Solidarity Message to the delegates of the EPDP Conference in Addis Ababa
Background As a matter of information, I was invited to attend the EPDP (Eritrean people’s democratic party) conference in Addis starting on 3/17/2013 by the Chairman of its North American branch but I could not make
As a matter of information, I was invited to attend the EPDP (Eritrean people’s democratic party) conference in Addis starting on 3/17/2013 by the Chairman of its North American branch but I could not make it because of personal reasons. I thank the Chairman for inviting me and I regret my incapacity to make it. In the mean time I pass the following solidarity message as an individual with sincere humility.
I stand willing to be corrected but EPDP, which was a collective political party composed of three independent political parties (EPM, EPP, and EDP) is now divided into two groups EPDP1 and EPDP2 because of irreparable difference on how to go about to solve the Eritrean crisis. Their internal friction immaterial, the main difference between them is said to have been on the question of joining the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA). There are about 31 political parties in the opposition camp out of which, EDA comprises at least 11 of them. The Alliance is guided by organizational constitution adopted in its congress held in 2008, in Addis Ababa to the goal of forming a Transitional Government that would take the responsibility of effectuating the democratic process towards an eventual elected government in Eritrea.
The difference between the two EDPD branches
EPDP1 considers itself the only legitimate political party to lead the Eritrean people in post-Afwerki Eritrea and does not consider joining the united front (EDA) necessary for its objective. In essence, this group does not see the other groups in the united front as equally significant.
The separatist EDPD2, however, went for inclusive political approach and joined the EDA. This branch accepts all the political parties within the EDA as equally significant to the resistance against dictatorship, and rejects the notion that a single political party should take power in post-Afwerki Eritrea.
Apparently, while EPDP2 attended the 2011 National Congress of Eritrean forces in Awassa where the 31 political parties and more than 50 civic groups and independent individuals (total 600) participated, the exclusionist EPDP1 did not.Although the two EPDPs still use the same name, it appears like EDPD2 is going to better crystallize the internal split and consolidate its membership of EDA as an independent party in its upcoming meeting beginning on 3/17/2013 in Addis Ababa. In this conference, this group is expected to assert its inclusive position against any exclusivist group in the society, institute transparency and the rule of law within and into the EDA and set a clear and practical strategy to defeat the dictatorship in the country.
Dear EPDP2 delegates;
I first salute you with utmost respect to your effort in this rough struggle for freedom and democracy in Eritrea. I wish you the best in this gathering and I am sure anything is possible with honest desire to challenge the problem of our country minus opportunism intolerance, competition and power struggle. I congratulate you for your decision to join the united front as a single party with equal significance to any other party under the EDA. I believe the action is the best you could have taken for the following reasons:
1] Should the objective of the struggle be achieving democracy, peaceful transition of governments, rule of law and freedom of speech in Eritrea, the priority is forming a transitional government composed of all opposition forces in the world. This is the only way for Eritrea to eradicate dictatorship and move forward with the process by which democracy is reduced to practice in the country.
A transitional government is “A type of government which is intended only to be temporary, which runs things while a more permanent government framework is being designed. When the new framework is finished, the transitional government disbands and is replaced by one, which is constituted according to the new framework’s rules. A provisional government is an emergency or interim government set up when a political void has been created by the collapse of a very large government.”
This is time for Eritreans to form Transitional Government not to form political parties. The concept of political parties being active at secondary level of the progression, today’s priority is forming this temporary government. Crystallizing political parties then follows after this development achieves its goal most effectively inside Eritrea. The transitional period is the time a society conventionally organizes political parties towards the eventual formation of a democratically elected government; excuse my shallow understanding of the issue.
Apparently, the existence of many political parties within and outside the EDA shows that the Eritrean society has a wide range of political views, but it is clear that democratic Eritrea cannot accommodate more than 30 political parties. Therefore, it is logical to expect leading parties to agree on general policies and form a coalition (a combination of parties) to run the country or at least for the parties to converge into single parties that best approximate their policies. All this, however, should take place during the transition time under the transitional government of Eritrea. In other words the different opposition parties can converge into few of the strongest parties that will exist in the country in the future.
2] I do not believe any political party can at this moment be mandated to independently represent the Eritrean people. In fact such a party is illegal and should be resisted, needless to state that it would be in contradiction with the perception of freedom in favor of authoritarianism. I cannot imagine any party trying to do so without the intention to dictate political terms in future Eritrea. Such a party cannot produce democracy in our country since failing to join the united front and dictatorship are mutually inclusive, at least in my opinion.
Brothers and sisters in struggle!
You know the situation of our country very well. Our society has been a victim of absolute dictatorship for about 22 yeas as of today. You also know that you have been trying to form a solid united front to solve the Eritrean socio-political question for quiet a long time. I thank you very much for your sacrifice!
For what I understand, you will discuss the issue of setting a clear strategy to defeat the dictatorship in the country as part of your main agenda. The resistance’s options may be limited at this point in the confrontation but I strongly suggest the delegates to pay attention to what brother Seid Saleh brought to the table as an alternative to quickly defuse the regime in Asmara (ASSENNA Interviews) for reference material or as a potential amendment to what may be chosen at the end of the conference.
In so stating, I respectfully remind you that there is a strong sense of pessimism on your capacity and genuine interest to solve the Eritrean problem in so far as the people are concerned. Please allow me to point some of my problems to this effect.
A] There is no adequate motion that constantly alerts the Eritreans in Diaspora though written materials and other means of communication from your party individually and from the united front collectively. There is no public information as to what you will discuss and what you plan to achieve in this conference, for instance. This style of operation excludes public participation in the common agendas, a contrary situation to the goal of the struggle for democracy. The operational mode of the struggle does not create an ample ground for public awareness and academic debate through information exchange and this should directly affect your political ambition as well. Close attachment with the people is very important for your organization to have an impact in the struggle.
I do not think this is a good representation of the society at all and it provokes the notion that you cannot be ineffective in organizing and uniting the people and simultaneously claim of having a mandate to lead them.
I sincerely believe that you can influence the Alliance in this regard significantly. I hope one of the things you will discuss in this conference will be on how to upgrade your communication with all Eritreans in the world.
B] I am sorry to tell you that the Eritrean opposition forces are extremely weak in recruiting or collecting the intellectual power of Eritreans around the world. No effort what so ever, at least to my knowledge as to utilizing the intelligence of dynamic intellectuals that can internationally represent the resistance efficiently. Our groups in Addis do not seem to be interested in other Eritreans’ involvement probably because of the exclusivist culture inherited from the era struggle for independence. The political future of Eritrea appears to be decided without adequate involvement of capable Eritreans (politically and technologically) that can easily be recruited to the resistance.
Can this be possible without targeting political power as the main objective of each party comprised by the united front?
Would not this imply an exclusionist policy similar to that of the government of Eritrea?
Would not this contradict the upshot to form a strong and all-inclusive Transitional Government in our country; which is the order of the moment and the main priority of the struggle as a matter of democratic procedure?
Would not this negatively affect international support to the resistance and compromise our opportunity to confidently lobby the big powers for stronger moral and material assistance with more effective intellectual confidence?
I sincerely believe that individual freedom from cultural hang-ups and inhibition is mandatory for this struggle to succeed. You can change the situation and become a good role model to the parties comprised in the EDA in this regard. Part of your discussion in the conference should focus on how to filter out and recruit Eritreans that can be taken seriously by the international political environment towards transforming the productivity of the resistance. This will change your financial and operational situation greatly, needless to state that it can strengthen the resistance overall and the democratic journey of our society similar to how the Somalian politicians did it through open and free intellectual participation.
Brothers and sisters!
If you commonly isolate Gender, religion and ethnicity from being a basis for forming a political party, I believe all opposition forces should then accept the Eritrean constitution and practically apply it without a problem.
In the absence of power struggle between the opposition groups anywhere in the world, it should not take a long time to compromise and unify at this critical moment in history when the government is at its most vulnerable stage and the people have started resisting from inside; impatiently waiting for you to fill the political void created as a result. The whole world is waiting for your effective leadership to expedite the process by which the dictatorship ends in Eritrea.
Long liver the struggle of the Eritrean people for freedom and democracy!