Vacarro’s miscalculation and BAYTO’s misplaced authority, critical lessons to OUR VOICE

Remark: One who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat history. Independent transitional passage is the only effective way of unifying different ideas towards democracy; the rest is dictatorship. There is no mind

Remark: One who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat history. Independent transitional passage is the only effective way of unifying different ideas towards democracy; the rest is dictatorship. There is no mind more DEMOCRATIC than the INDEPENDENT and no excuse for THE VOICE to be dependent unless it is ready to suffer the consequence of Vacarro’s miscalculation in this regard and BAYTO’s missed opportunity as a result; simply because no one can play a neutral role in our society by simultaneously being the judge and the plaintiff or the defender.
OUR VOICE should clearly understand why the Vacarroian movement staggered when he was alive and died after his departure. It has to substantially understand the reason BAYTO failed to impact us this long into the dilemma. It must learn from their mistakes from the onset of its activities in order to succeed.
Clearly, the cause of a problem cannot be its remedy, needless to say that you cannot have the cake and eat it too! A social unit that failed to do its social role cannot be replaced by another unit without modulating the tactics of failure. The Vacarroian movement suffered the heaviest damage of its experience at the infant stage of its existence as a result of shallow understanding of the role he was about to play in our society. He was challenging the BAYTO by being independent from the political groups in the resistance with open doors for their infiltration through committee members all over the place that directly work under their authorities. The movement to my understanding became vulnerable to be remotely controlled by our dictators in Asmara and in Addis as they paralyzed it from within at the foundation level of its structure right from the beginning.
I want to discuss BAYTO’s anticipated role in our society and the cause of its current socio-political impotence with only one thing in mind: so OUR VOICE can learn from it. First, though, let us briefly flush other experiences to understand what we have to do in this aspect based on the fundamental definition of the most momentous subject matter to the Eritrean people.
A transitional government is “A type of government which is intended only to be temporary, which runs things while a 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.” “A transitional government is a government temporarily set up to prepare the way for a permanent government. For example, when Saddam Hussein was overthrown in Iraq, the Americans set up a transitional government in the country to oversee the writing of a new constitution, and to hold elections for a new permanent government for the country.”
The basic requirement of a transitional government is absolute purity or INDEPENDENCE from any political groups that want to run the country by democratic election, meaning that it should be composed of neutral individuals from the broader range of the society without political affiliation (membership level) to any one of the active political parties aiming at power through democratic election.
History says that this principle of INDEPENDENCE vis-à-vis the issue of transitional government went very well in all applicable societies such as Burkinafaso, Iraq, Somalia and Liberia
Burkina Faso names transitional president: Transitional leaders in Burkina Faso have agreed on a new government to guide the country to elections next year, allocating several keycabinet posts to the military. The list was read out on Sunday evening, less than one week after longtime diplomat Michel Kafando was officially sworn in as president. Kafando will also serve as minister of foreign affairs. Of the 26 posts available, the army claimed six, including mines, communications and the interior ministry. Isaac Yacouba Zida, who initially took control of the West African country, will head the defense ministry. Other members were drawn from civil society groups and a medley of political parties.”
“The Iraqi Transitional Government was the government of Iraq from May 3, 2005, when it replaced the Iraqi Interim Government, until May 20, 2006, when it was replaced by thefirst permanent government. On April 28 it was approved by the transitional Iraqi National Assembly, which had been elected in January 2005. It operated under the Law of Administration for the State of Iraq for the Transitional Period, and its main functions were to draft a permanent Constitution of Iraq and to form a transitional government.”
“The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was the internationally recognized government of the Republic of Somalia until 20 August 2012, when its tenure officially ended and the Federal Government of Somalia was inaugurated. The TFG was established as one of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) of government as defined in the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) adopted in November 2004 by the Transitional Federal Parliament(TFP). The Transitional Federal Government officially comprised the executive branch of government, with the TFP serving as the legislative branch. The government was headed by the President of Somalia, to whom the cabinet reported through the Prime Minister. However, it was also used as a general term to refer to all three branches collectively. Backed by theUnited Nations, the African Union, as well as the United States, the TFG assume full control of the southern part of the country. By August 2011, the government and its AMISOM(African Union Mission in Somalia) allies managed to secure control over all of Mogadishu” until it transferred power to the democratically elected government of Somalia in 2012.”
We must carefully understand this matter in order to succeed. Once again, the most universally obvious requirements for transitional government in any society boils down to at least three mandatory and critical procedures: Total independence from the political forces aiming at political power throughout the election process and successfully transferring power to the elected president in democratic ambiance. Further, no politician in the transitional government can run for presidency in the democratic election. They are supposed to peacefully; totally and effectively transfer power (transitional presidency and its cabinet at minimum) to the people or to the democratically elected government of a given society and move on.
In the flip of the coin, our society must give the political parties a chance to lead our country upon democratic election based on the value of their programs. For this privilege though, they must stay away from the entire process by which the transitional government comes to reality. Anything otherwise is uncivilized, undemocratic and a potential bomb that will eventually implode on the believers!
Apparently, as mentioned earlier, these mandatory requirements were practically reduced in the democratic experiences of the three societies (Burkinafaso, Iraq and Somalia). The Liberians effectuated this responsibility through ARTICLE XVIII; ELECTORAL REFORM of the Accra Peace Accord (SENED) where clause 2a was worded as;In this regard and amongst other measures that may be undertaken, the National Elections Commission (NEC) shall be reconstituted and shall be INDEPENDENT. It shall operate in conformity with UN standards, in order to ensure that the rights and interests of Liberians are guaranteed, and that the elections are organized in a manner that is acceptable to all”, said UN standards including INDEPENDENCE being the first requirement of the objective.”
The BAYTO: Once upon a time in 2011 the Eritrean resistance appeared to have been in the right direction when about 31 political parties and more than 50 civic groups and independent individuals (total 600) participated in the Eritrean National Congress held in Awassa, Ethiopia ending up forming the BAYTO to monitor EDA political parties and to orchestrate or facilitate the democratic election process in the country based on neutral justice. We were excited, optimistically looking forward to the end of the dictatorship through the right course of history by the dedicated brothers and sisters that made it from all corners of the world at their own expense to create the BAYTO. BAYTO was supposed to have the ultimate power transiting Eritrea to democracy and it could have played this role with substantial success by now and move on to civilian life then after because the procedure was at least theoretically correct. Unfortunately, it took a turn on the Eritrean people breaching the mandate through undemocratic activities and illegal dependence on EDA ending up betraying the people consciously or otherwise.
To this effect the following duties were clearly spelled out in Accra Peace Accord for Liberia democracy which was analogous to what BAYTO was expected to do in our country
The primary responsibility of the NTGL shall be to ensure the scrupulous implementation of this Peace Agreement.
  1. In addition to normal State functions, its mandate shall include the following:
    1. Implementation of the provisions of the Peace Agreement;
    2. Overseeing and coordinating implementation of the political and rehabilitation programs enunciated in this Peace Agreement;
    3. Promotion of reconciliation to ensure the restoration of peace and stability to the country and its people;
    4. Contribution to the preparation and conduct of internationally supervised elections, for the inauguration of an elected Government for Liberia at the day of schedule agreed upon by the parties.
Change the LIBERIA to ERITREA in the case law above Folks, you will find the mandated role of BAYOTO in Eritrea as expected by the Eritrean people, to my understanding. What then happened to BAYTO to drastically fail moving the resistance towards democracy unlike the other societies in discussion that did this successfully? Well, it played around with the following fundamental rules associated with its status, ladies and gentlemen!
1)      It breached the universal standard (INDEPENDENCE) for transitional government towards democracy. Instead of managing EDA from the highest point of political stratum following the universal standard in this aspect, the BAYTO gave it that authority effectively flip-flopping the roles of both entities. It allowed itself to be maneuvered by the dominant politicians of EDA instead of assertively leading them using its legitimate power (defacto transitional government of Eritrea) as the highest authority of the resistance overall.
2)      Our brothers and sisters in the leadership of BAYTO were not neutral after they surrendered their INDEPENDENCE to dominant EDA’s political parties. Due to infiltration within its structure, it allowed to be bossed by EDA leaders rather than assertively, independently and legally directing them to democracy. Among the multiple mistakes it committed was acting against its own constitution illegally firing the Kunama Democratic Party led by Brother Kornoleos Osman for speaking his opinion about Idris Awate’s adverse relationship with his community once upon an era in the Eritrean diary strictly using his freedom of speech. They fired the group without any legitimacy (nothing in their guideline), without any supportive clause for the action in BAYTO’s constitution because of pressure from the big guys in EDA who were threatened by the Chairman’s unhesitant stand on the contemplation that SECULAR DEMOCRACY was the minimum program to the Eritrean society.
Now we are taking about an organization called OUR VOICE initiating the drive to organize the transitional government of Eritrea into facilitating democratic election in the country via BOTTOM-UP philosophy of unification. Analogically, OUR VOICE’s ultimate goal of forming a COUNCIL is similar to that of VACARRO’s ሓድነት ኤርትራውያን ንፍትሒ and the resistance’s assumed role of the BAYTO may be with a little difference. There is only one way to go here to impress the international community and impact the Eritrean people: following the standard rules of the issue completely (total independence from the regime and the forces that want to lead upon election and their active members at minimum) from the beginning. If this was the most fundamental requirement of forming the COUNCIL the election process starting from the local committees and all the way up to the point of the COUNCIL must then be composed of independent minded people to work. The BOTTOM foundation of the strategy must be clean from political contamination of the two hungry tigers in the society (corrupt EDA leaders and the regime) for its UP-centralism to survive. Otherwise, the entire structure will eventually collapse on its one way or another infiltrated foundation like what happened to Vacarro’s movement and the BAYTO.
Some people may think doing this may be undemocratic and exclusive but in reality concerning the issue of transitional government, doing otherwise is indeed becoming undemocratic and dictatorial. For OUR VOICE to succeed in making a transitional government like the other applicable societies in discussion it must handle this situation correctly and democratically by the law, learning the consequence of breaching the standard principle of INDEPENDENCE from past experience. This does not mean isolating the politically affiliated individuals attached to the political parties that want to run the country upon election here but rather following the correct democratic procedure in this situation. They after all have full right here to continue better organizing their political parties for the democratic competition with other Parties in the same boat.
In conclusion, a solid and assertive independent foundation will end up bringing the solution at the end of the day. A fragile foundation, however, will cause the collapse of a structure on its porous weight at the beginning of its mission like a building standing on a rotten ground. That is what happened to Vacarro! All the committees were open to anybody and severely infiltrated from the beginning all over the world. The movement was for example totally dead in the US as soon as he left out of town (back to Europe), the cumulative outcome obviously being the death of his movement from practical points of view after his departure to heaven. He understood the problems after the damage was done and tried to work it back from the scratch and of course it became too late for ever. For the COUNCIL to be a COUNCIL it must avoid the mistakes of Vacarro and BAYTO, otherwise, it will end up being the BATYO in different name if it ever makes it that far.
Clear understanding of the role to be plaid in society not based on subjective views of the players but on the universally understood fundamental concept of the challenge is the prerequisite or requirement to efficiently and professionally executing strategic social issues. One does not have to worry about what people would think of a certain action as long as the action is correct and defensible by democracy and the law. Assertive leadership requires performing by the book despite people’s opinions! A social navigator to democracy through transitional government cannot achieve its goal by contaminating itself with politically affiliated biased individuals throughout its journey. It must succumb to international rules with full right to modulate its mission’s application according to the unique realities of the target society (Eritrean in our case) but not to be dictated by the political parties (EDA elements) it was mandated to navigate. The BAYTO had the right to modify other experiences based on the uniqueness of our society but could not have survived as the ultimate power of the struggle taking orders from EDA. Therefore it neutralized itself at this most fundamental relationship level of the chain-command at the extreme expense of the Eritrean people. At the end of the day, our people’s interest was totally compromised through the BAYTO’s conformism to EDA’s most influential and undemocratic political parties to the point of violating its own SANED (acting above the law) by illegally firing the Kunama Party from the alliance upon their pressure.
Apparently, a solution is impossible without fully accommodating the constants and variables of the equation at hand with a correct formula. In our situation, we cannot form a dependable transitional government to democracy without accepting the constant (independence or total neutrality from political parties aiming at power) and the variable (certain issues found to be unique that may agitate us to change few things from the SENEDs of other societies). This is a strong message from an individual to OUR VOICE to seriously consider before it starts its practical work sooner or later.
The question is if the BAYTO will recover from its immobile condition and if OUR VOICE and the BAYTO can work together. My answer to the first is “YES” but only if the BAYTO immediately purifies itself to stand independent of EDA’s dominance and proves it by admitting its mistake of serving the dominant politician in the Alliance in illegally firing the Kunama Democratic Party from its organization. It must be willing to reverse its undemocratic action against our Kunama Community for us to entertain RECONCILIATION. My answer to the second is “may be in these conditions but I don’t know”. It all depends upon how effectively OUR VOICE attracts the people and what the BAYTO wants to do in the near future. Whatever the answer may be time will tell but the Eritrean people have no time to wait for BAYTO after 5 years of political blunder except helping OUR VOICE becoming a potent force to solve their problems with assertively legalized procedures.

Review overview
  • Wedi Meriet August 19, 2015

    Ato Fetsum
    I have read may of your writtings displayed on and I must say you are very good at critisizing others and demoralizing others.
    You are indeed very good at the English langusge with no content (vacuum ).
    What I see you doing is that giving grades for people who try to make things happen Like wedi Vacaro. Poeple who works make mistakes and people who are only observers do not make mistakes and not only make mistakes but also try to guide them like what you are doing.
    I urge you to come out and implement your wonderfull ideas if not please try to be optimistic and stop critisizing

  • habte asfaha August 19, 2015

    Wedi meriet!

    What in the world are you talking about? This man is pointing out the mistakes so that they will be corrected and not repeated. He is putting things as they are with example. What more do you need. You should admire,support Ato Futsum and encourage others to do the same. Wedi Meriet I will tell you like it is. You sound like a light weight politician. If you do not know, please shut up and learn like most of us.


    • Wedi Meriet August 19, 2015

      Ato Habte
      It is not learning we need, learning lasted over 50 years it is well overdue for action & that is what we need at this time of mement.
      We (you, I and the rest of Eritreans)do not need to tell us about mistakes of people who they are trying to root the blood sucking monster out. Try to understand what is needed of us at this moment in time.
      Yes I may be light weight Poletician and to be perfectly honest I am not looking to be one. I am happy on the profession I am on. It is the pain of our people that makes me angry and emotional.
      I don’t think you entitled to shut me up besides this is the sort of things hated in Eritrea and surely this kind of behavier should not be tolerated.

    • Wedi Meriet August 19, 2015

      Oh one more question
      Why is he wrinting always in english?
      Is he Eritrean? if he is who are his audiences?
      Majority of Eritreans do not understand English thanks but no thanks to Issayas Afewerki that he made most Eritreans ignorant like him & his family.

      Ato Fusum please do try to write in our mother laungage.
      You are good at putting things as they are on the paper.

      • wedi erena August 24, 2015

        Wedi Meriet ,
        Fitsum grew up in Ethiopia and his ideas should matter.our voice with their road map are communicating with us in english.I could not come up with Mr.Fitsum Abrhams criticizing heavily.

  • k.tewolde August 19, 2015

    Take it easy folks.We are exchanging views.It is a democratic platform. Civility is the cornerstone here.Brother Fitsum is a political commentator, like a syndicated columnist, an overseer, an eloquent spokesperson , a researcher,a scrutinizer, we need a person like him to expose things into view which otherwise we can’t see, he is fierce watchdog. I wish we can have more people like him,so that anybody who steps up to the plate to lead will go through a thorough inspection.It ok to be cautious, we have betrayed to many times. And that is not demoralizing.Thanks for your great work again Buddy.

    • new eritrea August 24, 2015

      I agree brother K.Tewolde .No need for harsh approach.Our Eritrea will be reborn.Amen.

  • k.tewolde August 19, 2015

    correction- ‘we have been betrayed too many times’

  • Sengal W. August 19, 2015

    Good job as usual. Keep it up.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! August 19, 2015

    Wedi Vocarro purpose might take different interpretation in everybody’s
    point of view . But what I learned from his mission was to send message
    of awareness about the dangers Eritrea face under Issayas leadership and
    the importance of Eritreans UNITY .
    If there was recognized Vocarroian civic or political movement , I have no clue to comment in this issue .
    I think Fezum comparison with organized body like Bayto missed the logic
    of political argument between one-man self motivated fight & organized
    form of people’s struggle .
    And again to stress on these group called OUR VOICE could repeat past scenario of short lived appearances of many groups the same way they pops up rising from nowhere to introduce at complicated political situations .
    Well , we learned enough not to jump quick at anyone wagon .

  • Kidane Beraki August 19, 2015

    For the first time I completely concur with Fitsums article. Sorry to disappoint you brother “wedi Mihret” you are emotionally attached to the heroes of yesteryear but today’s incompetent EDA or BAYTO leaders. Our expectations were very high but considering the opportunity they squandered in the last thirty plus years We are bitter.You have the audacity to defend the indefensible and complain about a concerned critic who is trying to prevent the same mistake being committed. Simply put there is zero chance for these leaders in the future for they have proven to us time and again that they can’t solve minor differences while our ppl are in the process of extermination. “Wedi Mihret” do you think any private or public enterprises would allow such group to run a business that produces nothing for this long? Please don’t try to include their heroism of the past for which I suppot compensation in the future.
    Kidane Beraki

  • weygud August 23, 2015

    I agree to basic ideas of author’s article. However, he takes a lot of time in explaining and defining certain terms in every resistance movement formation. It is good to hint some warnings and shortcomings to correct mistakes. But some of the concepts are abstract and are only possible in theory. How do you maintain total independence (purity) in a society where there are different attitude, deep rooted mistrust and fear?. The other thing that doesn’t seem palatable is Liberian model cannot fit to our social fabric and dynamics. We need a systematic, sustained and well organized cultural propaganda by a group with ethos, pathos and logos to induce a change in biased beliefs, negative attitude and fear at grass root level. At the same time, OUR VOICE should foul any infiltration into the Movement from real enemies.Strong leadership,cultural and political propaganda are corner stone for mass mobilization. Warning: Membership shouldn’t be open to anyone like get together party!