stand of Mr. Ahmad Nasser and Dr Beyene is a new dimension in democratizing Eritrea Print E-mail
By Tzenat Awat - Jul 14, 2003   

I read  the first historic event in the history of Eritrea struggle that two members of the ELF RC executive members Mr. Ahmed Nasser and Dr Beyne demanding their chairman to collectively step down including themselves from their power and hand it over to the messeratat of the organization and to form  a provisional leadership from within the messeratat to organize for an extraordinary congress of the organization.


I knew this two persons personally for their credibility, devotion, their advocacy of democracy and care for the wellbeing of the organization and the nation, They meant every word they said, people can argue that at the time of Ahmed Nasser's leadership the organization failed and so force, but let as see it from the correct perspective, from the first National Congress until the 4th National Congress of the organization, the leadership was a collective leadership so that the chairman had no mandate to do any thing alone, so he cannot be blamed for the defeat of ELF RC alone, from my point of view the leadership of the ELF RC by the chairmanship of Mr. Ahmed Nasser had always gave the priority to the benefit of the nation rather the benefit of the organization, while the EPLF had always worked  hard for the benefit of their organization, to come to power  and control the Eritrea people, time has proved it, so it was a natural thing  the ELF to be defeated.


Let us go years back and evaluate how ELF RC  was credible  by its national responsibility and democratic frame work among its friends even among its enemies , With all this reality Mr. Ahmed Nasser had or has never denied his responsibility  of the ELF`s defeat, In 1981 he has announced in front of all fighters that he takes his share responsibility, In the 3rd or 4th congress he requested the attendants of the congress to let others to lead,

in 5th congress requested also others to lead, but all attendants elected him, and accepted their election for him and had worked hard  to strength the organization and the ENA alike and made a tour for three months with  the former ENA chairman Mr. Tewolde G/selassie to unite the opposition and how to reach to the national conference, Unfortunately the ill tendencies led by Woldeyesus Amar wanted to stop this development not to go on , and led  a coup'etat in the second session to bring Seyoum as chairman with a very poisonous agitation which could have had a very bad implication for the unity of Eritrea and the Eritrean people, Mr. Ahmed Nasser  gave his  power just for  the sake of the  unity of the organization  and the nation, and he did it also now. I wrote this article not to defend him, because he need no defense but it is fair to give credit to this person for his unique character which is always ready to give his power for the well being of the organization and the nation.


The heroic and democratic stand taken by Mr. Ahmed and Dr Beyene deciding to struggle with the messertat of the ELF RC to save the organization from more deterioration and hand in hand with ENA to free the Eritrean people from the dictatorship which is very unique in his brutality in the world's history.


Their unique stand is a new phenomenon in the  Eritrean history and shall open a door for other leaderships to do so. in other words to give the priority to the interests of the nation rather than to their power.


As an Eritrean proverb says the a Gold in hand is like a silver, that means one knows the value of his Gold until  he loses it. The time has come to see the difference between the old leadership, which we always criticized, and the new leadership.

During the past several months, since events took disheartening turn on 21 October 2002 at the 5th Session of the allied forces of the Eritrean opposition, the ENA, apparently, the debate inside the ELF-RC had started following its Chairman's, Seyoum Ogbamichael, abandoning on 21 October 2002 the election session at the 5th ordinary meeting of the then Alliance of the Eritrean National Forces council of higher leadership. The split in views centered on the essence of act of walking out from the meeting as an accepted procedure of expressing objection. This was linked with the way Mr. Seyoum had conducted himself in the light of the organization's vested interest in the advancement of the Alliance as crucial, viable and necessary instrument for effecting the earliest possible demise of the regime and freeing the people from its oppressive rule. Like their counterparts in other organizations, or ordinary citizens everywhere, the ELF-RC bases see the future of their long-term ideals in post Isayas dictatorship stable, democratic and pluralistic system in their country. The reason for the current hot debate about the Alliance seems to lie there. The high sounding rhetoric about "principles" and  "defense" of sovereignty that the Seyoum supporters publicize appear to have less to do with the real policies and principles enshrined in the Political Program of their organization which they fiercely defend.


Walking out from a gathering (conference) may be, under obtaining circumstances, a conventionally exercised procedure. But the party utilizing it may also be liable to obligation it might entail. One of the basic wisdom of using is to underscore a demand to be heard or have reservation on a particular issue put on the record by enforcing recess in (suspension of) a proceeding in progress regarding an agenda item which the majority threatens to settle through vote. The walk out is, thus, a bid for more time that allows the objecting party an opportunity to clarify its position either through consultation or direct discourse in the chamber. This is done when the act (walkout) is matched by suspension of the proceeding, which normally is followed by putting together a suitable mechanism to handle it. The measure could either be naming an ad hoc consultation (mediation) body or simply the objecting side may be directly invited to return and take the floor where it could make its case. The endgame could be persuasion to either of the conflicting views or hammering compromise. Appraised in the light of what has just been outlined, one is inclined to suspect whether Mr. Seyoum understood the essence and gravity of his action at the Addis Ababa 5th Session. As far as the recollection of those events goes, the assembled delegates responded by immediately suspending the proceeding, and constituted a committee, which chairman of the conference headed, to look into the matter. This step had satisfied the initial obligation of the conferees. Furthermore, it has been officially stated that the committee went on a mission to seek a meeting with the members of the ELF-RC delegation. But, the attempt failed to accomplish its aim because the RC delegation was not available for reason (s) that not yet explained. An official that was not even on the delegation received the committee, and  told its members that the position of his organization remained firm as stated by Mr. Seyoum before the walkout. The committee members returned back after leaving a message informing the RC delegation would be expected at the conference hall on a specified time of the next day (22 October) where nobody had showed up.


The hard won tolerant political culture of the ELF in the interest of the ambitions of some leadership who flagrantly demonstrated an inclination of imposing their own views in the name of "principles". It is this contributor's observation that criticizing the leadership with the aim of rectifying mistakes is, and has been, one of the unbreakable bonds that bound together the ELF-RC members.  But, they appear to be facing a challenge because some

self-anointed gurus have begun an assault by "prescribing" inadmissibility of speaking out against leaders who deviate from policies democratically endorsed by representative platform of the organization such as congresses. If the current trend is allowed to succeed, those leaders would end up in promoting puppets and propagandists serving their authoritarian egos others before them have done. Positioning the defense of Mr. Seyoum's case on such premise, his supporters in the cyber media outlets had put themselves in arrow territory of what they have since publicized as outside interference. Rationalizing the walkout issue as the duty necessitated by the defense of principles and national sovereignty after the partners gave in to pressure from the neighboring countries could certainly raise the concern of the public when considered prior to relevant facts. Here, the sensitivity of the ELF-RC bases to anything targeting the principles their organization stands have been misrepresented to prompt miscalculation and thinking that underscoring outside interference would easily rally the bases behind the walkout act. The implication was in fact curiously stretched to the issue of national sovereignty.. However, the mistake was that the ELF-RC bases were not taken seriously as sufficiently equipped to understand those issues in the scope of each of those issues in proper perspective. In indeed, for them too, the Alliance remains working environment to  find suitable for channeling the resources of the nation against the dictatorship. Thus, a better argument should have been provided expounding how normal electioneering maneuvers to fill posts offered by a provisional arrangement, which the Alliance in actual fact is, would compromise national sovereignty.


The unpopular chairman and his group are trying to silence their critiques in the same manner Isayas did and still doing, freezing (medeskal) messratat, branches and Zoba with uit any legal ground, He knows that he cannot freeze a leadership of the Zoba or Frankfurt branch leadership who are democratically elected, but they did it because they wanted to silence their critiques but they were not aware that they are not leading members of EPLF but bases(messertat)  of ELF RC who grew up with democratic culture of the ELF RC and know how to exercise their democratic rights  and defend their democratic institutions , and who are bold enough to say No to the leadership when he wants to establish dictatorship inside this  democratic organization and give his priority to his power rather the unity,salvation of Eritrea and unity and benefit of the organization, not only this ,he lies and twists the truth against his critiques inside the organization oroutside it, and he says different things in different places , he destroyed the credibility of the organization for the sake of his power, The Messertat of the ELF RC, are exposing the dictator and his likes who are   trying hard to destroy the unity of the organization, the democratic culture and divide the Messertat of the ELF RC, fortunately they can not succeed because the

messertat of the ELF RC are more conscious than they are.


The messertat of the ELF have challenged leadership from different parts of the world, in Europe, Saudi Arabia, Sudan or in America, to defend its democratic values from the new leadership who are exposing themselves of their sectarian beliefs and dictatorial character which we will not allow in this organization. Leaders of the national movements in Africa start with the slogan of democracy, when they came to power and challenged they start to divide people through religion if they did not succeed through region if they did not succeed they go to their roots tribalism. We experienced this phenomena with Isayas and now with the new leadership.


When Seyoum speaks about democracy and what happened in 5th session, people who don't know Seyoum can believe him when he advocates about democracy or, when he says that he defended principles of the organization from external pressure. Every message he wrote about what happened in 5th session of the ENA was contradictory, a small child can understand that he is contradicting with no truth except people who have ill intention in this organization. Democracy must start within yourself that is what  Mr. Ahmed Nasser and Dr Beyene Kidnap  have done that is why I always admired them for the credibility and democratic stand.


When Seyoum and his former deputy wede Asmerom used the shabia word medskal against zoba leadership and branches of ELF in Germany  Where is the democracy they are speaking about and criticizing EPLF for it, I remembered a song of Yemene Baria saying, men ap lielie men kewaraze hadium Enkerbit hadium Temen. Seyoum and the whole clique are no better than Isayas.


After all horrible experiences, the messertat called extraordinary session of the RC. with the pressure of the messertat and some RC members , It was held from 1 June to 11 June 2003. Unfortunately it come short of solving the crises of the organization, to be fair besides Mr. Ahmed and Dr Beyene there are other RC member who tried  genuinely to solve the crises in the organization but they couldn't.Instead solving the standoff with the ENA, they came with  preconditions on how the organization can gain  its membership back, This precondition is carefully thought to  be the reason for a new way of divorce with the ENA. After all this mess we were in, isn't it appreciable the stand taken by Mr. Ahmed and Dr Beyene and other RC members behind them to save the organizations from falling apart, and defending the democratic culture and the credibility of the organization and choosing to work together with ENA and other opposition groups to toble the dictatorial regime to free the Eritrean people from the regime and democratize Eritrea which we always dreamed to be.


Last but not list I call upon all genuine Eritreans to defend this stand as the first step to democratization of Eritrea from the zealots who wants to defend a new tendency of dictator ship, If we do so We will encourage others to take similar stand Let us struggle hand in hand to topple this brutal regime.


Glory to our martyrdom
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