Historically the Afar Nation in the horn of Africa has been united and independent from time immemorial, except for the recent colonial occupation and what it entailed thereafter (the Afar People being divided against their will into three countries, i.e. Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia). Thus, the ultimate objective of the Afar People is to realise political and human emancipation in their respective areas.
The Red Sea Afar People being part of Eritrea, therefore, have undeniably contributed to the struggle of Eritrean independence.
The struggle of the Red Sea Afars did not envisage independence as the ultimate goal, rather it was carried out with the aim to cause the realisation of human and democratic rights, the respect of political rights of nations, nationalities and peoples as well as to ensure the coming of socio-economic changes and the prevalence of peace and justice after independence.
Nevertheless Eritrea and mainly the Red Sea Afar people were not fortunate to get a leadership that fulfils these expectations after independence. The incumbent Sha’bean government does not allow the existence of any form of political organisation and a different ideology within Eritrea. This implies that it has been decided for all political and ideological differences to necessarily be subordinate to the doctrines of Sha’bea. What all these essentially demonstrate is that the government in Eritrea is undemocratic.
The Red Sea Afar people, under the military and forceful rule of the Eritrean government, have no right to exercise freedom of expression according to the law. The manifestation is the interdiction to write, speak, assemble or call peaceful demonstrations contrary to the prescriptions of Sha’bea. Besides, the youth are forcefully conscripted into the army, the people are disarmed contrary to their will and tradition and those who oppose the practice are massacred by the military.
The Red Sea Afar people are unable to administer themselves because of the denial of their right to self-determination up to secession. The people are divided into two provinces and amalgamated with other nationalities with the purpose to weaken their unity. Those who rule the Red Sea Afar - the decision makers- are of Tigrigna speaking descent.
The Red Sea Afar did not get social and economic benefits. The Afars make a living from domestic and transboundary trade, fishing, salt production and animal husbandry. Following the assumption of state power by Sha’bea government monopoly of trade has evicted the Red Sea Afars from long established trading, fishing and salt production business. As for animal husbandry, no progress has been witnessed so far. Moreover small-scale businessmen and pastoralists cannot reap the fruits of their labour because of heavy taxes.
In general the Red Sea Afar people’s expectations to development, peace and justice have not been fulfilled in the post-independence period. Not only are these expectations unfulfilled, the people have lost all what they had before independence. As a result the people are rebelling against Sha’bea and emigrating into other areas. There were also incidents of violence to the level of blood shedding.
Taking note of the situation, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation has, as a vanguard party, charted out this programme to organise the people and arm them to struggle and fight for their right.
OBJECTIVES OF THE RED SEA AFAR DEMOCRATIC ORGANISATION
1. To struggle and fight for the respect of the human and democratic rights of the Red Sea Afar people
- Struggle for the realisation of the right of the Red Sea Afar people to Self-determination up to secession. In the exercise of this right, the people will remain within Eritrea provided that democratic rights are respected and unity is built on the basis of equality and common will. In the event that this is not the case; the Afar People will opt for secession and thereby realise their right.
- Strive for the creation of conditions conductive to the development of the language and culture of the Red Sea Afar people and avoid any form of negative influence thereupon.
- Endeavour for the proper recording and documentation of the History of the Red Sea Afar People.
- Strive for the betternement of bilateral relation between the red sea afar people and the other afar people in the horn of Africa.
- Struggle for the materialisation of freedom of expression in accordance with law.
- To protect the life and property of the Red Sea Afars.
2. Struggle for the establishment of an elected and popular government, which honours the sovereign
power of the people.
- To strive for the formation of a federal state upon the basis of the consent and free will of all peoples in Eritrea. In the event that this fails to materialise, the struggle shall be to exercise the right to secede. Such resolution shall be determined by a referendum.
- To enable the people to hold accountable the government they Elected and demand change in governance upon loosing confidence.
- To cause devolution of power through federal arrangement from the current highly centralised undemocratic structure.
- To extricate the people from the yoke of one-party rule and transform them to a democratic multi-party system.
The source of the livelihood of the red sea afar people is based on the marine production activities, animal husbandry and small-scale trade activities, respectively. To improve such sources, we shall: –
- Creating conditions with which the Red Sea can be harnessed to the benefit of the Red Sea Afar people.
- For the pastoralist part of the red sea afar people, the struggle shall be geared towards the attainment of water and fodder supplies as well as medical services that would develop to a system of modern animal husbandry.
- Endeavour to transform the Red Sea Afar pastoral way of life to that of settled and modern one.
- Engage in infrastructure expansion, which is pivot for the transformation of the Red Sea Afar People to a meaningful modern life.
- Exert unreserved efforts for the expansion of agriculture, fishery, trade and industry.
- Cause the functioning of the economy according to the principle of free market economic order.
- To maintain foreign relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
- To make sure that foreign relations are founded upon common benefits.
- To establish relations with neighbouring states based on the principle of peaceful coexistence.
- To establish relations with international and other organisations as the need may arise.
- To resolve possible disagreements, if any, with neighbouring states and peoples through peaceful means to the level possible.
- Foreign relations shall be made in keeping with the interests of the Red Sea Afar People.