Eritrean Opposition: Workshops, Consultations -Modern Methods of conflict Management

By Fesseha Nair

Managing identity based conflicts requires far-sighted leadership. The Eritrean internal conflict has been exacerbated by personal entrepreneurs fanning the flames of group animosities by creating fear and xenophobia using the elements of identity, thus religion language. Bringing conflicts to a sustainable settlement requires leaders who are prepared to do this must first learn to sit together and listen to each other and learn from the past


This is the time to get off from the conflict triangle that has suffered us since the Eritrean nationhood and still its traces haunting us every day in all levels of organizational action.

The Eritrean conflict triangle was circulating from the situation, attitude and behaviour of our political life.


The situation in the opposition camp has been a situation of exclusion and negation without no political power. The actions of the organizations has been aggressive towards each other. It is the situation created by the organization that took power after the Eritrean independence. The policy making of the organization that took power is the main root cause of the conflict, thus the behaviour of those involved and their reaction generates conflicts. The attitude or the perception towards others, that we are who made Eritrea independent, the others are less valuable has been the element of the vicious circle. The Eritrean opposition leaders must be aware where the conflict originates and circulates.


The recent workshop organized by Felsberger Institute and now the Consultation Dialogue coming are approaches in search of a cooperation to move from stalemate towards new position. It is a movement where the actors in the opposition change their positions, attitudes and behaviour. Engendering this co-operation requires a wider view of the conflict and this is the basic requirement of conflict management to better understand each other’s motivation.


The aim of this article is to help the negotiators to devise an appropriate strategy to manage all barriers that hinder the opposition to work together.


Identifying the actors:


  1. Who the various actors, internal and external in the conflict inside the opposition?


– identity groups involved, how they define themselves,

– who are the real leaders of these groups,

– how do they mobilize,

– what alliance have they forged,

-which interests do they serve,


  1. What factions exist within the opposition groups in Eritrea?


– Are there groups opposed to the unity process,

– how great threat do they represent,

– what resources exists to deal with them.


  1. Who are the external actors?

– governments, states, regional blocs

– which outside interests and group affect the conflict.


Identifying the issues


  1. What are the issues of conflict?


– Discrimination

– Exclusion

– Working relations


  1. Situational factors


– the needs and their fears,

– the will to live together

– lack of mutual trust


  1. Scope of the conflict


– does the conflict inside the opposition affect the Eritrean people,

– which sections suffer most,  who is affected by the continuity of the conflict.


  1. Previous conflict settlement attempts


– structures tried,

– why they failed,


  1. Phases and intensity


– have the Eritrean conflict distinct phases,

– has it shifted from time to time


  1. Balance of power


– what is the nature and extent of the balance of power

– who is stronger,

– is there balance change


  1. Capacity and resources


– what are the capacities and resources of the opposition groups

– resources needed to conduct negotiations


  1. How is the relation between the opposition groups of Eritrea


— nature of the leaders relationship

–  mutual images

– communicating channels,

– trust


All the past process of negotiations conducted from 1999 up to now lacks academic research analysis case Eritrea. Touching the main issues of conflict were taken as taboo. The Eritrean who support the dictator call themselves we are one people one heart but was this true or not has no evidence or indicators. Under the so called one hear one people, they kill and each other and kill they people every day.


Analysing conflicts helps us to create tools to solve them. I think there is hope that we in the opposition are now in the stage of de-escalating stage coming together for discussions through forming workshops and consultation methods of negotiations. These are approaches looking both yourself and understanding the views of others- this a movement away from the entrenched attitudes and positions of the various political groups towards a situation where the real needs and interests of the Eritrean people are focused.


I wish the coming consultation conference open the path towards where we all walk together without fear and animosity.

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Posted by on Nov 29 2015 Filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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