Political Program Of UDC
Political Program of Organization of the Unity for Democratic Change (UDC- Organization)
Organization of the Unity for Democratic Change is a national democratic organization. It struggles for the complete removal of dictatorship from Eritrea, and for the establishment of a country run by a constitution where democracy and justice flourish.
Eritrea is a country located in North East Africa, in the Horn of Africa, at the corner of the strategically important international big seas line. Accordingly, its importance in regional and international security and peace affairs is big.
Eritrea has an area of 123,320 square kilo meter, and the length of its sea from Ras-Kesar in the north to Ras-Dumera in the south is about one thousand one hundred (1,100) kilo meters. Besides this, Eritrea has many islands, the biggest of which is Dahlak.
Eritrea is a sovereign country with a population of more than five million. Eritrean people’s life is predominantly based on farming, animal husbandry and marine resources. Further, those who live in big urban and sub-urban areas are involved in governmental works, in business, public service industries, and civil works.
The people of Eritrea waged an armed struggle which lasted for more than thirty years for the independence of the country, thereby paying dear lives. However, the people were denied the fruits of their sacrifices. The struggle was waged for national independence, for human rights and honor, for socio-economic development etc. However, the current regime shut all these fruits of the people’s diligent work, and has put the country in to peach darkness it cannot come out from. Without a doubt, the question of the very existence of Eritrea and its people is in a very sensitive situation.
The illegal agreements that has been put to action and that are still in the process of implementation regarding the country and its sovereignty are prominent witness to the abuse of power and violation of rights of our people by the regime led by the dictator, a regime composed of few people, renowned for its greed of power grab and control.
Especially now, the secret agreements between the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, agreements reached in a rush with the pretext of relationship and peace, agreements reached without the participation of the people and research, legally unacceptable agreements made by the Isayas group, agreements which puts the national sovereignty and interest of the country in jeopardy, need to be stopped. The people of Eritrea now, more than any other time, understands this evil act of the regime very well. Our people are steadfastly struggling to ensure safety and sovereignty of the people and country, improving spirit for struggle to remove the dictator’s group so as to ensure the people’s continued existence, and the sovereignty of Eritrea.
This people’s power, one that cannot be hindered, is now ready to do heroic history like it did before, and is at a critical juncture of struggle to challenge dictatorship by coming up with techniques and strategies to defeat it. As all nationalists who are steadfastly struggling to save their people and country, it is ever important to have an all-inclusive, strong and true organization and structure. However, we remind again that it is the call of our time for everyone to know. We should be involved, without delay, in activities aimed at coming up with common strategic decisions to create a space and council that everyone can feel ownership of. We need to discuss and get in to expedient and urgent practical struggle. We have therefore formed this new organization- the Organization of the Unity for Democratic Change (Organization- UDC) based on our past experiences, and the current questions and situation of our people, so as to put in practice the need for unity in the justice seekers camp. This paper presents the identity of this broad based organization, introduces its self-belief and ideology.
1.1.Vision, objective and mission
- Vision Vision of UDC- Organization
Eritrea will become a resourceful and peaceful democratic country run by the rule-of-law and social justice, a country where the rights of all citizens are equally respected, a country whose national sovereignty including its land, water and air is secured, a country in which its diplomatic relationship with its neighbors and the international community is based on normal bilateral and international relationships, a country in which its natural resources are properly preserved.
- The UDC- Organization believes in a constitutional democracy based political system. This means a system whereby the people are the sources of power, in which the people believe in a government formed in accordance with the constitution. It believes in multi-party, in the freedom of civic institutions, respect of basic human rights, in institutional operation and responsibility. It believes in a political system that enhances open participation of the people. The safeguarding of the unity of the people and land of Eritrea is the central objective of the UDC- Organization.
- Diversity and Unity of the People of Eritrea
Eritrea is known for its diverse population in terms of religion, culture and ethno-linguistics, and we take this as national grace and power, and the UDC- Organization strongly believes in the formation of a sovereign State of Eritrea based on this rich culture and tradition. The UDC- Organization works for Eritrea to be a country of peace and unity, and works on identify resources that are the source of the culture of heroics of unity to strengthen and deepen the social cohesion of our society.
- Equitable Socio-Economic Development
UDC-Organization clearly believes that the basis of a democratic society ensures equality and social justice of all citizens before the law. UDC-Organization believes that this means, there is a need to have an environment that ensure all citizens become equal benefactors of governmental administrations and public services, and the use of national natural resources. This means UDC-Organization will work to avoid any improper and unjust bias based on gender, ethnicity, awraja (region), age etc., and that corrective action should be taken for any such biases. It will work to get rid of ignorance, poverty, and gives priority to educational and developmental growth programs, improvement of capacity and innovativeness of the people, and ensure political stability and tranquility.
- Establishment of Free and Accountable Mass Communication and Mass Media Centers are critical for free flow of information, for the movement and acquisition of knowledge, and for the democratic development of a nation. Accordingly, UDC-Organization diligently works for Eritrea to have different professional and cultural Mass Communication and Mass Media centers that enable free expression.
- De-centralized Administration,
De-centralized administration is one of the mechanisms of ensuring proper and equitable distribution of government services to the public, of enabling direct participation of citizens in their affairs, of enabling government institutions and officials to be closely accountable to the public. It has been tested in different countries, and UDC-Organization advocates in principle for the establishment of de-centralized administration that takes in to account the reality of our country and people. For that reason, UDC-Organization struggles for the formation of a democratic government in which parties formed according to the constitution, democratic process, and mass participation transfer power according to the wishes of the people.
- Relationship Between Religious and Governmental Institutions
Religions in Eritrea, that is the Christian and Muslim religions, have been inexistence in Eritrea in peace and harmony from way back, and have been the sources of unity and socio-cultural values, orderliness and ethics. This strong national foundation should be safeguarded, and these religious organizations need to have the right to be free to do their theological and social activities, and the relationship they will have with governmental institutions will be productive and good, and a program will be laid out for them to play an important role for the development and peace of the people. This means UDC- Organization believes in principle in non-interference between the government and the two religions, in a way that could be an obstacle for the unity of our people and peace, and an obstacle for their spiritual mission.
- International recognition and the role of Eritrea
International political and diplomatic relations, and reputation of our country will change from the way it has been in the past and the present, and will serve in the advancement of peace, renaissance of regional cooperation and unity. UDC- Organization struggles for the implementation of regional and international treaties meant to serve this purpose, and our country will play an active and positive role by working together with governmental and no-governmental regional and international institutions.
The short term objective of the UDC- Organization is: remove the current illegal, unconstitutional repressive dictator, and to set up a constitutional, democratic political system in Eritrea. UDC- Organization will work to strengthen the organization of the current democratic struggle of the people of Eritrea, ensure its effectiveness by forming broad based national organization encompassing political forces, civic organizations and even individuals, to ensure orderly and participatory transition, to actualize a democratic Eritrea based in constitution.
The main theme of this organization is to enable Eritrean political and public organizations, movements and individual politicians to actively participate in the political life of our Eritrea from afar, and to remove the dictatorial regime of the PFDJ from near.
Mission of UDC- Organization: is to organize and mobilize the people of Eritrea to enable it to enlighten its innate power, strengthen its unity more, and be the director and owner of the change process, thereby becoming the owner of its decisions in the building and development of a constitutional democracy. To achieve this, UDC- Organization deeply believes in the critical nature of the need for the building of broad popular democratic force, endeavors to discuss with all national forces at different stages, arrive at a common understanding on vision, objective and priorities of national tasks, form unified society and unity of work, and will exert and struggle to its level best to make agreements and treaties based on past experiences.
UDC- Organization believes the base for the development of constitutional system is the building of a government obedient to constitution. Based on this belief, UDC- Organization will relentlessly struggle for the development and ratification of national constitution in a democratic process that lays out the human and political rights, including its national and cultural values that govern the general operation of government and its institutions. It believes in the development of a constitution that takes in to account all the past efforts and experiences of the people of Eritrea, and struggles for its implementation. It believes in a constitution ratified by the people, one that can be amended, replaced and added on to by the decision and will of the people.
2.2. Ensuring justice and the rule of law
All Eritrean citizens and residents are equal before the law. To ensure the respect of the rule of law and universal rights, the UDC- Organization struggles for the introduction of a constitution based administrative changes and create a condition whereby our people will be administered in a fair way where justice reigns. It struggles for proclamations and laws be weighed in light of justice, respect of basic rights of citizens, the rule-of-law, economic, social and cultural benefits, and more than anything ensure that it is developed, approved and executed by the concerned legislative body in a constitutional process.
2.3. Division of power, strengthening of the judiciary, legislative and executive branches of government
The UDC-Organization will relentlessly work to ensure a constitutionally mandated horizontal division of power, and accordingly for the three branches of government to be independent and equal, and to have positive relationship among themselves. It believes that such is one of the basic principles of democracy, and that these three branches of government will be able to perform their constitutional mission accordingly. These three branches of government are the legislative body, the executive body and the judiciary.
Given that women compose more half of the society, ensuring in practice that they have equal participation in all lives of the Eritrean society is one of the main pushers and signs of our development. To achieve this, the UDC-Organization believes in principle and relentlessly works to get rid of anti-woman harmful cultures, thoughts and traditions, and harmful political obstacles.
To ensure the legality of the human and political rights of the people of Eritrea, it is important for the following clear and correct administrative policies to be supported by a constitutional law:
- Respect of political rights and freedom of religious believes,
- Get rid of any discrimination based on awraja (province, region), ethnicity, heredity, or gender,
- The Eritrean system will be a secular multi-party system that respects freedom of thought, organization, speech, expression, peaceful demonstration and other universal human rights,
- Legally establish civic organizations and professional institutions that advocate for human rights, and allow them to freely perform their operations,
- Respect the rights of prisoners, and protect them from any mental and physical harm, abuse or torture,
- Struggle to ensure the respect of the rights of children and the elderly based on the law,
- Keep and protect citizen’s properties, and respect the right to property ownership,
- Believes that basic human rights are innate rights that should not be violated, and protect such rights.
- Believes in non-interference between the government and religion, and the relationship between the government and religion will be based on principle, respect and cooperation.
- Religious institutions will have the right to have internal bylaws to administrate their affairs.
3. Economic development and growth
As if the economic damage our country was subjected to by the destructive policies of colonizers and the long war for independence were not enough, the dictatorial and repressive policies of the PFDJ regime made this worse, and hence our country is now at a very low economic point. To change this state of affair, the UDC- Organization will pay special attention to the sections of our society who have been hurt more and pay special attention during the re-building of the country after the fall of the PFDJ regime.
Awakening the fallen Eritrean economy because of the dictatorial regime, and to balance the uneven life of the people, and building a prosperous country with solid economic base, is the main focus of the UDC-Organization. To achieve this objective, while on one hand it is necessary to improve the productive capability of the majority of the people that has been the victim of poverty and suffering, and create an environment to enable the public its reward, adjust the uneven life of the people, and layout plans that pays special attention to the specially hurt sections of the society and execute such plans, and on the other hand following appropriate economic policy and encouraging domestic and foreign investors and opening an opportunity for them to play a role in the development of economic development of Eritrea is important. Similarly, an economic policy that would enable us to positively participate in our region and continent will be researched by researchers and plans designed accordingly. But fundamentally, it will follow an economic policy that encourages competition and innovation, and equal participation of public and private institutions, and keeping the proportional benefits of both.
So that economic development policy of our country ensures continued active development, it needs to own modern tools, and properly use all domestic national capabilities. The UDC- Organization will work to create comfortable conditions by removing all the administrative decisions, and social and cultural obstacles that have been hurting our domestic national capabilities, by getting rid of the operation and institutions of the dictatorial regime that have been obstacles for an economic development based on joint and mutual benefiting trade with neighbours and the international community.
- Setup infrastructure that speeds up active and continuous economic development. For example make water, energy, and modern communication be future oriented,
- Setup short and long term plans for the enhancement of vocational education, thereby exert an effort to improve the capacity of productivity of the people,
- Establish innovative and directive research and development centre that would transform from use of traditional tools to modern ways of operation based on planning and science,
- Struggle for the development of agricultural industrial productivity based on balanced and dynamic small and medium heavy duty workshops. This would include all businesses active in farming, animal husbandry, and fishing,
- Develop sea based investment and trade policy, and customs and finance services by taking in to the strategic position of our country. To also protect the rights of those sections of our society who make a living out of animal husbandry, and create an environment for the development of their life and one that is hospitable for animal husbandry, and introduce modern animal breeding,
- Encourage the formation of small private and joint businesses and cooperatives in towns and villages, and setup plans to provide the necessary support,
- Struggle to ensure relationship between employees and employers based on the law. Ensure that remuneration of employees is proportional to the socio-economic status of the people, and decide minimum wage by law,
- Expand employment opportunities, take actions that encourage employment, and lower unemployment;
- Setup an economic policy that encourages competition and innovation that equally engages public and private institutions, that proportionally ensures benefits for both,
- Create encouraging environment for the development of the private sector,
- Legally ensure the right for the establishment of labour unions, and create a conducive environment to ensure that employees can jointly negotiate for fair conditions of work and remuneration,
- Determine daily and weekly work hours by law,
- Get rid of anti-work culture and law, and determine annual national and religious holidays by law,
- Ensure that revenue from tax is used for national and public service use,
- Develop real estate in modern way to alleviate shortage of residential real estate.
- Money administration
- There will be a need for an independent national bank tasked with money administration of our country that will work for the development and uprooting of poverty, administer the demand and supply of money.
- The national parliament shall enact laws and regulations that lay out its power and operation.
3.3. Economic Development of Sub-Administrations
- Ensure that disadvantaged sub-administrations receive special attention,
- Each sub-administration/Awraja (region) will be allowed to have comparative administrative autonomy, and an opportunity to develop its own economic administration aligned with the general economic policy of the country,
- Ensure constitutional all inclusive relationships and support among all levels of the government structure.
3.4. Private Sector
We work for the formation of a policy that changes the current anti-free market economic system, and make it convenient for domestic and foreign investors. Our organization will work hard to
- Create a suitable environment for private investors, and focus and work hard on export focused products,
- Introduce reasonable exchange, interest and tax to encourage focus on production of competitive export focused business products,
- Work hard for the construction and distribution of modern and high standard transport and communication service to help export focused investment,
- Get rid of legal and administrative obstacles, remove corrupt obstacles to encourage domestic and foreign investment,
- Encourage the formation of small-scale industries and factories focused in crops and animal and fisheries resources and minerals to bring about fast developing growth,
- Scientifically develop tourism by devising policies that strengthen tourism to make tourism the main source of Eritrean economy given that Eritrea has hospitable land topology and long coast.
4. Defense and Security Forces
Eritrean defense and security forces, which are tasked with ensuring the peace and stability of the country, which will be obedient only to the constitution and to decisions of a government dully formed according to the constitution, would be a model of good system.
- Our organization believes that defense and security forces are the armors and shields of our country and people, and have to be obedient to the national constitution and election law, defend the national constitution and sovereignty of the people and country, and to a constitutionally formed government elected by the people. Accordingly, we diligently work for the formation and development of a national army, to ensure that it defends and serves the interests of the people of Eritrea, safeguard property of the people and government. It will be productive, independent of political bias.
- We struggle for defense forces to be viewed as professionals, and make defense a productive institution, form military colleges for Ground Forces, Air Force, and Naval Forces, ensure provision of modern professional and academic training, and implement scholarship.
- Noting the need for Eritrean defense forces to be composed of professional army and members of the national service, we will work for regular researched, based on a time-limited constitution based national service program.
- Eritrean army shall reflect the social unity of Eritrea. Individual members of the Eritrean army shall have the right to vote. However, they will not be allowed to stand for election or be members of political parties.
- Any member or official of the army who would like to be a candidate in an election can only do so after at least three years after resigning from service in the army and has been participating in the social affairs of the country.
- Our organization will work for the formation of national service department that gives priority for the safety of the people and country that safeguards the property of the people and constitutionally formed government.
- Our organization will diligently work for the formation of a national security that is obedient to Eritrean constitution under any circumstances, to be a professional and competent server of the people and country. National security is a security institution that professionally confronts and defends and destroys domestic and foreign sources of national dangers, and will have no affiliation with any party, organization or political force.
- National security will not violate the basic individual rights under any circumstances, will not subject prisoners to physical and psychological trauma, but will conduct proper security investigations using professional techniques, use evidential imperceptible methodical techniques, and to do all these, it will have legal structure with the knowledge of the higher and lower court, stating its bounds and structures and instruction, all in all that runs this department.
4.2. Eritrean Police
- Policies will be laid out to make Eritrean National Police be an institution composed of people trained and organized in modern techniques, so that it gives police services that ensure human dignity, thereby ensure security of the people and country, and keep the property of the people and the country.
- There is a need to improve the capacity of the Eritrean Police and prosecutor so that they maintain law and order throughout the country, protect commission of crimes, and bring criminals to the court of law and justice.
- So that the police refrain from getting involved in activities against human rights and abuse of their power while on crime prevention duty, and so that they do their work legally, they will be provided with continuous modern legal and professional training.
- By opening police academy and devise different policies to improve the capacity of police, and to make them competent professionals to be the guarantors of the people and property.
- To improve the role of the society for peace and security, Police Eritrea will strengthen its relationship with the people, and will work day and night to ensure that the people work hand in hand with the police in defending life and property. There will be a monitoring committee composed of parties in the national parliament, so that this is done in a proper way.
4.3 Correctional Facilities
- Citizens detained by the PFDJ regime because of their political, religious and their consciousness, without legal process shall be released immediately. Detention centers, prisons, underground holding places, steel sheets and metallic containers located in different parts of the country to do harm will be dismantled and shall be replaced by correctional facilities aimed at preventing the commission of a crime and guarantee the safety of citizens.
- Anyone arrested because of a criminal conduct will have the right to hire a lawyer to defend self. Rights of a convict will be respected once done with sentence of an official court, and will be afforded with conducive environment to make him productive part of the society.
- Prisons will be viewed as correctional places, and shall come up with policies that enable them to provide prisoners with proper material and administrative services. Prison administration will be allocated known budget and assigned with professionals to be able to provide regular service.
- There shall be a law that gives prisoners the right to be visited with their family and protect prisoners from any physical and mental abuse.
- So that prisoners do not waste their time and so that they do not become dependents of the society once done with their sentence, and so that they have productive role in the society, there shall be standardized academic and vocational education programs in prisons. Prisoners shall be able to have access to mass media, read newspapers and books, access to a library so that they develop their knowledge.
5. Effective date and amendment of political program
5.1 This political program is effective as of its date of ratification.
5.2 Articles in this political program are wholly free from gender bias. Articles described in the masculine gender are also applicable to the feminine gender.
5.3 It is only the congress of the organization that has the authority to wholly change, add, replace or partly amend articles of this political program.
5.4 Though this political program was prepared to be clear and indisputable, should there be a difference of understanding or interpretation of its articles, arrangement, or description of words, or presentation of its sentences, it is only the Central Council of the Organization of the Unity for Democratic Change who has the authority of interpretation. Decisions for the interpretation of the political program by the Central Council of Organization of the Unity for Democratic Change shall be ratified by a simple majority.
5.5 Should there be things that were not mentioned in this political program, or should there come new ideas that were not considered during the ratification of this political program, the Central Council has the authority to make decisions by seventy five percent (75%) majority and make arrangement in line with the general provisions of this program.
This political program was ratified
At the founding congress of the Organization of the Unity for Democratic Change conducted
From 23 August to 25 August 2019,