Elections under PFDJ dictatorship
September 1st Puts Public Trust to the Test
As we commemorate September 1st, we pay tribute to our martyrs and to our heroes who dedicated themselves to the freedom of our country and liberty of our nation. Special admiration and thanks goes to our veteran war handicaps. Now days though, the Eritrean people cannot go further than paying respect to our martyrs and our war hero veterans because they do not have much to rejoice about. The misery is too much and the pain is becoming unbearable. It has come to be a country, which its youth's only outlet is to venture out to the unknown cruelties of deserts, waters, and deportations of governments. Freedom, liberty, respect and equality in a sovereign Eritrea was the vision for which the first bullet was fired after all peaceful avenues were closed and peaceful struggle was exhausted. Glory to our Martyrs and tribute to our heroes struggling for the liberty, dignity as well as sovereignty of our people.
A change in a political discourse can start in several ways. Military officers can remove the personalities in power and put the country under a military rule. Many of them are around the world and at times rule for a length of time. Other changes are initiated by opposition parties/organizations when they are excluded from the political process by the regime in power. Other changes are flamed by popular dissatisfaction due to governmental inefficiencies, corruption, and oppression. The ways through which governmental regimes come to power also vary. Means of changing them also vary according to the realities of the political landscape of the nation in question. Extra care must be taken so that we do not end up with the same tyrannical system with different names and personalities in power. Isayas plus the dictatorial system he has in place both must get dismantled for the liberty and freedom we aspire to succeed. There are those who do not abide by the rules and principles of their organizations and it is highly unlikely they will be amicable to do so once they see real political, economic and military power.
Government administrations need to command public trust to administer and for their programs, visions and policies to work as planned. Leaders of political parties or organizations have to enjoy unwavering trust from their constituents to effectively lead and guide. Otherwise, statements remain that - statements and policies are never translated into action and remain paper documents. These are just universal thoughts of school that are not unique to any people or culture. Now, lets turn our attention to the Eritrean political arena and see how this phenomenon applies to the nation's current political circumstances.
The Eritrean people paid unparalleled sacrifices for the independence that was attained after long and hard political and armed struggle. Any political scenario that threatens this priceless independence that came at the cost of the people's sons and daughters loses a major part of the public trust with out which change cannot be achieved. Whether it is said out loud or expressed in silence, the message is "nay men demn axmn krgex" roughly translated whose blood and bone is going to be stepped over. PFDJ knows this and plays it well to its advantage. It knows well it is not the trust of the PFDJ leaders that has kept the people from revolting to the extent needed for a change. It is the fear of losing the independence again and fear of the martyrdom of their beloved ones would have been in vain should we lose our independence again. On the other hand, the opposition failed to realize this point and did not respond to the fear of the people. Hence majority of the people remain indifferent in spite of the fact that they despise the PFDJ regime. We feel that this is the core problem even more so than the inefficiencies and lack of unity of the opposition.
An important point that did not help this matter is that the relationship of the opposition including that of ELF-RC strengthened with the government of Ethiopia while the two countries (governments) were at war. Political analysts should not lose sight of the fact that the long struggle was against the different Ethiopian governments. The expulsion of many innocent Eritreans who lived for many years in an inhumane way is still in the minds of the ones who went through the experience and their loved ones, their friends as well as the general public. The role of the TPLF in the expulsion of ELF from the Eritrean field is still remembered by many ELF veterans. Not to mention the bitterness the last war created among the people of the two nations and especially by the Eritrean people who live near and in the war zone. All these facts add to the skepticism towards the ties of the Ethiopian government with the opposition. It needs to be a lesson learned also that the opposition did not do enough preparation and explanation of the fact having an office in Addis or public diplomacy with Ethiopia does not necessarily compromise the organization's independence.
The question of the day is how the opposition is doing now in the public trust element of measurement. The single most important factor in public trust is the credibility of that person, party or organization. No matter how many statements are issued or how many meetings are conducted, if the issuer of the statement or organizer of the meeting does not have a good credibility standing with the public; the message does not get heard or is heard and ignored.
Recently we have seen a number of unity statements issued. Let's look at the statement of understanding by the trio, ELF-RC, ELF and EDP and see if the issued statement of understanding meets a number of democratic criteria of credibility:
There are other factors that weigh in to the credibility of the opposition camp besides the recent declarations of unity and common understanding. The top item on every one's mind is the fear of another war. The refusal of Ethiopian government to accept the international ruling and threats from the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has made this fear a topic of discussion after introductory greetings of “ hi and how is the family”. It seems that ELF-RC has pointed out the threat of war and the danger of lack of progress in the border demarcation to the forefront via all of its media outlets. Many other individuals and organizations seem to raise the issue also. Prominent writers in the Eritrean cyber politics are speaking loud and clear of the threat of war. On the other hand a few organizations think the border issue is between the two governments and should not be a concern of the opposition. They never raise the threat of war. The silence and indifference on the issue of national sovereignty significantly diminishes the applicable groups’ standing with the Eritrean population and creates a fertile ground for PFDJ to work for their isolation. Isolation from the people is of great concern to us since we believe change should come by the Eritrean people not by a foreign force.
There are some in the opposition camp who have taken stand that Ethiopia should not abide by the International ruling by refusing to call on it to abide by the ruling. They insist that Eritrea /PFDJ is the one which has to give in and give Ethiopians what they want because they are powerful and the international community is not going to enforce the ‘final and binding” border demarcation ruling.
Some sarcastically referred to us and others who care about this matter as the “shouters of final and binding”. It is not that what they say has any significance to us but just to give their readers the correct perspective; allow us to make a couple of points:
All the above points may not have won us favor with the Ethiopian government. But, we are not merchants in the business of making of profits to see things in terms of simple calculations of cost analysis. That is left for those who were dancing with PFDJ during the war instead of opposing it and now they want to dance with forces that do not stand for the benefit of our people or sovereignty of our country because it is more convenient. We want to make them aware that Mahtema Ghandi warned against POLITICIANS WITH OUT PRINCIPLES among 10 other things. Sure enough, we have seen a lot of their blunders within the last two years.
Eternal Glory to our martyrs
Our admiration to our war veteran handicaps
Wishing you a happy Bahti Meskerem
The Nharnet Team
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