First tribal council in Yemen seeks to fight corruption [Archives:2007/1073/Front Page]

August 2 2007

SANA'A, July 29 ) The National Solidarity Assembly officially convened with participation of close to 1,000 tribal sheiks in a constructive meeting held on Sunday in Sana'a.

The assembly, which included academic, political and social figures, elected Hussein Bin Abdullah Al-Ahmar (who is also the son of the chairman of the Parliament) as chairman of the council, Abdurabu Al-Awadhi as chairman of the monitoring and inspection board, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Kadhi as chairman of the consultative board, Mohammed Hassan Damaj as secretary general, Abdu Beshr as his assistant and Faisal Mana' as assistant to the chairman of the consultative board.

In the opening session, Al-Ahmar delivered a speech in which he stated, “The assembly is not a political party. It is not directed against any party or entity. It is just a national and popular assembly based on deepening the spirit of revolution, republic and unification among the community and its tribes. It works according to the national principles and stabilizing unification, enhancing and deepening the brotherly relations. The council aims at finding familiarity, solidarity and protection of the law as well as constitution. It also seeks to fight corruption.”

Awadh Bin Mohammed Al-Wazeer, Yahya Mohammed Abu Shawarib and Saba Sanan Abu Luhoom were elected as deputies of the chairman. Mohammed Abdulelah Al-Kadhi was selected as chairman of the consultative council. Faisal Mana' and Ali Al-Kafeesh are his deputies along with 15 other members. One hundred members from the sheiks and dignitaries spanning the republic were elected, in addition to the members of parliament and consultative councils who founded the conference. The supreme committee was given the chance to appoint 30 percent of the council's members.

The council concluded conference activities with a number of recommendations mentioned in a final statement. They confirmed that the political, economic and social infringements prevailing in the community are due to flaws in the political system. They held the government accountable for the current miserable living conditions of Yemeni citizens and demanded the government to fulfill its constitutional duties and electoral promises to provide decent living for all its constituents.

The statement also called on the government to pay particular attention to the more active sectors such as education and health. The council announced their solidarity with all citizen demands, expressing their mortification about violations inflicted upon journalists and men of opinion. They also demanded official media to play an active role in serving citizens by giving voice to their issues of concern. They were optimistic about their council's ability to address the failure of authorities in addressing the community's needs and putting an end to the deterioration of public life. The statement mentioned that national solidarity is one of the positive attributes of Yemen.

Al-Ahmar invited, after returning from Libya, all Yemeni sheiks to form tribal blocs under the name of “The Popular Committee for National Solidarity.” But the proposed name faced criticism by state and ruling party officials, deeming such a committee to be a Libyan phenomenon.

Mohammed Bin Naji Al-Shayf described the conference as “muscles showing off that do not serve the national interest, leading to dissension among citizens of the same country.” He also accused unnamed forces of seeking to “Somalize” or “Lebonanize” Yemen.

Al-Shayf labeled sheiks who attended the conference “money-minded,” requesting Al-Ahmar to resign from the Parliament because another candidate had run for the same position. He also stated that accepting the candidacy of Al-Ahmar in the parliamentary election of 2003 at casting night was a breech of law.