Western Sahara |
Politics | Human rights
Even Sahrawis plan pro-democracy protests
The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic has just celebrated its 35th anniversary in a group of refugee camps in the Algerian desert, close to the border of Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. Its exiled one-party government, a full-fledged member of the African Union (AU), rules over an estimated population of 150,000 in the refugee camps.
The most daring demand was for changes to the electoral code in Western Sahara that would give voters a larger possibility to influence the election of parliamentary members and the President.
The revolutionaries urged all Sahrawis to gather in front of the presidential office in the Chahid Alhafed refugee camp on Saturday morning, bringing Sahrawi flags so as not to play into the hands of Moroccan media." A statement also warned Moroccan media not to abuse the upcoming protests in its propaganda campaigns against the Sahrawis.
afrol News asked Sahrawi journalist Malainin Lakhal about the potential of the upcoming protests. Mr Malainin's first reaction was that the youth grouping had not stated any of their names, so "nobody knows who they are."
"The real criticism that can be addressed to the initiators of this action is that they are anonymous, and this is not helping me for example to take it seriously, especially that it would have been better received by many Sahrawis if the initiators had put their names on the petition," he added.
Mr Malainin, himself based in the refugee camps, nevertheless agreed that "some of the demands they defend are acceptable and can only be supported by any Sahrawi, while there are some strong statements and discussable points in the text."
The prominent Sahrawi journalist further agrees there are some democracy deficits in the Sahrawi Republic. "However, I also think that it is very easy to criticise when you are looking to the action from outside. This is why I believe that my generation and the younger generation need to get more involved in the political life," he adds.
Mr Malainin also agrees the Sahrawi government needs to "listen more to the youth, to the people in the occupied zones and to listen to the international changes."
"Saharawis have everything to gain from strengthening their democratic institutions and building a better democratic state, and one of the ways to do that is to always inject fresh blood in the system, to empower the youth and to create more opportunities for the young generation to learn from previous experiences and be part of the decision making mechanism," the journalist adds.
By staff writers
© afrol News
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