By Saad I. Samatar
Sunday, March 27, 2011
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor”. Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, p.93 (1891).
Visit Djibouti, and the huge banners in the capital prominently display the words, “Nous Croyons en Djibouti,” meaning, “We believe in Djibouti.” Indeed, many Djiboutians believe in their country’s drive to work with the international community and to meet its commitment for a stable democratic government.
In April of last year, the Djiboutian parliament passed a constitutional amendment that allowed President Ismail Omar Guelleh to run for a third term. The amendment was passed unanimously, as the opposition held no parliamentary seats since boycotting elections in 2008.
The recent youthful revolutions for the highly educated North African men and women would undoutable gave great expectations for the copycat Djibouti opposition, but achieving Guelleh’s vision may prove harder for the divided and despondent opposition. There is no one- size fits all templates for a revolutionary outcome, for one reason, many oppositions leaders in most African countries, including Djibouti have nothing to offer to their citizens but endless political promises. Once they are in power, they completely forget their political bearings.
Many prefer to oppose in the marketplace, instead of offering concrete suggestions to the ruling government to improve the lives of their compatriots. What are the practical demands for the average Djibouti citizen? Suitable jobs, improve living conditions, electricity, clean water, schools, hospitals and human respect for all. The Guelleh administration is achieving these services and more, but remember Africa is not a clean cut continent and has its share of political grievances and corruptions. Do you think the bogus argument from the armchair politicians of the opposition will guarantee the Djibouti public for a squeaky clean government and economic and social development? Successful rulers want to do more than rule, they want to be remembered positively for all times.
Indeed, “We Believe in Djibouti.” Wish you all free and fair election.
The writer Saad I. Samatar is a Librarian & Archivist and who lives in Robbinsdale, MN. USA
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