The birth of Eritrean National Council for Democratic change

By Fesseha Nair


I welcome the birth of National Council for democratic Change/ ENCDC  a first step towards national unity and democracy.  In this article I would like to discuss on the structure, organization and objectives of the council. The Eritrean national council for democratic change( ENCDC) is an umbrella organization of all forces of good political will for change. It is an organization of the willing and represents and struggles for the Eritrean people’s salvation. It does not represent the entire Eritrean people but those of good will for democratic changes in Eritrea. It is now time for all of us of the good will to cooperate and work hard with this council of resistance for freedom and dignity for our suffering children under the mafia system of one man rule. In this article, I would like to contribute my proposals to our new leadership in its organizational structure and departments that have been announced recently. The congress in Awasa discussed and endorsed three documents:


  1. 1.     National Charter
  2. 2.     Road map
  3. 3.     Organizational Statute/ Constitution


The essentials elements laid down by the charter include,


–         Salvation of the Eritrean people,

–         End dictatorship

–         Establish a democratic Eritrea that guarantees freedom and dignity to all Eritreans without discrimination of sex, race, language, religious status, social origin.


The Charter is the supreme law governing the central administration of the council.


One major factor I will argue in this article is how the 127 man appointed as council be involved in their responsibilities in every country they reside. The council members are spread in the whole world of diaspora Eritrea. Each and everyone should sit and plan with his residents to succeed the objectives of the charter. But let first deal with the organizational structure- the legislative and executive bodies of the organization.


A. The legislative body


The Eritrean National council for democratic change which is composed of political, civil organizations youth and women associations has 127 members.


The legislative is the supreme body or the law- making body in the council according the charter. All power and authority rests on this body. I think the composition of the council reflects the Eritrean diversity in diaspora with exception of those who did not participate in the congress.


How is the legislative body be functioning and be effective in implementing the charter is the main issue that must be focused. The central administration of the legislative body- the chairman of the council must draft a work plan of the legislative council and in its first session adopt a common work plan to all members of the council by distributing the work in standing committees. What are these standing committees? What is their public assignment?


These standing committees are the main policy makers of the council. These standing committee follow the work of the executive in all departments and its functions. For example, the standing committee of foreign relations, the standing committee budgeting of the central administration and so etc……………


Since the Eritrean National council for democratic change is spread in many countries each council member must be given the assignment under the standing committees otherwise the council members will remain passive without no function. I propose to  the national council central administration to distribute the public assignments by forming standing committees in each region and country in diaspora Eritreans.



B. The executive body


The Eritrean National Council has elected a 21 man executive body. It consists of 10 branch offices or posts headed by executive chairman and his deputies. The responsibilities of the executive include the execution of policy decisions made by the legislative body and the supervision of its departments.


As announced the offices of the 10 branches of the executive are as follows:

  1. 1.     The office of the head executive and his deputies
  2. 2.     The office of the information and culture
  3. 3.     The office of the foreign relations
  4. 4.     The office of the refugees and their security
  5. 5.     The office of defence and protection
  6. 6.     The office of budgeting and Finance
  7. 7.     The Office of Gender- Equality of women
  8. 8.     The office of the youth participation
  9. 9.     The organizational office
  10. 10.                        The office of social and cultural Affairs


The executive of the Eritrean national council for democratic change is organized into 10 departments responsible for the daily administration of the Eritrean Affairs for democratic change inside and outside Eritrea. Each department is head by CEO/ chief executive officer. I would like to offer some proposals  to each department.


1. The office of the head executive and his deputies


This office organizes plans and handles the diplomatic political, governmental and personal correspondence and acts as head representative of the ministry of the organization based on the charter and policies of the legislative body. If it is possible it must be administered by professionals. The office of the CEO and its deputies is responsible for holding protocols of the executive meetings and bills.


  1. 2.     The office of the information and culture


This office is responsible for ensuring that the Eritrean cause must be well publicized regularly via print media, radio and internet. It has the responsibility to develop the information instruments both the human capacity and material resources. It must promote the struggle against the dictatorship and the Eritrean peoples severe conditions. It must educate and inform the Eritrean population to rise up for their freedom and dignity. It should influence the international opinion for the Eritrean people’s rights. I propose this office must divide its sections of media in subdivisions in all countries and especially inside Eritrea.




  1. 3.     The office of the foreign relations


This department is responsible for the international affairs. This office must be attended by competent and experienced personal to lobby the international community to draw attention the observance of the international community to the Eritrean people’s human rights situation. This office must divide its work in desks- for particular geographical regions. It can have an African and Middle East, USA and Canada, Australia and Asian desk, and desk for the European countries/ EU. They all work for the promotion of diplomacy and political relations. The head of the foreign relations supervises all the desks which function as its embassies.  I propose that the work of these desks centres around lobbying sovereign governments and transnational organizations like the UN, AU, EU. They must maintain contacts with the Eritreans in their respective resident country and organize the participation of delegates to conferences on issues of human rights in Eritrea.



  1. 4.     The office of the refugees and their security


This department is responsible overseas refugee settlements in the neighbouring countries and throughout the world. It is responsible to draw the attention of the international community that the Eritrean Refugee case must be priority and be treated humanely.  I propose that this office must be organized into divisions responsible for the security and protection of the refugees in their first land of asylum. It should work with the international organizations that support refugees.



  1. 5.     The office of defence and protection


The Eritrean people in general and the Eritrean youth in particular are today living under persecution and under the order shoot to kill. The Eritrean people are living under an open jail without no freedom and rights to manage its life. The responsibility of this office is to unite all forces fighting the dictatorship inside Eritrea under one command and under one mission that is to liberate the people from the tyranny. I propose that this office must work immediately integrating these forces under the endorsed charter. In any struggle for democratic change there is no guaranteed support of the people or the international community without internal resistance. This office needs a leadership of competence and capacity to defence and protect the people from the daily persecutions and hunting of the youth at the border and inside Eritrea.



  1. 6.     The office of budgeting and Finance


This office is responsible for finance and budgeting of the union for democratic change. It oversees and formulates the Central Administration of the Union and ita annual budget. It is responsible for its income generation and activities used to fund projects and programmes of the council. The main activities focus on collecting annual voluntary contributions from all Eritreans in exile. I propose that the office of finance and economy must work with non profit international organizations for development and entrepreneurial activities in convenient resident countries to enhance the budget of the administration.



  1. 7.      The Office of Gender- Equality of women


This office is responsible for gender equality and participation of women in the struggle against from dictatorship to democracy. Without the participation of women there is no progress in democracy and development. We have our recent examples of the women participation in the Arab Spring that has ended dictatorships in from Tunisia to Libya. We have seen how the women in Liberia won the warlords and achieved peace and stability in the country. We have seen women leading the revolution in Yemen- like Tewekul Karman, Why not our Eritrean women who have struggled during the liberation period on the side of their brothers. Gender Equality is the main issue to be focused and promoted by all member organizations of the Union for democratic change. Women are by nature our soft power to win the dictatorship therefore I propos that this office enhances the participation of the women who are more than half our population.




  1. 8.     The office of the youth participation


This office articulates clear dissent in its political outlook and strategy in a sense that the only means to end the dictatorship is to confront it and it rejects the non-violent struggle believing that it has not worked and work in Eritrea and other world. Since the Eritrean youth the most hunted and persecuted, this office must outreach its connective relationship with the youth enforced to serve the dictator in military camps. Their main responsibility is to attract the military on their side and liberate the people. This office must also work hard with the youth mislead by the dictatorship and return them to the democratic process. According the UNCHR statistics on the Eritrean refugees the majority are the youth worldwide, there are more than 1.2 m Eritreans in diaspora. The office is responsible to unite these youth in diaspora in the struggle from dictatorship to democracy. I propose to this office to outreach and perform activities that unite the youth for democratic change. There is no success without their participation. The youth are our soft and hard power for change.




  1. 9.     The organizational office




This office is responsible for organizing and public mobilisation. The dictator requires the assistance of the people they rule without which they cannot secure and maintain the sources of political power. The forces for democratic change cannot succeed without well organized and mobilised people. This office is responsible to gain confidence of the people and civil disobedience. This office must be very competent and capable to organize the population. It needs skills and knowledge of the Eritrean diversity. I propose that this office must take its responsibility to divide the organizing activities spread in all regions.




  1. 10.                        The office of social and cultural Affairs


This office is responsible for the social and cultural affairs of the union. The social department includes the health and educational affairs of the refugees in Ethiopa and Sudan. The cultural section includes the development of the Eritrean culture. The art of music and writers institution that make our people aware have role in mobilising our population to unite and struggle for democratic change. This office must work with national and international organizations to promote education for the youth in Sudan and Ethiopia. Building cultural institutes in the refugee camps like building centres for education and information like libraries and health centres. Education and health institutes providing skills and knowledge to our children in the camps. This office must focus on the refugee camps with all activities that promote their health and education.


Democratization of the Administration of all the offices


The political system of all the offices must abide by the charter and its constitution. The process of democratization must flow from below and above and vice versa. Information flow must be effective. The adaptation of the three documents can be described as a “ decisive step towards genuine democracy”. The formation of the national council for democratic change was not by election but by appointing your representatives regionally and locally. This is because one cannot elect in such situation where one does not know each other except his her localities, therefore they are appointed for public assignment. They represent the people of good will for national unity and democracy in Eritrea. What matters today is to come together and dialogue for the future. It is not time for contending for power but  to liberate our people from the brutality of evil dictatorship in Eritrea






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