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Urgency of Re-organizing and Strengthening Eritrean Democratic Grassroots Movements for Primary Elections By Our Voice – Eritrea

Urgency of Re-organizing and Strengthening Eritrean            Democratic Grassroots Movements for Primary Elections                                                                            By                                                               Our Voice – Eritrea Outline Mission Statement The Role of Our Voice – Eritrea The Role of Opposition Political Parties and Civic Organizations in the

Urgency of Re-organizing and Strengthening Eritrean 

          Democratic Grassroots Movements for Primary Elections


                                                              Our Voice – Eritrea


Mission Statement

  1. The Role of Our Voice – Eritrea
  2. The Role of Opposition Political Parties and Civic Organizations in the Elections
  3. Criteria for Candidacy and Any Participation in the Elections
  4. Signing a “Memorandum of Understanding”
  5. Finance
  6. Why We Should Be Very Careful in Selecting Our Leaders
  7. Are We Ready to Start the Real Work?
  8. If you want to contact us and discuss


Mission Statement

The purpose of the Eritrean Grassroots Democratic Movement is to conduct primary elections all over the world where Eritreans live to make it possible for the people to democratically choose their own representatives from the bottom-up.  The elected representatives will constitute the Provisional National Democratic Baito (PNDB).  The electorate will have the right to recall their representatives if the later commit serious crime, or grossly misbehave putting the country in disrepute or if they do not do their jobs properly after three warnings.

The Baito will in turn elect the Eritrean Global Leadership Council (or the Council).  Until the removal of the dictatorship, the Council will act as the de facto Eritrean Provisional Government and will represent all Eritreans everywhere and speak on their behalf.  The primary purpose of the Council will, however, be to facilitate the removal of the dictatorship at the earliest and establish democratic constitutional governance by conducting fresh elections in the NEW  ERITREA to insure the emergence of a free, fair, equitable, peaceful, humane, dynamic, prosperous and advanced society – where all its citizens are confident of their future and happy within themselves:  no more lies, no more stupidity, no more fear and intimidation, no imprisonment, no extra judicial killing and disappearance, no forced migration and the open jaws of the Sahara, the Sinai and the Mediterranean, no more crying in pain of our women and children. The Council will conclude its task after successfully conducting free and fair elections and the establishment of the new Eritrean constitutional government.

How can all this be achieved – and how fast? 

  1. The role of the Our Voice -Eritrea.

As we have repeatedly said,  the primary role of the Our Voice group is  to act as a think-tank to come up with possible new ideas, outlooks, re-interpretation of old ideas, analysing various issues and suggesting as much as possible new strategies and tactics of dealing with our long standing problems.  We have a political purpose.  But, we are not a political party, nor do we aim to surreptitiously steal well deserved glory at the point of victory from those who have been in the struggle all their lives.

We have no skeletons in the cupboard, and nothing to hide from the public and nothing to declare.  To those who still suspect, we can only say that the only reason why we have taken this role is because of the painful stalemate in our struggle – and because we honestly believe that we have some ideas that will solve our problems if we apply them diligently and in unity.  To all the already existing Eritrean political parties and civic organisations, we would like to make it clear that we are here only to help and not compete with you for power or any other benefit – nor take the credit away from you. We only want to see the end of the pain and indignity of our people – just like yourselves.

Some people have asked, “Why don’t you join the already existing opposition groups? What is the need of re-inventing the wheel?  We are tired of the proliferation of opposition political groups.”  We wish that it were as simple as stated.   Some of us were actually in some of the said opposition groups, and we have tried it.  We can only say that whether the opposition groups we have are few or many, we have not gone far from where we started anyway. In fact, there is an obvious stalemate and, to some extent, even regression and weakening  in the opposition!  Our task is to reverse the weakening, break the stalemate, galvanise the opposition camp and get things moving again until victory is achieved and the Eritrean people are free.  That is why we have not chosen to go back and do what is being suggested above. But, we are prepared to work with any group that shares our ultimate aspiration despite some minor differences which we should be able to accommodate because we know that without unity nothing can be achieved.

Nonetheless, it must be said that what most of the opposition groups have been doing is self defeating.  They have been fiercely competing, backbiting and discrediting each other and jockeying for power – although they have nothing in their hands or in sight.  They have to change as soon as possible, or they will be further weakened and rendered irrelevant.  Things cannot continue as they have been.  We need the emergence of new Eritrean politics based on unity, common purpose, solidarity andadherence to democratic principles.  We certainly do not wish to continue fighting old wars and point scoring  between the old political groups or their rumps or remnants.  We need statesmen as our leaders with tolerance, patience, understanding, love for the people beyond themselves and remarkable vision for our future and who can unite us – not those who take the Eritrean people for granted, have not even freed themselves from old ways of thinking, are still fighting old wars, have no clear vision and who seem to be hungry for power above all else.  We believe in the remarkable ability of humans to change and reform themselves.  We, therefore, have not given up on our leaders from the past who are now in the opposition.  We hope that they will reform and use their experience, knowledge and wonderful skills to good use.  But, they have to look to the future and not the past.

Having said that, we would like to make it clear that we are not putting all the leaders of the various opposition groups and civic organizations  in a straight jacket as if they are all the same.  We know that there are some who are ethical, well meaning and principled – such as those of the late Wedi Vacaro movement and units formed around the work of Amanuel Iyasu of and other grassroots movements.   But, in the confusing game of Eritrean politics, who is going to be the judge?  We can think of no better arbiter than the Eritrean people starting from the grassroots level.  Thus, let the many ideas, strategies and achievements of all Eritrean political parties, civic groups and all other stake holders float in the marketplace of ideas and let the people choose who is best for them.

But, before the elections take place or in tandem, there must be a wide campaign to educate the people on the significance and purpose of the elections and the need for fresh thinking and reform in attitude.  This is why well organised and conducted democratic elections at the grassroots level where people live and know each other are crucially important.

  1. The role of opposition political parties and civic organisations in the elections.

We are in a dire situation, and we have no time to waste.  Therefore, we have to quickly request the existing opposition political parties and civic organisations who have been operating at the grassroots level and other stake holders to call local public meetings of Eritreans and explain  the importance of conducting elections that will lead to the formation of their own government and the benefits thereof.  Where there are no opposition political parties or Eritrean civic organisations in the area or other organised groups, individual Eritreans could take their own initiative and call a local meeting to discuss the importance of electing their representatives.

The Our Voice group is willing to coordinate  these processes.  Every local election should result in the nomination of a chairperson and his/her two assistants, one secretary and the other a treasurer.  The names of the three people, their roles and their telephone numbers and e-mails should be communicated to Our Voice by fax, preferably also by e-mail.  The local electoral committee will get in touch with other local election committees in the region by themselves or through Our Voice to form a regional electoral committee that will monitor what goes on at the local level.  The proportional representation will be decided in consultation with the public. These regional electoral committee representatives will then gather to form a National Electoral Committee (NEC).  The representatives from all the countries where Eritreans live will finally form  the  Eritrean Global National Electoral Committee (EGNEC)Once an Eritrean  EGNEC is formed, the Our Voice group will pass the responsibility for conducting the elections and all the documents it has to the said new body.  The role of Our Voice will then be to support the work of the EGNEC only on technical basis as required. 

All those who are selected and approved by the public to work as members of the various electoral committees will not be eligible to run as candidates in the elections.  Otherwise, there will be conflict of interest. 

  1. Criteria for candidacy and any participation in the elections.

Inevitably, this will lead us to the much disputed and slippery question of “Who is an Eritrean?” and who will be eligible to participate as a candidate, as a voter or organiser in the forthcoming Eritrean elections.   We wish we could be spared the trouble of having to deal  with this thorny issue.  That is  because, as we have seen recently,  it provokes strong emotions and there are obviously some interest groups who seem to have capitalised on it in a partial and grossly unfair, distorted  and dangerous way obviously to suit themselves. They have done so for the purpose of  silencing and excluding those who see as their adversaries from making formidable contributions to our struggle.

By the way, it is extremely dangerous to unfairly exclude and discredit people in the way we have seen recently. It might have temporarily worked as an instrument of evil for the perpetrators of the crime of defamation and vilification.  In the end, however, the whole thing will boomerang on them – for they live in glass houses, and they are throwing stones that will shutter what they think are their safe abodes.  We suggest that they start with themselves first and the occupants of the main offices of the chief criminal cohort in Asmara. Then, they will see which of them will remain around in Eritrea if their definition of “Who is an Eritrean?” is properly applied.   They can’t win however much they try to twist the facts.

The act of excluding decent, hard working and genuine Eritreans on irrelevant and non existent pretexts will further create division, suspicion and bitter enmity between neighbours, friends, colleagues  and compatriots.  We may also transform with our own hands otherwise innocent, trusting  and helpful citizens into bitter closet enemies   who might bite us severely when and where it matters with unforeseen consequences  whose damage we cannot even  imagine.  We can give a lot of examples like this from history beginning from Ancient Greece and Rome to the present.  We need to understand that this issue of exclusion  has brought about the collapse of many armies and nations.  Let us stop the stupidity, please!!  We have a lot to learn from the fairly open  Oromo Gadaa system that welcomes other peoples to their fold.  That is why the Oromos in Ethiopia are so many and so powerful!!

In short,  Our Voice – Eritrea as a group  is campaigning for  widening the definition of “Who is an Eritrean?” to make it as inclusive and uniting as possible.  We are here to embrace every Eritrean as an equal whatever his/her background, family history, race, ethnicity, colour of skin or appearance, religion, language, political persuasion, occupation, etc. If any person commits a crime against our people and country, then he/she should be brought to court and sentenced after due process. But, he/she cannot be stripped of his/her Eritrean nationality by any means.  Besides, if anybody or any group is caught insinuating  or making a public statement by word of mouth or in writing vilifying the origin, ethnicity, religion, occupation, etc.  of any Eritrean or trying to deny him/her of full rights of a citizen as any other Eritrean, then that person who is making the dangerous offence should be indicted for serious  treason and severely punished. It is a serious matter because it strikes exactly at the very heart of our unity and harmony without which we cannot exist as a viable society.

If one studies Eritrean social history properly, it is obvious that Eritrean genealogy is porous and cross boundary in origin, especially with the Sudan and Ethiopia.  Hardly any Eritrean can be spared from this – unless he/she wants to deliberately deny it or does not know the truth as a result of ignorance (We have well documented evidence for this since the time of the Italians up to now [See the work of Conti Rosini, Dr Aba Ishak, et al] and is available for anyone interested.)   The question is with how many people will Eritrea remain (if any) provided that  the new definition they (even some of the main opposition groups) have been  suggesting as of late  is applied strictly and not relaxed when and where it suits them.     They might get some political advantage from it for the time being.   After a while, however, it will work against them. Let time be the judge! Anyway, their thinking is based on laziness of mind and opportunism. They have not thought through the absurdity of what they have been saying that their definition excludes even some of the most important founders of Eritrean nationalism, including Ato Woldeab Wondemariam.  They should also examine themselves to find out the truth – which will no doubt free them from their delusions.

We shall soon issue a preliminary draft document for discussion  on the issue of “Who is an Eritrean?” and “Who is allowed to vote?”  We shall amend it according to the feedback we get from the public.  As you know, we are not and we cannot act as the final authority on the matter.  It will be presented to an elected Eritrean body to consider it and adopt it, amend it or reject it when the time comes.  As we said, we prefer an inclusive approach rather than go for a witch hunt to ostracise, vilify and cruelly demoralise genuine Eritrean citizens who have done nothing wrong.

There are other issues also in connection with the criteria for candidacy which we shall discuss in the forthcoming document.

  1. Signing a memorandum of understanding

Every candidate, every voter and every one who wishes to take part in the elections in any capacity should sign a memorandum of understanding committing himself/herself  to the following;

  • Abide by democratic procedures
  • Apply the standard procedures of conflict resolution (to be explained later in full)
  • Use of civilized language  and substance of argumentation
  • Respect the outcome of democratic elections and decision making
  • Recognize the right of the people to ask legitimate questions and expect to get well informed and reasoned replies  – with no lies and cover ups
  • See every Eritrean and indeed every human being as an equal and treat them with dignity and fairness
  • Never use violence as an instrument of settling differences in politics and social affairs
  • Always remember that political authority comes from the collective will  of the people and that no one is above the law
  • Tolerance , acceptance and respect of diversity in cultural values, religion, language, race, ethnicity, ability/disability status, etc.

All the political parties, civic organizations and all stake holders of whatever form who wish to participate in the elections should also sign the memorandum of understanding.

  1. Finance

The movement should be well financed to do its job properly.  We suggest that the resources come mainly from  Eritrean  public subscription until  the Eritrean Global Leadership Council is formed.   The Council can then do as it sees fit.  Every contributor should be given a legitimate receipt.  Every cent contributed by the Eritrean public and other donors should also be well documented  and accounted for with full transparency.  Any individual or group that can prove that they have contributed to the funds should be able to inspect the books on demand.


  1. Why we should Be Very Careful in Selecting Our Leaders

Throughout the election, we should be careful about some people who have very risky and dangerous personality traits.  We need leaders of sound mind who can think and have the required knowledge to arrive at informed and reasoned decisions  – and not delusional  characters (however handsome or pretty) who  see things that don’t exist,  blow out facts out of proportions, overestimate or underestimate their power and  easily  give way to emotions and irrational expectations about how the world works. We should be careful not to buy into the dramatic self presentations of those who are seen as having a charismatic persona – usually superficial, self centred, irrational and dictatorial – stifling the contributions of better minds. As candidates for high business posts, people with such a personality now tend to be seen with suspicion and as potential causes of failure – not as enablers.  This is backed by a lot of research.  

Thus, we should learn from our own past.  We should judge our leaders and potential leaders by the outcome(s) of their thinking and action – not their public appearances as being great with their exaggerated moustaches, vain pronouncements, insincere and groundless  promises , dubious explanations and pronouncements.   In fact, all candidates for top leadership should undergo personality tests to be conducted by neutral experts – just as they do when they select top business executives.  We need to protect ourselves from sadists, narcissists, murderers, liars, rapists, thieves, pretenders with no moral compass – and prevent them from coming to positions of power in our country – ever again!!  We want to have as our leaders those who are statesmen:  capable, genuine, humane, with public ethos, who put the public interest before their own and have proven ability to unite people and bring out the best in them.

  1. Are we now ready to start the real work?

We are now indeed ready to start the actual campaign by contacting individuals and groups whom we believe can help in organizing the grassroots elections for our collective good.  Please be aware that without the help of every Eritrean to make the plan work, Our Voice alone will never be able to do it.   We need an input from every Eritrean who can help.   Please understand that we are not claiming to know everything or that we can do everything by ourselves, or that we have the silver bullet that only we can administer.  Far from it!!  We know that all our ideas are not perfect by any means.  We are also aware that some of you may greatly disagree with some of the things we have said or the way we have said them.  Please remember what the American psychologist and Philosopher, William James, said more than a century ago:  “Wisdom is the ability to distinguish between what is important and what is trivial.”  The statement might seem very simple – something that anybody knows.  However, the point is that, in our daily lives we forget it.  Quite often, we waste our time dealing with trivialities  that are of little consequence, while leaving the major ones aside.   In short, please let us put aside the minor differences we have and unite for our collective mission.  All of us will gain from changing our sad story.   Actually, we have no other alternative.

  1. If you want to contact us and discuss

Anyone wants to reach us and discuss the possibility of working with us for the purpose we have outlined, he/she can contact us by e-mail on   We can also give you our telephone and fax numbers on request.  For in depth discussion, we are also available on Skype.  Our main office is located in London.  Your contact person is Dawit Tsegai.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago.  The next best time is now!”

                                                                           An African proverb

Review overview
  • Ogbai Ghebremedhin August 8, 2015

    Dear Datwit,
    One more thing: I want you and all to know that I am not standing on the platform of judging; we have more than enough of making judgments without concrete evidence, to which I am consciously against. My focus is, as first world war French general, Marshall Foch said: “ONE MUST ACT; IT IS ONLY THAT WHICH PRODUCES RESULTS.” From sowing to harvesting, it is action that makes a difference in life. Unfortunately, at this critical juncture of our history, we Eritreans are significantly lacking the spirit of united action. So, let us ACT, and not try to change horses in the middle of the river.

  • Ogbai Ghebremedhin August 8, 2015

    This is the message I received when I tried the emailed you provided:

    Technical details of permanent failure:
    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain by[].

    The error that the other server returned was:
    554 delivery error: dd This user doesn’t have a account ( [-5] –
    If you can come up with a solution!

  • weygud August 8, 2015

    The underlying cause of negative comments on the move of the latest change seekers is fear and you cannot change attitude by replying to every single remark. Living in deeply held fear for a long time has affected the personality traits of many individuals to perceive a distorted reality. In fact, it has been institutionalized right from the liberation era and encroached into the nuclear family.

  • Dawit Tsegai August 9, 2015

    Hi Mehret,
    Just two points.
    1. You aptly explained the reasons why Eritreans are very suspicious about those in politics – and we agree. That is actually our point. Whether we disclose our personal details to the public or not, people will remain suspicious – although we have nothing to hide. We need to focus on the serious task of national salvation instead of getting distracted by secondary issues. As it has repeatedly been said, we need to focus on the message rather than the messenger. We also know what is happening to those who have publically disclosed all their personal details to the public. We all know the fabricated tales and vilifications dedicated Eritreans have suffered needlessly of late? We are not conducting an American type of election where there are ethical standards, laws of libel and rules of redress. HIGDEF and its followers have no moral compass, and they are prepared to do anything to have their way. We have one question though. If St Gabriel himself were to come down and deliver the message, how many Eritreans would believe him? It is an endless circus of rumours. We have chosen not to feed it.
    2. About why I am the only one participating in these discussions and not the other members of Our Voice, I can only say that it has to do with division of labour.
    I hope that this helps.
    With regards.

  • Mightyembasoyra August 9, 2015

    Ati Dawit,
    What is the group’s fear that seems to spare you?

    I like your plan and wish us success!

    • Mightyembasoyra August 9, 2015

      Meant to say “Ato”

      • Abel August 9, 2015

        Why change of name from Ato Simon G. to Mightyembassoyra? Why not just MightySimon?
        Mr Dawit Tsegay, please ignore some of the negative comments as concerned Eritreans and just
        stick to your Kudus Elima and principles. A critically sick patient can’t be choosy or selective of his doctors.
        I wish all the best and speedy success to you lot my dear brothers and sisters. You need help not interrogation and character assassination by racist people at Meskerem/

        • ጎይታ ኣረቂ August 9, 2015

          MightySimon is not a bad idea bad my question is still valid.

  • mighty karneshim August 9, 2015

    Our unity is vital.

  • Kidane Beraki August 9, 2015

    Hi Dawit,
    I strongly believe I understood what you did. In any case, i wish it was in its entirety. The message was intended for many. You are within your rights. I respect and accept your editing.
    Best regards to you all.
    Kidane Beraki

  • Alem k August 10, 2015

    If we are going to eliminate the cold blooded criminal tyrant, and build a harmonious democratic Eritrea, we have to put aside ,my way or the highway mentality and we have to learn to compromise and find a common ground. So far regardless how much we rattled up and scrutinize and nick pick everything which came our way, we still couldn’t dislodge the criminal regime from our country. We have every reason to be suspicious,after all we got betrayed by sellout criminals, whom we thought our own, but on the other hand we cant afford to be suspicious and not thrusting everything and everyone either. This group “OUR VOICE” they have unique approach and they laid down doable platform with checks and balances and it can be our great chance and our platform for unity which can lead us to reclaim our freedom and our country.
    We have more reasons that unite us than the things that divide us, so I for one willing to take my chance with this brothers and sisters “our voice” and give my support in every possible way I can.
    Lets not expect all our answers and solutions to come from the our voice group and jump into premature conclusions and judgments but rather if this movement is going to succeed lets try to contribute positive suggestions and positive solutions.
    God bless our Eritrean people and death to the criminal regime.
    Dawit Tsgai and our voice we are behind you.