Catholic priest to President Isaias – respect the people, introduce the rule of law

“What we wish for, as we have witnessed (in Ethiopia), is for real and comprehensive change to take place in regards to peace and national reconciliation that ensures the participation of (Eritreans) in Diaspora, as well as those now in prison. We wish for a change which centres on the rule of law.”

An Eritrean scholar and Catholic priest, Aba Teklemichael Tewelde, has urged the Eritrean government to take its people’s needs into consideration by bringing about fundamental change which he claims is way overdue and can no longer be deferred.

Aba Teklemichael was speaking at an annual religious ceremony on 12 October 2018 in the town of Segeneity around 60 kilometres South of Asmara.

In his address Aba Teklemichael commended the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiyi Ahmed, for his exemplary leadership in bringing about positive change by focusing on reconciliation to bring about nation building. He also praised him for employing transparency and being accountable, as well as humble and honest, while taking his people’s voice and concerns into consideration.

“A leader who cannot bring his people together cannot lead.  A leader, like a parent to his child, needs to accommodate differing opinions and viewpoints. He needs to coordinate as well as create a platform for peaceful dialogue” he explained.

While highlighting shortcomings that were impacting Eritreans negatively, the scholar emphased the lack of reliable information:  the fact that Eritreans are not at all actively involved in national affairs in a lawful and peaceful manner. Indeed, they had no influence on relevant national issues whatsoever.

He then went on to say:

“What we wish for, as we have witnessed (in Ethiopia), is for real and comprehensive change to take place in regards to peace and national reconciliation that ensures the participation of (Eritreans) in Diaspora, as well as those now in prison. We wish for a change which centres on the rule of law.”

Referring to the Algiers agreement signed between Eritrea and Ethiopia in 2000, and which Ethiopia agreed to implement unconditionally when the peace talks begun back in June of 2018, Aba Teklemichael said:

“What we need right now is, for the border which has caused us immense suffering to be demarcated. That is what interests us primarily.”

According to the priest, for the new era of partial peace, hope and change to be fruitful, everything outdated needs to go. A change in outlook is crucial. Fundamental change in governance is imperative. So is change of heart in those who have power.

Aba Teklemichael finally called upon the Eritrean government to loosen its grip on the people and for the youth to refrain from fleeing the country.

The scholar is the second prominent Eritrean to publicly denounce the ruling party in Eritrea from inside the country. In September, the former finance minister Mr. Berhane Abrehe was arrested by security agents for having criticized President Isayas Afwerki. His whereabouts remain unknown.

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