Are the Eritrean Opposition in search of a win-win dialogue and engagement ?

By Fesseha Nair

The role of dialogue between any actors in the struggle for democratic transition is very important for communicating the concerns, the understanding of the problems or challenges and for establishing a clear roadmap that satisfies the needs of our people.


The designation of the roadmap and implementation fosters ownership and commitment as opposed to exclusion which can lead to resentment based on alienation.


Involving all the actors in the process of discussing the process of transition to democracy can reshape the thinking and encourage the forces for democratic change develop their analytic capacities and increases their confidence in their ability to use them. The main scarce property of the Eritrean Opposition Forces both political and civic organizations is trust building. Trust building a prerequisite for successful dialogue. We all need to combat the deficit of trust. What makes the Eritrean elites jump from one alliance to another is lack of mutual trust and self-confidence.


The current situation in Eritrea appeals to all of us that the Eritrean people are at the edge of destruction in all spheres of life. More than ever, the question of salvaging our people from this apocalyptic murder situation is a paramount and it calls all of us to take responsibility and unite our efforts immediately now without delay.


The recent workshop organized by the Felbegs Institute on Research and Education for Eritrean political and civil society organizations is an opportunity to bring together some of the organizations discuss and listen to each other on issues that concerns all of us. I think the workshop ended in a mutual understanding of great importance of on going dialogue between all stakeholders in the future. The final agreement statements of Frankfurt workshop were shortly the following:


–  work together towards a democratic change in Eritrea;

–  strive for a peaceful solution;

–  elaborate on a legal framework for the transition process and re-establish the rule of law;

– separate state and religion while the state guarantees the freedom of religion;

–  put an end to the pervasive practice of militarization;

– foster good relations with the neighbouring countries on the basis of reciprocal respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity;

– use Arabic and Tigrigna as official languages, in combination with equal rights for all other languages in Eritrea;

–  agree, as a minimum consensus, on a decentralized political system;

– ensure more representation of women and youth;

– call for the potentially reform-minded forces inside the PFDJ and the military to participate in the dialogue on peaceful transition.


Looking deeply to these points, there is no clear process and method of struggle against the dictatorship. The points did not show the period of struggle from dictatorship to democracy. Working together for democratic change, yes , but how? This cannot lead towards strategic planning to work together for democratic change what the Eritrean people aspires. The dictatorship in Eritrea has nothing to be reformed or reconstructed but removed from its roots and roofs. Did the workshop participants agreed in reforming the dictatorship or in removing it? Working together requires routes to achieve it. The first is how much were the participants organizations prepared building and sustaining good professional relations with each other before the workshop. The second is how much were the participants of the workshop ready to address their legitimate concerns or barriers to work together. What were the barriers that prohibited them not to work together for the past more than ten years?


  1. Were the method of peaceful versus violent method barrier?
  2. Were the transitional process barrier?
  3. Were the language policy in the opposition barrier?
  4. Were the position of the various political and civil society organizations in the sovereignty and territorial integrity not clear/barrier? Were the relationships with our neighbouring countries a barrier?
  5. What does minimum consensus mean by the statement? was that a barrier in the past agreements?


  1. Were the opposition political and civil society organizations closing their doors to the youth and women from participation?


  1. While you negate participation and inclusion of those who struggle for democracy, Is calling the reform minded forces and military a priority issue at this time?


Have they assessed the past barriers or they simply come together and put these points in their statement. We have seen and experienced a lot of workshops and conferences of the Eritrean opposition political and civil society organizations  with similar statements but never succeeded in implementing the agreed accords.


Clearly speaking, the ten point agreements never lead us to  tangible process dimension towards unifying the opposition forces against the totalitarian regime uprooting our people inside Eritrea.


We will see more workshops and consultation meetings in the coming but how much successful they will be requires readiness assessment before take -off  in order to prevent greater disappointment later on. ( See the past experiences)


What we all demand is the win-win dialogue and engagement that ensures inclusiveness and participation of all forces for democratic change before we jump from one workshop to another or from one partnership to another that is not new.


Building trust and maintain sustainable work relations together to overcome the one man dictatorship in Eritrea needs a strategic planning that can liberate our people from the brutalities of the totalitarian regime.


Short URL:

Posted by on Nov 20 2015 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