The struggle from dictatorship to democracy Organizational structure, leadership and common programmes

By Fesseha Nair

This article will seek to problemize the current conceptions on the process of struggle from dictatorship to democracy in Eritrea and how this process is related to the Eritrean phenomenon such as the method of struggle, state-building, civil society and the security sector. The primary focus will be on the method of struggle to overthrow the dictator. The method of struggle against the Eritrean dictator has been one of the hotly discussed issues without no academic findings in the field. We have seen recently popular uprisings in the Arab countries( Tunisia,Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan) removing the long- years dictators with popular revolutions called, “ Jasmin Revolutions. “  Can such popular uprising happen in Eritrea? This article will discuss on the relations on democratization and the method of democratization. There is no peaceful democratic transition without violence in the world according Huntington’s classification of democratic waves. The fourth waves of democratization that took place in 1980 and 1990 both in the Eastern Europe, some parts of Asia and Africa were not peaceful. The outcome of these waves varied from genuine transformation and relative success, to halted transitions backslides to authoritarianism. In some countries, political violence and armed outbreaks followed the initiated transition process. I think the Eritrean political and civic organizations must argue that what is required is to adopt a strategy that can make us able win the dictatorship. If the course of action to win the dictatorship is to be tangible, then the coming congress must prepare on its outcomes with changes in

–         Organizational structure,

–         Leadership and

–         Common vision and programme.

Most modern systematic theoretical work on democratic transition and democratization were built on the experiences of the Latin America, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe. The Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle- East and Asian countries democratic transitions were never peaceful but violent. The argument of some political organizations for peaceful transition has no empirical evidence when related with Eritrea and other African countries suffering under the dictators, even the current popular uprising in the northern African countries will be successful or not is not clear because there is no political force organized to take the vacuum it is simply a popular uprisings

An analysis of democratization that takes its point of departure in the empirical context of the Eritrean people and nation must be considered.

I hereby would like to deal on some issues demanding changes in our organizational structure, leadership and common vision and programmes

New organizational structure

The job of the Eritrean National Commission for democratic change is to prepare an organizational structure that is open to all forces for democratic change. Developing the opposition forces means collecting all the conscious and unconscious norms and rules dominating it. The congress is the platform where a basic model of organization will be structured.

The new organization including all political and civic society organizations will enable us to cope with the internal and external challenges. The current organizational structure whether in the political or civic society organizations are no efficient and well functioning. The time is ripe for paradigm shift. Our organizational structures were not based on learning strategy. We need a learning organization identifying the needs of our people inside Eritrea. The key to this process is a well thought and developed system where all actors for democratic change participate. Learning organization creates increased opportunities for all individuals. The new organisational structure must be versatile and flexible.

Why Organizational change? The organizational structure should be based on vision and resource. The opposition forces forming this broad organization must have common vision. It is this common vision that guides them to develop their resources towards achieving their goals. When vision and goals are defined, the method that makes the change accessible must be clear. What is more important is not the idea but the method of implementation.

Change is only possible when the sum of the following three factors is greater than the resistance.

–         Dissatisfaction with the prevailing situation( D)

–         A clear positive vision of the future ( V)

–         A first concrete step towards the vision ( F)

D+ V+ F>R

Looking at this equation, I think the Resistance to change is greater than the sum of prevailing dissatisfaction of our people and lack of clear vision plus the concrete steps towards the vision. Resistance for change is the challenge that will face the process of democratization in Eritrea.

Major changes always awaken feelings both positive and negative this means that working with change always involves dealing with forces for and against. There will be forces in favour and against the organizational structure the will be adopted at the congress. It is not only organizational structure that needs change but the leadership is also vital to run the changes. I will now return to leadership.


To influence feelings, create willingness and courage

–         How can we create a belief in the organization that change is truly possible?

–         How can we create space in the organization for individuals to develop, and thus be motivated to work towards our chosen goals?

–         How can we create an organization culture which helps change our organization in the desired direction?

Leadership is the most important factor in developing an organization. The new organization need an intuitive leadership oriented towards the whole and has the ability leading towards the vision and the goals. A leadership with the ability of listening affecting the feelings of others and creating willingness and courage of the citizens to participate in the struggle against the dictatorship in Eritrea. The new organization needs a leadership utilising clear logic and analysing to examine the reality.

The current situation of the opposition political organizations’ leadership lacks leadership that can sell its ideas to the people and gain the trust and confidence of the people inside Eritrea and abroad.

Ageing political organizations leaders in the opposition camp must show the courage that they must be ready to leave the leadership to the young. The leadership of the broad national forces for democratic change must be balanced including the youth, women, independents and academicians.

Common Vision and Programmes

The Eritrean National Commission for democratic change must visualize the objectives of change: What vision do we have for the new organization and its future? Here I will try deal the overall objectives with regard to vital changes and what we want to achieve.

Definition of vision: The congress supposed to be convened should have a clear vision for changes. The criteria of the vision muse be based on the Eritrean peoples’ needs and wishes. It should be positively formulated as desired image of the future. It must be easily comprehended. It must provide guidance in decision making.

Programmes of the umbrella broad united organization should be based establishing areas of development. The areas of development to be attended must reply the following questions:

–         At what level must changes take place? In which areas will the future organization need to develop in order that overall objectives and visions are to be achieved?

–         What kind of clear goal exists for these areas of development?

It is crucial that to begin with programmes with which changes must take place to achieve the short and long term visions.

Short URL:

Posted by on Feb 3 2011 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

Leave a Reply

Photo Gallery

Log in |2011