Djibouti, 28 March 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Many Djiboutians would agree that Mr. Aden Robleh Awaleh was and still is one of the greatest warriors in Djiboutian history; in spite of what anybody would think about him. Ever since the Republic of Djibouti became independent, Mr. Awaleh has been definitely the most genuine resistant opposition leader – alive and well (still inside the Country). Thanks to his inspirational leader and national hero for all time, Mr. Mohamoud Harbi (May Allah Almighty bestow him into the Heaven of Fardousa)
Mr. Awaleh made a mark into the history at the early years of his life: as one of the undisputed young anti-colonialist against, Ali Arref, the henchman of the French colonialist or ‘the evil empire’; during the struggle for liberty, and he later quickly joined the FLCS as the member of the rank-and-file of the underground movement inside the country (Front de liberation de cote de Somali): the only Arms wing around, back in the days, based in Somalia during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Opposing the French colonial rule in Djibouti, he decided to join the rebel in Somalia in 1967 and quickly move up to the leadership position of the ‘Front for the Liberation of the Somali Coast’ (FLCS). As a result, he was convicted of “endangering state security” in absentia by the French authorities in 1970 and sentenced him to 27 years in prison. Mr. Awaleh was later arrested in Somalia in 1975 by the order of the former dictator, General and President Mohamed Siad Barre (May Allah bless his soul) for “anti-revolutionary” activities and spent a year in solitary confinement there.
Three days before Djibouti became independent from France, Jun 24, 1977, he was shot and severely wounded by one of his ‘frere de combat’, wherever his motive might be. 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 ministerial position and party positions. As was said later on, Mr. Awaleh claimed to escape an assassination attempt in 1985 and fled the Country.
After eight years of exile, though, the ex-Leader of FLCS and former Minister, returned into the Country in 1992, and turned out to be one of the most admired opposition leader for the second time – 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).
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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 man’s 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 there’s 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 vague system that says: keep your mouth shot and squander wherever you could grasp or you might as well face isolation or ex-communication. But, Aden did not back down, and resisted as usual with dignity. He made a promise that he will not run away any more; he rather die what he believes.
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 that, three decades later, it appears to Mr. Awaleh that the dream has been turning into nightmare under the leadership of President Ismael O. Guelleh. With series of interviews, particularly the BBCsomali: “We will not accept a change from the constitution just to satisfy one man’s ego”, he said. The saddest part of this predicament, Mr. Aden and other Djiboutians wondered: 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 seems to be fading away in front of their eyes.
And once again, the old revolutionary challenges and rejected the advances of 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. Awaleh’s peers and colleagues, however, think that he must be a fool to give up once again his position and privileges: 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, was never been important to the Leader. And he never advocated violence in order to overthrow the government of the President Ismael O. Guelleh. The world will watch closely how this time the Djiboutians 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. As a true patriot, he always worries for the good of the people. Why would he suffer that much for so long; when he could get it easily what others would die for it: Higher position? And all he has to be -a Mister yes. But he chose to put his people’s interest ahead of his. The man is a hero and must be recognized the sacrifices that he made for his country.
Views expressed in the opinion articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the editorial