November 4, 2011

Democracy in Eritrea - party list

President Afwerki has been the only president of Eritrea since its independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Yet there is hope for democratic rule in the country.

A meeting of over 500 people is set for November 21 in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia where they will discuss a process to establish democratic rule in Eritrea. The "National Congress" is organized by the Eritrean National Commission for Democratic Change. Here's a list of "civil societies" that are expected to participate. Most of these have been created during 2011.

Semere T. Habtemariam describes the role and task of opposition groups. In an extended essay, he analyses the existing rule of President Afwerki, and then explores the growing opposition to his rule. He ends with six ideas that opposition groups need to adopt if they are to be successful in changing Eritrean society. He makes a transition in the centre of the essay with these comments.

"The Eritrean people have not seen better days; injustice, oppression and hardship have been part of their normal life. This psychological make-up is hard to shrug off.

"The opposition faces an impossible mission of changing this psychological make-up of the people. The general messages of democracy, human rights and free press do not instinctively resonate with the masses. It is very hard to effectively articulate the intangible, invisible, future and disastrous effects of poor management and leadership. It is natural for the common people to reason: If Isaias Afwerki was good enough to lead us in our liberation struggle; he must then be good enough to rule us in liberation."

UPDATE: A demonstration of Eritreans who were calling for democracy in Eritrea and the ouster of President Afwerki was held in London, England recently. Other Eritreans were attending a meeting inside the fancy banquet facility "the Decorium" A video above was uploaded on October 23, 2011.

Portions of the Eritrean community have protested before. Here are two videos, posted in March and April 2011, of gatherings outside the Eritrean embassy on White Lion Road in London, England.

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