Creating a shared vision in the Eritrean Struggle from Dictatorship to Democracy

By Fesseha Nair


What is a vision? What is a shared vision? Much has been written about the importance of shared vision and leadership in the Eritrean Opposition.


Vision is the image people has in common about how the work will look upon completion, how they will work together and how people accept the struggle for democracy. Simply vision means what do we want to create? It is not that all have the same vision but have similar image. Visions can be explained by a variety of ways and forms. They can be explained by slogans or vision statements. In this article I will discuss how we can create a shared vision in during the struggle against dictatorship and post- dictatorship Eritrea.


A shared vision is a vision uniting all the forces for democratic change with different backgrounds and agendas to a common aspirations. A shared vision motivates participants in the struggle for democratic change in Eritrea to subordinate their individual agendas and act what is best to save the Eritrean population suffering under brutal oppression. A shared vision provides priority to focus on major issues that unite the actors. It helps to communicate with mutual respect and recognition. A shared vision fosters harmony among democracy forces. A shared vision help establish a common framework for making decisions.


How can we create this shared vision in the Eritrean Opposition?


Most of the Eritrean Opposition-civic or political organizations say that they have visions after the fall of dictatorship but all this in the paper not in action. To build a shared vision one must have the knowledge of inspiring, communicating, and have strategic planning and be passionate with all forces for democratic change. Do the opposition have these properties of good inspiration, communication and strategy? Not at all. The opposition leadership and grass-roots lack these properties. All the past conferences of the opposition were lacking a shared vision and did not accept the importance of  building a shared vision. The Eritrean opposition forces have no shared vision how to get rid of the dictatorship in Eritrea and what kind of government will they form after the post-dictatorship.


A shared vision can be built by working together and building trust by solving the common problems facing you at this time and preparing for the future. An opposition without shared vision cannot gain people’s trust and support. As it is ascertained by some Eritrean scholars in their studies that the post independence Eritrea led by PFDJ failed to address the past by rebuilding peaceful coexistence facilitating national reconciliation to move from  a divided history to a shared future.


Managing conflicts within the opposition was dysfunctional and was based on win/lose strategy instead of win/win strategy. It is natural that disagreements and conflicts emerge in any work in human lives. One of the most the Eritrean opposition lacks is  to be tolerant for critical debate. The opposition must have skills of listening and encourage critical opinions. The trend of the Eritrean opposition is similar with that of the dictator in Eritrea -creating yes- men and then the king goes without clothes meaning that a dictatorship will be born inside the organization and as a result the democratic struggle fails to succeed.


Re-energizing the forces for democratic change in Eritrea


The struggle from dictatorship to democracy needs commitment to the objectives of the shared vision or to swing to action and combine its efforts towards the salvation of the Eritrean people. The opposition must look towards its performance, behaviour and culture for the purpose of eliminating dysfunctional behaviours and strengthening functional ones. it must attempt to develop strategies improving its operations against the dictatorship instead of bickering and confrontations. One of the main failures of the Eritrean opposition- political and civic organizations is not of recognizing the working relationship between the various political and civic organizations. The Eritrean opposition lacks the will to scrutinize their own behaviour before they judge others. The Eritrean Opposition Political Organizations initiative for consultation that started in Ethiopia last summer was a positive initiative towards building a shared vision. This initiative have discussed alternatives  for action and development of the political organizations but because of minor issues did not continue, this can be perhaps because of lack of trust and ownership of the struggle for democratic change in Eritrea.


The other building of shared vision of the Eritrean opposition was that of the ENCDC /Eritrean National Council for Democratic change. This coalition of both political and civic organizations. The ENCDCs shared vision was only in their heads but not on performance. ENCDC has not pursued the resolutions adopted at the Awasa  Congress. They failed to build a good working relationships between them they instead managed their conflicts by dysfunctional methods and paralysed the entire system of partnership for democratic change.


The ENCDC or the Eritrean Political organizations Counsultation are both positive initiatives but need more to do to come to a common understanding how to get rid of the dictatorship and lay foundations for the future democratic, secular and constitutional government and build a state guarantying all citizens equality and justice.







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Posted by on Dec 9 2014 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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