Changing the government, what’s the avail? [Archives:2007/1019/Opinion]

January 25 2007

By: Ali al-Sarari
The new development about recent reports on a government change in Yemen has this time come through the media of the ruling party rather than rumors by unknown sources. Leading officials from the ruling party hasten to refute those reports leaking. The amazing thing about all that is that those leading officials of the ruling party have sent ready-made accusations inside their party and against the Joint Meeting Parties that are innocent of leaking the news.

This time the news about government change did not attract the attention of national public opinion inside or outside politically interested organizations. Attention of the news was confined to owners of the names of officials rumored to leave cabinet or those who are scheduled to assume posts. The simple reason is to snatch a few moments of pleasure in seeing people troubled and to see others pleased to see others suffer from the impact of illusions.

The government changes amendments from the last decade have consumed all claims as change for the better and nothing has been achieved – even a small amount of improvement in government performance or in the conditions of the country and its population. Therefore the latest news of government change was received coolly and did not inspire optimism due to the repeated cases of frustration and yet it did not spread feelings of pessimism of the future because the present is almost devoid of any hopes and good heralds.

Whether a government is changed or not the population of this country is no longer able to attach hopes on or have complaints against it. The people learnt that Yemeni governments do not govern and that complaining is useless. In this judgment all types of governments are equal; those governments from young generations or those of talents, the ministries of change and reform or ministries of continuing the same course. Regardless of the different names of government members and justifications of entrusting them they remained to represent a case of non-avail and futility and boring repetition.

As it happens every time the question of cabinet change is submitted the Yemeni political mentality does not summon change pertaining to accountability or asking about efficiency of the new ministers. The term accountability is non-existent in the Yemeni official political dictionary and efficiency of the new and former ministers is a question not subject to test or to be suspected. The reason lies in the fact that the corruption practice is available and allowed for the ministers if they desired, as part of the required function without a feeling of fear that corruption will affect their responsibility. As for efficiency it is not an important matter for a government that does not rule and its role is confined to imitation of the role of the rulers to cover up the existence of another team carrying out the real tasks of government.

The question put forth with every new formation of government is whether it will practice genuine authorities or not. The query also comes to realize public goals or just as a means for playing with feelings of the people and deceiving them about expansion of the base of national participation in the administration of the state institutions.

As a matter of fact the conditions of running the game of government formations are no longer the same as the ones used in the past. There are increasing world demands for Yemen to reform internal situations and the government has headed towards the Gulf Cooperation and the European Union and called on them to establish a kind of economic and political partnership with Yemen, those countries have become concerned with evaluating the governmental performance and practicing pressure for fighting corruption as a condition to bring that partnership tasks to success. These countries are also no longer interested in the process of meeting their conditions merely in the theoretical aspect by the way of issuing legislations aiming at achieving reforms. They have learned that legislations in this country, however advanced they appear to be. They do not reform for one simple reason: In most cases they are not implemented. For this reason those countries' interest is now directed to the practical side and the Yemeni officials must have begun to hear from their Gulf and European counterparts phrases about not wanting words, but deeds.

In fact, the ammunition of Yemeni officials in evading to meet the required reformatory conditions has exhausted. This means that their urgent need regional and international partnerships presently dictates on them to search for a new convincing way to confirming their seriousness and this cannot be attained but taking tangible practical steps . Here comes the question: To what extent will the rulings authorities in Yemen accept the change and to what extent the coming government will be entrusted with real tasks within the frame of meeting conditions of reforms and fighting corruption?

There is no real judgment in this regard. It is only possible when the actual rulers hiding behind the scenes take the responsibility of managing the government administrations and establishments openly and their decisions and measures put then face to face with accountability.

The general features of the political situation that the formation of the new government regardless of the names of its members will not have free hand in drawing up and implementing the policies and will not be depended on as real partner in making the decision. A limited margin could be open for it to implement some measures within the boundaries of chasing small examples of corruption just to convince partners that the wheel is rolling but as for the big corruption it is not allowed to approach near to it or to narrow its area of movement and interests.

At all events small corruption is not the real problem for Yemen and its disappearance will not effect a tangible improvement to the country's situations. These situations will not change but with formation of government that really rule and fighting all corruption is placed at the top of its priorities.

Ali Al-Sarari is a Yemeni Journalist and a well-known politician. He is the head of the information department at the Yemeni Socialist Party.

Ali Al-Sarari is a Yemeni Journalist and a well-known politician. He is the head of the information department at the Yemeni Socialist Party.

Source: Annals newspaper