Give Them a Chance [Archives:2001/15/Viewpoint]

April 9 2001

Some newspapers, critics, and political analysts were cynical about the new cabinet formed last week. According to them, even though they are new faces, they are with the same old mentality as that of the earlier ministers, and are incapable of triggering any meaningful change.
Here, I would like to impress upon all of these people to give the new government a chance. We cannot simply prejudge on the performance of any new government on the basis of preconceived ideas. We can only wait and see how they will progress.
The excitement I felt in the voices of some of the ministers, whom I called to congratulate, gave me some optimism and sense of a better future. They seem to be committed, with the potential to rise to the level of expectations of the Yemeni people. This is their opportunity to prove the sincerity of their intentions, and a genuine desire to change things for the better.
This is an open letter I would like to send through this column to each and every minister of the new government:
“After I congratulate you, I would like to say that your task will not be easy. All Yemenis along with the leadership are now looking at you as the ones who could make a difference. You need to prove that you are worthy of the trust of the president, and the people. You must strive to make a change for the better. I know that you are new to the posts and your experience may not be enough to deal with all its issues immediately. But, you have the time to make an accurate assessment of the challenges ahead and draft a long-term plan for your ministry. Your mission should start with getting rid of the corruption accumulated in your ministry since the previous minister. You need to clean up the mess and start from the beginning with a clean perception and a noble mission of serving the public. You have the authority and strength to implement your ideas. You are the decision-maker within your ministry. Hence, you can do much in this respect. You are responsible for making sure that all of the services offered by your ministry are adequately carried out with no room for any personal interest. The steps you will be taking will be keenly observed by the people and closely monitored by the leadership in order to asses how well you are doing.
Yet, I have some very important advice for you: If you feel that you have tried your best to usher in change, and that you worked thoroughly and continuously to bring about change, but failed due to corruption, inefficiency of the machinery, etc. Then you need to step down. This way you will be proving to the president and the people that you made an honest effort but faced tremendous odds. So much so that you deemed it proper to relinquish your post rather than be held responsible for all the wrong-doings and corruption of the system. This way you will win people’s trust and respect.”
The upcoming two years are very critical in deciding the future of Yemen. The ministers will have to be given a chance to prove that they are willing to listen to the miseries and sufferings of the people, and work to solve most, if not all, of them. They need to understand that it is time for Yemen to get out of its crisis, and that can not happen unless the ministers relentlessly work on enforcing law and order. They need to show the world that they are willing, and are capable, to rising to the occasion.
Let us not prejudge the new ministers. Let us give them a chance. They both need and deserve it!