Many Djiboutian would agree that Mr. Aden Robleh Awaleh was and still the greatest warrior in Djibouti, in spite of any ones political differences; ever since the independence movement of the Republic of Djibouti. He is certainly the most genuine resistant politician of the undemocratic policies of the President Ismael O. Guellehs administration alive today inside the Country.
Mr. Awaleh also made a mark into the history as the undisputed young anti-colonialist against then, the Regime of Ali Arref, the henchman of the French colonialist or the evil empire – during the struggle for liberty; and he was indeed the member of the highest rank-and-file under ground movement of FLCS (Front de liberation de cote de Somali) inside the country, the only Arms wing around back in the days, who based in Somalia during the 1960s and 1970s.
Opposing the French colonial rule in Djibouti, he went to Somalia in 1967 and became the leader of the Front for the Liberation of the Somali Coast (FLCS).
As a result of his activities, he was convicted of “endangering state security” in absentia by the French authorities in 1970 and sentenced him to 27 years in prison. He was later arrested by the order of the former dictator, General and President Mohamed Siad Barre (May Allah forgive him) in Somalia in 1975 for “anti-revolutionary” activities and spent a year in solitary confinement there. He was shot and wounded on June 24, 1977, three days before Djibouti became independent from France; his injuries caused him to be hospitalized for a month.
The revolutionary was named by the former/first President Hassan G. Aptidon on July 15, 1977, as Minister of the Port, and he was subsequently moved to the position of Minister of Commerce, Transport, and Tourism in 1978. He was also elected to the National Assembly in 1982. In 1983 and due to consolidation of the power into the hands of the Head of the State Mr. Awaleh denounced the authoritarianism of the RPP’s single-party regime and resigned from his government and party positions. Mr. Awaleh as a result escaped an assassination attempt in 1985 and fled the Country.
After eight years of exile the ex-Leader of FLCS, and turned one of the most admired Politician, for the second time returned into the Country in 1992, during the Multi-party democracy system, imposed by the Western governments into the African countries, particularly the Administration of then, the Head of the State, Mr. Hassan G. Aptidon (May Allah rewards him into Heaven).
Mr. Aden R. Awaleh inaugurated his new political party, PND (Partie National Democratique) or National Democratic Party (NDP) for the first time in thirteen years. Immediately afterwards the PND engaged the national debate on the democratization process, and soon clashed with the governing Party, RPP (Rensemblement Populaire pour le Progres. The PND refused to ratify the new Constitution. According to the party: the new constitution, 1) endowed the commander-in-Chief an absolute power, 2) the majority rule in parliament for single Party is undemocratic and unacceptable, 3) the new Constitution does not give a true independence of the Courts over the Executive Power. And we are back in square one: one Party rule and for one mans show or ego.
Yet again, Mr. Aden R. Awaleh was put under house arrest while the government cut the electricity and running water into his house; since theres no prove that he failed to pay his utility bills; but this has always been one of the weapon, the Djiboutian governments use to punish his political opponents. And the PND leader was eventually thrown into jail- when he simply rebuked the new system keep your mouth shot and squander wherever you could grasp or you might as well face isolation or excommunication.
But Aden never back down he resisted as usual with dignity. He made a promise that he will not run away any more; he rather die what he believes at.
It seems, though, now days, Mr. Awaleh has yet to finish the next phase of the struggle: the nation building process, which ought to be embodied on the democratic principles the rule of Law – that he and others like himself belief and help initiated the foundation over thirty years ago, once, the Republic of Djibouti gained its freedom as a free Nation in Jun, 27, 1977.
Having said, unfortunately, three decades later it appears to Mr. Awaleh that the dream has been turning into nightmare under the leadership of President Ismael O. Guelleh. The saddest part of this predicament, Mr. Aden and other Djiboutian wonder, would Djibouti be around for the next decade or will collapse like Somalia? The nation they sacrificed so much through out of their whole lives for many years seems to be fading away in front of their eyes.
And once again, the old revolutionary challenges the commander-in-Chief, Mr. Ismael O. Guelleh and the ruling Party for the Constitution. This time, the Head of the State and his henchmen want to extend the term limit of the Presidency into THIRD TERMES, instead of TWO TERMS. Most of Mr. Awalehs peers and colleagues, however, think that he must be a fool to give up his position and privilege – the fruits of being part of the elites: lavish live-style enjoyed the Cabinet Ministers or Members of Parliament like himself.
Yet fancy cars and big houses; this is something that never been important to the Leader. But the Chairman of the PND once again rejected the advances of the President and his entourage. And he never advocated violence in order to overthrow the government of the President Ismael O. Guelleh. The world will watch how this time the Djiboutian will deal this Constitutional crisis and the end of the term Of Mr. Ismael O. Guelleh in 2011.
Mr. Awaleh always wanted to empower and fight for his people
he was never in for himself, like a true revolutionary;
if that was the case, why would any one suffer that long when he/she got what others would die for it
being cabinet minister.
The man is a hero and must be recognize by his people
the sacrifices that he made for his country.
By Mohamed Awaleh,