Ratified by the Constituent Assembly,
On May 23, 1997


Chapter I: General Provisions……………………………………….522

Chapter II: National Objectives And Directive Principles….524

Chapter III: Fundamental Rights, Freedoms And Duties…….527

Chapter IV: The National Assembly………………………………..533

Chapter V: The Executive……………………………………………..537

Chapter VI: The Administration Of Justice……………………….541

Chapter VII: Miscellaneous Provisions……………………………..543


We the people of Eritrea, united in a common struggle for our rights and common destiny: With Eternal Gratitude to the scores of thousands of our martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the causes of our rights and independence, during the long and heroic revolutionary struggle for liberation, and to the courage and steadfastness of our Eritrean patriots; and standing on the solid ground of unity and justice bequeathed by our martyrs and combatants; Aware that it is the sacred duty of all citizens to build a strong and advanced Eritrea on the bases of freedom, unity, peace, stability and security achieved through the long struggle of all Eritreans, which tradition we must cherish, preserve and develop; Realizing that in order to build an advanced country, it is necessary that the unity, equality, love for truth and justice, self-reliance, and hard work, which we nurtured during our revolutionary struggle for independence and which helped us to triumph, must become the core of our national values; Appreciating the fact that for the development and health of our society, it is necessary that we inherit and improve upon the traditional community-based assistance and fraternity, love for family, respect for elders, mutual respect and consideration; Convinced that the establishment of a democratic order, through the participation of and in response to the needs and interests of citizens, which guarantees the recognition and protection of the rights of citizens, human dignity, equality, balanced development and the satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of citizens, is the foundation of economic growth, social harmony and progress; Noting the fact that the Eritrean women’s heroic participation in the struggle for independence, human rights and solidarity, based on equality and mutual respect, generated by such struggle will serve as an unshakable foundation for our commitment to create a society in which women and men shall interact on the bases of mutual respect, solidarity and equality; Desirous that the Constitution we are adopting will be a covenant between us and the government, which we will be forming by our free-will, to serve as a means for governing in harmony this and future generations and for bringing about justice and peace, founded on democracy, national unity and the rule of law; Today, 23 May 1997, on this historic date, after active popular participation, approve and solemnly ratify, through the Constituent Assembly, this Constitution as the fundamental law of our Sovereign and Independent State of Eritrea.

Article 1 – The State of Eritrea and its Territory 1. Eritrea is a sovereign and independent State founded on the principles of democracy, social justice and the rule of law. 2. The territory of Eritrea consists of all its territories, including the islands, territorial waters and airspace, delineated by recognised boundaries. 3. In the State of Eritrea, sovereign power is vested in the people, and shall be exercised pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution.

4. The government of Eritrea shall be established through democratic procedures to represent people’s sovereignty and shall have strong institutions, accommodating popular participation and serving as foundation of a viable democratic political order. 5. Eritrea is a unitary State divided into units of local government. The powers and duties of these units shall be determined by law.

Article 2 – Supremacy of the Constitution 1. This Constitution is the legal expression of the sovereignty of the Eritrean people. 2. This Constitution enunciates the principles on which the State is based and by which it shall be guided and determines the organisation and operation of government. It is the source of government legitimacy and the basis for the protection of the rights, freedoms and dignity of citizens and of just administration. 3. This Constitution is the supreme law of the country and the source of all laws of the State, and all laws, orders and acts contrary to its letter and spirit shall be null and void. 4. All organs of the State, ail public and private associations and institutions and all citizens shall be bound by and remain loyal to the Constitution and shall ensure its observance. 5. This Constitution shall serve as a basis for instilling constitutional culture and for enlightening citizens to respect fundamental human rights and duties.

Article 3 – Citizenship 1. Any person born of an Eritrean father or mother is an Eritrean by birth. 2. Any foreign citizen may acquire Eritrean citizenship pursuant to law. 3. The details concerning citizenship shall be regulated by law.
Article 4 – National Symbols and Languages 1. The Eritrean Flag shall have green, red and blue colours with golden olive leaves. The detailed description of the Flag shall be determined by law. 2. Eritrea shall have a National Anthem and a Coat of Arms reflecting the history and the aspiration of its people. The details of the National Anthem and the Coat of Arms shall be determined by law. 3. The equality of all Eritrean languages is guaranteed.
Article 5 – Gender Reference Without consideration to the wording of any provision in this Constitution with reference to gender, all of its articles shall apply equally to both genders.

Article 6 – National Unity and Stability 1. As the people and government strive to establish a united and advanced country within the context of the diversity of Eritrea, they shall be guided by the basic principle “unity in diversity.” 2. The State shall, through participation of all citizens, ensure national stability and development by encouraging democratic dialogue and national consensus; and by laying a firm political, cultural and moral foundation of national unity and social harmony. 3. The State shall ensure peaceful and stable conditions by establishing appropriate participatory institutions that guarantee and hasten equitable economic and social progress.

Article 7 – Democratic Principles 1. It is a fundamental principle of the State of Eritrea to guarantee its citizens broad and active participation in all political, economic, social and cultural life of the country. 2. Any act that violates the human rights of women or limits or otherwise thwarts their role and participation is prohibited. 3. There shall be established appropriate institutions to encourage and develop people’s initiative and participation in their communities. 4. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws enacted pursuant thereto, all Eritreans, without distinction, are guaranteed equal opportunity to participate in any position of leadership in the country. 5. The conduct of the affairs of government and all organizations and institutions shall be accountable and transparent. 6. The organization and operation of all political, public associations and movements shall be guided by the principles of national unity and democracy. 7. The State shall create conditions necessary for developing a democratic political culture defined by free and critical thinking, tolerance and national consensus.

Article 8 – Economic and Social Development 1. The State shall strive to create opportunities to ensure the fulfilment of citizens’ rights to social justice and economic development and to fulfil their material and spiritual needs. 2. The State shall work to bring about a balanced and sustainable development throughout the country, and shall use all available means to enable all citizens to improve their livelihood in a sustainable manner, through their participation. 3. In the interest of present and future generations, the State shall be responsible for managing all land, water, air and natural resources and for ensuring their management in a balanced and sustainable manner; and for creating the right conditions to secure the participation of the people in safeguarding the environment.

Article 9 – National Culture 1. The State shall be responsible for creating and promoting conditions conducive for developing a national culture capable of expressing national identity, unity and progress of the Eritrean people. 2. The State shall encourage values of community solidarity and love and respect of the family. 3. The State shall promote the development of the arts, science,
technology and sports and shall create an enabling environment for individuals to work in an atmosphere of freedom and to manifest their creativity and innovation.

Article 10 – Competent Justice System 1. The justice system of Eritrea shall be independent, competent and accountable pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and laws. 2. Courts shall work under a judicial system that is capable of producing quick and equitable judgments and that can easily be understood by and is accessible to all the people. 3. Judges shall be free from corruption or discrimination and, in rendering their judgment, they shall make no distinction among persons. 4. The State shall encourage equitable out-of-court settlement of disputes through conciliation, mediation or arbitration.

Article 11 – Competent Civil Service 1. The Civil Service of Eritrea shall have efficient, effective and accountable administrative institutions dedicated to the service of the people. 2. All administrative institutions shall be free from corruption, discrimination and delay in the delivery of efficient and equitable public services.

Article 12 – National Defense and Security 1. The defense and security forces of Eritrea shall owe allegiance to and obey the Constitution and the government established thereunder. 2. The defense and security forces are an integral part of society, and shall be productive and respectful of the people. 3. The defense and security forces shall be competent and be subject to and accountable under the law. 4. The defense and security of Eritrea depend on the people and on their active participation.

Article 13 – Foreign Policy The foreign policy of Eritrea is based on respect for state
sovereignty and independence and on promoting the interest of regional and international peace, cooperation, stability and development.

Article 14 – Equality under the Law 1. All persons are equal under the law. 2. No person may be discriminated against on account of race, ethnic origin, language, colour, gender, religion, disability, age, political view, or social or economic status or any other improper factors. 3. The National Assembly shall enact laws that can assist in eliminating inequalities existing in the Eritrean society.

Article 15 – Right to Life and Liberty 1. No person shall be deprived of life without due process of law. 2. No person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law.

Article 16 – Right to Human Dignity 1. The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable. 2. No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 3. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude nor shall any person be required to perform forced labour not authorised by law.

Article 17 – Arrest, Detention and Fair Trial 1. No person may be arrested or detained save pursuant to due process of law. 2. No person shall be tried or convicted for any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence at the time when it was committed. 3. Every person arrested or detained shall be informed of the grounds for his arrest or detention and of the rights he has in connection with his arrest or detention in a language he understands. 4. Every person who is held in detention shall be brought before a court of law within forty-eight (48) hours of his arrest, and if this is not reasonably possible, as soon as possible thereafter, and no such person shall be held in custody beyond such period without the authority of the court. 5. Every person shall have the right to petition a court of law for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Where the arresting officer fails to bring the person arrested before the court and provide the reason for his arrest, the court shall accept the petition and order the release of the prisoner. 6. Every person charged with an offence shall be entitled to a fair, speedy and public hearing by a court of law; provided, however, that such a court may exclude the press and the public from all or any part of the trial for reasons of morals or national security, as may be necessary in a just and democratic society. 7. A person charged with an offence shall be presumed to be innocent, and shall not be punished, unless he is found guilty by a court of law. 8. Where an accused is convicted, he shall have the right to appeal. No person shall be liable to be tried again for any criminal offence on which judgement has been rendered.

Article 18 – Right to Privacy 1. Every person shall have the right to privacy. 2. (a) No person shall be subject to body search, nor shall his premises be entered into or searched or his communications, correspondence, or other property be interfered with, without reasonable cause. (b) No search warrant shall issue, save upon probable cause, supported by oath, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article 19 – Freedom of Conscience, Religion, Expression of Opinion, Movement, Assembly and Organisation 1. Every person shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and belief. 2. Every person shall have the freedom of speech and expression, including freedom of the press and other media. 3. Every citizen shall have the right of access to information. 4. Every person shall have the freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice. 5. All persons shall have the right to assemble and to demonstrate peaceably together with others. 6. Every citizen shall have the right to form organisations for political, social, economic and cultural ends. 7. Every citizen shall have the right to practice any lawful profession, or engage in any occupation or trade. 8. Every citizen shall have the right to move freely throughout Eritrea or reside and settle in any part thereof. 9. Every citizen shall have the right to leave and return to Eritrea and to be provided with passport or any other travel documents.

Article 20 – Right to Vote and to be a Candidate to an Elective Office Every citizen who fulfils the requirements of the electoral law shall have the right to vote and to seek elective office.

Article 21 – Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Responsibilities 1. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to publicly funded social services. The State shall endeavor, within the limit of its resources, to make available to all citizens health, education, cultural and other social services. 2. The State shall secure, within available means, the social welfare of all citizens and particularly those disadvantaged. 3. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in any economic activity ad to engage in any lawful business. 4. The State and society shall have the responsibility of identifying, preserving and developing, as need be, and bequeathing to succeeding generations historical and cultural heritage; and shall lay the necessary groundwork for the development of the arts, science, technology and sports, thus encouraging citizens to participate in such endeavors. 5. The National Assembly shall enact laws guaranteeing and securing the social welfare of citizens, the rights and conditions of labour and other rights and responsibilities listed in this Article.

Article 22– Family 1. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to the protection and special care of the State and society. 2. Men and women of full legal age shall have the right, upon their consent, to marry and to found a family freely, without any discrimination and they shall have equal rights and duties as to all family affairs. 3. Parents have the right and duty to bring up their children with due care and affection; and, in turn, children have the right and the duty to respect their parents and to sustain them in their old age.

Article 23 – Right to Property 1. Subject to the provisions of Sub-Article 2 of this Article, any citizen shall have the right, any where in Eritrea, to acquire and dispose property, individually or in association with others, and to bequeath the same to his heirs or legatees. 2. All land and all natural resources below and above the surface of the territory of Eritrea belongs to the State. The interests citizens shall have in land shall be determined by law. 3. The State may, in the national or public interest, take property, subject to the payment of just compensation and in accordance with due process of law.
Article 24 – Administrative Redress 1. Any person with an administrative question shall have the right to be heard respectfully by the administrative officials concerned and to receive quick and equitable answers from them. 2. Any person with an administrative question, whose rights or interests are interfered with or threatened, shall have the right to seek due administrative redress.

Article 25 – Duties of Citizens All citizens shall have the duty to: 1. owe allegiance to Eritrea, strive for its development and promote its prosperity; 2. be ready to defend the country; 3. complete one’s duty in national service; 4. advance national unity; 5. respect and defend the Constitution; 6. respect the rights of others; and 7. comply with the requirements of the law.

Article 26 – Limitation Upon Fundamental Rights and Freedoms 1. The fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under this Constitution may be limited only in so far as is in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, health or morals, for the prevention of public disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. 2. Any law providing for the limitation of the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution must: a. be consistent with the principles of democracy and justice; b. be of general application and not negate the essential content of the right or freedom in question; c. specify the ascertainable extent of such limitation and identify the article or articles hereof on which authority to enact such limitation is claimed to rest. 3. The provisions of Sub-Article 1 of this Article shall not be used to limit the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under Articles 14(1) and (2); 15; 16; 17(2), (5), (7) and (8); and 19(1) of this Constitution.

Article 27 – State of Emergency 1. At a time when public safety or the security or stability of the State is threatened by war, external invasion, civil disorder or natural disaster, the President may by a proclamation published in the Official Gazette declare that a state of emergency exists in Eritrea or any part thereof. 2. A declaration under Sub-Article 1 of this Article shall not become effective unless approved by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority vote of all members of the National Assembly. A declaration made when the National Assembly is in session shall be presented within two days after its publication, or otherwise, the National Assembly shall be summoned to meet and consider the declaration within thirty days of its publication. 3. A declaration approved by the National Assembly pursuant to Sub-Article 2 of this Article shall continue to be in force for a period of six months after such approval. The National Assembly may, by a resolution of two-thirds majority vote of all its members, extend its approval of the declaration for a period of three months at a time. 4. The National Assembly may, at any time, by resolution revoke a declaration approved by it pursuant to the provisions of this Article. 5. A declaration of a state of emergency or any measures undertaken or laws enacted pursuant to it shall not: a. suspend Articles 14(1) and (2); 16; 17(2); and 19(1) of the Constitution; b. grant pardon or amnesty to any person or persons who, acting under the authority of the State, have committed illegal acts; or c. introduce martial law when there is no external invasion or civil disorder.

Article 28 – Enforcement of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms 1. The National Assembly or any subordinate legislative authority shall not make any law, and the Executive and the agencies of government shall not take any action that abolishes or abridges the fundamental rights and freedoms conferred by this Constitution, unless so authorised by this Constitution. Any law or action in violation thereof shall be null and void. 2. Any aggrieved person who claims that a fundamental right or freedom guaranteed by this Constitution has been denied or violated shall be entitled to petition a competent court for redress. Where it ascertains that such fundamental right or freedom has been denied or violated, the court shall have the power to make all such orders as shall be necessary to secure for such petitioner the enjoyment of such fundamental right or freedom, and where such applicant suffers damage, to include an award of monetary compensation.

Article 29 – Residual Rights The rights enumerated in this Chapter shall not preclude other rights which ensue from the spirit of this Constitution and the principles of a society based on social justice, democracy and the rule of law.

Article 30 – Representation of the People 1. All Eritrean citizens, of eighteen years of age or more, shall have the right to vote. 2. The National Assembly shall enact an electoral law, which shall ensure the representation and participation of the Eritrean people.

Article 31 – Establishment and Duration of the National Assembly 1. There shall be a National Assembly which shall be the supreme representative and legislative body. 2. The National Assembly shall be composed of representatives elected by the people. 3. Members of the National Assembly shall be elected by secret ballot of all citizens who are qualified to vote. 4. Members of the National Assembly are representatives of the Eritrean people as a whole. In discharging their duties, they are governed by the objectives and principles of the
Constitution, the interest of the people and the country and their conscience. 5. The first session of the National Assembly shall be held within one month after a general election. The term of the National Assembly shall be five years from the date of such first session. Where there exists a state of emergency which prevents a general election from being held, the National Assembly may, by a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds vote of all its members, extend the life of the National Assembly for a period not exceeding six months. 6. The qualifications and election of the members of the National Assembly, the conditions for vacating their seats and other related matters shall be determined by law.

Article 32 – Powers and Duties of the National Assembly 1. Pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution: a. the National Assembly shall have the power to enact laws and pass resolutions for the peace, stability, development and social justice of Eritrea; b. unless authorized pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and law enacted by the National Assembly, no person or organisation shall have the power to make decisions having the force of law. 2. The National Assembly shall be bound by the objectives and principles of the Constitution, and shall strive to realise the objectives stated therein. 3. The National Assembly shall approve the national budget and enact tax laws. 4. The National Assembly shall ratify international agreements by law. 5. The National Assembly shall have the power to approve government borrowing. 6. The National Assembly shall approve a state of peace, war or national emergency. 7. The National Assembly shall have the power to oversee the execution of laws. 8. The National Assembly shall have the power to elect, from among its members, by an absolute majority vote of all its members, the President who shall serve for five years. 9. Pursuant to the provisions of Article 41(6)(a), (b) and (c) hereof, the National Assembly may, by a two-thirds majority vote of all its members, impeach or impeach and charge the President before the end of his term of office. 10. The National Assembly shall have the power to approve an appointment pursuant to this Constitution. 11. The National Assembly shall establish a standing committee to deal with citizens petitions. 12. The National Assembly shall have the power to enact all resolutions and to undertake all such measures as are necessary and to establish such standing or ad hoc committees as it deems appropriate for discharging its constitutional responsibilities.

Article 33 – Approval of Draft Legislation Any draft law approved by the National Assembly shall be transmitted to the President who, within thirty days of its receipt, shall sign and have it published in the Official Gazette.

Article 34 – Chairperson of the National Assembly 1. During the first meeting of its first session, the National Assembly shall elect, by an absolute majority vote of all its members, a Chairperson who shall serve for five years. 2. The Chairperson of the National Assembly shall convene all sessions of the National Assembly and preside at its meetings, and shall, during the recess, coordinate and supervise the operations of the standing and ad hoc committees and the Secretariat of the National Assembly. 3. The Chairperson of the National Assembly may be replaced by an absolute majority vote of all the members of the National Assembly.

Article 35 – Oath Every member of the National Assembly shall take the following oath: I, __________, swear in _________________ that I will be faithful and worthy of the trust the Eritrean people placed on me; that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of Eritrea; and that I will endeavour to the best of my ability and conscience for the unity and development of my country.

Article 36 – Rules of Procedure in the National Assembly 1. The National Assembly shall have regular sessions and shall determine the timing and duration thereof. 2. At the request of the President, its Chairperson or one-third of all its members, the National Assembly shall convene emergency meetings. 3. The quorum of the National Assembly shall be fifty percent of all its members. 4. Except as otherwise prescribed by this Constitution, any question proposed for decision of the National Assembly shall be determined by a majority vote of those present and voting, and in case of a tie of votes, the Chairperson may exercise a casting vote. 5. The National Assembly shall issue rules and regulations concerning its operations and tasks and the organisation of the standing and ad hoc committees and its Secretariat, as well as the rules governing the code of conduct of its members and transparency of its operations.

Article 37 – Office of the National Assembly and Powers of its Committees 1. The National Assembly shall, under the direction of its Chairperson, have a Secretariat, which shall provide services to the National Assembly and its committees. 2. The various committees established pursuant to the provisions of Article 32(12) shall have the power to summon any person to appear before them to give evidence under oath or to submit documents.

Article 38 – Duties, Immunities and Privileges of Members of the National Assembly 1. All members of the National Assembly shall have the duty to maintain the high honor of their office and to conduct themselves as humble servants of the people. 2. No member of the National Assembly may be charged for any crime, unless he be apprehended in flagrante delicto. However, where it is deemed necessary to lift his immunity, such a member may be charged in accordance with procedures determined by the National Assembly. 3. No member of the National Assembly may be charged or otherwise be answerable for statements made or submitted by him at any meeting of the National Assembly or any meeting of its committees or any utterance or statement made outside the National Assembly in connection with his duty as member thereof. 4. The duties, responsibilities, immunities and compensation of the members of the National Assembly shall be determined by law; and all members shall be entitled to the protection of such immunities.

Article 39 – The President: Head of State and Government 1. The President of Eritrea is the Head of the State and the Government of Eritrea and the Commander-in-Chief of the Eritrean Defence Forces. 2. The executive authority is vested in the President, which he shall exercise, in consultation with the Cabinet, pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution. 3. The President shall ensure respect of the Constitution; the integrity and dignity of the State; the efficient management of the public service; and the interests and safety of all citizens, including the enjoyment of their fundamental rights and freedoms recognised under this Constitution.

Article 40 – Qualification to be a Candidate to the Office of the President Any member of the National Assembly who seeks to be a candidate to the office of the President of Eritrea shall be a citizen of Eritrea by birth.

Article 41 – Election and Term of Office of the President 1. The President shall be elected from amongst the members of the National Assembly by an absolute majority vote of its members. A candidate for the office of the President must be nominated by at least 20 percent vote of all the members of the National Assembly. 2. The term of office of the President shall be five years, equal to the term of office of the National Assembly that elects him. 3. No person shall be elected to hold the office of President for more than two terms. 4. When the office of the President becomes vacant due to death or resignation of the incumbent or due to the reasons enumerated in Sub-Article 6 of this Article, the Chairperson of the National Assembly shall assume the office of the President. The Chairperson shall serve as acting President for not more than thirty days, pending the election of another President to serve the remaining term of his predecessor. 5. The term of office of the person elected to serve as President under Sub-Article 4 of this Article shall not be considered as a full term for purposes of Sub-Article 3 of this Article. 6. The President may be removed from office by two-thirds majority vote of all members of the National Assembly for the following reasons: a. violation of the Constitution or grave violation of the law; b. conducting himself in a manner which brings the authority or honour of the office of the President into ridicule, contempt and disrepute; and c. being incapable of performing the functions of his office by reason of physical or mental incapacity. 7. The National Assembly shall determine the procedures for the election and removal of the President from office.

Article 42 – Powers and Duties of the President The President shall have the following powers and duties: 1. once every year, deliver a speech in the National Assembly on the state of the country and the policies of the government; 2. subject to the provisions of Article 27 hereof, declare state of emergency, and when the defence of the country requires, martial laws; 3. summon the National Assembly to an emergency meeting and present his views to it; 4. sign and publish in the Official Gazette laws approved by the National Assembly; 5. ensure the execution of laws and resolutions of the National Assembly; 6. negotiate and sign international agreements and delegate such power; 7. with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint ministers, commissioners, the Auditor-General, Governor of the National Bank, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and any other person or persons who are required by any other provisions of this Constitution or other laws to be appointed by the President; 8. appoint justices of the Supreme Court upon proposal of the Judicial Service Commission and approval of the National Assembly; 9. appoint judges of the lower courts upon proposal of the Judicial Service Commission; 10. Appoint and receive ambassadors and diplomatic representatives; 11. appoint high ranking members of the Armed and the Security Forces; 12. subject to the provisions of Article27(5)(b), reprieve offenders and grant pardon or amnesty; 13. establish such government ministries and departments necessary or expedient for the good governance of Eritrea, in consultation with the Public Service Administration, and dissolve the same; 14. preside over meetings of the Cabinet and coordinate its activities; 15. present legislative proposals and the national budget to the National Assembly; 16. confer medals or other honours on citizens, residents and friends of Eritrea in consultation with the relevant organisations and individuals. 17. Subject to the provisions of Article 52(1), remove any person appointed by him.

Article 43 – Immunity from Civil and Criminal Proceedings 1. Any person holding the office of the President may not be: a. sued in any civil proceedings, save where such proceedings concern an act done in his official capacity as President, in which case the State may be sued; b. charged with any criminal offence, unless he be impeached and charged under Article 41(6)(a) and (b) hereof. 2. After a President vacates his office no court may entertain any action against him in any civil proceedings in respect of any act done in his official capacity as President.

Article 44 – Privileges to be Given to Former Presidents Provisions shall be made by law for the privileges that shall be granted to former Presidents.

Article 45 – Oath Upon his election, the President shall take the following oath: I, ____________, swear in ___________ that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of Eritrea and that I will strive with the best of my ability and conscience to serve the people of Eritrea.

Article 46 – The Cabinet 1. There shall be a ministerial Cabinet presided over by the President. 2. The President may select ministers from among members of the National Assembly or from among persons who are not members of the National Assembly. 3. The Cabinet shall assist the President in: a. directing, supervising and coordinating the affairs of government; b. conducting study on and preparing the national budget; c. conducting study on and preparing draft laws to be presented to the National Assembly; d. conducting study on and preparing the policies and plans of government. 4. The President shall issue rules and regulations for the organisation, functions, operations and code of conduct relating to the members of the Cabinet and the Secretariat of his Office.

Article 47 – Ministerial Accountability 1. All cabinet ministers shall be accountable: a. individually to the President for the administration of their own ministries; and b. collectively to the National Assembly, through the President, for the administration of the work of the Cabinet. 2. The National Assembly or its committees may, through the Office of the President, summon any minister to appear before them to question him concerning the operation of his ministry.

Article 48 – The Judiciary 1. The judicial power shall be vested in a Supreme Court and in such other lower courts as shall be established by law and shall be exercised in the name of the people pursuant to this Constitution and laws issued thereunder. 2. In exercising the judicial power, courts shall be free from the direction and control of any person or authority. Judges shall be subject only to the law, to a judicial code of conduct determined by law and to their conscience. 3. A judge shall not be liable to any suit for any act in the course of exercising his judicial function. 4. All organs of the State shall accord to the courts such assistance as they may require to protect their independence and dignity so that they may exercise their judicial power appropriately and effectively pursuant to the provisions of this Constitution and laws issued thereunder.

Article 49 – The Supreme Court 1. The Supreme Court shall be the court of last resort; and shall be presided over by the Chief Justice. 2. The Supreme Court shall have: a. sole jurisdiction of interpreting this Constitution and the constitutionality of any law enacted or any action taken by government; b. sole jurisdiction of hearing and adjudicating upon charges against a President who has been impeached by the National Assembly pursuant to the provisions of Article 41(6)(a) and (b) hereof; and c. the power of hearing and adjudicating cases appealed from lower courts pursuant to law. 3. The Supreme Court shall determine its internal organisation and operation. 4. The tenure and number of justices of the Supreme Court shall be determined by law.

Article 50 – Lower Courts The jurisdiction, organisation and function of lower courts and the tenure of their judges shall be determined by law.

Article 51 – Oath Every judge shall take the following oath: I, _____________, swear in _____________ that I will adjudicate in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and laws enacted thereunder and I will exercise the judicial authority vested in me, subject only to the law and my conscience.

Article 52 – Removal of Judges from Office 1. A judge may be removed from office before the expiry of his tenure of office by the President only, acting on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, pursuant to the provisions of Sub-Article 2 of this Article for physical or mental incapacity, violation of the law or breach of judicial code of conduct. 2. The Judicial Service Commission shall investigate whether or not a judge should be removed from office on grounds of those enumerated in Sub-Article 1 of this Article. In the event that the Judicial Service Commission decides that a judge be removed from office, it shall present its recommendation to the President. 3. The President may, on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, suspend from office a judge who is under investigation.

Article 53 – The Judicial Service Commission 1. There shall be established a Judicial Service Commission, which shall be responsible for submitting recommendations for the recruitment of judges and the terms and conditions of their services. 2. The organisation, powers and duties of the Judicial Service Commission shall be determined by law.

Article 54 – The Advocate General There shall be an Advocate General whose powers and duties shall be determined by law.

Article 55 – Auditor General 1. There shall be an Auditor General who audits the revenues and expenditures and other financial operations of government and who reports annually his findings to the National Assembly. 2. The Auditor General shall be appointed for five years by the President with the approval of the National Assembly and shall be accountable to the National Assembly. 3. The detailed organisation, powers and duties of the Auditor General shall be determined by law.

Article 56 – National Bank 1. There shall be a National Bank, which performs the functions of a central bank, controls the financial institutions and manages the national currency. 2. The National Bank shall have a Governor appointed by the President with the approval of the National Assembly. There shall be a Board of Directors whose members shall be appointed by the President.
3. The detailed organisation, powers and duties of the National Bank shall be determined by law.

Article 57 – Civil Service Administration 1. There shall be established a Civil Service Administration, which shall be responsible for the recruitment, selection and separation of civil servants as well as for determining the terms and conditions of their employment, including the rights and duties and the code of conduct of such civil servants. 2. The detailed organisation, powers and duties of the Civil Service Administration shall be determined by law.

Article 58 – Electoral Commission 1. There shall be established an Electoral Commission, operating independently, without interference, which shall, on the basis of the electoral law, ensure that free and fair elections are held and administer their implementation; decide on issues raised in the course of the electoral process; and formulate and implement civic educational programmes relating to elections and other democratic procedures. 2. An Electoral Commissioner shall be appointed by the President with the approval of the National Assembly. 3. The detailed organization, powers and duties of the Electoral Commission shall be determined by law.

Article 59 – Amendment of the Constitution 1. A proposal for the amendment of any provision of this Constitution may be initiated and tabled by the President or 50 percent of all the members of the National Assembly. 2. Any provision of this Constitution may be amended as follows: a. where the National Assembly by a three-quarters majority vote of all its members proposes the amendment with reference to a specific Article of the Constitution tabled to be amended; and b. where, one year after it has proposed such an amendment, the National Assembly, after deliberation, approves again the same amendment by four-fifths majority vote of all its members


What is Constitution?
Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within the country, namely, the executive, the parliament or legislature, and the judiciary; as well as the basic rights of citizens and, in federal countries such as the United States and Canada, the relationship between the central government and state, provincial, or territorial governments.

Not all nation states have codified constitutions, though all such states have a jus commune, or law of the land, that may consist of a variety of imperative and consensual rules. These may include customary law, conventions, statutory law, judge-made law, or international rules and norms.

Constitutional law deals with the fundamental principles by which the government exercises its authority. In some instances, these principles grant specific powers to the government, such as the power to tax and spend for the welfare of the population. Other times, constitutional principles act to place limits on what the government can do, such as prohibiting the arrest of an individual without sufficient cause.

In most nations, such as the United States, India, and Singapore, constitutional law is based on the text of a document ratified at the time the nation came into being. Other constitutions, notably that of the United Kingdom, rely heavily on unwritten rules known as constitutional conventions; their status within constitutional law varies, and the terms of conventions are in some cases strongly contested.

Constitution law governs the relationships between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive with the bodies under its authority. One of the key tasks of constitutions within this context is to indicate hierarchies and relationships of power. When a constitution establishes a federal state, it will identify the several levels of government coexisting with exclusive or shared areas of jurisdiction over lawmaking, application and enforcement. Some federal states, most notably the United States, have separate and parallel federal and state judiciaries, with each having its own hierarchy of courts with a supreme court for each state. India, on the other hand, has one judiciary divided into district courts, high courts, and the Supreme Court of India.
The role of constitution is multifarious and the need and functions of constitution keeps on changing with time. constitution is a living document as it can be amended with time. constitution provides the required motion to the chariot of the democracy.
The need of Constitution
constitution is the sacred book of a democracy. constitution is what guides the democracy in its day today functioning. constitution is the travel itinerary of a country. Constitution can be written or unwritten as in case of India and UK respectively. the importance of constitution is summed up as follows. We need a constitution because we need a government to protect our natural rights to life, liberty, and property. The constitution is the fundamental law within which the government must operate.

Constitution is set of written rules , that are accepted by all people living together in a country, It lays down certain ideals that people as a citizen aspire to live in society ( like spread brotherhood ,and to give certain level of education to your children) or it determines the nature of the society ( like democratic)

We need protection from bad people such as murderers, oppressors, dictators, corrupt people, thieves, robbers, burglars, fraudsters, etc. and this is why we must have a government guided by constitutional law. The constitution provides a set of written rules that is authorized, and approved by the people. The constitution sets out the rules under which the government is to operate. It is important to remember that the government must protect our natural rights to life, liberty, and property in accordance only with the written constitution. In this view, the constitution creates the government; provides powers to the created government; and limits these government powers.

The government must have powers to do its job to protect life, liberty, and property. These powers are written and specified in the constitution. The government must have the following powers:
1. makes laws; Legislative (Congress)
2. implements these laws; Executive (President) – implements these laws
3. referees if there are disagreements in interpreting the laws. Judiciary (Supreme Court)

The primary functions of Constitution are as follows:
1. basic rules- it has the basic rule on which the democracy functions. it guides in functioning of a democracy

2. rights- it defines the right of a citizen over state and other persons

3. duties- it determines the duty of the state and also the duty of the individual vis a vis the country.

4. directives- it contains the directives to the government to make law

5. determines the territory of state and country- the constitution limits the territory of the whole country and the states.

6. citizenship- it determines the various provisions for gaining and losing citizenship of the country.

7. Centre and states relations- constitution determines the legislative, judicial, and executive relations between central government and states.

8. constitutional posts- it mentions power functions of president vis a vis PM.

9. Rule of law: it is the bulwark of rule of law in a country it gives the true color to right to equality, freedom and liberty.

10. Check and balance: it makes sure to check and balance power of one organ over the other.

11. Base of democracy: it defines whether the democracy is direct or indirect and if it is indirect then whether it is presidential or parliamentary system.

12. Political system: It defines the nature of country’s political system (like federal, secular, socialistic and democratic in India)

13. Protection and rights: To ensure that dominant group don’t use its power against others or minorities so minorities have been given certain special protection and rights

14. Protection from self: It saves us from ourselves – sometime we strongly feel about any issue that might go against our largest interest like sometime we think that India needs any dictatorship against democracy for to resolve some issue (like terrorism)

15. Public aspiration: It enables the government to fulfill the aspiration of society and create condition for a just society. (everyone has been put equal before law and there is rule of law)

16. Identity: It gives fundamental identity of the people the country (like democratic in nature)

17. Institutional balance: It balance institutional design and make specification of decision-making powers (like separation of power between various organs of gov. ie-executive, judiciary, legislative, many constitutional bodies and offices. …and separations of power between various level of gov. ie – national, state, local level)

18. Reference: It gives us reference for right and wrong, what/whom to follow when in doubt. So basically, acts as reference book.

19. Coordination: it allows minimal coordination among member of a society

20. Rule of election: It specifies how the rulers are to be chosen and what the gov. Are empowered to do and what not to do.

21. Relationship: It determines the relationship between state to people and people to people.

22. Minority rights: It gives at least something to every person, group, society to stick to the constitution and hope something better …. like there are separate positive provision for minority group, woman, weaker section of the society

23. Fundamental rights: It gives fundamental rights to people so that state could not go against the desire of the people…. What will happen if you have money but no proper budget to spend it? Same is with the constitution it has provisions of budget management for the proper working of the country financially.

     1. What if you want to visit some place and some people stop you without any reason? It is ensured by Fundamental rights in the Constitution.

     2. What if some foreign power invade you and you have no proper Army to stop them? If no Constitution, there is no provision of payment, no Army?

24. A Constitution is needed and found in non-democratic governments also but it is a prerequisite in a democracy (No Prime Minister, No President, No Chief Minister, nothing without Constitution, because the Constitution is the soul of a democracy.)

25. Elected government: If a party has won in an election, it doesn’t mean that it is free to rule the country according to its wish. Even an elected government has to rule the state or the country according to its Constitution which ensures development of all its citizens.

26. Safety: Because of our Constitution minorities feel safe in our country as it doesn’t allow majoritarianism.

So slowly constitution becomes the part and partial of citizen of nation and citizen starts thinking on constitutional way and aspire to live in society that constitution recognize.
role of constitution is multifarious and the need and functions of constitution keeps on changing with time. constitution is a living document as it can be amended with time. Constitution provides the required motion to the chariot of the democracy.


Recently, the  world have witnessed unforeseen new peace development on the horn of Africa. While this is good for economic, social, and cultural development for the region, but it also gave to the birth of the plan by Ethiopia to build naval base “adjacent to the Red Sea.” So, says General Berhanu Jula, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian Armed Forces, really?. He said “We are consulting with other countries regarding the naval reinstatement, capacity, & structure, without being specific as to which countries he consult with. He additionally said “We must show our influence around the sea.  Different countries are coming from far and creating influences on the sea. We are a great nation with over 100 million people. There is no any reason Ethiopia remains land locked.”  Ethiopia is certainly a great nation in term of population, but Ethiopia must remember, that it is not France, Germany, China or  America for that matter…. In addition, apart from a few patrol craft on lake Tana – what is General Berhanu thinking of? Where will these bases be? what kind of influence is thinking of ?  over which countries does he want to show his influence?
What does ‘adjacent to’ the Red Sea mean, other than establishing bases at Assab or Massawa? President Isaias has travelled to Ethiopia more than three times, so the mystery is whether “naval bases” on the agenda of the tripartite meeting that President Isaias, Prime Minister Abiy and Somalia’s President Farmajo held in Gondar? From what we know, which is zero to none,  the Eritrean people deserve a better information aside what we hear from Ethiopian and western media.

As there is no by-law, parliamentary, and known government structure, the current government of Eritrea is notorious in making deals solo, without consulting with the cabinets, let alone the Eritrean people. The three leaders have every right to discuss the proposals, but the naval base are major developments. Especially, it is a threat to national security of Eritrea to allow any other country to develop naval base near Eritrea, let alone adjacent to Red Sea. They need to be put to the people for their consideration. But while Ethiopia and Somalia have parliaments, Eritrea does not.

Without transparency and democratic buy-in, surely the Eritrean people have a right to question the legitimacy of what will inevitably require a reduction in their sovereignty?

We have read and known to know that President Isaias has already allowed Saudi Arabia and the UAE to develop bases at Assab (unverified news) . But allowing Ethiopia to return to their former bases would be another matter altogether. 

Eritreans fought for independence for 30 years to end Ethiopian control over their sea and land territory. They defended it in the 1998 – 2000 border war. Tens of thousands laid down their lives. President Isaias must surely be open with the Eritrean people at the least the about what he plans, and obtain their consent.

The Eritrean history tells us, in 1955, the Imperial Ethiopian Navy was founded, with its primary base—the Haile Selassie I Naval Base—at Massawa. By the early 1960s workshops and other facilities were under construction at Massawa to give it complete naval base capabilities.

The Imperial Ethiopian Navy established four bases: Massawa was the site of the naval headquarters and enlisted training facilities; the naval air station and naval academy were at Asmara; Assab was the site of a naval station, enlisted training facilities, and a repair dock; and there was a naval station and communications station on the Dahlack Islands in the Red Sea near Massawa.

Ethiopian government speculated that strategic and geo-political security concerns could be driving the navy plan. In addition, “Ethiopia’s right to use international waters demands it has a naval base. The million-dollar question is where will the naval base be located. I suggest to Ethiopian government to start thinking Somaliland and Djibouti, if they must, as possible locations for the base. But the ports of Eritrea are unimaginable and unthinkable as the history of Eretria is any lessons learned. It is a noble idea to push for the “unification of the Horn of Africa as an economic bloc but the navy is not and should not be part of that project”. Eritreans do not want to return the barbaric era of the past. 


The position of Eritrea prior to the 1880s, large parts of it had been subject to Ottoman and Egyptian authority. During that decade, Italy began to assert a colonial presence in the region, first at the Red Sea port of Assab and in 1885 at Massawa. Subsequent Italian attempts to expand its control inland were successfully resisted by Eritrean people and farther south by Ethiopians. However, in 1889, by the Treaty of Uccialli, Ethiopia and Italy established the boundary between the Empire of Ethiopia and the state of Eritrea then in Italian colony. On  1 January 1890, Italy formally established the Colony of Eritrea.  In 1893, the Italian expansion inland continued until the battle of Adwa in 1896. A boundary arrangement was then established between Ethiopia and Italy. Subsequently, in 1900, 1902 and 1908, Ethiopia and Italy concluded three boundary agreements that, together, addressed the entire common boundary of the Colony of Eritrea and the Empire of Ethiopia. None of the boundaries thus agreed was demarcated. Indeed, these boundaries were not fully delimited either.

In 1935, Italy invaded, occupied and annexed the whole of Ethiopia. In 1941, the United Kingdom expelled Italian forces from both Ethiopia and Eritrea, and established a British Military Administration, which governed both countries from headquarters in Addis Ababa. The British Military Administration ended in Ethiopia with the conclusion of an agreement between the United Kingdom and Ethiopia on 31 January 1942. Emperor Haile Selassie then resumed control of his country. The former Italian Colony of Eritrea remained under British control until 1952.
By the Treaty of Peace with the Allied Powers of 1947, Italy renounced “all rights and title to the Italian territorial colonies in Africa” and agreed that “pending their final disposal, the said colonies shall continue under their present administration.” As the Allied Powers were not able to agree upon the disposition of Eritrea within the time period established by the Peace Treaty, the matter was referred to the United Nations General Assembly under Paragraph 3 of Annex XI of the Treaty. On 2 December 1950, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 390A(V), which recommended that “Eritrea shall constitute an autonomous unit federated with Ethiopia under the sovereignty of the Ethiopian Crown.” Against the will of the Eritrean people. The Federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia was accordingly established on 11 September 1952.

Despite various resistance, and demonstrations held by the Eritrean people, in 1961, Ethiopia declared null and void the Treaties of 1900, 1902 and 1908. On 14 November 1961, Ethiopia declared the Eritrean Constitution void, ended the federal status of Eritrea, dissolved the Eritrean parliament and incorporated Eritrea into Ethiopia as a province.  Shortly after the incorporation of Eritrea into Ethiopia, there an armed Eritrean resistance developed. In 1974, the Ethiopian armed forces deposed Emperor Haile Selassie, and a junta or Dergue, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, took control of Ethiopia. The Dergue continued to prosecute the war against the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (“EPLF”). By the late 1980s, the EPLF controlled most of Eritrea except for Asmara and Massawa. In February 1990, the EPLF captured Massawa. In 1991, Mengistu fled Ethiopia and the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (“EPRDF”) established an interim government, while the EPLF took control of Asmara. At a Conference on Peace and Democracy held in Addis Ababa in 1991, the right of the people of Eritrea to determine their own political future by an internationally supervised referendum was recognized. In April 1993, the referendum was held in Eritrea, supervised by international observers. Eritreans abroad were also enabled to vote. Over 99% of the voters favored independence. The United Nations Special Representative announced that the referendum process had been free and fair. On 27 April 1993, Eritrea became independent and was admitted as a member of the United Nations. On 29 April 1993, Ethiopia recognized Eritrea’s sovereignty and independence and on 30 July 1993, the two Governments concluded an Agreement of Friendship and Co-operation.

In May 1998, hostilities broke out between Eritrea and Ethiopia for Ethiopia violating the sovereign territorial integrity of Eritrea. After a number of attempts to re-establish peace between the two Parties, the December Agreement was signed on 12 December 2000, providing for the permanent termination of military hostilities between them. A major component of this Agreement was Article 4, the terms of which have been set out above, providing for the establishment of the boarder Commission.

The parties (Eritrea and Ethiopia) agree that a neutral Boundary Commission composed of five members shall be established with a mandate to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902, and 1908) and applicable international law.
The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (hereinafter the “Commission”) was established pursuant to an agreement dated 12 December 2000, alternately entitled “Agreement between the Government of the State of Eritrea and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia”
Upon reaching a final decision regarding delimitation of the borders, the Commission shall transmit its decision to the parties and Secretaries General of the OAU and the United Nations for publication, and the Commission shall arrange for expeditious demarcation. The parties agree to cooperate with the Commission, its experts and other staff in all respects during the process of delimitation and demarcation, including the facilitation of access to territory they control. Each party shall accord to the Commission and its employees the same privileges and immunities as are accorded to diplomatic agents under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.   The parties agree that the delimitation and demarcation determinations of the Commission shall be final and binding. Each party shall respect the border so determined, as well as the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the other party.

The Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission delivered its Decision on Delimitation of the Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia to representatives of the two governments on Saturday, 13 April 2002. Further, the commission reaffirmed its ruling that Badme lies in Eritrea. Badme is a town in the Gash-Barka region of Eritrea. Control of the town was at the center of the Eritrean-Ethiopian border conflict, which lasted from the end of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War in 1998 to the signing of a joint statement at the Eritrean-Ethiopian summit in 2018, 20 years after conflict started.
At this point, the wishes and desire of the Eritrean people that started 1900 (after 118 years) is to delimit and demarcate the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia once and for all. Any less will not be tolerated or accepted by the Eritreans all over the world.



First, it is worth mentioning that only a third of its 83,000km of land borders is properly demarcated. The African Union (AU) is helping states to tidy up the situation, but it has repeatedly pushed back the deadline for finishing the job. It was meant to be done in 2012, then 2017, and now, it was announced in 2022. Why is it so hard to demarcate Africa’s borders and why does it matter?

Most pre-colonial borders were fuzzy. Europeans changed that, carving up territory by drawing lines on maps. ‘We have been giving away mountains and rivers and lakes to each other,” mused the British prime minister, Lord Salisbury, in 1890, “only hindered by the small impediments that we never knew where the mountains and rivers and lakes were.” It took 30 years to settle the boundary between Congo and Uganda, for example, after the Belgians twice got their rivers muddled up. In 1964 independent African states, anxious to avoid conflict, agreed to stick with the colonial borders. But they made little effort to mark out frontiers on the ground. 

Before European colonization. 7th to 16th century

Colonialism had a destabilizing effect on a number of ethnic groups that is still being felt in African politics. Before European influence, national borders were not much of a concern, with Africans generally following the practice of other areas of the world, such as the Arabian Peninsula, where a group’s territory was congruent with its military or trade influence. The European insistence of drawing borders around territories to isolate them from those of other colonial powers often had the effect of separating otherwise contiguous political groups, or forcing traditional enemies to live side by side with no buffer between them. For example, although the Congo River appears to be a natural geographic boundary, there were groups that otherwise shared a language, culture or other similarity living on both sides. The division of the land between Belgium and France along the river isolated these groups from each other. Those who lived in Saharan or Sub-Saharan Africa and traded across the continent for centuries often found themselves crossing borders that existed only on European maps.

European territorial claims on the African continent in 1914

In the mid-nineteenth century, European explorers became interested in exploring the heart of the continent and opening the area for trade, mining and other commercial exploitation. In addition, there was a desire to convert the inhabitants to Christianity. The central area of Africa was still largely unknown to Europeans at this time . A prime goal for explorers was to locate the source of the River Nile. Expeditions by Burton and Speke (1857-1858) and Speke and Grant (1863) located Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria. The latter was eventually proven as the main source of the Nile. With subsequent expeditions by Baker and Stanley, Africa was well explored by the end of the century and this was to lead the way for the colonization which followed.

The Berlin Conference of 1884-85

The Berlin Conference of 1884-85 regulated European colonization and trade in Africa during the New Imperialism period, and coincided with Germany’s sudden emergence as an imperial power. Called for by Portugal and organized by Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of Germany, its outcome, the General Act of the Berlin Conference, is often seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa. The conference ushered in a period of heightened colonial activity on the part of the European powers, while simultaneously eliminating most existing forms of African autonomy and self-governance. From 1885 the scramble among the powers went on with renewed vigor, and in the 15 years that remained of the century, the work of partition, so far as international agreements were concerned, was practically completed.

The African continent in 1914

In the late nineteenth century, the European imperial powers engaged in a major territorial scramble and occupied most of the continent, creating many colonial nation states, and leaving only two independent nations: Liberia, an independent state partly settled by African Americans; and Orthodox Christian Ethiopia (known to Europeans as “Abyssinia”).

In nations that had substantial European populations, for example Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Angola, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa, systems of second-class citizenship were often set up in order to give Europeans political power far in excess of their numbers. In the Congo Free State, personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium, the native population was submitted to inhumane treatment, and a near slavery status assorted with forced labor. However, the lines were not always drawn strictly across racial lines. In Liberia, citizens who were descendants of American slaves had a political system for over 100 years that gave ex-slaves and natives to the area roughly equal legislative power despite the fact the ex-slaves were outnumbered ten to one in the general population.

Europeans often altered the local balance of power, created ethnic divides where they did not previously exist, and introduced a cultural dichotomy detrimental to the native inhabitants in the areas they controlled. For example, in what are now Rwanda and Burundi, two ethnic groups Hutus and Tutsis had merged into one culture by the time German colonists had taken control of the region in the nineteenth century. No longer divided by ethnicity as intermingling, intermarriage, and merging of cultural practices over the centuries had long since erased visible signs of a culture divide, Belgium instituted a policy of racial categorization upon taking control of the region, as racially based categorization and philosophies were a fixture of the European culture of that time. The term Hutu originally referred to the agricultural-based Bantu-speaking peoples that moved into present day Rwanda and Burundi from the West, and the term Tutsi referred to Northeastern cattle-based peoples that migrated into the region later. The terms described a person’s economic class; individuals who owned roughly 10 or more cattle were considered Tutsi, and those with fewer were considered Hutu, regardless of ancestral history. This was not a strict line but a general rule of thumb, and one could move from Hutu to Tutsi and vice versa.

The Belgians introduced a racialized system; European-like features such as fairer skin, ample height, narrow noses were seen as more ideally Hamitic, and belonged to those people closest to Tutsi in ancestry, who were thus given power amongst the colonized peoples. Identity cards were issued based on this philosophy.

War world I

During World War I, there were several battles between the United Kingdom and Germany, the most notable being the Battle of Tanga, and a sustained guerrilla campaign by the German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. After World War I, the former German colonies in Africa were taken over by France and the United Kingdom.

During this era a sense of local patriotism or nationalism took deeper root among African intellectuals and politicians. Some of the inspiration for this movement came from the First World War in which European countries had relied on colonial troops for their own defense. Many in Africa realized their own strength with regard to the colonizer for the first time. At the same time, some of the mystique of the “invincible” European was shattered by the barbarities of the war. However, in most areas European control remained relatively strong during this period.

In 1935, Benito Mussolini’s Italian troops invaded Ethiopia, the last African nation not dominated by a foreign power.

World War II

Africa, especially North Africa, was an important theater of war. French colonies in Africa supported the Free French. Many black Africans were conscripted to fight against the Germans. Italy had a presence in Libya and also in Ethiopia. In the North African campaign, the Deutsches Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel were eventually defeated at the Second Battle of El Alamein. The Allies used North Africa as a jumping off point for the invasions of Italy and Sicily in 1943. Germany wanted to expand its interests in Africa, while Britain was anxious to protect its interests in Egypt and the route to the east.

Postcolonial era: 1945-1990

Today, Africa contains 53 countries so called “independent and sovereign countries” , most of which still have the borders drawn during the era of European colonialism.


Vincent Khapoya notes the significant resistance imperialist powers faced to their domination in Africa. Technical superiority enabled conquest and control. Africans recognized the value of European education in dealing with Europeans in Africa. They noticed the discrepancy between Christian teaching of universal brotherhood and the treatment they received from missionaries. Some established their own churches. Africans also noticed the unequal evidences of gratitude they received for their efforts to support Imperialist countries during the world wars: “Many British veterans were rewarded for their part in saving Britain and her empire with generous pensions and offers of nearly free land in the colonies.

The African soldiers were given handshakes and train tickets for the journey back home. They could keep their khaki uniforms and nothing else. These African soldiers, after returning home, were willing to use their new skills to assist nationalist movements fighting for freedom that were beginning to take shape in the colonies.”

Decolonization in Africa started with Libya in 1951 (Liberia, South Africa, Egypt, and Ethiopia were already independent). Many countries followed in the 1950s and 1960s, with a peak in 1960 with the independence of a large part of French West Africa. Most of the remaining countries gained independence throughout the 1960s, although some colonizers (Portugal in particular) were reluctant to relinquish sovereignty, resulting in bitter wars of independence which lasted for a decade or more. The last African countries to gain formal independence were Guinea-Bissau from Portugal in 1974, Mozambique from Portugal in 1975, Angola from Portugal in 1975, Djibouti from France in 1977, Zimbabwe from Britain in 1980, and Namibia from South Africa in 1990. Eritrea later split off from Ethiopia in 1993.

Effects of decolonization

In most British and French colonies, the transition to independence was relatively peaceful. Some settler colonies however were displeased with the introduction of democratic rule.  In the aftermath of decolonization, Africa displayed political instability, economic disaster, and debt dependence. In all cases, measures of life quality (such as life expectancy) fell from their levels under colonialism, with many approaching precolonial levels. Political instability occurred with the introductions of Marxist and capitalist influence, along with continuing friction from racial inequalities. Inciting civil war, black nationalist groups participated in violent attacks against white settlers, trying to end white minority rule in government.

Decolonized Africa has lost many of its social and economic institutions and to this day shows a high level of informal economic activity. In another result of colonialism followed by decolonization, the African economy was drained of many natural resources with little opportunity to diversify from its colonial export of cash crops. Suffering through famine and drought, Africa struggled to industrialize its poverty stricken work force without sufficient funds.

To feed, educate, and modernize its masses, Africa borrowed large sums from various nations, banks and companies. In return, lenders often required African countries to devalue their currencies and attempted to exert political influence within Africa. The borrowed funds, however, did not rehabilitate the devastated economies. Since the massive loans were usually squandered by the mismanagement of corrupt dictators, social issues such as education, health care and political stability have been ignored

The by-products of decolonization, including political instability, border disputes, economic ruin, and massive debt, continue to plague Africa to this present day.  Due to on-going military occupation, Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara), was never fully decolonized. The majority of the territory is under Moroccan administration; the rest is administered by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

In 2005, the European Union agreed to a Strategy for Africa including working closely with the African Union to promote peace, stability and good governance. However, inter-tribal war in Rwanda during the genocide of 1994, in Somalia over more than 20 years, and between Arabs and non-Arabs in Sudan indicates to some observers that Africa is still locked in tribalism and far from ready to assume its place at the global table of mature, stable and democratic states.

The Cold War in Africa

Africa was an arena during the Cold War between the U.S., Soviet Union, and even China and North Korea. Communist and Marxist groups, often with significant outside assistance, vied for power during various civil wars, such as that in Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia. A Marxist-oriented president, Julius Nyerere, held in power in Tanzania from 1964-85, while from 1955-75, Egypt depended heavily on Soviet military assistance. The communist powers sought to install pro-communist or communist governments, as part of their larger geostrategy in the Cold War, while the U.S. tended to maintain corrupt authoritarian and monarch rulers (such as Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Haile Selassie King of Ethiopia) as the price to keep countries in the pro-democracy camp.


In 1964, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established with 32 member states. It aimed to:

1. Promote the unity and solidarity of the African states;

2. Coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa; 

3. Defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence;

4. Eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; and,

5. Promote international cooperation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 2002, the OAU was succeeded by the African Union.  Several UN peacekeeping missions have been either entirely composed of African Union forces, or they have represented a significant component as the strategy of Africans policing Africa develops. These include Liberia in 2003; Burundi in 2003; Sudan in 2004. Others speculate that since the U.S. withdrew its UN peacekeepers from Somalia-after 18 soldiers died, with 70 wounded, in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 1993 the Western powers have been very reluctant to commit ground forces in Africa. This may explain why the international community failed to intervene during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, stationing less than 300 troops there with orders “only to shoot if shot at.”

To summarized what happened in past in Africa can’t been change but future generation and future leaders of Africa can change things around. African can’t keep blaming foreigners for causes of their suffering and lack of development in Continent. If you look in deep, African leaders or African presidents are partially to blame for suffering of African people. African leaders are putting themselves first to stay in power then to stand for what it’s right for their people. These are best lessons for African future generation and leaders to learn from past history of Africa itself and to try to have better Africa continent in future!


A federation (also known as a federal state) is a pollical entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, state, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism)). In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states, as well as the division of power between them and the central government, is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of either party, the states or the federal political body. Alternatively, federation is a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided between a central authority and a number of constituent regions so that each region retains some degree of control over its internal affairs. It is often argued that federal states where the central government has the constitutional authority to suspend a constituent state’s government by invoking gross mismanagement or civil unrest, or to adopt national legislation that overrides or infringe on the constituent states’ powers by invoking the central government’s constitutional authority to ensure “peace and good government” or to implement obligations contracted under an international treaty, are not truly federal states.

A republic (Latin: res publica) is a form of government which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a monarch.

A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. At its core, the literal meaning of the word republic when used to reference a form of government means: “a country that is governed by elected representatives and by an elected leader (such as a president) rather than by a king or queen”.

In a federal republic, there is a division of powers between the federal government, and the government of the individual subdivisions. While each federal republic manages this division of powers differently, common matters relating to security and defense, and monetary policy are usually handled at the federal level, while matters such as infrastructure maintenance and education policy are usually handled at the regional or local level. However, views differ on what issues should be a federal competence, and subdivisions usually have sovereignty in some matters where the federal government does not have jurisdiction. A federal republic is thus best defined in contrast to a unitary republic, whereby the central government has complete sovereignty over all aspects of political life. This more decentralized structure helps to explain the tendency for more populous countries to operate as federal republics. Most federal republics codify the division of powers between orders of government in a written constitutional document.

The political differences between a federal republic and other federal states, especially federal monarchies under a parliamentary system of government, are largely a matter of legal form rather than political substance, as most federal states are democratic in structure if not practice with checks and balances. However, some federal monarchies, such as the United Arab Emirates are based upon principles other than democracy.


National identity is a person’s identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nationality. It is the sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, language and politics. National identity may refer to the subjective feeling one shares with a group of people about a nation, regardless of one’s legal citizenship status. National identity is viewed in psychological terms as “an awareness of difference”, a “feeling and recognition of ‘we’ and ‘they'”

As a collective phenomenon, national identity can arise as a direct result of the presence of elements from the “common points” in people’s daily lives: national symbols, language, the nation’s history, national consciousness, and cultural artefacts.

The expression of one’s national identity seen in a positive light is patriotism which is characterized by national pride and positive emotion of love for one’s country. The extreme expression of national identity is chauvinism, which refers to the firm belief in the country’s superiority and extreme loyalty toward one’s country.

Citizenship is defined as the status of being a legal member of a particular country. A citizen of a country is someone on whom all the social and political rights of the country are conferred upon. For example, citizens of the U.S. have the right to live, work and take part in the civic life. They also need to pay taxes as citizens of the country.

Those born on U.S. soil are natural born citizens. Those who are natives of other countries and who obtain U.S citizenship through a process called naturalization are called naturalized U.S. citizens. They are the people who choose to make the U.S. their adoptive homeland. Both, naturalized citizens and natural born citizens enjoy the same citizenship rights and protections. Those born within the country, need not file applications or go through special processes to obtain citizenship. They are citizens of America by default as the country is their birth place. But this is not the case with those who choose to make the U.S. their adoptive home. They will have to go through a lengthy process to become citizens of the country. This includes understanding the country’s laws and history and assimilating into the country’s culture.

Naturalization is a multi-step process that they need to go through, the first step of which is to become a legal permanent resident (green card holder) of the U.S. Only a person who holds a green card can apply for citizenship once he or she meets certain citizenship requirements.
Following are some requirements for filing an application for naturalization:

• Hold lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. for five years
• Establish continuous residency in the country
• Prove that they are of good moral character
• Demonstrate physical presence
• Prove that they are attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution
• Show willingness to pledge the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S.

The U.S. has always welcomed immigrants and the country values the contributions made by them. To become a U.S. citizen is not an easy decision one can make. This could be one of the most important decisions in a person’s life. Those who decide to make the U.S. their homeland, will need to show their commitment and loyalty to the constitution of the U.S. and also be willing to serve the country. The U.S. will in return reward them with all the rights and privileges that are conferred upon natural born citizens and that are a part of U.S. citizenship.


The word democracy has been the mantra of almost all of the people in power around the world. The amazing aspect is that the people who play their games under the umbrella of democracy do not even know what democracy is. Here in this paper, I will try to explain democracy succinctly in the most basic form.

What is a democracy? At the most basic level, it is a type of government or political system ruled by citizens, people who are members of a society. In a democracy, citizens hold some level of power and authority, and they participate actively in the political, or decision-making, process of their government.
The Webster dictionary defines it as “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

I want to begin with an overview of what democracy is. We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements:
1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
2. The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
3. Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
4. A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

Compared to dictatorships, oligarchies, monarchies and aristocracies, in which the people have little or no say in who is elected and how the government is run, a democracy is often said to be the most challenging form of government, as input from those representing citizens determines the direction of the country. The basic definition of democracy in its purest form comes from the Greek language: The term means “rule by the people.” But democracy is defined in many ways — a fact that has caused much disagreement among those leading various democracies as to how best to run one.

The Greeks and Romans established the precursors to today’s modern democracy. The three main branches of Athenian democracy were the Assembly of the Demos, the Council of 500 and the People’s Court. Assembly and the Council were responsible for legislation, along with ad hoc boards of “lawmakers.”
Democracy also has roots in the Magna Carta England’s “Great Charter” of 1215 that was the first document to challenge the authority of the king, subjecting him to the rule of the law and protecting his people from feudal abuse.

Types of democracies
Parliamentary democracy, a democratic form of government in which the party, or coalition of parties, with the largest representation in the legislature (parliament), was originated in Britain. There are two styles of parliamentary government. The bicameral system consists of a “lower” house, which is elected, and an “upper” house can be elected or appointed.  In a parliamentary democracy, the leader of the leading party becomes the prime minister or chancellor and leads the country. Once the leading party falls out of favor, the party that takes control installs its leader as prime minister or chancellor.

Democracies can be classified as liberal and social.
Liberal democracies, also known as constitutional democracies, are built on the principles of free and fair elections, a competitive political process and universal suffrage. Liberal democracies can take on the form of constitution republics, such as France, India, Germany, Italy and the United States, or a constitutional monarchy such as Japan, Spain or the U.K.

Social democracy, which emerged in the late 19th century, advocates universal access to education, health care, workers’ compensation, and other services such as child care and care for the elderly. Unlike others on the left, such as Marxists, who sought to challenge the capitalist system more fundamentally, social democrats aimed to reform capitalism with state regulation.

Case in point, the U.S. political system today is primarily a two-party system, dominated by Democrats and Republicans. The country has been a two-party system for more than a century, although independents have sought to challenge the two-party system in recent years.

There are three branches of government: the executive branch (president); legislative branch (Congress); and judicial branch (Supreme Court). These branches provide checks and balances to, in theory, prevent abuses of power. Control of Congress can be in the hands of one party or split, depending on which party is in the majority in the Senate and, separately, the House of Representatives.

Now I want to say few words about each of these four aforementioned elements of what democracy is:

I. Democracy as a Political System of Competition for Power
Democracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office. The people decide who will represent them in parliament, and who will head the government at the national and local levels. They do so by choosing between competing parties in regular, free and fair elections. Government is based on the consent of the governed. In a democracy, the people are sovereign—they are the highest form of political authority. Power flows from the people to the leaders of government, who hold power only temporarily. Laws and policies require majority support in parliament, but the rights of minorities are protected in various ways.

The people are free to criticize their elected leaders and representatives, and to observe how they conduct the business of government. Elected representatives at the national and local levels should listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions. Elections have to occur at regular intervals, as prescribed by law. Those in power cannot extend their terms in office without asking for the consent of the people again in an election. For elections to be free and fair, they have to be administered by a neutral, fair, and professional body that treats all political parties and candidates equally. All parties and candidates must have the right to campaign freely, to present their proposals to the voters both directly and through the mass media. Voters must be able to vote in secret, free of intimidation and violence. Independent observers must be able to observe the voting and the vote counting to ensure that the process is free of corruption, intimidation, and fraud.
There needs to be some impartial and independent tribunal to resolve any disputes about the election results. This is why it takes a lot of time to organize a good, democratic election.
Any country can hold an election, but for an election to be free and fair requires a lot of organization, preparation, and training of political parties, electoral officials, and civil society organizations who monitor the process.

II. Participation: The Role of the Citizen in A Democracy
The key role of citizens in a democracy is to participate in public life.
Citizens have an obligation to become informed about public issues, to watch carefully how their political leaders and representatives use their powers, and to express their own opinions and interests. Voting in elections is another important civic duty of all citizens. But to vote wisely, each citizen should listen to the views of the different parties and candidates, and then make his or her own decision on whom to support. Participation can also involve campaigning for a political party or candidate, standing as a candidate for political office, debating public issues, attending community meetings, petitioning the government, and even protesting.

A vital form of participation comes through active membership in independent, non-governmental organizations, what we call “civil society.” These organizations represent a variety of interests and beliefs: farmers, workers, doctors, teachers, business owners, religious believers, women, students, human rights activists. It is important that women participate fully both in politics and in civil society. This requires efforts by civil society organizations to educate women about their democratic rights and responsibilities, improve their political skills, represent their common interests, and involve them in political life. In a democracy, participation in civic groups should be voluntary. No one should be forced to join an organization against their will. Political parties are vital organizations in a democracy, and democracy is stronger when citizens become active members of political parties. However, no one should support a political party because he is pressured or threatened by others. In a democracy, citizens are free to choose which party to support. Democracy depends on citizen participation in all these ways. But participation must be peaceful, respectful of the law, and tolerant of the different views of other groups and individuals.

III. The Rights of Citizens in a Democracy
In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them.
These rights are guaranteed under international law. You have the right to have your own beliefs, and to say and write what you think. No one can tell you what you must think, believe, and say or not say.

There is freedom of religion. Everyone is free to choose their own religion and to worship and practice their religion as they see fit. Every individual has the right to enjoy their own culture, along with other members of their group, even if their group is a minority. There is freedom and pluralism in the mass media. You can choose between different sources of news and opinion to read in the newspapers, to hear on the radio, and to watch on television. You have the right to associate with other people, and to form and join organizations of your own choice, including trade unions. You are free to move about the country, and if you wish, to leave the country. You have the right to assemble freely, and to protest government actions.
However, everyone has an obligation to exercise these rights peacefully, with respect for the law and for the rights of others.

IV. The Rule of Law
Democracy is a system of rule by laws, not by individuals. In a democracy, the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order, and limits the power of government. All citizens are equal under the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, ethnic group, or gender. No one may be arrested, imprisoned, or exiled arbitrarily. If you are detained, you have the right to know the charges against you, and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law. Anyone charged with a crime has the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial by an impartial court.

No one may be taxed or prosecuted except by a law established in advance. No one is above the law, not even a king or an elected president. The law is fairly, impartially, and consistently enforced, by courts that are independent of the other branches of government. Torture and cruel and inhumane treatment are absolutely forbidden. The rule of law places limits on the power of government. No government official may violate these limits.
No ruler, minister, or political party can tell a judge how to decide a case. Office holders cannot use their power to enrich themselves. Independent courts and commissions punish corruption, no matter who is guilty.

V. The Limits and Requirements for Democracy
If democracy is to work, citizens must not only participate and exercise their rights. They must also observe certain principles and rules of democratic conduct. People must respect the law and reject violence. Nothing ever justifies using violence against your political opponents, just because you disagree with them. Every citizen must respect the rights of his or her fellow citizens, and their dignity as human beings. No one should denounce a political opponent as evil and illegitimate, just because they have different views. People should question the decisions of the government, but not reject the government’s authority.

Every group has the right to practice its culture and to have some control over its own affairs, but each group should accept that it is a part of a democratic state.
When you express your opinions, you should also listen to the views of other people, even people you disagree with. Everyone has a right to be heard. Don’t be so convinced of the rightness of your views that you refuse to see any merit in another position. Consider different interests and points of view. When you make demands, you should understand that in a democracy, it is impossible for everyone to achieve everything they want.

Democracy requires compromise. Groups with different interests and opinions must be willing to sit down with one another and negotiate. In a democracy, one group does not always win everything it wants. Different combinations of groups win on different issues. Over time, everyone wins something. If one group is always excluded and fails to be heard, it may turn against democracy in anger and frustration. Everyone who is willing to participate peacefully and respect the rights of others should have some say in the way the country is governed.




The History of the Eritrean Flag


It is not a secret that many Eritreans have given all sort of meaning to flag, specially to Eritrean flag. I supposed this understanding seems to stem from not having of full knowledge of what flag is and what it stands for. This article is intended to provide a precise meaning, objective and purpose of flag.
A national flag is a flag that represents and symbolizes a country. The national flag is flown by the government of a country but can usually also be flown by citizens of the country. A national flag is designed with specific meanings for its colors and symbols. The colors of the national flag may be worn by the people of a nation to show their patriotism, or related paraphernalia that show the symbols or colors of the flag may be used for those purposes.
Historically, flags originate as military standards, used as field signs. The practice of flying flags indicating the country of origin outside of the context of warfare became common with the maritime flag, introduced during the age of sail in the early 17th century. The origins of the flag date back to 1603, when James VI Scotland inherited the English and Irish thrones. On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England (a red cross on a white background, known as St George’s, and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire on a blue background, known as the Saltire or St Andrew’s Cross), would be joined together, forming the flag of Great Britain and first Union Flag.
With the emergence of nationalist sentiment from the late 18th century the desire was felt to display national flags also in civilian contexts, notably the US flag, in origin adopted as a naval ensign in 1777, which after the American Revelation began to be displayed as a generic symbol of the United State. Most countries of Europe adopted a national flag in the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, often based on older (medieval) war flags. The national flag is often, but not always, mentioned or described in a country’s constitution, but its detailed description may be delegated to a flag law passed by the legislative, or in monarchies a decree.
Flags represent individual nations (or in multi-ethnic societies “super-nations” that represent the joint identities of more than one nationality) and, as all symbols are, often subject to careful analysis. Eritrea’s flag, to the casual observer, is bursting with the vibrant colors common of many African flags; to one having more than a passing familiarity with Eritrea’s history, the flag is clearly representative of shared national identity and history of the land called Eritrea.

The Federation Flag

The current flag of Eritrea shares elements with the flag representing Eritrea under the Federal arrangement (the Eritrean Federal Flag) with Ethiopia and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front flag (the EPLF Flag). The Eritrean Federal Flag was devised and voted upon by the Eritrean Assembly. The Eritrean Assembly was subordinate to the Emperor of Ethiopia. “The proposal for the [Eritrean Federal Flag] was fiercely debated upon in the Eritrean [Assembly], whose members finally voted [for the Eritrean Federal Flag] unanimously.” When the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) launched the Eritrean Struggle for Independence on September 1, 1961 the only symbol of Eritrea that was recognized was the blue Eritrean Federal Flag. At the time there was no other flag that represented the Eritrean identity while also being distinct from the subordinate position of Eritrea to the Emperor of Ethiopia. In spite of the ELF being driven from the field in 1981, the blue Eritrean Federal Flag continued to fly along a new flag, the EPLF Flag, until independence.

The EPLF Flag

The EPLF Flag represented Eritrea’s second liberation organization, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). The EPLF, formally created at its First Congress in 1977, resulted from the consolidation of various groups that left the ELF. For some time, both the ELF and EPLF were represented in the field and the EPLF needed a new symbol to distinguish itself from the ELF and from the subordination of Ethiopia. The EPLF flag’s distinct design is deep with meaning: the green stands for the fertility of the country; blue stands for the sea; the red for the blood lost in the fight for freedom; and the yellow star has meaning in its shape and color the color represents the mineral resources of Eritrea while the five corners of the star stand for Equality, Unity, Liberty, Justice and Prosperity. The EPLF ultimately brought independence to Eritrea but carried both flags throughout the country afterwards.

The Eritrean National Flag

After the Referendum which brought de jure independence to Eritrea, the new government ultimately proposed a new flag which combined both the Eritrean Federal Flag and the EPLF Flag, both of which had represented Eritrea’s fight for independence. The five-pointed star of the EPLF Flag was replaced with a wreath, in the model of the Eritrean Federal Flag, but it was modified such that, “The yellow wreath symbol in the red triangle has 12 leaves on each side, with six more on the upright branch in the middle, totaling altogether to 30, which is the number of years of the armed struggle for liberation that the Eritrean people had to endure.” The current national flag of Eritrea is not just a symbol of an independent Eritrea but embodies that concept.

In conclusion, Eritrea is a free sovereign independent country, as such, it is warranted to have a flag that have deep meaning in representing the history, struggle, culture, and natural gifts of the country. I found it perplexing when I see some Eritreans wave the Federal flag. The Federal flag has its place in history books however, as it was created, it was a symbol Federation and subordination to the Emperor of Ethiopia. In addition, the light blue background was intended to honor the United Nation, as a goodwill for their participation in creating the Federation agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Furthermore, the Federation flag has no relationship to the current independent Eritrea. Hence, can not and could not represent the State of Eritrea.



Eritrean deligation arrives Addis Ababa

Earlier this month, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Addis Ababa would fully accept and implement the terms of a peace agreement between the countries.
“We are fully committed to reconcile with our Eritrean brothers and sisters and extend an invitation to the Eritrean government to start dialogue and establish rapport,” Abiy told parliament earlier this month.
The UN-backed agreement, which was signed in 2000, awarded disputed territories, including the town of Badme, to Eritrea.  The two countries fought a bloody border war in 1998 that left more than 80,000 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

This visit is very significant and when the agreement is fully implemented it will mean the people of the two countries can finally have friendly relations. It will also improve the security of the region. The proxy wars between the two countries will also end.

The outcome will be felt not just in the disputed territories but across East Africa. The implementation of the agreement might also lead to political reforms in Eritrea.

For the first time since the start of the conflict, the Eritrean flag hung side-by-side with Ethiopia’s on the streets in downtown Addis Ababa on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.  Many in the Ethiopian capital welcomed the arrival of the delegation and the recent thawing of tensions between the two neighbors.