergency meeting of the central leadership of the EDA.
- I therefore call on the leadership and organizations of the EDA, including EPDP to advance the public interest to the previous positions that have been adopted; the aspects of the difference between the parties are no longer positions that should be a hindrance on the path of the Eritrean people and its struggles.
- I repeat my call in a clearer manner for the holding of a meeting of the central leadership of the EDA where both sides would offer some concessions that would lead to [the realizing of] the wishes that the Eritrean people yearn for.
II. the stage of declaration of people’s participation in the NC
If the EPDP decides to participate, its decision does not mean a retreat, or refract, or a decision forced upon it, but a retreat that would be counted as a credit and that it yielded in response to calls by its public supporters and bases.
It also comes in response to appeals by many parties and leading figures of the Eritrean community that care about the interest of the Eritrean people. The participation of all organizations comes in response to the aspirations and longings of the Eritrean people.
The leadership of EDA and other opposition organizations
With regard to the leadership of the EDA and other opposition, they must regard the EPDP’s decision to participate at the NC an additional [factor] for more success and it comes to advance the interest of the Eritrean people against narrow organizational interests.
III. What are the procedural problems that are expected for the participation of the EPDP?
Generally it would be easy to find solutions to these dilemmas if decision came early, because more delays would mean more efforts are needed.
There are certainly many obstacles that need to be attended, such as the papers and others, but here I will focus on the issue of escalation.
The EPDP’s decision to withdraw entail’s on its members the non-participation in the process of escalation.
So far it is easy to address the issue of escalation because participation is still possible if the decision to participate comes before the end of the process of escalation and before the regions and countries elect their representatives to attend the NC; it will need a compromise formula if it came after the end of the process of escalation.
IV. the media and the best interaction with the decision to participate
As the issue of withdrawal has raised discussion and media coverage, it is also expected the decision to participate would have its share in the media channels.
This particular issue is based on the statement by the EPDP deciding to participate on the NC; this must be a concise, specific and positive without delving into the reasons for the withdrawal and the time before that. It should focus more on the reasons which caused it to modify its decision for the sake of the public interest.
People’s Party must also deal with its media channels strictly and firmly and not allow it to publish materials that would expose the struggles of the Eritrean people to risks and thus it limits and reduces the chances of success of the NC and make the media a scene of a hidden or a cold war.
2. The leadership of the EDA and other organizations:
A statement by the EDA leadership should welcome the return of the EPDP and push for the success of the NC and [the statement] should focus on the importance of the participation of all.
The leadership of the EDA and other organizations that deal with its media outlets firmly to welcome the participation and prevent any negative rhetoric regarding the [EPDP’s] decision to participate.
3. Websites and independent media outlets:
The independent media bears the greatest burden in determining what is a positive and serves the cause of the Eritrean people and what is not useful, tendentious and disruptive prior to publishing and broadcasting it to the public opinion.
V. Pre-entry to the conference rooms:
This phase will require considerable effort; apart from the preparations at various levels, there must be a preparation in spirit that goes parallel to the preparatory activities, for all participants (organizations and civil society organizations, independents) and to have everyone work and seek the success of the NC.
VI. Inside the conference rooms (NC)
In the conference hall, all sides must show a spirit of responsibility and forget the period of preparation and avoid delving into it except in the form of proposals and in the best spirit that aims to improve performance in the coming days.
I particularly recommend against the prolonging of talks and focusing in the case of the EPDP and the reasons for its withdrawal or its decision to return, because these issues have been resolved and overcome with the decision to participate and ultimate goal of all should be the success of the NC and noble achievement of the goals and desires and longings of the Eritrean people.
Finally, the success of the NC means that the only victor is the Eritrean people and the only loser is the sole regime of Isaias that is collapsing. And history will record for everyone who contributed to the success of the NC in letters of light, and Eritrea people will start a new era where the ties of its components and the political forces and organizations of civil would be bonded more firmly and start an era of coexistence, justice, equality. An era where all will maintain rights and mutual respect, and with that, the participants in the NC would have come out with decisions and recommendations that would be as a strong barried fence that protects the unity and dignity of the glory of the Eritrean people in a state where justice and law spreads.
May God guards the people of Eritrea.
This article is a translation of the roiginal Arabic translation, any inconsistency is due to translation.