Eritrea: End Doesn’t Justify Tyranny

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[Africa News Update]

In an editorial posted on the government-owned website of the Ministry of information on September 1, the interim governmental authority in Eritrea has charged the US with pursuing a policy of  “brutal Machiavellian principle of ‘The End Justifies The means’.”

Well, how else does the authoritarian regime of Isaias Afewerki explain and justify the maintenance of its repressive grip on and sole authority to reign over our country, Eritrea? Is it not by the same brutal modus operandi that it is now charging the US with employing? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!  

After nipping the national constitution in the bud and quarantining it into oblivion a decade ago, where does the tyrannical regime of Isaias Afewerki draw its authority and legitimization from? How does it act and speak on behalf of the people and country of Eritrea at all if not for the barrel of the gun?  

It is an open secret that in Eritrea, constitutional governance has long been trashed, been subjected to mockery and, yes, been replaced by the brutal Machiavellian principle of the end justifies the means.

The tyrannical regime of Afewerki points to sound accomplishments as the end that would justify the brutal means of governance. National and international media are inundated with daily reporting of even trivial accomplishments of Afewerki’s totalitarian regime to that effect, as a means to shift focus away from terror that has befallen our country, and as a ploy to feign societal normalcy.  
The Afewerki regime perpetuates this “brutal Machiavellian principle of ‘the end justifies the means’” by ruling without restrains of the national constitution, parliament, political opposition, rule of law, accountability, freedom of speech and more.

And in order to enforce conformity, Afewerki’s ruling party, PFDJ, penetrates the entire country through regional, provincial, local and "primary" (party-cell) organization. Youth, professional, cultural, and sports groups supplement the party's political control.

A paramilitary secret police ensures compliance. Information and ideas are effectively organized through the control of television, radio, the press, and education at all levels.   

Isaias Afewerki’s “brutal Machiavellian principle of ‘the end justifies the means’” is not limited to national issues only. Afewerki’s foreign policy is also guided by this same approach.

Eritrea’s efforts to seek harmony and peace between and among the nations in the Horn of Africa--Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan--and to strive for the stability and security of the region is a very noble cause that deserves all the credit and is worth every endeavor in the world.

But this noble goal, or end, does not justify the means; Afewerki’s egomaniacal and tyrannical unilateral actions and dictates. That is what’s getting Eritrea’s tyrant Afewerki into trouble with others including the US, not his ostensibly noble intentions.

Regional problems mandate regional solutions first and foremost and if necessary need to be reconciled with the interests of continental and international stakeholders. No one is and can be against Eritrea for trying to help the Somalis, the Ethiopians or the Sudanese. But every one is rightly against Isaias Afewerki’s tyrannical means of attaining this laudable goal because the end, regardless how noble it might be, does not justify the means.
I salute the editorial board of for recognizing that “the end” does not “justify the means” and I hope they mean what they say and communicate to president Isaias Afewerki that paving the way for constitutional governance in Eritrea, is the only way forward.

The author can be reached at

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