Eritrea: Shabait celebrates the final election of this era…

The local radio in Asmara describes the referendum choice simply as: ‘Do you choose freedom or slavery?’ Because of the high level of illiteracy, the ballot papers are coloured. Blue is for yes, red is for no. Or, as the local radio helpfully puts it, ‘Red is for blood.’ (Observer 28 March 1993)” (Refworld – ‘Ethiopia: Exact wording of question for referendum of April 1993 regarding Eritrean independence; whether or not the question made reference to a choice between slavery and freedom’ 19.07.2001).

Today, the Shabait published an editorial called: “Referendum: A demonstration of civilized people and mature leadership” which by all means are a fine piece. The Shabait should celebrate and educate the masses on Eritrean history and culture. That’s all fine and dandy.

However, it is funny that the Shabait and the State of Eritrea is celebrating the referendum of 1993. Especially, considering that this one was the final vote or last election to ever be held in Eritrea.

It is partly like satire and unreal reading these quotes from Shabait that says this: “The people of Eritrea have picked up the national legacy and armed themselves with civilized culture and full discipline. Finally, the results of the “Do you support Eritrea becoming an independent and sovereign country?” 99.8% were “Yes to Independence”. The blood-guaranteed right was repeated by voice – in front of the world. This result was neither sudden nor unexpected. The issue was obvious because it was a question of belonging or not belonging to a people. It is a satisfactory and acceptable historical conclusion of the election of the people of Eritrea. As a result, on 24 May 1993 -Eritrea became the 182nd member of the United Nations” (Shabait, 22.04.2023).

We know the referendum was an important one, a vital one and a monumental one. That is understandable and getting recognized as an independent nation is important for anyone. Eritrea is no different than any other nation in this. I salute them for that. That is well earned, but it is everything after that is distasteful and disgusting.

It is fun that the Shabait says the people of Eritrea showed civilized culture and full discipline in 1993. So, the same people have never been able to show that? The Eritrean who was armed themselves with these things just vanished. Because, the authorities, the regime and the ones in office never let them vote again.

The Shabait piece ended with this: “The referendum decision, therefore, was forward-looking -a demonstration of a civilized people and mature leadership” (Shabait, 22.04.2023).

So, the vote for either “yes” or “no”, or for “freedom or “slavery” was forward-looking and civilized. Alas, here is the case. The ideals of the referendum is all fine. The cause I am all in for. That is not why I am bugging.

The reason I am bugging is that Shabait is pulling a trick. It is celebrating one election and never allowing the will of the people ever again. The leadership allowed the Eritrean to give them the independence and become a recognized nation. However, the people within the Republic and within the State of Eritrea haven’t been allowed to exercise their rights or duties in an election ever again. That was a one-time bargain and since then never ever happened.

The PFDJ and Afewerki will not be mature enough or believe in the discipline of the people to allow them to vote again. If so… they would have done it already. However, here we are years later. 30 years to be exact and the current regime would never allow the people to vote with their conscience or belief. No, they have to follow the orders and the regime’s whims. That’s what they do.

It is ironic that the people in 1993 voted against “slavery”. They got released from one master and got another one instead. The people of 1993 stopped one entity from captivating them… but unleashed another to do the same.

It is tragic, but the reality we live in. Eritreans fought for independence from one entity, but got another brutal dictator in its stead. A brutal dictator that was their liberator and is now their tormentor. A man who has no faith in their abilities or their civilized ways to elect their representatives. No, it’s only the judgement of the inner-circle or His Excellency himself who is deemed fit. Peace.

Eritrea: The Proclamations versus the Shabait response doesn’t add up…

3. Payment of Rehabilitation Tax

With the exception of those who have limited income and are exempt from paying income tax, any individual with income, shall according to the articles specified in this proclamation, has the obligation to pay a rehabilitation tax that takes care of disabled freedom fighters, members of the family of disabled freedom fighters and the martyrs, and those members of the society who sustain injury due to natural catastrophes” (Proclamation 17, 10.12.1991).

I don’t know about you… but when you have old texts and proclamations, which is the legal texts for the theme in question. There should be no shadow of a doubt what is going on. No one should be shocked if the Eritrean government is willing to lie or deceive. That’s what they are known for doing and this regard… they are doing it again.

Yes, the Ministry of Information or Shabait is trying to dismiss stories written about the involuntarily imposed tax. A taxation of the diaspora and a measure, which states that Eritrean citizens in the diaspora have the obligation and shall pay the tax. That differs from the wordings in the article or statement posted yesterday. The Proclamations of 1991 and 1995 isn’t aligned with the wording of Shabait. That should be compelling and telling about how they want it all to look like. Instead of being sincere and honest about the tax. They are instead acting holier then thou, because they don’t think people have access to the documents, which are the basis for the tax in the first place.

As it continues in the 1995 proclamation…

1. Short title

This proclamation is called “Proclamation Number 67/1995, a Tax Payment Proclamation for Eritreans in Diaspora Who Have Income”.

2. Tax payment

Any Eritrean citizen who lives outside of Eritrea and earns an income from employment, rent from movable and non-movable property, from business, from professional, or from a service charge of any other work or activity must be a 2% (two percent) tax of the net income on a monthly or annual basis” (Tax Payment Proclamation for Eritreans in Diaspora Who Have Income, 10.02.1995).

Now that you have read this part, which are blatant and direct. Both Proclamations was made by the Eritrean government and not grassroot organizations. This was government program or policy, which are a way of raising domestic revenue from outside sources. That is very clear and the intent is there. The proclamations are direct about who has to pay and such. In the 1995 proclamation the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for collecting the tax payment and have to use the entities or offices associated with the Ministry in the diaspora to do so. The Ministry later is ordered to directly deposit the tax payments to the Ministry of Finance and Development’s treasury account in the Bank of Eritrea. Therefore, we can see the scheme and tax is implemented with a clear goal.

That’s why you have to read these small fragments of the Shabait response on the matter.

Shabait Response in 2023:

The overriding desire was to imbue some structure and uniformity to what was effectively a burgeoning spontaneous and voluntary grassroots movement. Subsequently with clear objective of funding countries’ social and development programs, in 1994, the Eritrean National Assembly enacted the Rehabilitation and Recovery Tax Proclamation (RRT). The RRT Proclamation specifically targets only Eritrean citizens in the Diaspora, not citizens of other countries of Eritrean descent. The rate was fixed at a low of 2% of net income; in a country where personal income tax is progressive and reaches 38%.” (…) “The legality of the RRT is unambiguous, and purposes laudable. It represents a symbolic burden shared by the Eritreans in Diaspora with the people inside the country. In this sense, its historical, moral, humanitarian and patriotic contents and values are more significant and profound than its material dividend. In fact, the funds collected annually are modest that should not be overstated when compared with the government budget and expenditure on basic social services” (Shabait – ‘Eritrea’s Response to the SEMG, 2014’ 23.02.2023).

I find it very interesting the way and the manner of which Shabait portrays this. It is compelling and really deep, in the sense of despair and need to address it. Yes, the international scrutiny of it can cause a stir. That is only sensible, as the way the Eritrean government has created a diaspora and later taxing them. This is people who has fled the regime and after that they got to pay them too. It isn’t a noble idea or cause, but just shows what the GoE is willing to do with their citizens. Even the citizens who fled into asylum and sought refuge far away from the rulers of Asmara.

Therefore, the premiss for the tax is false. This isn’t done voluntary by the citizens in the diaspora. Neither is the whole thing made out of patriotic values or sentiments. Yes, the proclamations can speak of the martyrs and the families who lost their lives in the war of Independence. However, the monies are directed to the Bank of Eritrea and Ministry of Finance and Development. No one knows what happens with these funds after they are deposited. Neither are the any due diligence or accountability on the matter. The President and his men can spend these funds recklessly. Possibly create new asylum seekers by funding labour camps or keeping soldiers conscripted for years. Therefore, the Shabait must think people are stupid or blind.

This tax is only benefiting the elite and the inner-circle. They are getting a push and revenue to continue to operate their government. That is the gist of things here. While this tax is also a reminder where your loyalty lay and where your home is. So, the Eritrean government got a hold on you… even if you tried to flee into exile.

Home still haunts you and they want 2% of your earnings. You shall pay the percentages and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are directed to get you to pay them. Peace.

Opinion: Afwerki wants it both ways…

“I have no intention of interfering in this matter despite the disinformation campaign going on trying to disrupt the process of peace in Ethiopia” (…) “You talk about withdrawal or no withdrawal (of Eritrean forces), and we say this is nonsense. Why are we bothered if Eritrean troops were there or not there?” (…) “Everybody talking about human rights violations (by Eritrean forces), rape, looting, this is a fantasy in the minds of those who own this factory that I call a factory of fabricating misinformation” – President Isaias Afwerki (09.02.2022).

A President for Life without elections, political opposition or any sort of accountability. He is the man to talk about responsibility and disinformation. When he himself controls every word about himself and whatever that is reported in the State of Eritrea. Shabait will only write favourably about him and his reign. Even where there is no proof of positive vibes or reforms. However, that doesn’t matter… as long as President Isaias Afwerki is crowned King.

No one should be surprised that Afwerki is blaming others for his own gains. That is what he does and he has tried to settle old grudges by going to war. The PIA or the President of Eritrea have tried to end the nemesis and old enemies of Tigray to no avail. He has retaliated and he has done what he could to avenge the past. However, as part of the Tripartite Alliance to tear Tigray apart isn’t over.

That’s why he has talked in Kenya and in a separate interview on Eri-TV where he has called it the proxy war of the United States of America. Like the TPLF wasn’t attacking Asmara in self-defence, as the borders of the region was filled with armies prepared to invade in November 2020. We are just supposed to forget that and not know the initial preparation, as a part of the peace-agreement, which is kept secret. That is why for some of us… the agreement made between Abiy and Afwerki seems like a war-pact. When you see what happened after the 2018 “peace” agreement.

It isn’t hard to believe that Afwerki wants to distort and downplay the role his armies and allies played in Tigray. That’s what his doing in the retorts in Kenya and in the interview on Eri-TV. He wants to be righteous and be a reasonable man. Even when his totally wrong and knows the acts of his armies within Ethiopia. They are there on accord with the ruling regime and the sovereign allowed it.

Still, the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF) didn’t come in peace, and it wasn’t intended to be this way. It was a war that was to be fought in darkness and create shallow graves of the ones who defied Addis Ababa and Asmara. That was the gist of this, the manner of which Afwerki got to retaliate and revenge Mekelle for past transgressions. That’s why this is personal to him, and he got to loot the ones who fought against him.

President Afwerki is willing to lie about it all and disregard anyone else. That’s why his like this and speaks about in this manner. It is all to create an alternative perception and make it seems differently. However, the reports and the proof of their actions in Tigray is there. Anyone would be naïve to think otherwise. That the men and the people who participated, ordered and sanctioned the atrocities would say it openly. Afwerki wants a clean-slate and act like the EDF wasn’t part of it. Alas, make it seem like they only participated in it in self-defence, which isn’t true. The Tripartite Alliance prepared, planned and enforced this war. That’s why he wants the spot-light on the victims and blame for their demise. Peace.

Eritrea: Embassy of the State of Eritrea to the United States of America – Council on Foreign Relations Recycles a Blatant Lie (25.07.2022)

Somalia: Statement on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the State of Eritrea (12.07.2022)

Eritrea-Somalia: Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Eritrea and the Federal Republic of Somalia (12.07.2022)

Eritrea: Embassy of the State of Eritrea – United Kingdom – Eritrea the Epitome of Religious Harmony (07.07.2022)

Opinion: Abiy cannot save himself from the tragedies he ordered in the Republic

If we had looked back three years ago or so. We would have seen hope and positivity. There would be brigades of people cherishing on the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. He seemed like the real deal and would be someone who would make a difference. However, that was clearly all just a lie and deceit from his part. He has just consolidated all power and now wants to bury anyone opposing him.

Prime Minister Abiy have not only tarnished his name. He has destroyed the hope of him being a collective leader for all the people of Ethiopia. Abiy is a man for a selective group and plans to use this power to control everyone. The Prime Minister have rebranded and restructured the former Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF) coalition into the Prosperity Party. A party run by him and his “Yes-Men”.

The Addis Ababa clique is now running wild. They are detaining anyone who opposes it. If they have a big issue, the ones are high ranking officials are targeted with treason-charges or terrorism. That is what they also do with two groups in the nation. This is furthering the battle-cries and not ensuring a possible option for a national dialogue between all groups. Instead, his playing to his elite and the ones who support his reign.

Abiy is now a warlord. He is creating warfare in Tigray. Using “Command Post” ways in Oromia. He is not stopping conflict in Afar or in Ogaden. The Prime Minister will be remembered for his use of force, use of the state to strangle the opposition and take all power in his hands. That’s why thousands of political prisoners, a region filled with people starving and looting. The state is clearly not serving everyone, but a selected few.

The Prime Minister is promising everything, but only showing fierce force. He is using his Tripartite Alliance to destroy Tigray. While claiming to redevelop the region he burned, silenced and used a civil war to get his way. Therefore, he will not be remembered for signing a peace agreement, but causing war in his own Republic.

Abiy will be remembered for the warfare, the destruction and the genocide in Tigray. The bloody murders, the innocent lives taken and all the people who was taken for granted. This in combination of the people who are already oppressed in other regions like Oromia and Ogaden. These have been muffled with years and their leaders are struggling to participate in the state of affairs. They are either behind bars or not allowed to do political work. Therefore, this will not end well…

Prime Minister Abiy has blood on his hands. His working in tandem with the Amhara and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki who has no trouble causing these extra judicial killings, murders and tragic demise of civilians. They are causing hunger, a new refugee crisis and remotely tarnishing families for decades. That is what is happening.

Everyone who dares to question, ask for transparency or realism with Abiy will be detained, crucified and stop breathing if possible. That is what he does and what his known for now. This is a man that came in with the talks of negotiations, dialogue and peace. However, he will be known for civil war, a modern day tyrant and being a ‘Mad King’.

Surely, Abiy didn’t anticipate this, because his ego is higher than the sky. Just like the state is supposed to be able to create artificial rain. While living on budgets supported by World Bank and International Monetary Funds. A state that has dwindled much funds into war and wasting some on a Ministry of Peace at the same time.

Abiy can use publicity stunts planting trees, but its the bullets he will be remembered for. That is hat affected people not only that moment they went out of the barrel, but for what damage it caused. The shelling, the bullets and the missiles will linger in people mind. The starvation, the tactics of burning planes and burning villages. The attacks and usage of public domain, the manner of distorting media reporting and blaming journalists who are on the front-lines. If not arrest the ones who are translating for the international media as well…

Neither can he salvage the up-coming election. He wants it to look credible, free and fair. However, how can it be fair… when his enemies and opponents are all behind bars? If their parties are not able to compete or have the ability to rally its supporters? How is that become a real election?

It is a selection and a private enterprise to give himself the legitimacy to continue as the ‘Mad King’. So, he can swear himself in and be the big-man he assumes he is. Though everyone knows a warlord when they see one. Abiy is one of them…. and that’s his legacy whether he likes it or not.

The blood is on his hands and he cannot wash this way. The rivers of blood, the tears of the innocent and the horrific actions of the state towards them. That is how people will remember him. He will not be remembered for his speeches, slogans or whatever he does to look magnificent.

That’s why his a ‘Mad King’ … and he cannot run away from it. He wants PR to save his image and his legacy. Though that will not work. When the dust is settled the general public will see the damage, see the pain and suffering that he caused. The deaths, the sickness and the pain he gave others. Just so he could reign and be the big-man. Was it worth it though? Is his life worth so many people demise? What makes Abiy so special and reasons to take others people lives?

I don’t have the answer, but I don’t get how people like him can rule and see people die on his watch. Without any care of the world… and without any sort of regret. They died so he could rule and we are just supposed to praise him for it. However, I want him to be accountable for the actions made and the costs of it too. He should beside every casket and participate in every burial. As he ordered their death by default. If he was there and had seen all the lives taken. He would maybe be more humble and not been as brutal towards the ones who oppose him. Peace.

Ethiopia: Advocacy for Justice & Democracy Forum (Tegezo) – Situation update: West Tigray – “We’ll see if [Blinken] saves you” (14.04.2021)

Ethiopia: The Global Society of Tigray Scholars and Professionals (GSTS) letter to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank Group (AfDB) – (14.04.2021)


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