After the new Cabinet What Else Do We Want? [Archives:2001/15/Focus]

April 9 2001

By: Hassan Al-Haifi
Admittedly, the new cabinet announced last Wednesday gives considerable room for hope that possibly there is something worth thinking about. Yes there is a big cabinet to start with, with 35 ministers, a good number of who seem to be serving a surface function rather than a line or service function. But still there is the feeling that a lot of those faces are new and young faces, many of whom have records that have not been smeared by the unholy corruption and lure to rapid wealth that so many past ministers have gotten away with. Moreover, many of them are known to this writer and several of my colleagues to be hard and conscientious workers and have a very good feeling of the ethics of proper success.
Yes, a cabinet of thirty-five members may seem to be a large cabinet for a small country like this, but then, Yemen is no normal small country and one with particulars that often make us have to take into consideration many political and other factors of character that are seldom found in any other country. But we must also remember that there is a lot of energy that is lying untouched, thanks to so many years of political instability and regional misgivings. That energy, if released, can turn this country into a dynamic and vital regional role player that cannot be underestimated, nor should it be left untouched, because on the whole there is a lot of good in this land and there are sufficient resources to tap that energy and turn it into a productive center, economically and culturally.
Yes Mr. Bajammal, you have a lot of work outlined for you, but with the Cabinet you have now the work should not be as difficult as it may seem to many. The most important element that we need to implant in our new Government is that things cannot go on as they have been going on for so many years. If that is the case, then there is going to be a big disappointment that it seems that our conditions are not under the control of the Government, but rather under the influence of forces far beyond what our Government is able to really take charge of, and that is a disappointment, which the Yemeni people can no longer accept and forgive.
We congratulate you and all your Ministers, new and old, and we implore you to seek new avenues to tread on so that our people can begin to see the light of day and to be relieved from all the meaningless nonsense that have become almost common norms, needlessly, and not serving any national purpose whatsoever.
It is not difficult for the new Government to understand what is going on in the country, because most of your ministers have not been isolated from what the Yemeni people are facing, especially from the inside. We urge you to rely on feedback from the people, before taking any action or making any decision, because the people of Yemen should always be the source of inspiration for any Yemeni Government to be guided by, and by this you will be able to understand where the main areas of ineptitude can be found, which past Governments have fallen into and why. You might even be guided as to the proper channels to pursue to overcome all the obstacles and difficulties that stand in the way of Yemen taking the proper course of development and cultural enlightenment. Moreover, the new Government has enough patriotic blood in it to instill a new course of vigor and dynamic equilibrium that will put the country of Yemen in its rightful course as a productive and prosperous nation that can rely on its own resources and acumen to launch Yemen out of the abyss which it has been unable to come out from, due to the lack of responsibility and self respect, which a lot of officials and social and even religious leaders have been careless to display, without any regard to the welfare and suffering of their people. We urge you to remember that Yemenis all over the world are looking forward to see some positive actions taken by your Government which should include first and foremost the introduction of accountability by all public officials at all levels of Government for their deeds and misdeeds, notwithstanding what their social or political position may be and that the time has come for the productive to be awarded and the ineffective and inefficient to be thrown out and for the corrupt to be prosecuted and put behind bars.
Nobody believes that Government service is easy, especially in a country like Yemen, where we still face the problem of understanding that laws are issued to be effective and enforceable, without regard to the circumstances or the people involved and the consequences, because laws are the tools for the application of justice and without justice and equity there is no Government that can carry out its functions effectively and with the support of the public at large.
On the other hand, your Government will be charged with the awesome fact of rearranging the priorities that will help to energize our economy, because the plight of the people has reached an all-time low, and an inexcusable low at that, when considering that the resources and the capacities are there to launch an economic future for the country that surely can narrow the gap in the standard of living enjoyed by some of our neighbors and the pathetic state of the living conditions of most of our people.
Another important element of good Government is that the Government should not be misguided by the reliance on centralized authority for every facet of our life to the point that we have become literally unable to breathe air without the approval of some central authority. You should give yourself and your cabinet a break from all the routine day to day workings of Government and make proper use of all the staff in Government, by rehabilitating public servants to rely on their own initiative rather than to wait for instructions or guidance from their supervisors and to make them understand that any positive initiative that comes from them will be rewarded accordingly.
We know you have a lot set out for you to have to wait for us to tell you what to do or how to do it, but what you can be assured of is that the press will be ready to stand by you and your cabinet whenever we are assured that you and your cabinet are indeed seeking to satisfy the will and the aspirations of the Yemeni people. After all is not that what good Government is really all about? Congratulations and good luck!