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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DJIBOUTI725 2005-07-28 12:56:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

DECENTRALIZATION FORUM: FOLLOW-UP WITH PND

Tags:   PGOV KDEM PHUM PREL DJ 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

281256Z Jul 05
					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 000725 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF, AF/E AND DRL;
LONDON, PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/27/2015
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PREL DJ
SUBJECT: DECENTRALIZATION FORUM: FOLLOW-UP WITH PND

REF: A. DJIBOUTI 650


B. DJIBOUTI 714

Classified By: Pol/Econ Erinn C. Stott for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary: In one of several conversations (reftel B and
septel to follow) with the participants of the recent forum
held to discuss decentralization and the special status for
Djibouti City, Embassy spoke with the Secretary General of
the National Democratic Party (PND), Mohamed Abdillahi
Waberi. While the forum was attended by only the parties in
the government coalition, and one non-aligned, independent
party, there was a significant and varied debate on several
of the articles in the proposed law. Waberi appeared to have
been pleased with the forum, but was much more critical of
the event than some of the other participants. Waberi said
the lead time given to parties to study the draft text was
much too short. He also said some of the parties did not send
decision makers to the forum, hampering the ability for the
forum to come to a decision. However, he did state that there
were more convergence of opinions than confrontations between
the political parties. End Summary.



2. (C) The July 2-14 Decentralization Forum held in Djibouti
was a good experience, according to the Secretary General of
the National Democratic Party (PND), Mohamed Abdillahi
Waberi. The forum was organized by the Minister of Interior,
who personally invited all political parties to discuss the
proposed draft of the Special Statute for Djibouti City.
Waberi stated his party aimed at discussing its pillar
principles with the government - freedom of expression,
judicial independence, decentralization, and a liberal
economy. He said, in his opinion, the main points of
contention during the debate on the draft law were the
nomination of the Mayor of Djibouti City, the functions of
the Mayor, and the minimum age for being elected to the
position of Mayor.



3. (C) Waberi indicated that most of the parties in
attendance had difficulty with the original draft requiring
the Mayor be nominated by the President of the Republic. The
preferred manner of selection was by election. In the end the
consensus decided upon an Mayoral election by the collection
of Community Councils. Another issue was whether current
public officials, such as Ministers or Members of Parliament,
should be eligible for the position of Mayor. The consensus
was that electing current public officials would not be
allowed. Some of the participants observed that this could
hamper the autonomous nature of the management of Djibouti
City. Regarding the minimum age for a Mayoral candidate, the
parties preferred to lower the required age from 25, as
stated in the original draft of the statute, to 23, as
stipulated in the Djiboutian Constitution for minimum age to
hold office.



4. (C) Waberi's complaints about the forum included the
efficacy of other parties' participants and the time given to
study the draft. He said some of the parties did not send
decision makers and were not very knowledgeable. This caused
confusion because the party's representatives kept referring
to French law, instead of trying to write Djiboutian law.
Waberi also said the government should have given the parties
more time in advance of the forum to study the text.



5. (C) Waberi added the government must respect political
parties and show flexibility to both opposition and majority
parties. However, he said, the opposition should not refuse
any attempt at dialogue offered by the government. National
interest should prevail above all issues between the two
sides. Waberi also noted that political parties in Djibouti
are in need to training because, at the moment, they are
doing as they please instead of acting as professional
politicians. In his view, a weakness of parties is that
their base is often cut off from leadership, with no
continuity of work. Waberi stated that parties do not call
upon their members for input or action unless there is an
election. Capacity building is needed. For Waberi, the next
step for the decentralization forum is a final consultation
with the political parties to verify that all amendments
discussed are included before it is sent to the National
Assembly for a vote.
RAGSDALE