Former MPs struggle to regain status [Archives:2007/1085/Front Page]

September 13 2007

Nisreen Shadad
For Yemen Times

SANA'A, Sept. 12 ) More than one hundred former members of parliament created their own union in order to regain their status in the country. According to the main committee behind organizing this union is to ensure food on the dinner table.

“When we were parliamentarians, we were respected, and could easily meet important figures in the country. However, now that we are no longer work as MPs we are ignored.”

“My salary before establishing this union was 20.000 Yemeni Riyals (about one hundred US dollars). It can neither feed my family not to pay the rent of the house. But now it is 50.000 YR,” said Abdul Basit Al-Mashwali, member of the committee.

This is particularly the case of MPs who had been in position between 1990 and 1997. According to Al-Mashwali MPs elected post 1997 have better financial compensations.

The project has originally started two years ago, but because of logistics and financial constraints the formal launching of the union. Further, they are working to establish branches of the union in Taiz, Ibb, Hadramout, and Aden. Now the union includes 120 members, and the number is still increasing.

The founding members insisted on having a union so as to be able to have branches around the country. Because in essence, MPs are representatives of the Yemenis from all governorates and hence share the same issues and concerns.

The union also involves people from different parties to come together for the same cause, according to the founding committee.

Wasted expertise

This union involved the elite figures of the country. Parliamentarians are of the most powerful as well as popular figures in the country. Muhammad Umran, member of the committee, comments on the waste of such skills and abilities:

“Being a parliamentarian for six years gives me experience in the country's policies and legislations. Many of those parliamentarians can help develop the country. However, we restricted this union to the former MPs because involving the current ones may create sectarian conflicts”.

The former MPs hope to use their acquired skills to promote development in Yemen especially with regards to human rights, democracy, and freedoms.

More aims the union has established for as protecting the Yemeni union, fighting the sectarian conflicts as well as corruption, and defending human rights.

Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, the Chairman of the Shoura council called on former parliamentarians to become role models in the community. Abdul Ghani said the experience the parliamentarians have, can add a lot to the country.

The union consists of three assemblies, the general assembly, the secretariat-general and a consultative council. The selected head for the union is former MP Saif Al-Ammari.