There are plenty who celebrates the lifting of arms-embargo, asset freeze and targeted sanctions on Asmara and the Eritrean Government, that is happening as the second triparte meeting happened over the weekend. The Peace Agreement with Addis Ababa and Mogadishu is a giant step in peaceful interaction and a better Horn of Africa. However, the Eritrean government is still the same one as before.
It is not like the Eritrean government has stopped their long military subscriptions, using military to do slave labor for the generals and so on. The Presidency of Isias Afwerki is still more of the same. Not like there are openness and trust in the good values. Not like there are any coming elections or any sort of civic enterprise coming to the homes of Eritreans. Therefore, lifting sanctions only gives the Afwerki Administration more leeway and more fiscal funding for their embezzling ways.
The Eritrean military is known for indefinite conscription of their military personnel. That why many has fled and even done what they could to seek refuge elsewhere. On the African Continent, the Eritrean government is the one with the highest amount of political prisoners.
There is most likely no change in the structures of Asmara or the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), which is a one-party state. A state where Afwerki has his fiefdom. With the 15-0 United Nations Security Council voting on the 14th November 2018 to end the sanctions. Will most likely give him more power to continue his rule. The leverage and the bargain chips the UNSC had over Eritrea is now lost. These was put because of interference with Djibouti and Somalia. The arms trading to terrorist groups there. Therefore, the peaceful transition of the latest month has been positive.
Still, the reality in Asmara is more of the same. Not like the PFDJ will be transparent, hold elections or even care for a free press. Not like the Afwerki regime will stop the enslavement, torture, imprisonment and enforced disappearance of political adversaries, these acts will continue. We know that elections will not happen, as the latest one was happening in May 2004. If it was held, it would most likely be a one-party charade to facilitate an official second term for the President and nothing else. As he has been the President without question since independence in 1994.
So, the legitimacy and the recognition from the world has come the way of Eritrea. They are not a piraya or a dangerous dictatorship anymore. They are just a dictatorship with an iron-fist. Who doesn’t deserve sanctions anymore, because of their diplomatic relationship with Somalia and Ethiopia. The peace has served them well. Clearly the Asmara has gotten well off with this.
They are not changing or even testing the leadership, but letting the external relationship help the internal problems vanish. However, the same structures, the same military and sole dictatorship is still there. Not like that has changed over the last few months. No, it is more of the same. Therefore, the ones who voted for this, should consider the ramification and the elites earning on the sanctions. As they will benefit from this.
Afwerki might have waited long, but he is off the hook. Even if he still makes his suffer and take away their freedom. The International Community isn’t hurting the state anymore, not in the way it used too. Let see what the consequences of this is, but certainly it will only do the administration good. Not the public, as they are the same one used by PFDJ, when they need it. Peace.
After Zimbabwe, people have started to blaze the horns and expecting other dictators to fall. Well, I am humbly saying, I hope so, but don’t expect so. Unless, there are vital changes, unless they lose their support and their weapons behind them. If the support and armies are not behind them, than the Robert Mugabe story can be repeated elsewhere. But it will be different from state to state, from president to president. As each President has built around a stronger or weaker system of orders, strength of institutions and also personal cult around themselves. We also know they are using their myths and their state media to serve their interests.
President’s that I will honor with a mention are Joseph Kabila, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Pierre Nkurunziza, Faure Gnassingbe, Hailemariam Desalegn, Isias Afwerki, Omar Al-Bashir, Idriss Deby, Paul Biya, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasango, Mahamadou Issoufou, Paul Kagame and Ismaïl Omar Guelleh. These are a list of honorable mentions, there several more that could be put on a list, but these was the first to mention, if feel someone is left behind. Please leave that in the comments down below(I know that sounds like a Youtuber, but I had to take inspiration from somewhere).
All of these men in their republics knows that they use power and security organizations to quell, silence and oppress their opposition. They are keeping control of the state reserves and has their party as filled of loyalists and cronies. All of this states are militarized, there is state controlled media and has various of different rules. They are strict and controlling from the state houses and the freedom in these states are limited. The state and business are usually connected with the President and his family. If not there are cronies who also have business and fortunes. So the dictators are for the moment having control and making sure the people is not uprising.
What we can know is that if these dictators take it to far and the fear for the repercussion from the state. So as long as the public and opposition are detained for arbitrary arrests and citizens hurt after demonstrations. While the state reserves and donor funds are eaten by the elite, while the countries are kept poor. As long as the republic’s are poor, than they still need more foreign donors and supply. So it is good for the dictators to keep their nations poor, as the Western and Multi-National Organization can continue to supply them with non-binding funds. That they are free to use on military and one themselves, instead of building institutions and good governance, it is all controlled by the one man on top and his loyal subjects around.
This is well known and for different reasons, these men should always worry about their decisions and their capacity to rule. Nothing last for ever. There will be some who might want to take their place and replace them. Someone will always be opposition and fight for democratic values, but sooner or later they will succeed. It is just a matter of how and how long it takes.
They are all based on strong military control, even minor specialized groups who are like Presidential Guards/Republican Guards or Special Forces. These are controlled usually by either relations or trusted generals, who are loyal not to turn against the President. The Presidents promotes and demotes leaders inside their armies often, the same in the police force/service to compensate and also to make sure the old guard of warrior and soldiers who fought for the President. Will not be seen as a threat or have power to ever topple him. That is why they are trying to distance themselves from the ones who brought them to power, because they will know their inner-tactics; that is why the stalwarts and historicals are more public personas, but not people of power. Even if they did have so in past.
That is done to secure the role and secure the commander-in-chief, even the President always need the historical battles and origin story to keep himself relevant and prove his place. He don’t needs ones who fought with him and his cause. They will just ask for checks- and balances on the promises made in liberation and in the battles against previous oppressors. That is why they are not entangled with these, unless they give them phony medals and grant money, to hopefully silence them.
Still, with all the protocol and strength of the army, they are still vulnerable as they know this too. That why they are calculating and trying to find out the next person who wants their role and their positions. Which is why there are changes in their cabinets, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers. Until they find persons and people they trust to not ambitions to overpower them. Also, they want to stop other MPs and other voices to install hope in the population and to create popularity that is bigger then their personal cult and their teachings.
However, there are ways to bring them down by actually not fearing the state security organizations, waiting for the President to act swiftly without feeling the tensions within his own party. Like President Robert Mugabe did recently. If not actually know you have lost all legitimacy in recent elections, but not willing to step down like Yayha Jammeh. That was ECOWAS and Senegal who intervened on behalf of the newly elected President. Which was the reason for the dictator ending in Exile recently.
Therefore, we have to hope for leaders who have capacity to capture the pulse of the people who are oppressed, of the ones who are marginalized and the ones who are captured by the state. Since the dictatorships doesn’t give up easy, unless there is no escape. History has learned us that and therefore, the lesson needs to be learned. We in our time cannot give in and accept that the liberty, freedom and government are taken by one elite and one ruler.
Certainly, it will not be easy, the fight against oppressors will cost and take time. That is proven time in and time out. The same will happen here, but with their aging and their lack of control. Their trust in family members and trying to create family dynasties. They might fall like Mugabe. Even if some are sons of former presidents. Doesn’t mean they can continue owning the title and running the state. It is proven that is not accepted and that is all within reason. This is what happen in Zimbabwe and we understand if similar events transpire elsewhere.
In the end it is all up to the public for change, the public reactions and their demonstrations, boycotts and their inner works to dismantle the oppressive dictatorship. Often the international community and international counterparts will not intervene as they wants mineral resources and other commodities for cheap; and as long one partner can be bribed, the workers and resources don’t need to paid-in-full or proper. This prospers foreign investments and multi-national companies. This is not well-spoken of, but should be revealed, as it is so often shady dealings with resources sold or land to investors from these dictators. They are funding the state and military, that together with aid are keeping these regimes afloat.
With all this in mind, we have to continue the struggle against these men that are keeping people hostage and taking away freedom and liberty, freedom to assembly and to be activists. They are licensing and authorizing businesses and if people are allowed to have parties and civil society organizations. This are all in different ways, the same with the media and other public ways of sharing information. These are often controlled like all else are in society and in the republic.
We can just wonder if we let this repeat itself, let them continue to oppress and letting these multi-national corporations earn on this forms of government. If we can accept that aid and multi-national organizations keeping budgets and keeping them as leaders, because if these leaders would struggle more economically, more loyalists and more cronies would actually deflect quicker. Also, that if the economy struggle and the security organizations are not paid-off. They could instead of turning their weapons against the public, they could turn against the government/regime. So there are many ways together with public uprising that is needed to topple these dictatorships. Peace.