Eritrea’s president decides to step down

Ethiopian Review has been informed by a credible source in Asmara that Eritrea’s president Isaias Afwerki is planning to step down within a year along with most of the senior leadership and transfer power to younger leaders.

Asked about possible successors, the source said he can throw out some names but it would be pure speculation on his part. Isaias is keeping the decision close to the vest.

Another source and an attentive observer of Eritrean politics has told Ethiopian Review that Isaias’ decision to step down is not surprising and that he has been quietly preparing for transfer of power because of his declining health as well as growing discontent in the military. Isaias doesn’t want to die in office like his late nemesis Meles Zenawi, our source said, adding: He wants to be a Mandela- or George Washington-like figure to his country by overseeing a smooth transfer of power on his own term.

After Eritrean military officers have started to openly complain about poor living conditions with no improvement in sight, earlier this year Isaias promised that there will be changes, including a new constitution. But no one expected he will hand over power while alive.

The Eritrean opposition media are reporting that the regime is unraveling and senior officials are contemplating defections. Earlier this week, there was a rumor that Information Minister Ali Abdu has sought asylum in Canada.

Ethiopian Review’s sources have denied the rumor and that Ali Abdu is still at the Ministry of Information. As a matter fact, according to our source, Ali, who is like a son to Isaias, is one of the younger leader whose prominence in the Eritrean government will reach new heights in the post-Isaias era if the transition of power goes smoothly.

Regarding war with Ethiopia’s regime, Ethiopian Review’s source said that no one among the senior leadership expects full scale military clash because both countries have neither the will nor the economic resources to fight. Both regimes talk about possible war to divert the attention of their people from domestic problems.