Since he became president in 1999, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (IOG) has built his core power base on members of his own Issa Mamassan clan. They hold numerous key posts even if allies from other ethnic groups are also represented in the upper echelons of state government. For some time, IOG's position on the national political stage has been under challenge, notably from opposition coalition Union pour le Salut National (USN), while his position in the region has been weakened by his problems with United Arab Emirates (ION 1403). As a result, he has tended to rely on his closest partisans and, more particularly, his family connections as he prepares to stand for re-election in the 2016 presidential elections.

He has, therefore, been strengthening the web of family connections which has been woven around his wife, Kadra Mahamoud Haid, who acts as a sort of vice president, and their two daughters, presidential adviser Haibado and businesswoman Fatouma-Awo. At the same time, the first lady is discreetly preparing her son from a first marriage, Naguib Abdallah Kamil for high political responsibilities, and helping his sister, Nazli, in her business career. IOG himself has business interests in common with several of his numerous half-brothers, particularly with Saad Omar Guelleh, director general of the Port of Djibouti, which is a major source of income for the country and the presidency. One of the president's cousins, Djama Ali Guelleh,has also managed to hold on to his position as director general of state-owned Electricite de Djibouti (EDD), which served as milking cow for the IOG regime in its early days. This exclusive investigation details all the ramifications of the family network.