Eritrea grappled virtually for a century with the colossal task of wresting national independence and dignity in two historic chapters with a well-defined vision. Subsequent to the sardonic disparagement against Eritrea’s strong political and pacific struggles that had been in force in mid 1940s through the end of 1950s, the Eritrean people,devoid of external support, took up arms against enemies and their backers with superior capacity and waged bitter struggle with tremendous sacrifice. The foremost key to the success of the Eritrean people, who rid itself through stoicism, perseverance, political maturity and work ethic of colonialism and its legacies as well as achieved national independence and dignity, is but its clear-cut vision. Despite the Eritrean people achieved national independence and sovereignty both militarily and legally, this same people did not take such historic accomplishment as the concluding chapter of its struggle, but rather, the beginning of a new chapter.Needless to say, the Eritrean people was well aware of the fact that the country faces the task of building a peaceful, just and prosperous society—a task which is more difficult and more complicated than the past task of achieving independence.At a time during which some self-serving individuals were,upon accomplishment of independence, flocking towards Asmara with a view to earningprivileged circumstancesand power,the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front—EPLF— whose glorious independence attained with huge sacrificehas only few equals in the trail it blazed, did not opt to simply immerse itself in such source of pride,or,expect a recompense or concession. Instead, the EPLF prudently geared up itself for further sacrificesswearing an oath:
“We, the generation that brought about independence, have shouldered the historic responsibility to pass on to future generations the basic elements for modern and just society. The struggle to build a better future for the people of Eritrea starts in earnest after independence.The actions we take and the choices we make at this historical juncture represent a rare opportunity, the proper use of which is a heavy responsibility and thus, a big historical challenge. …The mission is only half-complete.The mission must be concluded by building an independent and modern Eritrea… We can bring lasting peace, justice and prosperity to our Eritrea. We owe it to ourselves, to our martyrs and to our children to make Eritrea a country to be proud of and worthy of the tremendous sacrifices we paid for its independence.”
This was a visionary covenant the EPLF entered in the wake of independence. Good intention alone, however, is not sufficient.In keeping with the said vision, the Front drafted a document, which took stock ofpolitical programs, military strategies, and strong and mature organizations, in a manner that fostersthe buildingof a modern and just society. The vision embraced in the document can be summarized into six basic goals:
National Harmony.1. For the people of Eritrea to live in harmony, peace and stabil¬ity, with no distinction along regional, ethnic, linguistic, religious, gender or class lines.
Political Democracy. 2. For the people of Eritrea, to be active participants and become decision-makers in the administration and conduct of their lives and of their country, with their rights guaranteed by law and in practice.People’s participation does not mean merely voting in occasional elections. The people should participate in all decisions that touch their lives and their country, from the inception to the implementation of ideas.
Economic and Social Development. 3. For Eritrea to progress socially and economically in the areas of education, technology and the standard of living.
Social Justice (Economic and Social Democracy). 4. Equitable distribution of wealth, services and opportunities, and special attention to be paid to the most disadvantaged sections of society.
Cultural Revival. 5. Drawing on our rich cultural heritage and on the progressive values we developed during the liberation struggle, to develop an Eritrean culture characterized by love of country, respect for humanity, solidarity between men and women, love of truth and justice, respect for law, hard work, self-confidence, self-reliance, open mindedness and inventiveness.
Regional and International Cooperation. 6. For Eritrea to become a respected member of the international community, by coexisting in harmony and cooperation with its neighbors; and by contributing, to the extent of its capability, to regional and global peace, security and development.
Premised on Six basic principles—national unity, active public participation, the human element, linkage between national and social struggles, self-reliance, and finally, a strong relationship between people and leadership—the Front has been engaged for the past 21 years in translating the guidelines detailed in the documentfor its activities into reality. The guiding principles constituting the strategic mission and plan of action for national development highlight the fact that it remains Eritrea’s long-cherished,unwavering goal to ensure political stability, national harmony, socio-economic development, social justice and cultural progress through according primacy for the development of marginalized sections of the society and bringing the people together,thereby opening up equal and just opportunities for all.
It further states that the EPLF-led Government of Eritreahas a clear-cut vision and strong commitment cherished from the outset. Integral to its noblegoal, the Front has made tremendous strides in fulfilling the people’s material and cultural needs by implementing its vision throughthe pragmatic philosophy of social justice and humanity. There lies the secret to success! The key is but grand vision!