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Eritrea: Exploring the divisions rooted in its past history – By Fesseha Nair

The process towards unifying all the forces for democratic change in the Eritrean Opposition Camp failed in all its efforts in the past two decades. The struggle from dictatorship to democracy requires skills and knowledge

The process towards unifying all the forces for democratic change in the Eritrean Opposition Camp failed in all its efforts in the past two decades. The struggle from dictatorship to democracy requires skills and knowledge about the identity rooted divisions and their management.

In this article, I will delve on addressing the real causes of conflict in the opposition political and civic organizations and what is the root cause that they split every time now and then. The Eritrean internal conflict is deep-rooted conflict based on identities This deep-rooted conflict has never got the right solution from the very beginning of Eritrean political struggle for self-determination and later during the armed liberation struggle and now at this time of struggle from dictatorship to democracy. Eritrean leaders has inherited violent and destructive conflict management and this authoritarian and totalitarian culture of excluding, ignoring or attempting to eliminate each other has never brought peace inside and outside Eritrea. The Eritrean political elites must learn the past violent conflict resolving methods and adopt the new democratic methods based on mutual respect and leading towards peaceful co-existence.

Developing  a national awareness requires objectivity, tolerance of cultural difference and knowledge of the diverse Eritrean people’s history and their struggle for independence and freedom. Tolerance and resilience- the properties we all lack to solve our internal and external conflicts. It is disappointing that every now and then that the Eritrean political organizations split in groups because of personal chemistry. The recent split inside EPDP was not based on political program or national principles according the two groups arguments and counterarguments, it was simple resolve it by sitting together and negotiate on the issues of conflict.

What we experience inside the our political leaders their incapability of solving their internal conflict and reminds us that still they lack the skills of managing conflicts. What can we the grass-roots do in order to help them come together. What we need is open mind and heart and discuss the issues of conflict in the Eritrean political arena.

What we see and experience in the opposition camp in the social media is not constructive but destructive in all aspects. The political leaders have been manipulating and exploiting the unawareness of our people for their narrow benefits, this is the main cause of multiplication of  political organizations now and then. The Eritrean people must be aware of such elements who preside their personal interests before the people’s interests. The people must rise against such leaders and warn to change their destructive attitude of conflict management and search new tools for conflict management suitable to our case in Eritrea. We must say now enough is enough no more walls of hate and disintegration but building bridges for peace and harmony to win the dictatorship inside Eritrea and transfer the power to its owner- the Eritrean people.

Tools for conflict management in the opposition camp

The Eritrean internal conflict is identity -driven and emotionally charged mobilized to violence instead of building trust and harmony. The situation of the Eritrean Forces for democratic change( political and civic organizations) is in crisis. We failed to resolve our internal conflicts in the past 15 years. Let us learn from our failures search for new methods of conflict management.

What we need is a new range of flexible and adoptable tools that can take consideration of the interests that helps us solve the personality-related conflicts. The aim of this article is to concentrate on developing the resources and materials by assisting the construction of the process of negotiation/ dialogue and its outcome. Designing good conflict management based on the democratic values is criteria to come together and negotiate. Democracy itself is not a panacea itself but if we in the opposition camp believe in democratic principles we must first resolve our internal conflicts peacefully without external intervention. We must own the process. An imposed solution cannot resolve our internal conflict, such imposed or coerced conflict management failed is not sustainable.

In this article I would like to propose that Negotiation/ Dialogue is the only possibility and in this case we must assist the opposition leaders to:

– enter the process of negotiating a political settlement by helping them generate creative scenarios for progress towards an acceptable outcome.

– provide them with a wide range of political options both for designing the most appropriate negotiations process for them and selecting the democratic structure suitable to our situation

– assisting them in developing solutions which are acceptable and appropriate with our situation


– provide information on the range of varied approaches to building sustainable democracy inside the opposition camp  to gain the people’s trust and legitimacy.


In conclusion, I would like to remind all the forces for democratic change focus on issues not on personalities.



  1. SIDA/ Sweden International Development Agency, ” Democratization and Armed Conflicts.
  2. IDEA/ International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, ” Building Trust and Cooperation










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Review overview
  • rezen February 11, 2018

    It is refreshingly sane to see the open acceptance of the inherent division in the “Eritrean” society. Eritreans have always based their narration on Eritrea on faulty foundation that the country is sociologically uniform and solid that no outside force can shake it. Let us be honest to our selves and admit: WE “ERITREANS” BELIEVE THAT WE ARE SUPERIOR THAN OUR NEIGHBOURS IN AFRICA. The terminology we use to insult our brotherly continental countries is shameful and below the dignity of a decent society. This is a factual displayed attitude that we cannot deny. We have, as the slang goes, “loose tongue”
    With the above damaging knowledge [which requires no ingenuity] Issayas Afewerki Abraha took a full advantage of the inherent weakness of the country that does not even have its own indigenous name. He became the leader of the famous Liberation Force for 27 years to be followed by 26 years as self-appointed President of “Liberated” Eritrea. It is an extraordinary accomplishment, and Issayas fulfilled his REVENGE against the Eritrean people!!! The absolute authority he has beyond this point is ONLY a bonus. Only in a fractured dysfunctional society can a person be an authoritarian leader with his own regulations, rules, laws, and constitution.
    I have written (commentaries) on the same general theme on numerous occasions, the latest of which is only yesterday (Subject:“ Urge Israel to stop the deportation of African refugees to third countries”. 9 Feb 2018. THE END

    • Simon G February 12, 2018

      You seem to be obsessed with people who hold PhDs. Your writing skill and style seem to be one of them.
      May I suggest that people with PhDs rarely make history. Do you know what the main reason? My suspicion is that they have too many variables for their inputs and to get a single output take them for ever!
      Just saying 🙂

    • Eyobel February 12, 2018

      “Only in a fractured dysfunctional society “like in Eritrea & with hopeless Eritreans”
      can a person be an authoritarian leader with his own regulations, rules, and constitution”. (rezen).
      Dear brother Rezen, please say no more than what you already and clearly stated it magnificently. Some twisted people may try to twist your excellent comment. Brother Simon G also rightly described your writing skill and style to be one of them people who hold PhDs.
      However, those weak, illiterate and twisted ones would try to bring/twist it down to their level.

  • AHMED SALEH !!! February 11, 2018

    continue to accuse us that we use offensive languages to insult our brotherly ……………….. again to call
    us shameful , below the dignity of a decent society . Are you serious ?
    Can you clarify what you try to say since you mentioned ERITREANS in general ?
    Do you observe or read a LOOSE TONGUE comments that disrespect our neighbors which
    I believe you meant Ethiopians or Tigrayans in this forum instead you focus at common concern
    of negative attitudes based on regional , religious and ethnical influences within ERITREAN societies .
    I stop my argument at this point and leave for others to express their opinion constructive way .

  • meretse February 11, 2018

    ዘዝወለደቶም – ሽላ እንዳመንጠላ
    ሕማቕ ዘመን ኮይኑ – ኣደ ተጸሊላ
    ኣብ ኾፍ ዝበለቶ – እንዳፈሓረት ዒላ
    ዓባያ ክትደሊስ – ሃቡኒ ነጸላ
    ኣርብዓን ኣርባዕተን- ዕንቚ እንዳቖጸረት
    “ኣበ ሂማን” ትብል – ሕሉፍ እንዳዘከረት
    ዕድመኣ ይትፈልጦን – መኣስ ከምተዎልደት
    ንእስነት ዘሊላ – ስለ ዝኣረገት
    ኩሉ ገዲፈ ግን – ካብ ተዘኩሮኣ
    ኣብ ናይ ጽባሕ ተስፋ – ኣሎኹ ምስኣ

  • meretse February 11, 2018

    ካብ ጫፍ ቛሩራ – ክሳብ ጫፍ ዳሞራ
    ዎዮ ከብዲ ኣደ – ኔሩ ጉራሙራ
    በብግዜኡ – ኣብ ሕሰም ተወልዱ
    እቲ ሓደ ነቲ ሓደስ -ዘይፈልጦ ዓዱ
    መንዩ በዅሪ – ሕሳስ ልደ ክብሉ
    ቀልባ ኣጥፊኦምላ – ስማ ክምንጥሉ
    ተረፍ ኣሞራ – ባሕሪ ተሳገሩ
    ኣብ ዓዲ ኣማቶም – እነሆ የዕገርግሩ

  • Simon G February 12, 2018

    ኣንታ ሓውና: Fesseha Nair,
    With due respect, ብሓቂ ድኻ ዝምኽርታት ‘ዚ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ ትልግስ ዘለኻ? ትምኽሪ ጽቡቕ ኔሩ ትህዝቢ ግን ተጋጊኻ።
    እንታይ ምዃኑ ዘይርዳእ ህዝብስ ንዘራረብ ትብል? ኣብ ሓሙሳታት ንዝነበሩ ኤርትራውያን ተዝኸውን ኔሩ ዝምኽሪ ከመይ ምጸበቐ። ናይ ‘ዚ ሎሚ ዘሎ ኤርትራዊ ግን: ዝሰምዓካ ሰብ ውሕድ ‘ዩ።
    እሞ ድማ ትምኽርኻስ ብእንግሊሽ? ወይ ጉድ! ምንባብ ዘይለመደ ህዝብስ ተወሳኺ ድማ ብዘይ ቋንቋኡ?
    ናይ ሎሚ ዘሎ ኤርትራዊ ክትመክር ብግምጥልሽ ጀምር።
    – ዓድና ትምዕብል ኣላ
    – ኤርትራ ለምለም ኮይና
    – ህዝቢ ኤርትራ: ሓደ ልቢ-ሓደ ህዝቢ! ትልቢ ናይ ኢሳይስ ማለት ‘ዩ።
    – ከማና ፈላጥ የለን
    – ንሕና ‘ኳ ኣርኣያ ናይ ኣፍሪቃ ኢና
    – ዓለም ብምልእታ ጸላ ኢትና ‘ያ
    – ወያነ ገስገስቲ ዮም (ነዞም ኣስላም ጀብሃ ከጥፍኡልና): ወያነ ጸላእትና ‘ዮም (ውግእ ባድመ)
    – ኢሳያስ ኳ ቅኑዕ ሰብ ዩ: ሓገዝቲ ስኢኑ!
    በል ህዝብና ከምዚ ‘ዩ። ነዚ ከይኣመና: ንቕድሚት ክንስጉም ማለት ጥዑም ሕልሚ ‘ዩ።

    ንዘሎ ሓቂ ዘይኣምን ሰብ: ክእለት መጻኢ ዕድሉ ክቕይር ማለት ዘይጭበጥ ሃንቀውታ ‘ዩ (Simon G.)

  • amanuel February 12, 2018

    Some times it surprises me when i read articles discussing the non existent eritrean opposition. I lived abroad for almost 2 decades and have not seen any opposition member who is active except for rumours about individuals. The only opposition is the people inside and outside who do not have organisation or program but have clear desire to eastablish democratic country and acountable leader elected by people. If There was a single effective opposition group it would have easily capitalized on that to rally all eritreans who are strongly and boldly opposing the tyrant back home.

  • k.tewolde February 12, 2018

    Valid contrast of views by commentators,however the remote control that tunes today’s Eritrea on and off is in the hand of the tyrant and this didn’t happen overnight,it took him a lifetime to achieve that,the Eritrean society is his university and he studied it like a book,the only problem,he is the only claimant of the reward,and he displays that in myriad of ways that we are growing to be accustomed to.That said,in order to undo this calculated and deliberate undertaking that has been slowly infusing into the blood of the Eritrean over two generations,a quick political reference or arbitrary democratic principles ain’t gonna do, it will require equivalent even more dedicated work to purify the tainted blood by slow and meticulous political,cultural,psychological reverse osmosis. There is no quick fix,we gave him the key to the city a long time ago.

    • k.tewolde February 12, 2018

      In the end, so far nobody seems to be capable or ready to undertake this daunting and painstaking task.

      • Eyobel February 12, 2018

        Brother K.Tewolde,
        You also just like brother Rezen put it excellent and thank you. It is indeed a very painstaking task, yes, a very, very PAINSTAKING TASK.
        “The Eritrean society is his university and he studied it like a book”. – (k.tewolde)
        Yes, yes brother K.Tewolde, the real university of academic integrity that he was unable to continue as a drop out.

  • rezen February 12, 2018

    With apology to Readers, permit me to come-in again. I cannot resist the insightful and [ማይ ዘይጠዓመ] original remarks by Simon G – sarcasm at its best as a useful literary tool. Great writers used that mode of writing. I admire Simon’s “ግምጥልሽ”; and can’t resist the urge to copy it here in its entirety..
    “ናይ ሎሚ ዘሎ ኤርትራዊ ክትመክር ብግምጥልሽ ጀምር።
    – ዓድና ትምዕብል ኣላ
    – ኤርትራ ለምለም ኮይና
    – ህዝቢ ኤርትራ: ሓደ ልቢ-ሓደ ህዝቢ! ትልቢ ናይ ኢሳይስ ማለት ‘ዩ።
    – ከማና ፈላጥ የለን
    – ንሕና ‘ኳ ኣርኣያ ናይ ኣፍሪቃ ኢና
    – ዓለም ብምልእታ ጸላ ኢትና ‘ያ
    – ወያነ ገስገስቲ ዮም (ነዞም ኣስላም ጀብሃ ከጥፍኡልና): ወያነ ጸላእትና ‘ዮም (ውግእ ባድመ)
    – ኢሳያስ ኳ ቅኑዕ ሰብ ዩ: ሓገዝቲ ስኢኑ!
    -ወዘተረፈ……… (Simon G.)” UNQUOTE
    It says it ALL. Amen – Inshalah (in alphabetical order).

    I can’t finish my commentary without my pet appeal to the Eritrean Intellectuals of the Highest Order, with Doctor of Philosophy Degrees (PhD), from Ivy League Universities around the Globe to step on the ‘plate’ and challenge the first-year university student drop-out and absolute Dictator President of the State of Eritrea (presumably for Life).
    As a starter, only twelve (12) Scholars would be enough to start the cascade of flow through out the world, where Eritreans reside. Is that too much to ask to save a country? Is this what “ERITREA” is really ALL about, after all that sacrifice and pride?!? If that is so. we might as well be prepared for the formal disintegration (or in the meaningful Tigrigna expression: ጉዚ) for international appetite. And WE — baptized as “ERITREANS” — will be back to our normal historical stance. We can’t help it. This is not fictitious scenario as it requires no ingenuity to BREAK but to BUILD. THE END
    P.S. Noting the attitude of a few writers that I read in the Internet, I can’t resist the urge to say the obvious: NO Eritrean is more Eritrean than the next Eritrean. We are ALL EQUAL to express our opinion to the best of our abilities and inclinations but respecting the right of our fellow Eritreans to express their views FREELY, without having to worry about self-appointed vigilantes. And to give deserving credit and THANKS to we have a free platform to express our views for the well being of Eritrea. Let’s not abuse it. Let’s use it constructively. In such an atmosphere, we may be surprised to see of how many would join in the dialogue to save a dying Eritrea.

  • meretse February 12, 2018

    Exploring the divisions in its past history ………….
    Before I spill the beans would like to emphasize an old phrase which I heard decades ago on tv: —“why do people go to the beach?” Answer.“To watch or to be watch”. The centeral message of the this phrase is >>we need eachother. Writers need readers and readers need writers. For so, thank you to all.
    Re: Exploring the divisions in its part history… Many people beleve every action we perform leaves an imprint on the field we farm, dig, construct, or sow seeds. Out of all these examples i would like to pick the most comon one, the one that says: “the seeds that we have sown in the past remains dormant until the conditions are necessary for their germination come together, this can also be many life times after the seeds were sown.” What is happened in Eritrea// is still happening is the result of what we sow on the field yesterday. Unfortunately, the current generation is paying the price for the wrong doings of the past. What is also worse is, the same farmers are still fighting for same reason that brought us here today. They absouletly do not have any shame. Ocassionally, they tell us they are best friends, comrades, broters, sisters of eachother and some years later they act like they do not recognize eachother. In short they are ego dominated, and unless the current generation takes an action the current crisis will likely persist till … only God knows the time.