|05DJIBOUTI529||2005-06-05 13:07:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (C) Summary: The following is current bio data on the new
Ministerial cabinet, announced May 22nd, as well as on
reasons behind the appointment/change/removal. An outline of
Guelleh's policy "road map" for his new six-year term will
follow septel. End Summary.
2. (C) Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita: Born 12 March
1958. Dileita is an Afar from Tadjourah district of Djibouti.
Dileita studied in Egypt, France and Algeria. His first
position in the government was Assistant Head of Protocol at
the Presidency. He continued on as Consul and Charge
d'Affairs at the Djiboutian Embassy in France. In 1997, he
became the Djiboutian Ambassador to Ethiopia and its
Permanent Representative to the African Union. In 2000, he
mediated the Ethiopia/Eritrea conflict along with the
Ambassadors from Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe resident in Addis
Ababa. In 2001, he participated in the Paris talks between
the armed rebels (Front for the Restoration of Unity and
Democracy - FRUD) and the Government of Djibouti. These
negotiations resulted in the 2001 Peace Accords and led to
his appointment as Prime Minister. Dileita was not a major
player in national politics at the time, but he allied
himself with powerful people, such as the former Prime
Minister, Barkat Gourad Hamadou (1978-2001). Although a deft
politician, Dileita is seen to lack authority due to his
inexperience in national politics and his unpopularity among
his own Afar tribe, especially in the Northern districts of
Djibouti. Dileita is a member of the ruling party (People's
Rally for Progress - RPP), a member of its political bureau
and a member of the National Assembly (elected in 2003).
Comments: Rumors are that the First Lady tried to convince
Guelleh to remove Dileita as PM in the second term, but to no
avail. He is not widely respected among Afars and his
detractors see him as a puppet without political aspirations
and a convenient choice for Guelleh.
3. (C) Minister of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf: Born 2 September 1965.
Youssouf is an Afar from the Tadjourah district of Djibouti.
Earned his Bac A1 in Djibouti. Studied at Lumiere University
in Lyon, France - received a bachelor's degree in foreign
languages in 1990. Began his diplomatic career in 1992 at the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs as head of section in the
International Organizations Department. Received management
training in 1995 before taking the position of Director of
Arab Affairs. In 1997, he was named Djiboutian Ambassador to
Egypt, where he also served as Djibouti's representative to
the Arab League. He served as Ambassador until his nomination
as Minister delegated under the Minister of Foreign Affairs
charged with International Cooperation in 2001. Youssouf
speaks fluent French, Arabic, English as well as Somali and
Comments: Most believe that Youssouf was selected for this
position for no other reason than his competence in his job.
He is uniformly praised by Ambassadors accredited to Djibouti
as the most competent of cabinet ministers.
4. (C) Minister of Presidential Affairs, Charged with
Promotion of Investment, Osman Ahmed Moussa: Born 1 April
1964. Moussa is an Issa, sub-clan Saad Moussa. Holds a
Bachelor's degree in Administration, Economics and Social
Studies (AES) and a Master's degree in Mutual Funds and
Insurance from a French university. Director of the Cabinet
of the Presidency from 1996-1999. In assuming this position
he replaced, Ismail Guedi Hared - now opposition leader.
Appointed Minister of Presidential Affairs in May 1999.
Reappointed in 2005 to the same position. He has two brothers
and two sisters. Moussa's brother, Aboubaker is the number
two at the National Security Service. Moussa's father was one
of the first nurses in Djibouti. He is known by personal
friends as "Tatti."
Comments: Moussa is very trusted by Guelleh. Many of his
fellow Saad Moussa do not feel he does much for his tribe.
Rumors report that Saad Moussas would prefer to have Ismail
Guedi Hared, leader of the opposition coalition and someone
people thought would become president, remain in the
government. Moussa is competent in his job and does exactly
what Guelleh wants. He is married to a physician from Benin,
Dr. Christiane, and does not mingle much with Djiboutians.
The couple does not have children.
5. (C) Minister of Justice, Penitentiary Affairs, Muslim
Affairs and Human Rights, Mohamed Barkat Abdillahi: Born 14
December 1947 in Djibouti. Abdillahi is a Gadaboursi. Holds a
certificate of capacity in Law. Served in the National Police
from 1968-1970, the French Military from 1970-1977, and the
Djiboutian Armed Forces from 1977-1980. Elected to the
National Assembly in December 1992. Has served in several
ministerial positions since, including Minister of Public
Functions and Administrative Reforms from April - November
1997, Minister of Youth from November 1997 - December 1998,
Minister of Commerce from 1998 - 2000, Minister of Labor from
2000 - 2005. He has been in private sector business ventures
as well, including the ownership of Djibouti's sole Bowling
Alley during his early years as Minister of Labor. Abdillahi
is called Said Barkat by close friends.
Comments: Very close to Guelleh. No real reason was reported
for the move. His record was not very good in respecting
workers rights and Djiboutians question whether he will be
any better at respecting human rights.
6. (C) Minister of Labor and Solidarity, Houmed Mohamed Dini:
Born 1953 in Mabla, District of Obock in Djibouti. Dini is an
Afar. Nephew of Ahmed Dini Ahmed, late head of the opposition
coalition and president of the opposition party, Republican
Alliance for Development (ARD). Holds a certificate of
capacity to study law from the University of Sceaux, France.
Completed two years of law school at Paris-Tolbiac. Served as
Inspector of Indirect Contributions in 1982.
Comments: The originally announced nominee for Minister of
Labor was Mohamed Dini Farah - the mistake was called a
misprint. Dini is seen as having more weight than Farah,
since Dini's uncle is the late Ahmed Dini of the opposition.
Dini has been a bookstore owner on/off for the past few
years. He hasn't had any real job since his service as
Inspector of Indirect Contributions in 1982. He also has done
some import/export work. Dini is a very respected tribal
7. (C) Minister of Economy, Finances, and Planning, Charged
with Privatization, Ali Farah Assoweh. Born 03 July, 1965 in
Djibouti. Assoweh is an Issa, sub-clan Horone. Holds a
Bachelor in Economics and a Master in Economic and Political
Management. Head of the Studies and Evaluation Office in the
Ministry of Education from 1992-1994. Head of Financial
Services in the Ministry of Education from 1994-1999.
Assistant Director of Budget Development in the Ministry of
Finance from 2000-2001. Director of Budgetary Controls in the
Ministry of Finance from 2001-2004. Secretary General of the
Ministry of the Presidency from April 2004-May 2005.
Comments: Viewed as a man of integrity and seems very
competent in his job. He has the ear of Guelleh. Assoweh is
not seen as a politician, however, and his nomination is
believed to be based on his competence and Guelleh's trust of
him. Assoweh was Guelleh's campaign finance manager for this
election. He also has ties with the First Lady, and both his
wife and the first lady are Issak.
8. (C) Minister of Interior and Decentralization, Yacin Elmi
Bouh: Born 4 June 1962 in Djibouti. Bouh is an Issa, sub-clan
Mamassan. He speaks French, Somali and very little English.
He studied in France. Started government career as Head of
Service in the Ministry of Public Function and then served as
Director of the National Retirement Funds. Served as Minister
of Finance from 1998 - 2005.
Comments: The position of Interior Minister has normally been
held by a member of the Fourlaba clan. Losing this position
is a severe blow to the Fourlaba when combined with the fact
that their two seats in the cabinet are held by persons seen
as weak and the positions as not particularly powerful.
Mamassans reportedly wanted the Interior minister position so
they could have more control over security matters. Some also
say that Guelleh is grooming Bouh as the next President.
However, Bouh does not enjoy broad popular respect.
9. (C) Minister of Defense, Ougoureh Kifleh Ahmed: Born 18
November 1955 in Dikhil District of Djibouti. Ahmed is an
Afar. He completed schooling up to the 9th grade. Served in
the Gendarmerie until 1977 when he joined the Democratic
Front for the Liberation of Djibouti (FDLD). He returned to
Djibouti under a presidential amnesty for all opposition
members in October 1983. In November 1983 he was arrested for
attacking state security and jailed for one year. In 1990 he
organized a clandestine movement, Action for the Restoration
of Order and Democracy (AROD). In 1992 he became the Chief of
Staff for the Front for Restoration of Unity and Democracy
(FRUD). Ahmed opened peace negotiations with the government
in 1994 and signed the Peace and National Reconciliation
Agreement. He was Minister of Agriculture from 1995 - 1997,
Minister of Public Functions and Administrative reform from
1997-1999 and Minister of Defense from 1999 to present. Ahmed
was elected to the National Assembly in 1997. Ahmed
reportedly skipped his own wedding in 1994 because of an Afar
assassination plot on his life. He has largely been
marginalized from power in the military and his position is
mostly ceremonial. He suffered a heart attack in 1996. He
speaks Afar, Somali and French.
Comments: Ahmed has been kept in his position mainly as a
symbolic gesture. Most of his upper echelon in the Ministry
of Defense are Issa, Mamassan. They are believed to hold the
real control in the Ministry.
10. (C) Minister of Education and Higher Teaching, Abdi
Ibrahim Absieh: Born in 1953 in Ali Sabieh District of
Djibouti. Absieh is an Issa, sub-clan Wardiiq. Holds a degree
as an Engineer of Public works. Served most of his career in
the Ministry of Public Works, Urbanism and Housing. Held the
positions of Director of the Building Laboratory, Director of
Public Works, and Secretary General of the Ministry of Public
Works. Has held the position of Minister of Education since
1999. He is married with five children.
Comments: Absieh is very close to Guelleh because both men
grew up in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. His Ministry is seen as one
of the best-run in Djibouti; and it is believed he was
retained in order to continue progress on the nation's key
11. (C) Minister of Health, Abdallah Abdillahi Miguil: Born 7
April 1962 in Djibouti. Miguil is an Issa, sub-clan Ourweyn.
Miguil completed his Baccalaureate and one year of University
studying Economic Sciences. He is married with 6 children. He
speaks French, Arabic, Somali and some English. He is the
maternal cousin of President Guelleh. He spent most of his
days as a civil servant in the National Office for Assistance
to Refugees and Disaster Victims (ONARS), where he worked up
the ranks to become Executive Secretary of ONARS. Embassy Bio
files indicate that Miguil is known for having a lack of
transparency and accountability, and for having amassed a
great deal of real estate despite modest income, during his
time at ONARS. He also was removed from his position by the
Minister of Interior, Ahmed Boulaleh Barreh, in August 1992
for expropriation of funds. No charges were ever filed. He
received the position of Secretary General of the Ministry of
Interior when the cabinet shuffled in late 1992. He was named
Minister of Transport and Telecommunication in 1997. In April
1999, he oversaw the election commission that presided over
Guelleh's election. He served as Minister of Interior from
May 1999 - 2001 and Minister of Habitat, Urbanism, Housing
and Environment from 2001 - 2005. Over the years, he has
attended many international seminars and internships to
improve his management skills, including several in the
Comments: Miguil is very close to Guelleh. Rumors say he was
moved to the Ministry of Health to "clean the place up"
following the weak management record of his predecessor, Dr.
Mohamed Ali Kamil. He is an Issa leader of a largely Afar
Ministry. According to sources, in his first meeting with
Ministry employees, he came across as intending to be quite
strict. His integrity is said to be questionable. A clash is
foreseen between Miguil and Aden Dileita, the Prime
Minister's brother, who reportedly has a great deal of
influence within the Ministry of Health.
12. (C) Minister of Commerce and Industry, Rifki Abdoulkader
Bamakrama: Born in 1954. Bamakrama is Arab of Yemeni descent.
He did his Bac in Nancy, France and University in Lorraine,
France. He received a degree in Social Sciences and Arab
Arts. He also holds a diploma in Teaching. Bamakrama worked
in France briefly before starting at the French Cultural
Center in Djibouti in 1981. He has held the position of
Assistant Director of the Palais du Peuple and Co-Director
for Publication of Le Progres, the newsletter of the People's
Rally for Progress (RPP). He played a large role as mediator
in the 1994 peace accords. He served as Minister of Commerce
in 1995 and was Minister of Communication until his move back
Comments: Bamakrama's move back to Commerce is a bit of a
downgrade. Although he is close to Guelleh, he might be
replaced if there is a cabinet reshuffle in the near future.
He is, however, the sole Minister of Arab origin in the
current Cabinet and has not shown himself particularly
predisposed to U.S. interests in his former position as
Minister of Communication. That may change with this new
13. (C) Minister of Communication, Culture, Post and
Telecommunications, Ali Abdi Farah. Born 16 February 1947 in
Djibouti. He is an Issak. He speaks Somali, French and
limited Arabic. He has a Baccalaureate from the French Lycee
in Djibouti, a graduate certificate from the Ecole Normal
teacher's training college in Djibouti, and a degree from the
Institute of Public Administration in Lyon, France in 1977.
He took advanced training in diplomacy during a special
six-month course at the Quai d'Orsay (French Ministry of
Foreign Affairs) in Paris in 1977. He is married with six
children. From 1969-1972 he taught primary school. After his
studies in France, he returned to Djibouti to teach public
administration to Djiboutian civil servants in training. He
was then named as a Diplomatic Advisor to the Cabinet of the
President. Later in 1977, he was Head of Administration and
Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In
September 1980, he was assigned to the Djiboutian Embassy in
Tunis as Second Secretary. In 1995, President Hassan Gouled
Aptidon named Farah the Minister of Energy and Natural
Resources. He served in that position until 1999, when
Guelleh named him Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was the
Interim President of the Somali National Reconciliation
Conference held in Arta, Djibouti in 2000. In 2003, he became
the ruling party's (People's Rally for Progress - RPP)
Secretary for External Relations in the Executive Council.
Farah suffered a stroke in March 2005, which removed him from
his job for two months, while he underwent therapy in France.
He has reportedly made a full recovery. He was a heavy,
regular user of khat and tobacco and is said to have also
heavily consumed alcohol prior to his stroke. His work and
achievements are highly valued by Guelleh, who considers him
one of his closest collaborators, especially on Somalia
Comments: Because Farah is not very healthy, it is presumed
that Guelleh gave him a slower-paced cabinet position as a
gesture of thanks. If Farah decides it is time to retire, he
is likely to be replaced in the next cabinet change. However,
because he is liked and trusted by the President, Guelleh
will only replace him if Farah wants to go.
14. (C) Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Mohamed Ali
Mohamed: Born 29 April 1952 in Djibouti. He is an Issa,
sub-clan Walaaldon. Government issued bios indicate only that
he has done "university studies." He started his career as a
civil servant in the Ministry of Commerce. He was elected to
the National Assembly in 1982 and has served ever since. He
held the position of Minister of Commerce from 1993-1997. He
then served as Minister of Labor from 1997-2000. He has
served as Minister of Energy since 2000. He is a member of
the ruling party, People's Rally for Progress (RPP), and has
been on its central committee and its political bureau. He
reportedly was in private business as an importer/broker
before he became a government official. According to post bio
files, a high-level government official described Mohamed as
"corrupt" (bio files written in 1995). He is reportedly a
very heavy smoker and a casual dresser.
Comments: Mohamed is very close to Guelleh, but he is getting
close to retirement and some believe he may go in the next
15. (C) Minister of Equipment and Transport, Ismail Ibrahim
Houmed. Born 4 January 1948 in Djibouti. Houmed is an Afar
from the Tadjourah District of Djibouti. He completed
secondary school in Djibouti and attend nursing school in
Paris. He received a diploma as a State Nurse in 1970 from
the Public Assistance in Paris. He then enrolled in Medical
school in Paris/Broussais, but stopped due to health
concerns. He changed to Philosophy and received a diploma
from the University of Nanterre, Paris. Houmed was a founding
member of many political organizations and associations,
including Union for Cultural Development (UDC) - an
association of students for the primary and higher education
of all populations during colonial segregation of schools,
the Union of Students from the Afar-Somali Coast (UNECAS -
1976 elected President of the association) - an association
aimed at uniting all the ethnic populations of Djibouti, the
Popular Movement for Liberation (MPL), the Democratic Front
for the Liberation of Djibouti (FLDL). During the 1990's he
represented the Front for Restoration of Unity and Democracy
(FRUD) in Europe. He is married with one daughter, who is now
a telecommunications engineer. He was named Minister of
Justice in 2001 and served in that position until being moved
to the position of Minister of Transport in 2005.
Comments: Houmed is seen as a good orator and a good
ambassador for Guelleh to the public. He was very active
during Guelleh's 2005 Presidential campaign.
16. (C) Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and the Sea,
Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed: Born in 1951 in Souali, Obock
district of Djibouti. Holds a bachelor's degree in Sciences
and Techniques from the Water Institute at the University of
Limoges, specializing in the treatment and purification of
water (1977-1979). Served as Director of the National Water
Office (ONED) since its creation in 1983. Served as Interim
Director of Water Management prior to the creation of ONED.
Married to Guelleh's niece.
Comments: Mohamed has worked many years at ONED. ONED is seen
as disorganized and Mohamed took no active role during his
tenure to improve the organization. He is seen as lacking in
innovation and not up-to-date with modern technology
necessary for efficient operations. He was very active in
Guelleh's 2005 presidential campaign.
17. (C) Minister of Habitat, Urbanism, and Environment,
Charged with Relations with Parliament, Elmi Obsieh Waiss:
Born in 1942 in Ali Sabieh, Djibouti. Waiss is an Issa,
sub-clan Fourlaba. He completed secondary school. He served
as Director of the Office of Posts and Telecommunications
(OPT) after working through the ranks as a career
professional in this office. He was a member of the Popular
African League for Independence (LPAI), former president
Hassan Gouled Aptidon's party. He was elected to the National
Assembly in 1997, as well as named Minister of the Interior.
He was moved to the position of Minister of Transport in
2001. He owns the Alia Hotel in Djibouti City. One of his
sons manages it for him. His other son, Mohamed Elmi Obsieh,
is marketing manager at the Djibouti International Airport
Comments: Waiss is one of the older members of the Djiboutian
government. He may retire soon and be replaced in the next
cabinet switch. He is not seen as a strong man. He reportedly
has a history of diverting State funds for personal use. His
Fourlaba clan is also reportedly not happy with him and there
are rumors that he will be happy to leave government.
18. (C) Minister of Youth, Sports, Leisure and Tourism,
Hassan Farah Miguil: Born in 1954 in Djibouti. Miguil is an
Issa, sub-clan Fourlaba. Member of the Popular African League
for Independence (LPAI), former president Hassan Gouled
Aptidon's party. Also a member of the ruling party, People's
Rally for Progress (RPP). Elected to the National Assembly in
1992. Named Minister of Justice in 1996. Worked in the
Autonomous Port of Djibouti and the Free Zone in the
mid-nineties. He was later named Mediator of the Republic
under Guelleh. Post bio files note in 1996 that Miguil is
volatile and unpredictable.
Comments: Miguil is very trusted by Guelleh. Miguil, Guelleh
and the late Yacin Yabeh, former General of the National
Police Force (FNP), were all very close friends. Even though
Guelleh jailed Yabeh several years ago, also a Fourlaba,
Miguil chose to stay by Guelleh's side. Fourlabas see Miguil
as a servant of Guelleh. They prefer to be represented by
former Minister of Interior, Abdoulkader Doualeh Waiss, who
was removed from his position and named Mediator of the
19. (C) Minister Delegated under the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Charged with International Cooperation, Hawa Ahmed
Youssouf: Born 9 November 1966 in Djibouti. Youssouf is an
Issa, sub-clan Saad Moussa. She is married with three young
children and has already begun to lament the toll her new
high profile job is taking on the time she needs to dedicate
to her family. She received a degree in Public Law,
specializing in International Relations from the University
of Reims in 1991. Youssouf started her career at the Banque
Indosuez for a period of six months. Shortly after she moved
to the Ministry of Finance as a technical counselor charged
with the coordination of all projects financed by donor
countries from 1991-1998. Youssouf was also a supplemental
Governor for Djibouti for the World Bank the African
Development Bank from 1992-1999. In September 1998, she was
named Director of Promotion of Women and the Family attached
to the Ministry of the Presidency. In 1999, she was promoted
to Minister delegated to the promotion of Women's Affairs,
the Well-Being of the Family and Social Affairs under the
Prime Minister. In 2000, she held the position of President
of Women-Ministers of the Intergovernmental Authority on
Development (IGAD). Youssouf speaks French, English and some
Arabic. She is well-traveled.
Comments: Youssouf is not seen by Djiboutian women as very
active on behalf of women's causes although she was formerly
Minister of Women's Affairs. She is not outspoken and not one
to make waves. Some feel that the nomination of two women
ministers could be short-lived, depending upon how effective
they ultimately are seen. If one of the women ministers is to
be replaced, many suspect it would be Youssouf because she
does not get along with the First Lady.
20. (C) Minister Delegated under the Prime Minister, Charged
with the Promotion of Women, Family Well-Being, and Social
Affairs, Aicha Mohamed Robleh: Born 18 September 1965 in
Tadjourah District of Djibouti. She is an Afar. Robleh is
very active in the community and presides over several
associations that work to benefit Djiboutian culture and
sports. She uses her associations to try to raise the profile
of women in Djibouti. She is not married. Robleh received her
Baccalaureate in 1985 from the Lycee in Djibouti. She studied
labor law by correspondence from 1985-1989, receiving a
degree from the University of Cameroon. Received training as
a law inspector in Cameroon from 1992-1993. She also received
training in employment security within professional labor
organizations in Senegal from 1993-1994. Held positions as
Labor Inspector (1992-1995), Secretary at a Medical Clinic
(1989-1991) and Deputy Marketing Head at a Supermarket
(1983-1989). She worked with the UN Development Program
(UNDP) from October 1997-January 2001 on a project to
rehabilitate the Northern part of Djibouti after the civil
war. She was elected to the National Assembly in 2002. She is
a member of the Groupe d'Amitie Parliamentaire Djibouti-Etats
Unis (Djibouti-U.S. Congressional Friendship Group). She has
traveled to the U.S. as part of an International Visitor's
Program on Women in the Political Process. She is also the
author of several theatrical comedies including "Madame la
Ministre." Robleh speaks Somali, Afar and French. She is a
recent member of the Front for Restoration of Unity and
Democracy (FRUD), joining after FRUD realigned itself with
the government in the mid-nineties.
Comments: Robleh is seen as very active and dynamic, good for
the position, a hard worker and wants a lot of change. She is
a good contact of the U.S. Embassy.
21. (C) Minister Delegated under the Minister of Justice,
Charged with Wafks, Cheikh El-Haji Mogueh Dirir Samatar: Born
in 1937 in Ali Sabieh district of Djibouti. Samatar is an
Issa Saad Moussa. He speaks Somali, Afar, Arabic, but only
limited French. He is married with four children. He has held
the position of Head of the Sharia and President of the
Islamic Association of the Republic of Djibouti (beginning
1980), Counsellor to the Minister of Justice and Islamic
Affairs in 1977, Senior Secretary at the Cadi of Djibouti in
1975. Samatar was a fellow of the Islamic Theology at the
Al-Azhar in Egypt in 1966. He also did a short term grant
study on Islamic Theology in Saudi Arabia.
Comments: Samatar is seen as one that might go soon because
he is past the age of retirement. Reportedly, Guelleh sees no
real replacement for Samatar. The young and popular Cheik
Abdourahman Bashir might have been a good candidate, but he
is currently not believed to be in Guelleh's favor, perhaps
because of the more conservative views on Islam held by