Our Special Correspondent
Nairobi 22 February 2015
Eritreans in Nairobi have established the Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa ( EDEA) to promote the interests and the welfare of Eritrean citizens in the East Africa Region and help them to benefit from the hospitality accorded to them in the region. The executive committee had planned an inaugural meeting to be held on Friday 20 February 2015.
Key topics for the meeting were:
- Current situation of Eritrea and the Region – to be presented by Ambassador Andebrhan Woldeghiorgis – Former Eritrean Ambassador to the EU; former Commission for Co-ordination with UN Peace Keeping Mission Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) – author of the book Eritrea at a Crossroads
- The role of the Diaspora in promotion of peace and cooperation to be presented by Dr Wanyama Masinde – Senior Lecturer and Director Institute for Regional Integration and Development – the Catholic University of East Africa
The meeting was to be opened by Mr Elias Habte Selassie (an Eritrean academician, lawyer and an expert in conflict resolution and development) and closed by Dr Asefaw Tekeste. (Public Health Director School of Medicine Touro University )
Guest of honour were:
- Ambassador Haile Menkerios – UN Special Representative to the African Union;
- Ambassador Dr. Monica Juma, MBS was appointed and sworn in as the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence on 27th June, 2013. Prior to her appointment as the Principal Secretary, Amb. Dr. Juma was Kenya’s Ambassador Extra-Ordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Amb. Dr. Juma holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, Master of Arts (MA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the University of Nairobi and Certificate in Refugees Studies from Oxford University. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Political Science, University of Pretoria (South Africa); an Associate with the African Programme of the United Nations-affiliated University for Peace, (Costa Rica); and an Adjunct Faculty member at the African Centre for Strategic Studies of the National Defence University, Washington D.C., (United States of America).
At the last minute the inaugural meeting of the EDEA did not take place. There was much confusion however what has emerged is that somehow the Eritrean embassy lodged a complaint with the Kenyan authorities.
In addition to lodging a protest with the Kenyan authorities, the Eritrean Embassy has also engaged in a campaign of intimidation of Eritreans in Nairobi by sending them mobile text messages. The message states that: the Eritrean Embassy has received complaints from concerned Eritreans about the meeting organised by the EDEA and in particular the nature of the discussion to be held there. The message further states that no Eritrean should even dream of participating in the meeting. If Eritreans do participate no Eritrean embassy anywhere in the world will provide them with any services.
Typically the message is a God Father like threat and very divisive. We should note that the key purpose of EDEA is to promote the welfare of the Eritrean citizens and the diaspora and in so doing to address the issue of so many of our young people running from a ruthless uncaring government in Eritrea.
The reaction of the Eritrean embassy to the initiative, can only demonstrate to the Kenyan authority how Eritrean Government treats its people, it should be taken as a sign that EDEA is on the right path, it should create international alliances carry out the work it has set out to do seriously – the youth of Eritrea is watching .
In the pictures up Haile Menkerios, down Andebrhan Woldeghiorgis.