Public meeting Report From sweden

By Organizers

The Eritrean Partnership For Democracy Development/ SESDAU/ comprising the political, civic sand individuals in Sweden has conducted a public meeting in Stockholm on September 11th ,  2010  to hear about the National Conference for democratic change that was held in Addis from July 31st to august 9th .

The meeting was moderated by the partnership chairman, Fessehaye Hagos.

Panellists/ Contributors were conference participants from political organizations from EDA and non-EDA members, civic society organizations and women organizations.

The meetings agenda were reports on the conference on its process, procedure and the methods.  The chairman of the conference welcomed the audience with congratulations to those who celebrated the Holiday of Eid El Fetir and those who celebrate the Geez new year/ ቅዱስ ዮሓንስ and the 49th anniversary of the Eritrean Armed Struggle-September One.

He introduced the panellists to the public and the partnership that organized this meeting.

The first speaker was Mehari Abraham who participated in the conference representing the NECS( Network Eritrean Civil society organizations in Europe) Mehari was one of the Conference Secretariat.  Mehari has briefly reported how the conference was run from the starting date up to its final. He has detailed openly the positive and negative aspects of the conference. He stressed the role of the women and youth participants engagement and their contributions to make the conference successful. He further reported how the workshops and the issues in the workshops were discussed and treated. The issues that were discussed in the workshops were the core issues of conflict at this time and they are the actual issues to get resolved. The issues were :

–         National unity- how and why?

–          The process of democratization in Eritrea. How and why?

–         National Covenant- How and why

–         Transitional Period

–         The organizational framework- From this conference to the coming National congress

–         National Commission for democratic change

The second speaker was Mrs. Aisha Gaas who participated the conference representing women association in Sweden and who was one of the Conference secretariat briefed the good will and good spirit of mutual understanding that was shown by all participants. She witnessed that Eritreans can resolve their conflict issues if they sit and dialogue. This conference has shown us that we need to introduce a culture of dialogue in our Eritrean culture of isolation so that we can save our people from dictators either from inside or outside.

The third speaker was Gebrehiwet Woldemicael who participated representing the people from Sweden. Gebrehiwet analysed what he experienced during his participation in all the activities of the conference.  In his initial presentation he told the meeting that what made him more appreciated is the meeting of all Eritreans from all Ethnicities and religions under one umbrella discussing their issues with mutual respect and listen each other without breaking the discussant until he completes his speech.  Gebrehiwet further told the meeting that the conference has laid foundation for the future to come together and resolve their conflicts peacefully.

The fourth speaker was Abdulkarim Mustafa who participated at the conference representing his political organization/ EIPJD/ Eritrean Islamic Party For Justice and development/ but here in this meeting he was elected by all political organizations either from EDA or non –EDA to speak on their behalf. Mr. Abdulakarim  presented his report how the conference was initiated by the Eritrean Democratic Alliance from 2002 and up to its convening the conference. Abdulkarim continued his analysis the constraints that this process of conference was facing during its preparations and how it has succeeded to overcome these obstacles and convened this historical conference in the Eritrean political history.

The most important what Abdulkarim reported was that all participants were equally seen, Thus,  the EDA member participants were divided in all workshop groups and discussing with them without imposing their organizational ideas and opinions. They were more listening than talking.

The session of report concluded after 2 hours.

Session of Public discussion / questions, views, comments and recommendations

The chairman of the meeting told the audience first to ask on issues that need more illustration and later on views and comments.

The questions asked were mostly not relevant with how the conference was run but on other issues of condemnation and creating of confusion to the public to mislead but all questions were scientifically and objectively replied by the panellists and other participants.

The main issue of the question was on the resolutions regarding the rights of nationalities to self determination. Here, Mehari Abrahman who was the member of the secretariat briefed how this resolution has come. He fully analysed that his resolution was the result of the workshop discussions and the final discussion of the conference. He further defined the resolution based on the Universal Declaration of the Human rights and the two other Covenant of both the civil and political , Economic, social and cultural rights of people adopted in 1966. The term self –determination by the level of Eritrean political elites is of the 18th century definition and need revision and more studies

Most questions that were asked were not clear but lack of communication and formulation of their language. Some confuse some English terms with their language and put it in wrong formulation when they argue with their counterparts. Some use the word , “ mandate”  and some use , “ Null and Void”   and some mix the terms of legitimacy and legality.

Those who use these terms without understanding were given a good lecture that the conference  was legal and legitimate by all aspects. Here one of the participants, Mr. Hiruy Bairu has responeded by explaining the legality of the conference from the very beginning up to now by scientific and realistic analysis. He has clarified the difference between legalilty and legitimacy. He further analysed the foundations of the authority of the conference, meaning that leaders of the EDA including the EPDP have resolved thart the conference will be organized inside one year and you have recognized and accepted this. Therefore , you could not deny the legitimacy of this conference responded, Hirui.

Hirui added that “On its legality” the conference is not null and void because, there were clear cut rules that were applied to all participants of all political and civil society organizations without discrimination at your presence of your organization and these were agreed by you in the EDA charter both legislatively and executively at the EDA unity conference of 2008.

Hirui concluded his response that such misleading campaigns can only benefit the dictator in Asmara and he requested that all forces for democratic change must stop these counter- productive campaigns against the coming congress so that our peoples suffering under the dictator be shortened and our young youth go to schools instead fleeing the country.

Most questions were from those with good will and they were asking how the Commission for democratic change reconcile the EPDP and others to join the mainstream of the democratic change. The panellists promised that they will do all they can to bring all forces for democratic change to participate in the coming conference.

Some questions on the role of the civic society organizations that the civic society has not played an arbiter role was also responded that the civic society has done what they can but they did not get a hearing from those who have drawn their participation from this national dialogue.

Comments and recommendations were all wishing that the results or the outcomes of the conference must be applied effectively and the commission for national democratic must work hard to succeed this congress in time.

The meeting concluded in a good spirit of  common understanding.

Organizers/ SESADU

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