Eritrea's Internal Situation and the Regime's Destructive Role in the Horn
opinionBy Gemechu Tussa
The Asmera regime in Eritrea has been sponsoring terrorist and anti-peace groups who have the mandate to destabilize the Horn of Africa, while the country’s socio-economic situations have been deteriorating from time to time.
According to the World Bank, the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product was estimated to be around 9 per cent in the 2011-12 – up from an estimated 2.2 per cent in 2010 – mainly stimulated by the mining sector and the highest recorded gold price at that time. However, that development has deteriorated since the country’s aggressive disputes with its neighbours.
As a result, Eritrea remains one of the least developed countries in the world. Poverty is widespread in the country and 65 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, while 80 per cent are dependent on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods.
Rain-fed agriculture is the predominant economic activity, employing more than two thirds of the population. The sector’s contribution to GDP, however, has been moderate and declining, reflecting challenges that include recurrent droughts in the Horn of Africa, and rudimentary farming methods.
Eritrea suffers from periodic droughts and chronic food shortages and these are hampering development efforts. Even in times of good rainfall, domestic food production is estimated to meet 60-70 per cent of the population’s needs. The last household survey and Participatory Poverty Assessment undertaken in 2003 estimated around two-thirds of the people were living below the poverty line. The current applicability of the estimate is questionable particularly as it was a drought year and agricultural production has been favourable since then. However, at the same time, economic growth has slumped and per capita income has been in decline.
Rural households are suffering from worst case health scenarios and there are no improvements as of yet. Malnutrition is of particular concern among women and children. An estimated 46 per cent of the population were estimated to be undernourished in 2002, and 40 per cent of children were found to be underweight for their age. Around 37 per cent of women have low body mass index.
The hope of the people of Eritrea had fade away when the country began border disputes with Ethiopia and the resulting war in May 1998. Since then, the Eritrean regime has been exerting various efforts to destabilize Ethiopia.
The Eritrean regime has prioritized the instigation of disputes after disputes with its neighbours in the Horn of Africa, while the country’s economic condition remains fragile as a result of global economic slowdown, difficult macroeconomic situation, and limited physical and human capital.
The majority of the population is young, and youth unemployment and underemployment is high. Half of the youth cohort, though well educated, has no access to jobs. Recurrent drought in the Horn of Africa region also poses food security challenge. Besides, the country also continues to be impacted by political isolation and sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council over the regime’s alleged role in the insecurity of the Horn of Africa.
The Asmera regime has no intention to maintain peaceful coexistence with its neighbours. Rather it has been working unreservedly to create chaos and instability. What we learnt from the very beginning of Issayas’s coming to power was his administration’s aggressive nature. What have been happening in the Horn of Africa under the auspice of Shabia is a testimony to its aggressiveness.
The regime continued its proactive and destabilizing efforts. It has been taking proactive actions and as a result, the Ethiopian government has been taking proportional measures against the provocative action to protect the country’s sovereignty and discharge its moral and legal duties, despite Ethiopia’s persistent need for peace and stability.
Then again, the Eritrean people are crying for peace and stability. They are hungry for peaceful coexistence. They are desirous to get peaceful socio-political atmosphere and work hard to win their daily bread. On the contrary, the Eritrean government has been waging wars and attempting to create instability in the Horn Region against the interest of its people.
Isayas’ regime has no inclination towards peace or development. It failed to see its grave mistakes in handling the people and in its foreign relations. Human Rights violations have increased from time to time. The number of Eritreans leaving their country for good has been alarmingly increasing.
Ethiopia has envisioned to be a middle income country through alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainable economic development and its peoples have been working industriously for the renaissance of their country.
The people of Ethiopia are well aware of the need for peace as the basic factor, among many others, for the realization of sustainable development. Therefore, the Ethiopian people and government have given the highest priority for peace and stability.
However, the Asmara regime has been continuing its unwavering effort to destabilizing the Horn Region. This is because Shaebia is a failed regime with desperate leaders who usually give priority to aggression, war and conflict so as to cover their internal problems under the pretext of unity, sovereignty and the likes. As a desperate government, it doesn’t care for the peoples in the neighboring countries, neither does it for its own.
In the contrast to the deteriorating economy of the country, Eritrea’s expenditure for military logistics and to support terrorists has been increasing. All it has is a history of war, since its separation from Ethiopia.
Eritrea is the only country in the Horn Region without any constitution to be governed with, without parliamentary elections, without court of justice, without freedom of expression and press. As a result, the number of imprisoned Eritreans is so large and the government has been silencing the people, having engaged them in an unjust war.
The rouge regime in Asmara has continued supporting terrorist groups including Ginbot 7, ONLF, OLF and al-Shabab in a bid to create havoc and chaos in the region, allotting a huge budget for destabilizing activities.
While the people are suffering from hunger, murder and torture, the regime has increased its logistic support to al-Shabab, Ginbot 7 and other opposition parties in Ethiopia who have promised Issayas that they would destabilize Ethiopia.
The regime is currently intending to pursue its objectives of destabilizing the region in collaboration with some states that never want to see developments in Ethiopia for one or another reason. The Eritrean Government is also responsible for plotting bombings in Kenya, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda at different times through backing al-Shabab to extend its reach into Kenya. Its efforts to do such bombings in Ethiopia have failed due to the efforts of the peace loving Ethiopians.