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January 2, 2009

EPRF’s views on a National Democratic Struggle and Democratic Process as the main alternative to the Eritrean state affairs

Filed under: Politics — eritrearealclearpolitics @ 6:51 am

Date: June 10, 2006

Reference No: EPRF/FA 0066100059/2

 

Subject: EPRF’s views on a National Democratic Struggle and Democratic Process as the main alternative to the Eritrean state affairs 

 

Respected organizers, invited guests, guest speakers, and participants of this august political conference!

Leaving aside the past experiences and participation of the organizers in the Eritrean national democratic struggle and their future aspirations, allow me first to thank them for the opportunity and political platform they offered us in the conference. When we decided to participate in this conference, it is not because of our unquestionable conviction on the goals and outcomes of this conference or we knew who provided the funds for it, but because in principle we have been struggling for such a national conference and we wanted to use this opportunity as a platform for tackling our collective national issues in a wholesome manner.  Towards this end, we are here to contribute our ideas, share our views, learn from the views of others, and meet those who have similar views and vision as ours.

Furthermore, on behalf of those EPRF members that are operating under extremely difficult conditions inside Eritrea, I am going to present you the basic political and strategic views of EPRF under the heading of “National Democratic Struggle and Democratic Process as the main alternative to our present predicament” in a summarized manner.  Therefore, I humbly ask you to lend me your kind attention, as I would like first to explore our national state of affairs and conditions of the opposition camp, and then address the issues I have stated earlier.

 

 Ladies and gentlemen

Although it may be inevitable that Eritreans like other peoples of the world have different political views and proclivities, it should be noted that there are internal and regional conditions that makes it distinct from that of other peoples. Even though the similarities and differences of the prevailing conditions, such as the process of social formations, and state and nation building in Sudan, the United States of America, Russia, Eritrea, and so forth, could be different, there are two fundamental factors that make these nations and peoples the same.  These are:

1.  As nations, state or country they are sovereign and have people that possess indigenous or political citizenship and their own governments.

2.  As nations, state or country they have people with various political dispositions and proclivities that emanate from each nation’s internal and external conditions as well as organization of the people

 

Ladies and gentlemen

The facts that I pointed out earlier were not injected here for ideological purposes or to sanitize my speech, but to show that in the Eritrean politics in general, and in particular participants of this conference, have different political persuasions, historical backgrounds, interests, and visions.  In the history of our armed and political struggle, many positive accomplishments were brought about, mistakes made, crimes committed, and boundless hurdles surmounted. The fact that our history was not assessed in a proper and transparent manner, it is standing in the way of our progress.  Because the new generation was not empowered to replace the generations of leadership in 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, we remain captives of and ruled by our past.  If we keep on dwelling in past and use it as a watershed for our political activities and mobilization, and actions, we will remain prisoners of our past and fail to come up with a unified political package.

 

Some political hypocrites assert that refereeing to the political plans as well as short and long term targets of the present Eritrean struggle, the short term goals are geared toward changing the dictatorial PFDJ system. While the long-term goals are focused on erecting a multiparty political system based on the rule of law on its ruins, and they further argue that the struggle to achieve the goals of the long and short term programs should go hand in hand. Nevertheless, when asked to explain how the different political landmines such as those related to ethnicity, region, and religion could be addressed. They claim that this can be achieved and solved as well by introducing a “decentralized unitary government” system. That noted however, they fail to state whether the decentralized way of state or nation-building will be based on geographical, religious, ethnic, or a combination thereof. One thing that should be clear to every one of us is that what matters most is not what political conviction we had or what are put on paper and the promises that are made, but the practical behaviors of politicians, the works that are carried out and the political stand that one takes and struggled for. 

 

Ladies and gentlemen

I would like to ask you not take what I am going to say as a slap in the face or as utter disrespect of the audience.  I am sure that, among us there individual Eritreans who:

1. Are not happy with or consider tragic the independence of Eritrea;

2.  Bring first their personal interests before the interest of the people   and nation;

3. Advance sub-national interests, such as those based on ethnic, group, clan, religious, and regional affinities and proclivities;

4. Strive to advance agendas of neighboring countries, especially that of the current Ethiopian government and the Sudanese Islamic regime

5. Waste their time and resources roaming around to accomplish the agendas of the PFDJ dictatorial regime

6. Struggle to bring about a modern Eritrean civic state which is based on the rule of law, social justice, and popular sovereignty. 

 

Based on these realities, we in the EPRF, struggle passionately to establish a civic democratic unitary state where its foundation and framework is national and its tenets are democratic.  We nominate the unitary state of Eritrea that we long to see and struggle for, to be guaranteed by multi-layered levels of popular participation.  When we say ‘people’ here, it is used to encompass that which has achieved an organized and structured society that binds it’s the institutional and demographic characteristics.  The individual citizen takes the center-stage in the evolution and progress of the dynamics of the struggle.  That is why; starting from the individual, the levels of participation involves the entire citizenry.  The levels of participation, starting from the individual, includes family, village, city, district, province, in short, popular participation involves small units of people to the establishment of a free national parliament.  That is why we say that the people have to establish a free national government starting from the participation of the individual, socio-economic unit, village, city, district, and province.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

Based on the afore-mentioned political and strategic considerations and vision in relation to the realities of our nation, our neighbors, and the world, we have four fundamental political principles, and these are:

  1. At the outset of the Eritrea independence, we witnessed the establishment of a dictatorial system, and that this dictatorial system has been aborted politically, economically, socially, and culturally as a system.  Its failure is shown by its refusal to govern the Eritrean people based on the rule of law, its inability to defend the sovereignty of the country, its refusal to bring about the political sovereignty of the people, inability to uphold the equality and unity of the Eritrean people, the absence of lasting peace in the nation, and by the absence of improved economic and social life of the people as a result of its dictatorial socio-economic policies.  In short, because the regime in Eritrea exposed the existent and future interest of Eritrea and its people to negative trials and tribulations, we believe and affirm that a fundamental change should take place on its ruins and we are struggling to make this a reality.  There is a compelling condition that we do not want to pass without pointing out.  We do understand that the economic, social, and cultural gaps that exist within the Eritrean society are the cumulative outcome of a long process and that in the 15 years that the regime has been in power, there was no readiness nor the capacity on the part of the regime to narrow the lag of the disadvantaged sectors of the Eritrean society which includes all sectors of the Eritrean people both from within and without Eritrea who are leading miserable and appalling lives.  Because we know that the dictatorial regime is oppressing the Eritrean people without discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, religion, class, and color, the struggle of the Eritrean people is between those who are oppressed and the oppressor, the ruled and the ruler, and between those who are wielding power and those whose power has been taken away.
  2. Today, as a result of the huge sacrifices paid by its patriotic men and women during the armed struggle, Eritrea is free from foreign rule and an independent state. We have to be able to use the experience of our armed struggle, and build upon it in the process of transforming Eritrea into a nation of a free civic society.  It is a common occurrence that in the times of war or no-peace no-war situations, there are many political proclivities, views, and movements that attempt to erode and weaken unity of the people of a country.  Let alone in Eritrea where there are many ethnic groups, cultures, religions, this occurs also in apparently homogenous social and political organizations, sometimes in clear and sometimes in ambiguous manifestations.  There are two fundamental facts that trigger off and govern sub-national proclivities or primordial relations, into the fore of a political landscape of a given society.  The first one is fear and the second cause comes into play at times when all social forces do not have a guaranteed position and a fair and equitable representation in the system that has been established.    If there is anything that makes this different in the Eritrean case, it would be the fact that ethnic, religious, and sectarian movements had been attempted unsuccessfully as the basis of mobilization and organization while Eritrea was waging the struggle of independence.  Here, the facts on the ground are that some of the ethnic groups straddle across borders, some possess limited social and cultural developments, some have small population and live scattered in different geographical areas, and others have different religious sects within the same faith system.  What is important, however, is that Eritrea is not formed through a slow and natural organic nation building process in its political, economic, and social formations, rather it is an artificial juridical state formed by European colonial powers.  In Eritrea, there is no ethnic or religious group or province that can be considered as a nation. Therefore, we in the EPRF assert that the sub-national proclivities and relations should be addressed and dealt within the national and democratic political and social relations in a modern civic Eritream state.  The main reason why there is less participation from the young generation in particular, and the Eritrean people, in general, at a time when modern civic social revolutions are taking place is because some of the sub-national movements have been accusing certain sections of the Eritrean society of betrayal and downplaying their immense contributions and hard work.  In addition to these facts, some of the sub-national movements do not even seem to recognize Eritrea as nation, raise questions its sovereignty, demand return of political power that they think has been taken away from them without any scruples, and seem to threaten everyone that seemed not to indulge heir perspectives. We believe that because the process of Eritrean unity in diversity has not reached its highest point of development, and the fact that this would be realized with in a civic state that ensures equality, liberty, and the rule of law, one of the main goals of the current struggle should be to promote and strengthen the unity of the people and nation.  We have to organize and mobilize ourselves in such a way that this will bring about a national, democratic, and institutional guarantees to the progress we make and the victories we score.
  3.  We in the EPRF assert that any help or support that is given to us either from our people or from neighbors should come without any political or security pressures and conditions. We choose to struggle without making strategic mistakes and gambling with strategic dangers.  We are against the use of foreign forces to overthrow the PFDJ regime for we believe that our internal problems should be solved through the initiative, agendas, decisions, and the conscious participation and free will of Eritreans.  We oppose those who espouse the use of foreign forces to solve our internal national problems. The relations that we have and we may wish to have with our neighbors should be based on equality and mutual respect.  To accomplish this natural relation, the identification of the temporal and future interests of the regimes and peoples of the neighboring countries is very importance to us in order to avoid the pressures that come from neighbors and establish mutually cooperative and beneficial relationships.  A mechanism of physical and mental barriers or red-tape that would safeguard our independent decision making process in our dealings and wheeling with our neighbors should be in place. We know that the red-tape that should not be crossed can be directly or indirectly crossed in certain situations.  This, we know, could happen because some organizations are formed and financed by neighboring countries and the fact that some politicians may fall into this kind of trap to gain material and other support to make up for their weakness and shortcomings.  If these two factors are materialized, the potential of making a free decision by politicians or political organizations without external political interference is compromised, and they may end up being mercenaries than serving their very cause.

4. We in the EPRF have been engaging the Eritrean public and suggesting solutions to the former Eritrean National Alliance (ENA) and the newly formed alliance– EDA not by pointing out the weaknesses of its program, but by provoking them to improve and do more after we have asked ourselves of what we can bring into the table through our writings in the mass media. The EDA wants other movements that are opposing the government of Eritrea to accept it and struggle within it.  Failing to do that, these movements outside the EDA are seen as tools of the dictatorial regime.  And now, some of its members have recognized the movements as the first ones that have to be gotten out of the way or neutralized.   When we assess the experiences we had with many members of the umbrella organization (EDA), first, they sneered at us.  Then they tried to exclude us from the political arena.  And finally, they have rolled up their sleeves to challenge us.  We have understood and made proper assessment that these political attitudes are a reflection of their failure to meet the challenges that bedevil our nation.

 

This alliance should be able to engender the principles of a democratic front and should be able to uphold national principles and core values. This alliance should not be an umbrella for shielding and hiding those with ethnic, clan, religious, regionalist, agendas and bitter and opportunistic individuals with personal political issues and proclivities.  It should not divide one ethnic group or another into two based on religious grounds.  For example, if the EDA accepts the Renaissance Party (Hzb al-nahda) as a movement representing the Jeberties, and divides the Tigrinya ethnic group into two based on religious grounds, this will set the dangerous precedence of division for other ethnic groups for many of the Eritrean ethnic groups, such as the Tigress, Sahos, Bleins, Kunamas, and so on, regardless of the percentages of Christians vs. Moslems compositions within each ethnic group. The EDA will make excuses about why it accepted the Renaissance Party because, its say, it fulfilled the criteria by which membership in the umbrella group is obtained.   Here, the EPRF has a grave concern pertaining to the negative social effect and legal implications that this would entail and the dangerous precedence that this would set for our future.  What yard-stick can we take that this divisive and exclusionist way of dealing of the EDA with such issues as to consider them as working for the benefit and salvation of our people and the Eritrean nation while it continues to impart its destructive effect in dealing with our national affairs while we are watching the impact of this taking place before our eyes with folded hands?

 This Alliance has to be able to find a collective leadership that are competent enough to deal with up-to-date world politics with dedication, personal sacrifices, dexterity, accountability, and transparency by introducing institutional methods and structures of handling our national affairs.  This Alliance should be an alliance that has strict revolutionary discipline for its members and leadership by having a code of conduct that introduces criteria and binding rules and norms of political behavior.  This alliance should have an internal democratic life that enables both its members and the general public to participate with relative ease and should bring to end its secretive and conspiratorial way of handling the business of the nation.  The alliance should construct a revolutionary structure that is rooted on the people at an appropriate level.

 This alliance should be able to work with civic societies without any preconditions and reservations and with accountability and transparency.  Because the Alliance’s historical background and nature does not allow it to accomplish what I have been saying, the national and democratic forces should be able to openly unite so that we can avoid collective failure.  The EPRF had earlier said that the ENA and now the EDA would fail because of the contents of its charter, the methodology it employed in its activities, its organizational structure and formation; and what we said has more or less occurred.  While they know and admit that they have failed, they look at us with vengeance and hatred because we predicted that they would fail and that this has come to be true.  Most importantly, because the structures of the ENA and EDA were designed for getting hold of political power, it could not go beyond holding meetings, conferences, and passing resolutions.  The normal question that is so often raised is: ‘what is the alternative to the EDA?’  The answer to this question is simple: the alternative is to introduce institutional frameworks that makes it possible to bring about mechanisms where the unity of the entire Eritrean population is strengthened and the people are made able to participate under a political program and political platforms that reflect today’s realities and rooted it on popular participation under a leadership that is dedicated, competent, democratic, and transparent that would not be held hostage by what happened in the past. Because this kind of struggle positively influences the Eritrean people and the international community and attracts the attention of democratic and powerful nations, human rights advocacy groups and activists, and other international organizations in a positive light and progressive manner as a result of its modus operandi, organizational structure, transparency, and principled contents of its political vision, it is highly expected that they will support it.  The most important thing, however, is that the Eritrean people will actively participate in its fight to bring about constitutional and institutional liberal democracy, civic liberties, unity and equality in our diversity, and the supremacy of the rule of law in tangible and concrete terms.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

We in the EPRF believe that the national democratic revolution and a democratic process are the only alternatives to challenge and address our current national affairs; we passionately strive to translate this convection into reality.

 

First Strategy:

 It is needless to underscore that the first goal and responsibility of the Eritrean opposition is not to replace but it should be to remove the prevailing dictatorial system that has been established in our country. In other words, the national democratic struggle of the opposition camp should be geared toward the removal of the dictatorial PFDJ regime.  The nature of the struggle that should be waged now has to be a modern civic social revolution, and be focused on creating a civic nation and the necessary political frameworks for its organization and function. The struggle should neither embrace nor be the concern of a particular social strata, ethnic group, religious denomination, region, or individual.  In its organizational framework, it has to be democratically participatory and embrace popular culture in its modes of operation.  It should be inclusive, transparent, and open to all national democratic elements, organized political entities, nationalities, civic societies, associations, social movements, and the like based on the foremost interest of our unity in diversity, harmony in equality, social justice under the rule of law, institutionally and constitutionally pluralistic politics, which are the bases for the creation of a civic modern Eritrean nation.  Although the struggle concerns all stake holders of the nation as it is a means of getting rid off oppression and freeing those who suffer under the yoke of tyranny, this mainly concerns whose who are in the army who are directly affected by the regimes oppression, workers, farmers, refugees, and all our people living inside and outside Eritrea.  

 

How can this vision be implemented in practice?

From lessons learned from our national and other world experiences, the indispensability of the honest and dedicated individual in all of our decision making processes and activities in our national democratic struggle should be firmly ascertained. In order to enhance and nurture the pivotal role of the principled, honest, and dedicated struggler, it is of paramount importance that we produce dedicated, sophisticated, and democratic cadres from both sexes.  If there are those who have the mental and the practical ability that can lead the struggle of the people and nation to victory that should be ready to make personal sacrifices by connecting their physical and spiritual ties with the people thus:

1. There should be media outlets where they can inform and awaken and rouse the people and define the dictatorial regime for what it is and what it stands for without bias.

2. By organizing the human, material, and financial capabilities of the Eritrean people and creating a well coordinated , effective, unified, democratic, suitable grounds that usher  and bring a sure victory to our people.

3. Because the struggle cannot bear fruit without an all encompassing and egalitarian organized and structured civic societies beyond the political front, they have to be used as bases and agents of change by creating civic alliances foundations to establish a modern civic nation.

4. The politics of division that has been waged on  the people–  EPLF and ELF, lowlander and highlander, Moslem and Christian have been used as a walls for hiding opportunists and reactionaries and as stumbling blocks in our democratic struggle, it has to be burst asunder with fineness, maturity, and sagacity.

5. By producing a dedicated, keen, and firm leadership that has strong popular support and ties and connections to the people.

6. Because the political, economic, social, cultural, and military strategies cannot be defined and accomplished based on the expectations and hopes from foreign support; our work-plans should be facilitated and structured based on the quantity and quality of the human resources of our society. We need to shoulder, albeit painfully, the enormous financial and other material resources and the time constraint and inconvenience that are encountered in the process.  Without these innovations, the right political structure and organization that is geared to bringing about social justice will not be guaranteed.

 

There are other short cuts that can be taken as possible alternatives to what we envisioned and outlined above and these are:

1. To wage a struggle by raising the consciousness and awareness of the national army, organizing it appropriately, and creating the right conditions suitable for it to carry out its mission.

2. Because the national army is armed and organized, there is a great possibility that it can execute a military coupe as it is in its nature to be authoritative and to hold to power itself and Eritrea may still remain a police state again.

3. The third and final way of bringing about change is to use foreign forces such as that which happened between Tanzania and Uganda in which a neighboring state will use its army machinery to help in uprooting dictatorship in order to protect its interests in the form of getting free sea outlet and other land and economic interests, calm down its domestic political and security upheavals, ensure that its political and economic interests are protected, and to subdue and exploit the Eritrean nation and its people.  This state of affairs should not be contemplated about and thought of or uttered for it is a destructive and defeatist way of bringing about change. 

 

Obstacles and challenges during the implementation process

 

1. Instead of waging a collective struggle with a suitable plan of action, organizing sub-national movements and fostering splintering;

 2. Trying to use and exploit the struggle of the people to advance group or individual interests;

3. Sowing mistrust among the people by creating a political perception of psychological nature that is out of line in the path of our collective struggle;

4. Curbing the participation of the people in our civic struggle by distorting the positive achievements of our revolutionary history, tarnishing and spin-doctoring it, and highlighting its negative parts;

5. Serving as double agents or functioning as hirelings of foreign powers or the dictatorial regime, and attempting to abort or endanger the people’s struggle by engaging in espionage, sabotage, and conspiracy, among others

 

Ladies and gentlemen

 Second Strategy: 

The main goal of the second strategy is to bring about the end of dictatorship and its negative establishments, peace and tranquility to the people, transfer of power to the people, and ushering an era when the people will legitimize those who want to lead and govern as the servant of the people under the supremacy of the national constitution of Eritrea.  Although the communal resources of our society, in particular, and the international and regional conditions, in general, determine the level and stage at which the struggle is waged, it had to be made sure that the corner stones of its influence are a democratic culture and mindset, vision, reasonable expectations of its outcomes by utilizing the experience that we had nurtured during our revolutionary independence struggle.  That is why we have to spread and instill the goals of the second and long term strategy in the Eritrean body-polity in order to avoid the occurrence of political power vacuum that may be created in any situation that may develop in the path of our civic democratic struggle.  A power vacuum can be left in the event that the dictatorial regime falls under its dead weight and the challenges that are being mounted from different corners of the Eritrean society or under other unforeseen circumstances, if it does not elect to transfer power to the people peacefully.  Thus, a relatively empowered and mandated popular leadership should thus be in place for smooth transition to institutional and constitutional multi-party politics where the people are the most sovereign and can give as well as take away power in a fair and balanced multiparty election.   Because I have already explained the steps that we have to take in our current national political struggle, I will highlight points of common interest in the following manner:

 1. We struggle to establish a unitary and civic modern nation.  The reason is that because it rejects the ‘US’ sentimental identity approach and accepts the ‘I’ approach for this kind of political and social structuring and way of organizing guarantees the equality of all citizens before the rule of law.  And what is most important is that it has the capacity of resolving and moderating the conflicts that may arise in pluralistic politics.

2. Because it is inclusive, pluralistic, accommodating, and guarantees the legally equitable and just way of dispensing peoples’ power and sovereignty.

3. Because it can restore and rebuild the bruised Eritrean sentiments and touchy attachments to identity

4. Because it guarantee the political, economic, communal, and cultural liberties of the individual citizen. And most importantly, because the political system established thus is secular and treats all religious believes with equality and respect and without external interference in their practicing their faiths.

5. Because it ensures fair and equitable proportional representations in the distribution of political power, establishes commonly agreed upon political yard sticks, ensures the establishment of a democratic political system, encourages a healthy approach toward regional and international relations, and because it creates an accommodating framework in creating a strong economy, equitable and fair social services, progress, and a progressive and advanced democratic political culture

6. Because it gives constitutional protection to ethnic and religious minority   groups by guarding against the violation of their rights and the threat of domination by majority ethnic, religious, or regional groups, and because it guarantees their participation by ensuring politically balanced playgrounds.

 

We are sure that the Eritrean society has social values that are capable of bringing this into reality.  Likewise, we are sure that there are very few Eritreans who have the disease of monopolizing power that will not be satisfied with this kind of political system.  However, because they are as insignificant as drops of water in the ocean, we have to stand firm and March forward without allowing them to be a source of destruction and failure.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

 In conclusion, first allow me to remind you of two fundamental points of departure.  The first is that Eritrea is an independent and sovereign state and the second is that the struggle we are waging is dual in nature.  We have to challenge the dictatorship and bring about multiparty constitutional and institutional democracy while being watchful in upholding the sanctity of Eritrea’s territorial integrity and sovereignty

 If Eritrea was going to fall into the hands of other despots, warlords,  those who fight for sectarian religious interests, those who tend to perpetrate oppression on others, the struggle would have been in vain and fruitless.  We have to create an arena whereby Eritrean politics is purged off narrow sectarian, internecine, regionalist, ethnic, and individual roadblocks and shackles by establishing an atmosphere in which we will march on the path of peace, unity and harmony,  constitutional and institutional pluralistic politics, and social justice.  That is what is truly called fundamental change!  When we say fundamental change, it has to be understood that it has to take place in the psychic orientation of individuals as well as in the psychological make up of the entire Eritrean society and be reflected in its public as well as private institutions.

 The principles of tolerance and compromise are broad tenets of the tools that democracy utilizes in its practical application exhibited in the day to day life of a given society.  They have to be used in the interest of accommodating diverse views, respecting the rights of others, reaping mutual benefits, enhancing acceptance of others’, and for the peaceful and harmonious coexistence with others.  To use the right approach in dealing with our problems, the creation of a strong and suitable playing field is paramount.  If the demands that we are making and striving to achieve comes before the conditions of acceptable playground is firmly established, it will be very problematic to tackle the issues that we face today.  Above all, if one with zero tolerance comes along and tells you to tolerate them, what would be your answer?  For example, if someone came along and sharpened and brandished his sword over your neck and the neck of your children, what would you have said or done?  Therefore, the principle of tolerance and mutual respect do not concern a particular group, party, or individual, but go both ways and are the concern of all.  It is a fact that, in democracy, neither the majority nor the minority has the upper hand in decision-making processes.  Both of them have to be able to be governed by moral and ethical principles and practical realities under the supremacy of the rule of law.  It is a crime to try to demand or call for ones rights while trying to weaken and/or violate the rights of others.  Any citizen in any particular society does not only have rights but also both the unwritten and written laws of duties and responsibilities that come with citizenship.

 

 Ladies and gentlemen

Opposition politics has many faces.  Just because one is opposing the regime in Asmara and/or other reactionary elements, they do not automatically become true opposition entities.  The political marks of a true opposition entity are having a clear ideology and a clear plan of action; being an agent for the salvation, unity, progress, peace, social justice of a given society, possessing a clear political line and political program, and having a leadership that is capable, competent, dedicated, courageous, and principled that is worthy of being called an opposition entity.  If any force tries to curtail what had been said and try to go across the border and attempt to inflict dual damage to the nation, including the PFDJ, for group or individual interest, they have to be clearly identified and challenged.

 

To the EPRF, the prevailing political trends in the Eritrean political arena seem to be grouped into four parts, namely:

 1. The dictatorial PFDJ regime and those who have vested interest in the continuity of its system

2. Those individuals and organizations who reside under the EDA umbrella of opposition groups and those civic society organizations that serve the EDA by proxy

3. As mentioned above, the first is the dictatorial regime and the second is those opposition groups who reside within the EDA that have many shortcomings and waging a not so wholesome organized struggle.  The third is made up of those social movements such as human rights groups, political advocacy groups, full fledged politically organizations operating outside the EDA umbrella opposition group, and independent elements that have chosen to wage their struggle separately and without interference for a host of reasons.

4. The fourth group is the largest group of the Eritrean society that is bearing the burnt of PFDJ’s oppression, paying a hefty price but remains unconvinced by the  entities that are opposing the regime and remains largely outside of their influence. Therefore, this conference should pay special attention to this fourth group, although its lager focus is national in scope direct on all sectors.

 

Ladies and gentlemen

 In closing my presentation of our memorandum, I would like to touch on certain issues that Eritreans repeatedly hear of and talk about, namely:

 

 (1) National Reconciliation and National Conference:

 When we raise the issues of National Reconciliation and National Conference, the question that has to be posed and properly answered is: whose reconciliation or whose conference is we talking about? On our part, we believe that the reconciliation that is being talked about should be a political reconciliation between and among various organized and non-organized actors in the Eritrean past and present political and politico-military landscape for there were no blood or other serious fratricidal feuds between and among our peoples in our history that may call for national reconciliation to be held as a tool to heal wounds and to settle internecine feuding and the like.  If National Conferences is required to solve problems that exist within the opposition groups and elements, it can be carried out by using the path of a ‘United Front’ through the establishment of a collective political platform and waging a struggle of a united front for the common good.

 

(2) Government in Exile:

Whose government in exile?  This is a pertinent question that begs an answer! Governments in exile are most often formed by Monarchs.  They can also be established under traditional legitimacy, which can occur when a legitimate government is overthrown in coupe and it elects to preserve its legitimacy by forming a government in exile.  This can likewise take place when a foreign country invades and occupies another country by removing a legitimate government and the government so overthrown continues to operate in exile by upholding symbolic sovereignty till such time comes when it will return or another national government comes to power and takes its place.  In relation to the idea of forming an Eritrean government in exile, the question that has to be considered and answered is: whose government and whose behalf would an Eritrean government in exile are formed?  It is possible that an Eritrean government in exile could had been declared and formed during our political and politico-military struggle for Eritrean independence.  The reason for this to have been possible in the Eritrean case is that because Ethiopia violated the legal and autonomous status of Eritrea and liquidated its legitimate government under the federal crown established by international treaty agreements.  However, now Eritrea is a sovereign state and the idea of forming a government in exile does not apply or exit now for the prerequisite required to do so.  Therefore, raising this issue based on the prevailing Eritrean realities is irrelevant and inappropriate at this junction of our history!

 

Finally what we would like to underscore about the basic demands of the wider Eritrean people at this particular point in time are twofold:

  1. The territorial sovereignty of the State of Eritrea ;
  2. The State of Eritrea that ensures unity and equality of all the citizens as well as internal constitutional supremacy and rule of law.

We strongly believe that any political movement/party or front that does not embrace and work to promote the aforementioned two demands of the Eritrean people is indeed a problem in itself that need to be solved in the first place!

I very much appreciate all of you for lending me your attention and listening patiently to what I had to say!  I apologize to anyone if I have slighted and offended them inadvertently! Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen attending this august Eritrean conference.

 

 

 

Eternal Glory and Remembrance to Our Martyrs!!

Victory to All Patriotic and Democratic Eritreans

Eritrean People’s Revolutionary Front. 

 

 

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