Document of Pledge and Accord on its 14 Year Anniversary [Archives:2008/1134/Opinion]

March 3 2008

Mohammed Al-Maqaleh
The twentieth of February 2008 coincided with the 14 year anniversary of the Document of Pledge and Accord, signed by the various Yemeni party and organization representatives in the Jordanian capital city of Amman. I think that most of the Yemeni people learn about the remarkable day that saw the document signed.

I was among those who attended the event and took part in its proceedings. For me the Document of Pledge and Accord was by all means a political, national and historical document. In fact, the document's significance doesn't arise from its terms or content, as the passage of time might have dropped part of it, thereby leaving the remaining part in a pressing need for serious development and review so that it contains all the Yemeni turmoil's developments since that date and up until now.

Dear respected readers, the document's significance arises from its being a national consensus product at first, notably as all the political opponents took part in the dialogue for the sake of reaching an agreement on the document and ratifying it. This is the ideal methodology we need today while addressing any national issues having something to do with the fate and future of Yemeni people, such as the currently experienced turmoil in our homeland. The Yemeni people behave as if they are not concerned with the turmoil, or as if it doesn't concern them. It is a political and national stupidity that may not be seen elsewhere in the world.

Secondly, being signed before the whole world, the document meant and still means that all the Yemeni people admit that a national crisis exists and such a crisis has something to do with the turbulent status of the Unity State. They also admit the Unity State needs to be constitutionally, administratively and politically reviewed in a way ensuring that three key requirements are satisfied, and therefore we need to have these requirements satisfied before the current turmoil grows into a destructive catastrophe.

To see national partnership in power and fair distribution of resources and services is one of these requirements. By this, we need to have Yemen of equal citizenship, law and order, or in short, Yemen for all Yemeni people.

The second of the requirements associates with expanding the base of popular participation in decision-making, plus reviewing the standing election system and the way the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum is formed. Additionally, this review has to cover the Legislative Council term – be it of bicameral or unicameral legislature – and anything else that helps achieve equal representation for all the social groups and political parties in the elected bodies, on the one hand, and on the other, produce a more responsible executive exercising its powers for a specific term only like those of other countries where democracy continues to grow.

The third requirement is that of having neutral government institutions that must not be, in one way or another, involved in conflicts. To be clearer, the army and security institutions should be reshuffled in a way ensuring their being neutral and independent, nepotism should be eliminated in order for people to enjoy justice and equality, and media should be free in order to enhance transparency and accountability. In brief, anything putting pressure on people's awareness and needs must be eliminated.

We have to make use of the lessons that forced us into signing the Document of Pledge and Accord. We should step up efforts with the purpose of reaching a national dialogue that involves all the political opponents, and during which all the potential participants need to admit that there is a crisis, and then suggest workable national solutions to building the state of law and order, equal citizenship and partnership.

In the meantime, we have to avoid mistakes of the bygone in order not to let the destruction forces take us into conflicts and wars again and again. In other words, we should make use of the available opportunity in order to help Yemen get rid of its historical dilemma. To be honest, Yemen may not be rescued from its turbulent status unless its natives demonstrate clear conscience, high sense of responsibility and self-accountability, and adoration for their homeland. It is time for natives of this homeland to be really patriotic and do their best for their nation's sake because 'No state can reach the peak of advancement unless its builders are natives.'

Source: Al-Thawry Weekly