EGS-JHD Revamped Its Civic Structure and Civic Duty
Office of Media & Public Relations
If we seek a fresh investment to civic pastures, uncluttered by the proverbial herd, it is easy to see where to go now. It takes a strong stomach to make the move and dig deeper to find out that the anti-acids aren’t enough to stop the recurrence symptoms to the ailment of any organization. Breaking away from the herd might provide a clear path to civic oriented resistance. And for sometimes, this was indeed in the mind of EGS members. Hence, the core idea at the center of our debate in the congress of EGS that was conducted on June 16 to June 17 of 2012 was to re-assess, re-group, and to determine a new transformational path.
To avoid the angles of organizational risks, eliminate the source of fluctuations, and to empower individual citizen for democratic change, the EGS-congress has made two essential changes (a) on the composition of EGS members and (b) on the nature of EGS membership drive. These changes will essentially assure public confidence and organizational integrity as we go forward.
The congress particularly observed the consequence of the hybrid composition of EGS current membership. The organization has experienced “conflict of interest” by its members who possess dual membership (civic and political organization). A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or group promotes one interest over another that they were supposed to promote. Those members who had dual membership are found to be, that their primary interest was their political organization. They defend the policy of their political organization and lose the clinginess to the EGS organization. As a result, the congress reviewed the membership ontology to determine the degree of conflict of interest on the members who had dual membership. In the end the congress recognized the natural separation of these two conflicting interest.
Furthermore, the congress recognized the independence of the two spheres (a) The political organizations - are the future politico-infra-structures of the state (b) the civic organizations are the future catering ideas for the civic sphere. Two independent spheres for check and balance in the way they govern themselves.
Despite the understandable common interest of the two spheres in the current struggle, civic organizations should be structured to establish their own sphere. The political organizations are those whose prime motto is to position themselves as alternatives to the regime while the civic organizations are those who advocate for civic and political transformation, as well as to educate citizen to engage for the wellbeing of the public at large. Therefore, the congress has also recognized the natural independence of the two spheres, one reflecting to the state and its institution of governing, and the other for educating the public and making the state accountable to its citizens.
The concept of civic society does not only stand for human right advocacy as widely understood by the Eritreans in the struggle for democratic change, but also include advocacy for a political and economic change from an aspect of social context. Civic society takes different forms because it is “the staff of life” as Hillary Clinton once has said (US News and World Report May 11, 1998). The forms and multi-facet of civic activities recognized by EGS members at the congress are as follows:-
- Civic Society is citizens’ movement for an autonomous sphere (Political)
- Civic society struggle for an independent sphere in which individuals should be protected from the state, where the society is completely swallowed by a totalitarian regime (Individual Liberty)
- Civic society struggle for economic survival of a nation and its people during economic crises (Economic)
- Civic society struggle for egalitarian and just society ( Justice and Equality)
- Civic society struggle against any kind civil and human right abuse (Human Right)
In a nutshell, Civic society struggle for a democratic process of “will formation” as indicated by Madison (1998) and promote for the well-being of the populace as argued by Briggs (1961). Therefore civic society is a complex concept that represent a wide range of concerns including and up to a fair hearing in a decision making process. EGS which has hitherto been active will continue its commitment to promote the aforementioned five strategic civic goals.
Structural change for organizational integrity
EGS instinctively followed the theory of natural selection as a guide to overcome the structural inertia and make a structural change to retain its integrity in its fourth congress. The congress adapted a new structure as shown in the flow chart based on the free will of individuals who believe on collective engagement.
The congress saw the importance of individual freedom to participate on individual volunteerism rather than the individual seek a group identity to engage in the EGS Civic activities. The individual should own his/her liberty to engage or disengage in civic duties. To promote and encourage the participation of citizens, the EGS congress highlighted the thoughts of individuals as the core value for individual volunteerism that necessitate for civic engagement. Hence forth the individuals will form chapters based on the EGS guidelines in their local areas and vicinities they live.
EGS now has crossed the Rubicon by eliminating two obstacles in its organizational structure and membership drive. If you are reaching across the political and civic ponds for results, you still have to look at the organizational quality that delivers result and certainly pivoted for a generational transfer based on knowledge. Not all yields (results) are equal, but we believe that EGS has contributed significant to the current progress of the resistance force for democratic changes. There is nothing that quells criticism other than success. EGS’s success in removing the real and perceived obstacles will help to garner a broad support in its mission and its strategy of engagement. EGS will engage and cooperate with all forces for democratic change. The congress gave a new impetus to the newly elected leadership with action-oriented vision and eyes adjusted to the darkness to explore the means and ways to the solutions of our nation’s problem.