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Some Cross-border Issues

Some Cross-border Issues

Eneyew Zeleke


The other day I met with my childhood friend and have good moment discussing many current issues and past memories traveling back and forth in time.

When we were juniors, our elders used to test and ask us questions. While I gave direct answers, my friend used to give philosophical responses giving wider implications than the immediate question at hand. When I see the issue now, I think that I had and still have what you call the ‘Rational’ type of mind, whereas my friend’s was the ‘Intuitive’ type of mind. In the course of our growing, I pursued academic career while my friend became a successful businessman.

In this article, I have tried to raise some of the ‘wild’ ideas discussed with my intuitive friend:


It is known that Eritrea got its independence through the dogged struggle, determination and endurance of its people and leadership during the war with Ethiopian rulers.

The War-time Leadership of the EPLF got Eritrea its independence. Once the euphoria of the newly attained independence faded, the questions of living came to take the front seat and the PFDJ came face to face with the question of Peace-time Leadership.

As everybody knows, PFDJ did not adjust itself to render Peace-time Leadership, but rather continued with its mindset of War-time Leadership. The people asked “where is the beef?” but there was no beef around.

The strategy to be followed by the PFDJ was to use its military power to subdue neighboring countries and get the wealth for development there-from. It was ironic that a front that fought for justice and to be independent from its former ‘colonizer’ wanted to subdue it and become colonizer in its turn.

It was fatal error on the side of PFDJ.

Internally, it followed autocratic type of government instead of democratic process. By doing this, PFDJ has taken full responsibility for the development and success of the new country to its shoulders. Because in a democratic process the responsibility is that of the people but in autocratic rule the responsibility is that of the rulers.

In both fronts, the PFDJ has failed miserably.

1.     In outlining the development strategy, it should have reckoned as its main comparative advantage, not its military power but rather its people: Hard-working, disciplined, tenacious people. People who love their country like no other in Africa. Had its strategy for development been centered on the work culture of its people, I am pretty sure they could reach any economic goal they set out to achieve.

2.     The government in Ethiopia was benevolent and friendly to them as they were their former comrades-in-arms. It is a special relationship that is between the two countries. It was very essential to be prudent and maintain this special relationship and use it to the benefit of both countries. In fact, as a new country it was more essential for Eritrea than otherwise.

3.     The PFDJ leadership has gradually developed ‘Siege mentality’. It assumes that all countries are plotting against the State of Eritrea. Instead of looking inside and attempting to find the cause of failure from within, it externalizes all problems and accuses all mix of developed and developing countries as making intrigues for its failure. Instead of making friends for its country, it imagines foes that are not out there. Thus the PFDJ has also failed miserably in the Diplomatic front.

I heard in a recent interview of the PFDJ leadership saying that the leaders of the ‘plotting’ countries he mentioned are ‘insane’. How dare he name distinguished leaders of many developed countries as ‘insane’? Why doesn’t he imagine that the problem may be with him? My friend that I mentioned in the beginning of this article used to say ‘I don’t trust myself’. This does not mean that he has no self-confidence but that what he thinks to be undoubtedly true may turn out to be false. Thus he always gives the benefit of the doubt to the other guy. This is needed in the leadership of PFDJ: To be bold enough to see itself; to harshly evaluate and critique itself.

Because, if there is failure in an autocratic rule, the responsibility is fully that of the leadership.

4.     The response given to the question of joblessness of the youth was also more of an irresponsible neighborhood ‘group’ leader than that of a State President. When he has chosen to be an autocratic leader, he has willingly taken full responsibility to attempt and address all major societal life and development issues. The unwritten agreement between an autocratic ruler and the people is that the Ruler not only takes full authority but also full responsibility. You cannot take the full authority to yourself and give the full responsibility to the people. He being one person cannot blame whole population for the failure. As Sun Tzu, the Chinese military strategist and philosopher observed more than two thousand years ago “There are only bad generals, no bad soldiers”.

Currently, the non-visionary, monotonous and hysterical leadership of PFDJ has sent majority of the Eritrean elite to hopelessness and many have re-migrated to other countries in proportions of Exodus.

Although the damages made so far cannot be undone, but it is never too late to do good and come to the right track. Otherwise it’s gonna be like “EPLF created Eritrea and then it destroyed it”.     

There were other ‘wild’ ideas we discussed with my friend, but for now I end the article here.



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