Eritreans For Democracy and Justice

The EDA leadership has appointed a preparatory committee for the "National Conference for Democratic Change" that has raised the eyebrows of most of the stakeholders that were hoping to see an all inclusive and representative of the diversity of the Opposition camp.

It also set a July 2010 date for this conference without going through the process of public debates and publicity campaigns. We feel that EDA's decision is causing a big uproar and disagreement within the Opposition camp, and if these minor problems are not fixed now, it might have a dire consequence on unity of the opposition.

A Call for a Meaningful National Conference

Petition to the EDA Leadership:

Firstly, please accept our heartfelt greetings in the full recognition of you longstanding commitments for struggle in the Eritrean cause. We are writing this letter, as an open petition, not in a bid to undermine the process for mobilizing support for the movement for democratic changes in Eritrea but with the view to appealing to you to take a longer range view that would strengthen the movement and offer a real hope of change for our suffering people inside the country as well as for those that are languishing in refugee camps across the world.

The issue of a National Conference, which would create a cohesive movement for change in Eritrea, has been a point of discussion in various forms throughout the recent phase of the struggle for democracy and justice in Eritrea. No one involved in the Eritrean resistance can deny the need for such an agreement to coordinate the meager resources and manpower that we have to challenge the abject tyranny that has befallen our nation.

These discussions had over the last year or so, begun to take shape as: The National Conference for Democratic Changes in Eritrea, under the auspices of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA). This was a move by EDA that many activists in the Eritrean diaspora welcomed and were prepared to support as appropriate. The understanding was that EDA will facilitate the participation of as wide a spectrum of Eritreans as possible by; raising awareness of the initiative using different mediums and then setting up a conference coordinating group that is representative of the full range political views in the resistance movement, particularly engaging individuals and groups that are not close to EDA and its support base.

However contrary to these expectations, the last few weeks has witnessed a raft of announcements regarding the conference, from a coordinating group that only seems to represent an aspect of the Eritrean resistance in the diaspora. The omissions are so glaring that it would be an insult to everyone’s intelligence to list them in details. Anyone familiar with Eritrean politics would recognize the narrowness of the spectrum of views represented in the committee, from outside the formal political party representations. In fact there is no one in that group whose views would not have been represented by EDA itself. It is this situation that led to the heated debates and strong disagreement between different groups within the Opposition camp.

Many of us believe that both the decisions to hold a National Conference in July 2010 and the decision to coordinate it via a group that is not representative of the wide spectrum of views in the opposition are defective and need to be rectified prior to any conference of the nature such as the one being proposed. And we fear that these difficulties actually emanate from EDA’s own deep rooted, internal divisions that have not been fully addressed in previous years.

Based on these concerns we, humbly, recommend the following actions to be taken by the EDA leadership.

1. EDA needs to conduct a closed door meeting to iron out its internal contradictions and come up with consensus on how to manage such a conference without dragging the public into another round of in fights.

2. The composition of the Preparatory Committee should be reassessed and adjusted to include civic society organizations that are known to be not traditionally close to EDA and its current leadership. We particularly recommend the removal of members of the coordinating group that do not represent any recognized constituency but were pulled from participants of an open electronic forum that is attended by people who do not even have to disclose their identity.

3. The July 2010 date should be postponed for a period that does not exceeded one year, to enable EDA to carry out all the ground work leading up to the conference.

4. Invitations should be extended also to all civic organizations, political organizations outside EDA, women, youth, intellectuals, academics, religious and community leaders to garner their views regarding the organization of the conference and their involvement in the conference itself, the organizing group should then represent both the ideas submitted from these groups as well as the personalities involved.

We the undersigned Eritreans from different political and social persuasions plead with you to consider our recommendations, and seize from rushing into the July 2010 conference, that we believe is going to cause more divisions and mistrust within the opposition camp. We trust your wisdom to address these concerns raised by your compatriots and allies in the struggle for a democratic and just Eritrea.

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The Petition to the EDA Leadership petition to Eritreans For Democracy and Justice was written by Eritrean Network and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.

Petition Tags

africa opposition eritrea EDA