Abdulwahab al-Bukhaiti to YT: “Promoting awareness is a collective duty; of the government, schools, mosques, all media means, etc.” [Archives:2001/24/Interview]

June 11 2001

Abdulwahed Mohemmed al-Bukhaiti, born in 1957, Uraf, Jeblah district, Ibb governorate. Mr. Mohammed is the father of nine children: five daughters and four sons. He graduated from the Military Faculty in 1979. Then, he graduated from Sana’a University, Share’a and Law Faculty.
He has been a GPC member since its very establishment. He held many positions at the Local Administration Ministry the latest of which is Mareb governor.
He is energetic and enthusiastic kind of person. He is calm, respectable and very friendly. He possesses good knowledge of his country conditions.
Mohammed bin Salam of the Yemen Times interviewed him and discussed so many issues of concern to the people and filed this report:

Q: Yemenis are celebrating the 11th anniversary of the unification. How do Yemenis recall this occasion? How do you assess the past 11 years of the unity?
A: First I would like to extend my warm congratulations to all Yemenis on this memorable occasion.
No one can deny the achievements of the unity: democracy, political and partisan plurality and elections are telling evidence. There is also a good scope for freedom, especially freedom of the press. Contrary to other Arab citizens, the unity has granted the Yemeni citizen the freedom to express his opinion.
With regards to the negative aspects, the most outstanding are kidnapping incidents and roads blocking. These phenomena are alien to the Yemeni society. Yemenis are well known for their hospitality, respecting and protecting guests whoever they are. Spread of financial and administrative corruption in public institutions is also another problematic issue. However, these can never be comparable to the historic event, the unity of all Yemenis.

Q: How do you foresee the future within the deplorable economic, social and health deterioration plaguing the country?
A: Future comes after the present which is not as bad as some think. The government has made a strategic plan for the next 25 years. Moreover, local councils will enhance hopes to have tangible reforms at all levels. I am optimistic that local councils will take a pivotal part and will be very crucial in curbing many of the negative pending issues in the public institutions. Furthermore, they will also follow plans of the government aiming at financial and administrative reforms.
Not the least are the people who if rally together and participate actively with the political leadership we can get Yemen out of the economic recession and other negative phenomena as well.

Q: How do you find the governorate conditions? and What are the main problems?
A: Sana’a governorate is of special structure. It is different in its social structure despite the geographical similarities to other governorates of the Republic. Needs required and challenges faced in the governorate are also more. Of the outstanding challenges are the complicated revenge issue, border tribes, kidnapping incidents, roads blocking etc. Public services and development projects are the main needs and concerns of the big section of residents in Sana’a. Sana’a now is consisted of 21 districts. Population is more than one and half a million.

Q: What are your future plans? Is there a clear vision for the number of projects that the governorate needs?
A: There is an ambitious strategy the government has drawn up for all the governorate of the Republic during a 25-year period. This period is divided into five-year plans. Work has started in accordance with the first five-year plan. Sana’a governorate share of public services including roads construction net reached to 500 km. Work to pave roads among some districts and between the governorate and other governorates has actually been put into effect. 36 schools are now being built in all the districts of the governorate. Water and electricity projects are also ensured.
With regards to the social security network, the governorate’s credit reaches to YR 1 million annually. We have started taking measures to ensure delivering these amounts to their real owners.

Q: What are the obstacles impeding reforms in the governorate?
A: The biggest obstacle is the limited financial resources. For instance, the education sector is taking the biggest share. YR 320 million are spent as salaries. However, there is no observation on how or to who this money is spent. These are also some of our concerns which we can not control due to the limited resources. This also requires some time too.

Q: Do you have any plans to address some corruption issues in the governorate?
A: First and foremost, I would like to indicate that I have been here only for less than a month. I need more time to fully grasp the situation. I do not claim that everything is under control. Furthermore, what the exaggeration we read in newspapers and hear in mosques can never be the basis we depend upon to accuse and hold others accountable until we have tangible proofs and evidence. As I already mentioned there is a clear corruption in education. In this regard we do not need proofs and we are now working to lay the mechanisms that would help us to address this in the near future.

Q: What is the authority of Sana’a governor? Is there any mingling or authority overlapping between the governor and the capital secretary general?
A: As a matter of fact, there is some overlapping of authority. We are in regular contact to coordinate in this regard, except for some urgent security cases that are dealt with directly by the authorities concerned.
There is also coordination between offices of general managers to settle the administrative issues without having to report to us in these respects.

Q: How do you explain the continuation of tribal strives? How can we put an end to them?
A: These strives and conflicts are attributed to many reasons including the social heritage. Hence, it is of crucial importance to raise people’s awareness. If people come to realize the great harm of these malpractice to the governorate, they will certainly restrict themselves and stop others from doing them. The duty of promoting awareness is not that of a specific institution. Rather it is a collective duty; of the government, schools, mosques, all media, etc. It also requires some time too.
The second pre-requisite is a strict, just and fair judiciary system which if ensured many cases will be resolved.
I personally count a lot on the local councils to do a great deal in fighting this social disorder.

Q: As you have referred to the local councils do you think they can really solve some of these pending issues such as development projects and revenge and tribal strives?
A: No doubt that these councils are facing a great challenge. They have taken up great responsibility by voters who pin high hopes on them. If these councils focus on the people’s main issues; to raise awareness among tribes at all levels I believe they will make radical changes.

Q: Do you think local councils came to obliterate the role of sheikhs and tribal personalities in pursuing activities of the people?
A: I believe local councils can never replace sheikhs. On the contrary they might be complementary to their role. Furthermore, Sheikhs themselves may be members of these councils.

Q: It is reported that there were some sources which attempt at instigating and stirring tribal strives either to serve their self -interests or some outside sources. What is the truth of these reports?
A: I agree with you that there are some personalities still living outside the country. They attempt to disturb the stability and security. There are also some inside forces that are conspiring against the country.

Q: How do you assess the authority measures to solve kidnapping incidents, revenge issues and car thefts?
A: All the institutions of the authority are doing their utmost to solve these issues. Moreover, the authority looks at the people as citizens and not as enemies so as to suppress them. It works to solve these issues to maintain the public and national interest.

Q: What are the best means to solve issues of citizens in the governorate? Why do they resort to violence or kidnapping if they want to ask for a development project or anything?
A: These acts are already paid for. A telling proof is that there are many other areas suffering the same kind of problems, if not more, and there are no such acts.
The right solution is that residents of these areas apply legitimate means to ask for projects or through the legitimate channels of the authority. The authorities concerned will certainly look into these demands and will try to meet them in accordance with the resources available.

Q: Any last comment?
A: I call upon all Yemenis regardless of their belongings, or party affiliation, to preserve the great ever achievement Yemen has made and call them to face all the conspiracies that jeopardize the state.