LONDON, UK – Media OutReach – 12 April 2021 – PANGEA-RISK https://www.pangea-risk.com/ published a special report on DJIBOUTI: ELECTIONS TAMPERING AND ARMS SMUGGLING ALLEGATIONS MAR PRESIDENT’S FIFTH TERM, which alleges vote manipulation and government implication in arms smuggling.
The results of Djibouti’s 9 April presidential elections seem unrealistic given evidence of ballot burning by the country’s aggrieved population. Despite prospects of a swift economic recovery this year, there remain serious concerns over debt affordability, especially to China. Meanwhile, the country’s entrenched elite and the security forces are increasingly implicated in regional arms trafficking allegations.
The run-up to the vote was marred by frequent protests in Djibouti City, as well as outbreaks of political violence in the coastal town of Tadjourah. The tense political and security climate in Djibouti ahead of the vote would indicate that the government panicked and exaggerated President Guelleh’s electoral victory.
A dubious terrorist threat two weeks before the election fed into nationalist and populist rhetoric in the country that was intensified by pledges made just days before the election by President Guelleh to capture the Awash River, which flows through neighbouring Ethiopia.
The trade of illegal weapons in the Horn of Africa remains highly lucrative and is comprehensively entwined with transnational terrorist groups, drug smuggling, and the conflict in nearby Yemen. Djibouti’s enhanced role in regional arms trafficking is occurring at the same time as the country’s government is seeking foreign investment in its strategic port sector in light of its less than friendly reputation in abiding to international laws.