No. This was the expression of a purely social unrest, some tenors of the opposition wanted to turn into a revolution, without success. They collected five to six hundred young and very quickly all this has degenerated into looting. One policeman was killed, another seriously injured. Ethiopian trucks loaded with grain were burned, windows broken. It was a little, much smaller, the equivalent of what happened in London in early August. A except that there, if we are to believe the media, the British police would only restore order to face urban riots, whereas here we would brutally repressed peaceful demonstrations. It’s pretty ridiculous. Djibouti does not tolerate disorder, but Djibouti is a country open to dialogue and the palaver. The opposition parties tell and print what they want, including the most defamatory rumors. Try place Menelik and ears: everyone can say everything and anything.
Yet there is no TV or home independent radio and the press is hostile to you comes down to a few pages stapled …
This is not an issue of censorship, but about money. There are no investors in Djibouti or advertisers in this area, and the potential readership is very small. Here, we prefer to speak to your heart. We ourselves have been the greatest difficulty to get our newspaper, The Nation, on a regular basis.
The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) released in early November a long statement denouncing the “all-out repression” and the existence of political prisoners in the jails Djibouti. Your reaction?
I’m shocked, but I am not surprised. FIDH feeds on the sap of a local NGO (the Djibouti League of Human Rights, Jean-Paul Noël Abdi, Ed) who has no credibility in our eyes. Where the fabric of nonsense. There are no political prisoners in Djibouti, and then all the thugs convicted in London after the riots were also policies! The four people arrested in May while trying to go underground in Eritrea, with which we are in conflict, to fetch a support order of their leader, Aden Robleh Awaleh, they are not political prisoners. It is a matter for the security of the state.
And sixty people arrested Sept. 16 at Ali Sabieh for shouting “death to dictatorship” in the portion of your procession?
Lies! It did not happen that day Ali Sabieh. Neither event nor slogan nor arrests. Nothing, it’s anything.
Regional elections will take place early 2012 and a year later legislation.
The opposition will take part does?
I hope. I invite to participate in the electoral commission. But I’m no great illusion.
Because at the Djibouti conception of democracy What these gentlemen is this: either we head or seeks to overthrow the leader. They have neither the will nor the patience to do the rest, which is nevertheless essential: build real party, convince people with real programs, etc.. in fact, I almost want to publish an ad: desperately looking opponents responsible. If they exist – and I believe they exist – I ask nothing better than to listen. The others, those who sabotage the democratic principle and boycotting the elections, it is always the same.
Most have at one time or another, worked with you. Aden Robleh Awaleh and your advisor and was one of your deputies …
Can not talk to him! He did the injury and violence in their mouths. Moreover, there is no agreement with anyone.
Ismail Gedi Ared was your colleague at the firm of your predecessor, Hassan Gouled Aptidon …He’s the most reasonable, the most moderate of them.
Abdourahman Boreh was your financial consultant and you have placed at the head of the port of Djibouti …And I regret it! His problem is the business. His opposition is not about politics. It is food. I deprived of his cash cow. Only the former journalist Farah escapes this reading very personal. He is very active. But he lives in Europe. For years he has not set foot in Djibouti. This can be seen, and some of his friends to rob the opposition to tell him. For all these people are shooting ourselves in the legs, of course.
Why do you elicit such hostility?
Ibn Khaldun said that there are two ways of governing the Arabs with the sword or by the Prophet. I am neither a prophet nor a dictator, but President-elect. It is a category that clearly still escapes the understanding of some of my compatriots.
You have been re-elected in April last with just over 80% of the vote …
Score politically incorrect, I agree. But, alas for my detractors, fully consistent with the truth of the polls.
Re-elected for five years, so until 2016, for a final term, do you swear, Can you believe it?
Absolutely, I will not change the view this time. This last term, I do not want. It is a mandate forced the people who felt that is was not ready.
So you will enjoy this five-year period to prepare an estate.
Yes, I’ll try, discreetly, with the help of individuals chosen for their wisdom, their patriotism and disinterestedness, to identify who can best fulfill this difficult task. I think I learned how to live together with Djibouti and how to defend a country that was somehow born to die. It will continue to do so. But I’ll be careful, because once a person is perceived as my successor, I know she will become a target.
Have you an idea? Yes, approximately. But I will tell you of course not. The profile will appear gradually.
Will it be a family member? In any case. I can swear
In this regard, a major French regional daily newspaper has been the echo at the end of October, reports that your wife and your children have left to seek refuge in Djibouti Saudi Arabia or Ethiopia. What?
How dare you ask me this question? My children are here, and my wife, you have the intersect. I find it pathetic, and if not racist, the ease with which it allows itself to print any gossip when it comes to Africa.
After your departure from power, do not you risk to hamper your successor by intervening when he will decide that you do not agree?
This is a trend against which, fortunately, I’m vaccinated. I knew this because my predecessor, President Gouled Aptidon. I had to accompany him, without the face, with respect, so that they understand that it was him, and I was me. Once the transfer of power made, I will go, especially the first two years.
Will you appeal? No. Certainly not.
A battalion of Djibouti is preparing to join the African Union forces in Somalia, AMISOM. Why do you work with your neighbor?
Because the Somali Transitional Federal Government we urge. And because I do not want people to say one day that Djibouti has sat idly by while soldiers of Uganda, Burundi, Kenyans gave their lives for peace to return to our Somali brothers.
Do not you fear that Islamist insurgents Shebab retaliated by exporting terrorism to you? Fifty thousand Somali refugees living in Djibouti, and Yemen has become a sieve …
It’s a risk I do not rule. We are very vigilant. On the other hand, I do not overestimate the destructive capacity of Shehab. From their stronghold of Baidoa until there is 2000 km.
They have already hit in Kenya.
It’s very different. There are six hundred thousand Somalis in Kenya, and Shebab are very established. They control the area of remittances, they have their madrasas, their trade, manufacture of false documents, their physicians. Kenya, it is their support base. For this reason, the Nairobi government had to react.
The Kenyan authorities have they informed the countries in the region of the outbreak of military operation in southern Somalia, there is a month and a half?
No. But they have consulted the TFG in Mogadishu. Again, I understand them: the Shebab multiplied armed incursions for over three years and they lived in Kenya like fish in water. This could not last.
This intervention is unlikely Does not get bogged down?
It should be avoided. When I got here a few days ago the Chief of Staff and the Kenyan foreign minister, I advised them to limit their incursion into a buffer zone of one hundred kilometers and not seek to occupy the port Kismayo. Kenya, trained and equipped for over two years a force of about three thousand Somali expected form the backbone of the new security administration. It is this force to penetrate deeper into Shebab area. My partners have also agreed. Otherwise, the integration of the Kenyan contingent in AMISOM is a good perspective.
The Somali transitional government that you support a reputation for being inefficient and corrupt. This does not bother you?
Corrupted with what? They have nothing. Attempt to establish its authority over a country at war, no income, to be constantly asked, harassed by people who suffer, it is not easy. Instead, you should pity them …
Djibouti is it affected by the phenomenon of piracy?
Of course, even if the pirates have not struck off our coasts. Many boats refuse to come here and prefer to unload their cargo in Jeddah or Hodeidah. Insurance premiums continue to escalate. I repeat: the solution to this problem is not at sea, it is down. It is essential to help the authorities of Somaliland and Puntland to develop units that prevent pirates boarding. If the international community does not, why would you want this activity, which has already generated more than $ 100 million (approximately EUR 74 million) just for the ransoms, stops?
What is your border dispute with Eritrea?
To a standstill. Qatar is pursuing his mediation, and the situation in Ras Doumeira is frozen, our respective troops being separated by a small force Qatari buffer. And then there is the problem of prisoners of war. We granted the International Committee of the Red Cross permission to visit the Eritrean soldiers held here. But the government in Asmara refuses to recognize our own. We know that a score of Djibouti are locked in solitary confinement, north of Asmara, in appalling conditions.
Why do you object to strengthen international sanctions against the Eritrean regime?
Because with a character like Issayas Afewerki purely diplomatic sanctions have no effect, it must be hit to the portfolio. They accuse their diaspora to 2% of its revenue: you have to freeze these transfers. They say they have discovered large deposits of gold at home: do not allow any foreign investor to come and exploit them. Djibouti is a casualty of the aggressive policy that leads Eritrea against Ethiopia, this is not tolerable.
The Kenyan authorities accused Asmara of arming Somali Shebab clandestinely. It is also your opinion?
I confirm. Nairobi has sent me the evidence of at least three very recent flights of Antonov cargo planes laden with arms and ammunition on the airport in Baidoa.
President Afewerki has just lost an ally in the person of Muammar Gaddafi …
Yes. And it’s not us, Djibouti, who will cry on are Gaddafi. He did everything to punish us to host military bases on our soil Western. However, the image of his body tortured shocked me. I thought he would die sword in hand, as he had announced. But it was out of a tunnel, and he humbled himself by begging Misrata rebels to spare because it could have been their father. He did not die a hero.
Your friend, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh, he may know the same purpose?
I had the President Saleh by telephone on November 7, the day of Eid. He said, “everything you see on television on Yemen, everything you read in the papers, take a 30% or 40%. The rest is propaganda. “I told him that 40% was already a lot. In fact, the Yemeni problem is more complex than saying that the media, who see a revolution like the other Arab. It’s basically a competition between people of the same clan in the background with the project of a disputed succession dynamics between the president and his son. If you add to that the tribes, Al Qaeda and the latent tensions between North and South, we are far from the simplistic image of any democratic spring. That is why this situation has persisted and why President Saleh gave the impression to make a step forward and one step back. The other day he told a delegation of the opposition: “Okay, I’m going. But know that tomorrow, Yemen will cut in half. So what do you suggest? “The opponents have not been answered.
Of course. We had a first wave of refugees in Yemen in 1968, then a second in 1994. These are people households who do not seek assistance. The risk, it is the settling of scores, the export of violence.
Now that Southern Sudan gained its independence, is not it turn to your neighbor Somaliland?
It is not entirely comparable. South Sudan has reached this result after a long and difficult dialogue with the North. The Somaliland conducted vice versa, and I fear they have put the cart before the horse. They hoisted their flag, unilaterally declared independence and that they no longer discuss. I respect, I accept their passports and their representation in Djibouti. But I can not go further. They were too busy. I told them.
Among the guests at your inauguration last May, included Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. He went to Djibouti and of course you did not stop while your quality of state signed the Rome Statute, the founder of the court was required. Why this contradiction?
I received my conscience because I believe he does not deserve to be dragged before the ICC. I’m sorry, but Bashir is not what is said. He is the only Sudanese leader to have had the courage to negotiate with the South, up to accept the amputation of his country in the name of peace. Remember how his opponents today, starting with Sadek el-Mahdi, treated in the southern Sudanese slaves! So, of course, she was launched in the case of Darfur legs by inventing the specter of a pseudo genocide, a story concocted by the lobbies and pro-Israel evangelicals. Yes, Djibouti is a signatory of the Statute of the ICC. But that does not stop me to say that the practice of this court, which is only interested in African politics and is a word wrong.
French and Americans each have a base in Djibouti and they will pay an annual rent for it, 30 million euro for first, $ 30 million for the latter. Is it enough?
In total, this represents just under 12% of our budget revenue. But I’m not asking to increase. Paris and Washington have their financial problems, we are understanding.
However, you are full renegotiation with France …
Exact. But rather than money, we want Paris to help us build the capacity of the Djibouti army, with the objective that we are able to defend ourselves alone. When Eritrea attacked us, the question of the interpretation of our defense agreements arose, and I can admit that the French soldiers do not want to die for Ras Doumeira. The French presence here must be primarily a deterrent.
Otherwise, all is well with Paris? More court records under the table?
No, nothing. All is well.
The possibility of an election of François Holland in May 2012 Are you concerned about it? This is a French case. However, your sympathies are not particularly on the part of socialists m. My sympathies do not prevent me supposed to be pragmatic.
You have four and a half years in office. What will you made in April 2016 on the economic and social development?
Djibouti has reached the threshold energy self-sufficiency, with the commissioning of four geothermal power plants – for which funding is completed – and the completion of a wind farm. Djibouti has almost solved the problem of water supply with the construction of two desalination plants, one financed by the French-OPEC Kuwait Fund, the other by the Chinese. Djibouti has significantly increased its port capacity, with the extension of the container terminal in the capital, the construction of those Doraleh and Tadjourah. Djibouti is more than ever the Ethiopian economy led to a growing, with the modernization of the railway Addis-Djibouti and the completion of the league-Tadjourah Mekele. Djibouti finally be one of the beneficiaries of the road being built between the southern border with Sudan and Ethiopia which network we are connected, allowing us to meet the demand for import-export of this new country that is the Southern Sudan.
And youth employment?
This is another site of my last term. The public service is not scalable, I want the maximum support a vibrant private sector. I created a Ministry of SME, a development fund and guarantees and credit lines for investment, I spent training agreements with Indian universities specializing in the fields of the sea J ‘explains tirelessly to young graduates that they can ever hope to become officials. And I tell them that if they share my dream of Djibouti who stand up without help or crutches, they have to help me achieve it.
Source: Jeune Afrique.
The Original intervew in French, read here: