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Posts: 88
Reply with quote  #1 


Esteemed Participants:


Please post your questions as a new topic so that the question can be posted as a separate questions.  We had to  transfer the posting to new topics so that it will be easier for the Professor to answer.




Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #2 

1. Why did you not make Tigrigna and Arabic official languages of the State of Eritrea?

2. What were the concerns, problems and issues of the committee that where excluded 

     and/or included in final draft.


3. Would the constitution be different if it was drafted today?

4.  What should the EDA/EDP do for the Eritrean Constitution at this moment?

 Thank You



Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Originally Posted by adal


Esteemed Participants:


Please post your questions as a new topic so that the question can be posted as a separate questions.  We had to  transfer the posting to new topics so that it will be easier for the Professor to answer.



I have posted my question but I could not post it as a new post for it is locked.



Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #4 

Selam Everyone,

Prof. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to discuss
our about unimplimented constitution. Our people and country are the unluckiest that are still governed by militarty rules up to now. Therefore, I would like to ask you the following questions.

   1.  How can Eritrea turned to the lawless country where people go to prison for more than 24 hour? Even with the old law.
 Are our people scared  of military generals or there is any reason behind of it?

      2.  What does the constitution say about the quota? Compare it with PFDJ system representing women in the national assembily?  How different is going to be in democractic Eritrea?

      3.  Most importantly how can we help our people to fight their right and bring democracy to Eritrea?
Thank you!


Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 

Thanks Professor Bereket - you are an icon of Eritrean constitution.


I would like to to know more on the following Issues

  1. In Article 17 Arrest, Detention and Fair Trial why there is no an effective remedy by the Competent Notional tribunals for acts violating the fundamentals right granted by the constitution.
  2. Article 19 Freedom of Conscience, Religion, Expression of Opinion, Movement, Assembly and Organization stated that : Every citizen shall have the right to form organizations for political, social, economic and cultural ends; and to practice any profession, or engage in any occupation or trade. Does it include an unethical Profession - few to mention prostitution, Lay midwifery, pornography?
  3. Why the need for Article 26 Limitation upon Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
  4. Some political organization Like Eritrean Democratic Party (EDP) and Eritrean Democratic League (EDL) advocate for constitutional supremacy with the rectified constitution of Eritrea subjected for amendments should have supreme legal force and direct effect. What is your comment?
  5. What in the constitution cannot be amended?
  6. If you get another chance, what article would you like to see amended?
  7. Is the constitution available in all Eritrean Languages?
  8. Why the Constitution  fail to define the geographical limits of Eritrea?

Posts: 14
Reply with quote  #6 

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Dear Prof Bereket,


I am interested to know what your raction was to the following open letter sent to you by your former colleagues. As far as I know,there was no rebuttal from your side. I will take the liberty to publish the letter in its entirety so that others will have a view of it.


Thanks for your time.



Monday, September 10, 2001



- Dr. Amare Tekle
- W/ro Amna Hassen Naib
- Ato Musa Hassen Naib
- Dr. Seyoum Haregot
- W/ro Zahra Omar Jabir
- Ato Zemehret Yohannes

We, the former members of the Executive Committee of the Constitutional Commission, have taken note of the several self-serving claims made in your recent articles and interviews relative to drafting of the Constitution of Eritrea and its "implementation", as well as certain issues that were discussed during the drafting process.

We had, individually and in discussion with each other, hitherto concluded that it would serve no useful purpose to publicly take exception, either individually or collectively, to your disregard for historical facts and the truth, to respect a hallowed Eritrean imperative that constraints responsible members of society from rash actions or reactions and to keep dignified silence in the face of impropriety by an errant colleague; in the conviction that history would be a better judge of our deeds and misdeeds and in the belief that truth will sooner or later triumph.

We have, however, been left with no option, in view of your continued molestation of the truth than to speak out for the record and in the interest of the truth. We speak, not in recrimination, but in the hope that, in your future "contribution" to the "democratization" and "well-being" of our country, you will pay heed to the noble tradition of Eritrea.

We shall not go into details about what transpired during the long drafting process. At present, we shall refer to three of your egregious pretensions.

1. Authorship of the Draft Constitution

You have repeatedly claimed, directly and indirectly, that you were the sole author of the Draft Constitution, often playing on the word "writing". The word "writing" is defined, inter alia, as (a) the faithful recording on paper of any decisions made, or ideas agreed upon, by a group (i.e. committee, commission, etc.) and (b) drawing up (composition) of a draft text based solely on one's value and belief systems. The first denotes collective authorship and the second individual effort. We then wish to ask you one simple question for posterity. Will you inform Eritreans, in clear unequivocal terms, which one of the above two tasks did you perform? As a corollary, you may also wish to inform the Eritrean public and our foreign friends:

· What was taking place in the meetings of the Executive Committee;
· What was the Eritrean population, at home and abroad discussing during the constitution-making process, preceding the first draft;
· What discussion took place in the Executive Committee concerning the preparation of the first draft;
· What draft was communicated to the 50 member Constitutional Council; and
· What was the role of the Constitutional Commission Council and the foreign and local Board of Advisors.

In short, we ask you to recall the whole constitution-making process and, with the clear conscience, repeat your claim for sole authorship of the Draft Constitution.

A propos, you have declared that the original Draft of the Constitution was in English. We are aware only of the Tigrigna text. It was in fact for this reason that we requested one of our colleagues to translate it into English.. If you had an English text why was it necessary to have the Tigrigna text translated?

2. The Issue of the Special Court

In an essay entitled PFDJ's War on Democracy and Justice (, August 13, 2001), you wax indignant and fulminate in connection with the creation by the Government of Eritrea (contrary to what you say, the PFDJ does not have law-making powers) of the Special Court. Let us be honest. As a leading academic, the Chairman of the Constitutional Commission and a constitutional scholar at that, should you not have had the courage of your conviction to be among the first to protest as vehemently and as loudly then as you are doing now, five years after the enactment of the Special Court Proclamation? Or was there an incentive involved?

Let us be more direct. We hope you will recall ­ as we all do ­ that we had serious discussion on the matter both in official capacity and in private. You will recall that, during one of these meetings, one member raised the need to harmonize or bring into line some provisions of the law establishing the Special Court with the provisions of the Constitution, once it was ratified and becomes effective. Surely, that person was not you. We will be emphatic that, on the other hand, you supported the Government's action and the necessity of such special court with such extraordinary powers in developing countries to combat corruption. We do not mind your present change of heart, if it is rooted in honesty. On the other hand, we take special exception to your present fulmination and pretentious declarations as if you had been criticizing the Proclamation on Special Court all along for the last five years. Your first moral transgression and intellectual dishonesty maybe forgivable; your present immorality can never be. So what were your motives then, and what are your motives now? Surely, it cannot be the national or public interest.

3. A Pro Bono Service?

You have claimed on several occasions that, as Chairman of the Commission, you were rendering a pro bono service ­ i.e. service without any remuneration. Yet, Asmara University records reveal that by arrangements with the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, the University of Asmara was paying you 50 per cent of your salary while you still continued to receive the other 50 per cent from the University of North Carolina. In effect, you were getting your full UNC salary. Moreover, that, upon your persistent supplication to settle your mortgage of USD 28,000 in America in its entirety, as a lump sum, the Government of Eritrea had to arrange for an additional salary of USD 2,500 per month from the Constitutional Commission for three years you served as Chairman of the Commission. This special salary was partly utilized to repay the money the Commission advanced to settle your mortgage in America. Part of this special salary was paid retroactively.
Finally, as you recall, the Constitutional Commission was required to submit a final Report on activities it accomplished and its financial condition in Tigrigna, Arabic and English. The Commission was expected to distribute this Report to the public at large and the donor community, who contributed funds for the operations of the Commission. Some members of the Executive Committee prepared the Tigrigna and Arabic versions. These versions of the final Report were made available to the public at large. You were requested to prepare the English version for distribution to the donor community. To-date, despite repeated pleas, you did not submit the English version. The Commission thus finds itself derelict in its responsibility towards the donor community in Eritrea.

We restrain ourselves from further comments on other equally weighty matters in the public interest. We still believe that each one of us should be ­ and will be ­ judged by history and the future generations of Eritrea.

Best collegial wishes,

Six (former) members of the Executive Committee of the
Constitutional Commission of Eritrea.


Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #7 

Dear profesor Bereket,




I want to know how is your solution mechanism to the exisisting border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea? Do you think Eritrea has to go to negotation or should continue as it is saying that it is final and binding.


thank you with respect.


Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #8 

Dear professor Bereket:


First of all, I would like to thank you for providing this medium of exchange.   


Secondly, I also want to express my sincere appreciation for Dr. Bereket for taking his valuable time to answer the many questions citizens have concerning the unimplemented Eritrean Constitution. 


My questions include:


  1. In summary, the Eritrean struggle had two objectives: 1) Independence, 2). Civilian (hence, “hizbawi”) government or more precisely a constitutional form of government.

In light of this, at what point in post independence of Eritrea was the ball dropped?  What were the main causes of such a fall out?   


  1. Many citizens have been urging the Eritrean government to democratize even before the Constitution was implemented.  The question is which comes first: the chicken or the egg; the cart or the horse?  Is democracy (free and fair elections, multiparty system, majority rule) the answer to the ills of the Eritrean situation or constitutional liberalism (democracy, the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property rights)?  As for myself, I believe in a constitutional form of government.  Please lay out some pragmatic approaches or pre-requisites of building a nation as Eritrea, which is diverse and has had to endure many challenges in the past one hundred years. 


  1. As a more experienced Eritrean professional and as a leader of the Constitutional committee, it is expected that you do more for the implementation of this unimplemented, but highly prized document.  What have you personally been doing on this project?  Is there a work in progress?  What do you plan to do in the future? 


I greatly appreciate your response in advance.






Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #9 



A Brief Note from Professor Bereket:

To participants in this conversation


I am privileged to be part of this extraordinary conversation.  I appreciate the opportunity and thank Mesekerem for affording it to me.


The vast majority of the questions are constructive and relevant to the subject of constitution, and I will answer them all, in due time.  The people who ask such questions are genuinely interested in a constructive and civil dialogue, which is what we Eritreans need most, especially now.  They are patriots who wish nothing but the best for their country and are eager to know what ought to be done to that end.

My humble offering in answering their questions will, I hope, encourage them, more positively and optimistically, to engage in a wide-ranging and continual dialogue among their compatriots in seeking solutions to what ails our country. No such dialogue can have the desired effect if people are engaged in negative exchange and lose sight of the country's interest, being motivated solely or principally by personal or sectarian interests.


On the other hand, there have been a couple of communications that are not only not relevant and constructive, but are aimed at provoking me to be diverted from the purpose of these conversations and become embroiled in the very practice that has characterized the website in recent years, namely, acrimonious exchange and character assassination. To these people my response is :"Sorry brothers, but I will not be provoked to accomplish your purpose.  Whatever has been or is being said about me by way of distortion, fabrication and character assassination, I dismiss with the contempt it deserves.


Thee people hide behind pseudonyms, and  I will not respond to them.

I do not need to respond to the defamatory statement leveled at me by the so called former colleagues who act at the command of their Boss, nor will I respond to you H. for the high compliments your email bestowed on me.  I know you and what makes you tick.  I forgive you your excesses now, as I forgave you when you made an uncalled for remark after my brother Tewelde's death, as you left the mekane hazen, in Asmara in December 1995!  NifaleT Inakko, H. Just stay focused on your political ambition and let others pursue their humble aims to be of service to others.






















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