As you know, these developments started from the neighbouring Ethiopia whose brotherly people mobilized themselves for Democracy, Justice and Good Governance. Those fiery aspirations met the foresight of some rulers of the land among whom Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, invested as Prime Minister by the Ethiopian Parliament on April 2th, 2018. The New Prime Minister went fast from words to acts inside Ethiopia by forming a new Cabinet and taking strong steps among which the release of political detainees, the amnesty of exiled persons, the removal of the state of emergency, the start of a fight against corruption, a better implementation of the Constitution and its democratic provisions such as the fundamental liberties. He had the same approach of appeasement toward the external relations and the Diaspora, visiting Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt, the United States of America. With Eritrea, he realized the peace much awaited by the populations, paving the way to the meeting in Asmara between the President Issayas Afework and the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed better known as ‘’Farmajo’’. Although there are still obstacles to remove on the path to Democratic Renewal in Ethiopia and to a lasting peace in the region, much has been achieved in a few months.

 ‘’The good that happens to your brother benefits you too’’

Having in mind the pastoral adage that ‘’the good that happens to your brother benefits you too’’ (‘’Wanaaga walaalka uso kordha adna wax ku lihid’’ in Somali language, ‘’Ku toobokoyti ge maqaanet tu xagtah’’ in Afar language), we Djiboutians have welcomed these changes in our immense majority. In the MRD, we have welcomed this progress toward Democracy in Ethiopia and Peace in the Horn of Africa. We look forward, like all of you, to a peaceful and fair settlement of the border issue between our country and the neighbouring Eritrea.

Dear Fellow Citizens, our country cannot avoid this wave of changes. What is happening at our immediate neighbours will undoubtedly impact our country.

In the economic area, the return of peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea means reopening of the Eritrean Ports of Assab and Massawa to the external Ethiopian trade. This, even more rapidly as Addis-Abeba and Asmara have the strong will to fast rebuild these port infrastructures. Our ports will therefore face competition as Ethiopia access to the sea. Indisputably, this will impact our economy, especially in its capacity to recover from the important investments realized and to repay the considerable and non-concessional debt owed to Chinese institutions, which won’t contribute, as can be imagined, to create jobs. It will not be good news for a country with limited resources, mass unemployment and whose population, predominately young, is tired of poverty.

Politically, due to human and cultural links across Djibouti-Ethiopia border, the democratic renewal under way in Ethiopia encourages the long-time aspiration of Djiboutian people for Democracy and Good Governance. That’s why the Djiboutians have, in their immense majority, perceived the strong steps by the Ethiopian Prime Minister as a very good news.

It’s conceivable that this democratic momentum may not make enthusiastic those who are adept at keeping the status quo in our country: it’s not psychologically easy to welcome with joy such changes after so many years of absolute power. But there are times when lucidity, realism and courage must prevail on selfishness, pride and fear. Wanting to keep the status quo is not only absurd, it’s also suicidal. This is what understood most of the leaders of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). They better understood what was at stake and, through democratic opening up, managed to avoid the collapse of the Ethiopian State.

Preventing the reactions of despair and other risks

What is at stake for our country is not less serious, we are not facing less for our future. The Djiboutian people’s frustrations and discontent are easily identifiable. And as the saying goes, when a pot is left too much time on the fire, it can only boil over. It means that if, the lack of liberties and rights goes on in Djibouti, at the very moment when more than one hundred million Ethiopians are enjoying them under our eyes, the country is not free from internal reactions of despair. Similarly, keeping the status quo exposes Djibouti to other risks which are aggravated or generated by the current regional changes, risks some of which are already noticeable. 

Obviously, such a scenario is not desirable. It has to be prevented. And the prevention requires, not the continuation of the same political games and repressive habits, but an upsurge of individual foresight and collective intelligence. It requires a deep understanding of issues and challenges, a momentum of patriotism, unity and solidarity.

Coming together

So, we need to come together on a political level to build up a new climate and an inclusive approach. We must make sure that we think and act together to change the practices, to strengthen our institutions, to entrench pluralistic democracy, to tackle the national and regional challenges.

In the economic area also, we need to come together in order to think on how to make the most of our geopolitical location and secure our socioeconomic future. We need to reflect on the heavy debt owed to China and on the linked partnership. We need to settle the Doraleh Container Port (DCT) issue with the brotherly United Arab Emirates. We need to realize the opportunities of regional and continental integration, which implies fruitful relations with the neighbouring countries and with the rest of Africa. We need an economy growing with the talent and the energy of all Djiboutians.

In this endeavour of national renewal, we need also to strengthen our links with our major partners such as France, the United States of America, The Gulf Nations, The European Union, as well as Japan. We need coherence and clarity in our strategy of international cooperation.

How to come together?

In order to come together for these goals, an appeased atmosphere is indispensable: it’s a crucial pre-condition to open up the hearts and minds. This atmosphere requires strong gestures from rulers as they have the means and the constitutional obligation of respecting and protecting the liberties, the fundamental rights and the political pluralism recognized by our Constitution.

That’s why I call on our Government to break with the usual management of political differences, to overcome its fears of the Opposition, to consider its political adversaries no as bitter enemies but as essential contributors to the political pluralism and to the public debate.

At these critical times, I do ask the rulers to show lucidity, courage, responsibility. The regional events are illustrating a fundamental principle of the human existence: no acquired situation can be eternal, let alone a status quo whose end has come.

To you in particular, His Excellency Mr President of the Republic, Ismael Omar Guelleh, let me say the golden occasion the History on the move in the Horn of Africa offers so that you can appear from where you are not expected and surprise. It offers you the occasion to put our country on the path of peace and reconciliation and to win its gratitude.

Time of wisdom has come for all of us. Wisdom of the rulers so that the voice of realism resists the demonstrations of ego and emotion. Wisdom of the democratic forces so that the voice of the reason keeps us away from risky temptations. Wisdom of the people to preserve the peace, the unity and the brotherhood.

As for the MRD, it already declares its commitment to participate in the genuine citizen concertation for which it is calling all the Djiboutian stakeholders in order to safeguard the threatened Supreme interest of the Nation.

I launch this call for us to live up to this historic moment.

Long live Djiboutian People

Long Live Republic of Djibouti



President of MRD

Daher Ahmed Farah 

Le projet politique

02/05/15 : DAF au micro de Nabad-Nantes

Janvier 2011 : Message de DAF aux Djiboutiens

Afhayeenka dallada Mucaaradka ah ee USN Daahir Axmed Faarax Oo Ka Hadlay Xadhiga Dr