An Open Letter to the Eritrean Defence Forces (EDF)

By Fesseha Nair
posted 06 Oct 2005


Our Beloved Brothers and sisters in the defence of the Eritrean territory and people .

Dear patriots,

With due respect to your dedication to defend your country and all the efforts you offer for your country’s development I would like to remind you that all your efforts and dedication are abused by one man rule and are not for development but for destruction of the Eritrean people. The policies of the one man dictator are not better than the previous policies of the colonisers but worst of all.

The independence that was achieved by our gallant fighters from all Eritrea’s various people 15 years ago was obstructed and the golden dreams of our people were dashed and were replaced by egoistic and monopolistic policies. Our gallant fighters and our people who fought for many years for independence were deprived of their all rights even they can not  live safely in Eritrea. All power and decision making was given to those who were anti-Eritrean independence and extreme Unionist( With Ethiopia) elements.

On the political and diplomatic side, direct after independence, Mr. Essayas Afewerki, the self – appointed president told the people that there will be no other political organizations except the EPLF;   that was the first denial of the Eritrean political situation. After some years, when he has come in conflict with Ethiopia he brought the conflict of border aroused the feelings of nationalism against his former friends in Ethiopia. A devastating war was fought between Eritreans and Ethiopians, where more than 70.000 soldiers were killed. This war was war of two crazy leaders( as it was called by some world leaders) that would have been prevented and been resolved by negotiations. The regime in Eritrea opened conflicts with all neighbouring countries without no  reason. He imprisoned 11 members of the provisional assembly and members of the central committee of the ruling party (PFDJ) and journalists and many other military officers who criticised his rule. The autocratic regime in Eritrea is continuously creating conflicts and wars with all inside and outside. How long will the Eritrean people live with these methods of destruction? Do you think that the border conflict and other conflicts be resolved under a regime that never respects the fundamental rights of its citizens? The regime in Eritrea today is known by its large scale human rights abuses and no rule of law, no constitution. The Eritrean defence forces lack professional and institutional stability because of the president’s intervention on the affairs of defence of the country and people. In this cases, the military has become unofficial representative of the people having the power of imprisoning and killing of the civilians that would have protected by the defence forces instead. The regimes pretext of not to transit to democratization has been always and will remain that Eritrea is in border conflict with its neighbours.

On the economic side, the regime in Eritrea continued throughout the 14 years of independence by exploiting all national resources for his own personal and his intimate colleagues. All economic efforts made during the Worsai –Ykallo( enforced military labour foce) development programs were never resulted reducing the poverty of the Eritrean people. All opportunities for free market and enterprises were closed and the national economy is under one man characterised by bribes and corruption.

Today , there is only one actor in the market- the president and his military officers. The people used to purchase goods and services by card. They have no right to act in the market but take everything as given. There is no free market and no rules of the market. As mentioned early by some resources, the regime in Eritrea is just growing illegal and harmful commercial products like kat and other drugs in the fields in the fields of Eritrea to get hard currency from outside.

Where in the world of this time of globalisation does such system of market function as a free market is paradox. The government in Eritrea is doing everything to impoverish the Eritrean people and live forever in poverty and be dependent on the regime. To reduce poverty is to open the market for all to participate.

Dear Warsai-Ykalo- defence force

 Turn the efforts made by you to the benefit of your people and yourself not for the benefit of the repressive regime. Turn the commando economy to free market economy where all have the opportunities and freedom to compete for economic development.

On the social side, the repressive regime in Eritrea has no visible policies and programs reducing social problems like diseases, ignorance and poverty. When there is no economic growth, then there can be no reduction in poverty. The Eritrean people today live from donors or remittances from abroad. The worst, even the donations or non-government organizations that distribute donations were restricted or enforced to pay taxes and at last enforced to leave the country. Diseases that could easily be prevented are spread all over the country.

 There are no medicines and no medical development programs. Education that should have been the prioritised issue has been neglected and the young were forced to military instead encouraged to go to schools and be the future development factors of the country.

In general, Eritrea without the healthy and educated human cannot develop. Obviously, what is needed from Worsai -Ykalo is not only to defend the land but to defend the people from the repressive regime that is the main cause of the wide –spread poverty, disease and ignorance. How much is the repressive regime in Eritrea involved to solve these problems?

Dear Eritrean Defence Forces,

The democratic transition in Eritrea considers your role as important and invites you to intervene actively to terminate the oppressive regime and facilitate the transition to peace , democracy, human rights and rule of law in Eritrea.

Historically , Eritreans have been resistant to any inhumane and aggressive rules of foreign and internal during the times of colonization and occupation- for example , Bahta Hagos of Segeneiti and many others defended their land from colonial occupants, and later , Ibrahim and Sultan and Woldeab Woldemariam struggled for the Eritrean self determination, In group to be remembered are the student and labour union. It was these historical initiatives that were inspired our political movements like Haraka and later our armed liberation movements that were joined by Eritrean police and the Commando soldiers trained by Israeli and at last liberated Eritrea from the last occupiers. The Eritrean people ask you to take the same measures like your forefathers and save them from the criminal and repressive rule of one man.

Beloved Eritrean National Army,

As you are aware, the Eritrean Democratic Alliance composing of 16 political organizations in the opposition camp have passed a resolution stating the follwing:-

“ The EDA adopted a resolution whereby the current Eritrean Defence Forces would make an integral part of the national army and play its role in the defence of the country.”

 This statement is a sign of reconciliation and recognition that you are equally responsible to topple the repressive authoritarian regime of one man rule and play your role to transition to the constitutional government in Eritrea.

As you know, in Benin in 1990, the military refused to face down popular protests against the incumbent authoritarian regime, due to mounting criticisms of the political and economic state of the country that time, Eritrean people are experiencing worst than that. In Mali, a reform minded faction of the military joined the democratic opposition camp and participated on the transitional peace conference, similarly. I urge to take the same steps by joining the opposition camp now before it is too late.

Sincerely yours,

Fesseha Nair

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Posted by on Oct 6 2005 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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