Aden: the potential of promising city [Archives:2006/914/Opinion]

January 23 2006

By: Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
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Many people flock to the city of Aden, mainly during the Eid vacations to enjoy its beauty and nice climate. I dropped to Aden during this Eid holiday. I was full of hope and optimism while going around with my wife and kids in the streets of the city. I remembered what Robert Hundle, former World Bank country representative, told me when I interviewed him some years ago. He said that Yemen's future lies in Aden and its port which was during the British rule the second important port in the world. Hundle was questioning and showing worry over the future of the country after the oil runs out. He stressed it is only the investment of the Aden port that can be a potential source of income.

This is completely true as the port can be a good source of income to the country's national economy if attention is given to it by the people in charge. Aden, as city of civilized people, has a promising future. I have seen and felt that during my last visit, maybe because of the wonderful weather which gave the chance to explore the beauty of the city. However, everybody can really notice and feel the change that city is going through. It is growing and expanding; it is also becoming cleaner and cleaner for which we should give a round of applause to the hardworking governor Yahia al-Shuaibi.

Truly, the man needs the thanks and support of all for his good job to be able to work further. But, the man who commands the respect of a lot of the people nationwide can not work further without having the support of the big guys at the power center. Al-Shuaibi should be given the authority to whip out all illegal constructions built by influential guys who do not respect any law expect that of power and influence. We have heard a lot of stories about the looting of big chunks of land by military and tribal figures even in important positions on the sea shore. This chaos of building without following the design of the city and looting of pieces of lands of the ordinary citizens should stop. Also, the constructions in the new areas of the city should be done according to designs and not randomly.

One of the reasons why the World Bank cut its support to Yemen by 34% is that the failure of the government to create a good environment for investment. Yes, investments guys. There is no way for this people to improve their living standards expect through foreign investments operating in the country. The regime should not bet on the support of the donors or the joining of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It should work harder to bring foreign investments into the country. This, of course, will not take place without the rule of law, fair and independent judiciary and security. Foreign investors need to feel that their money safe.

As I said earlier, everybody see the promising future of Aden which can concretize, if the people in charge work to that end. Let us cross our fingers in the hope that our officials are now more aware of this fact and work accordingly.

Another point that I would like to strike here is the harassment exercised by some policemen against the people. I visited Taiz before the Eid. While I was driving my car with the company of my wife and little daughter, I was chased up by a police car which I was not aware of. The policemen stopped me and asked me to step down from car. I was asked to follow them to the car which I refused before knowing why. The guy said: “we have reports on a missing car.” I showed him the ownership documents and even my press card. They left. I thought they were right and doing their job. But, the people in the area complained to me the harassment of the same car moving around in Kalabah and Usaifrah areas, mainly at night. They stop everybody driving a car with a woman and start questioning about the identity of her and their relationship or sometimes use “we have reports on a missing car” phrase the people are getting familiar with.

I believe you agree this nuisance is illegal. Policemen do not have the right to stop people and start asking about their identity for nothing but to blackmail. The minister of interior and security officer of Taiz should stop such practice which gives a very bad impression about their policemen who forget about their real business in providing security to the citizens and turn to act like highwaymen.