Ibb Governor to YT: “Limiting the Individual’s Freedom is an Outrageous Violation of Law” [Archives:2000/07/Interview]

February 14 2000

Imad Al-Saqqaf
Taiz Bureau Chief
Ibb is following a steady progressive course that would ultimately qualify it to occupy an outstanding position among the governorates of the Republic. This is not only concluded out of the beauty of its nature but also depending on the the kind of vitally important projects being implemented there to the benefit of the people.
We are not exaggerating the point in saying that the Governor Abdul Kader Helal is the primary factor behind all that prosperity that moves forward at progressive strides. The achievements made are really praise-worthy. He has actually been playing a key role model for all the people in the governorate who highly appreciate his commendable efforts and unwavering determination to do all that can be done for their benefit. Besides his efforts to obliterate the illegal private jails of some Sheikhs and launching clean-up campaigns by himself. He is a special person of his kind.
Yemen Times proposed to him to plan a tourist guide for the governorate which he warmly and whole-heartedly supported and approved. He seems to be the only one who could make the best use of the financial support and aids from donor countries such as Germany for a number of projects are under execution.
Imad Al-Saqqaf, Taiz Bureau chief interviewed him and filed the following report:
Q: The governorate of Ibb witnessed so many developments in different spheres of life during the time of your incumbency as the governor. How do you assess the previous period and what are the future prospects?
A: Yemen has witnessed, during the leadership of president Ali Abdullah Saleh, great developments in different walks of life. The governorate of Ibb is one of those governorates which has its share of this development and this is visibly reflected in the different strategic projects that are being established. An illustration in point is the University of Ibb and the building of a good number of schools, health centers, roads, telecommunication, electricity, water, etc. All these achievements have been accomplished at a time characterized by hard economic, social and political conditions. The achievements that have been accomplished since the time of the unification are the real yardstick of the previous period and should be the standard of any new period to follow.
We are very optimistic about the future. To meet the major needs of the people and to serve our country in this time of stability is the very end of our objectives along with the steadfastness of the leadership to do all that can be done to build the modern Yemen. So we are trying to make use of the available resources to meet our ambitions especially after endorsing the Local Authority Law which we anticipate will be a good push for us to act and move within a broad circle.
Q: Some reports say that the governorate of Ibb will be a tourist capital for the variable climate it is distinguished by. What is the role played by the Ministry of Culture and the general organization of Tourism in this regard? and how does it affect the governorate?
A: The governorate of Ibb is distinguished by its natural, tourist, archaeological magnificent views that empower it to be the tourist capital of Yemen. Besides, there is a specific attention paid by the government to forward the tourist drive in a way that will benefit the national economy. Therefore, the Ministry has conducted a renovation campaign in many archaeological places. Therefore, choosing it as the tourist capital of Yemen is something ordinary for the potential resources that it is famous for.
Q: How do you assess the future of sports in the governorate?
A: We are counting a lot on the enthusiastic, ambitious and talented youths of the governorate who could do a lot in different spheres of life. Youths as it is commonly believed are ” Half of the present and all the future” especially on the sports side. The youths in Ibb are very energetic and lively and this is the most important thing no matter whether there are limited or sufficient resources. This is best reflected when Itehad Ibb could win the tournament of the President’s Cup for 1999 besides being able – to our pride – to participate positively abroad. Moreover, Sha’ab Ibb could win the 26 September Cup and that of the Loyalty to the President last year. However, there are no limits for our ambitions which are not only focused on football matches, but exceed to include all the other games and sports.
Another edifice that bears witness to the prosperity of sports in the governorate is May 22 Stadium which is under construction. Beside the Youths’ House which has recently and officially been opened by the President costing more than YR 50 million. There has also been the establishment of the headquarters of the club and about 24 facilities for the two clubs, “Itehad and Sha’ab” financed by the Youths’ Fund.
Q: The PGC has made resounding success in the latest parliamentary elections of 1997. It gained 36 seats out of 38. How do you assess the political activities of the parties in the governorate?
A: There is a number of active parties in the governorate either those supporting the authority or those belonging to the opposition. Their activities are being directed in different fields and are being held throughout the whole year; some are internal within the parties while the social, mass and cultural ones tend to include all the people here. This is a clear manifestation of the political plurality that we have adopted and deeply believed in. Besides, they have participated actively in the elections whether the parliamentary or the presidential ones which took place on September 23, 1999.
Q: The issue of the Sheikhs’ private jails was raised lately and you played a pivotal role in their abolition. What is the latest about this issue?
A: In fact, the activities of the security committee in the governorate is a way to empower and reinforce law and order and a direct implementation of the constitution of the Republic which ensures freedom, equality for all the citizens without exception. limiting the individual’s freedom is an outrageous violation. Besides, no person is to be kept in detention unless there is a legal warrant issued by the concerned organizations. Therefore, when such proven violation cases occurred, it was necessary that those in charge had to move to rectify the wrong and correct the situation to protect the individuals’ rights which should never be restricted except when they violate the law.
Q: The Yemeni-German relations have always been very special and in course of time they prosper. How can the governorate make use of these relations?
A: There are harmonious as well as amicable relations between the two friendly countries and this is best reflected in the governorate congenial relations with the embassy. These relations have been translated into mutual collaboration and Ibb has a good share of the German support for our country. A vivid example of this is the Water and Sewage System of Ibb and the Treatment Station of the first stage costing DM 60 million ( DM 45 million from the German government and DM 6 million from the Yemeni government). There is also the Yemeni-German project for Health Education and Environment consisted of two stages, and Water and Sewage System of Yarim which is under implementation costing DM 35 million besides building 122 classes and renovating 310 classes whose costs run to half a billion Yemeni riyal. Moreover, there is the Health and Families Planning and providing medicine. In brief, there are so many successful projects by the German government in the governorate which we are very determined to carry out according to the designs and standards.
Q: It is reported that many of antiquities have been discovered recently in Al-Ood Mountain and that there are some French and German who embarked on an excavation and renovation campaign. What has this campaign done so far?
A: Al-Ood Mountain constitutes a great historical edifice that bears witness to the greatness and glory of the Yemeni people. When some experts from the General Organization of Antiquities and with cooperation of some friends from Germany started to explore this mountain they found that there are lots of antiquities dating to thousands of years. So the excavation is continuous and rough reports show that there is a treasure of antiquities that are renovated. They are preserved in an accurate way by the concerned organizations.
Besides, there is a museum that is going to be established at the government expense in Al-Ood Mountain which will include all the antiquities discovered in the mountain.
Q: You have launched a clean-up campaign in the governorate. Was it a success after all and did you participate in work as an exemplary for the people?
A: As a matter of fact, the cleaning issue is of a crucial importance and a clean nation is a civilized one. Therefore, all the people should participate in doing this. However, this can never be a success if it is carried out by one side. What I have done was out of my conviction that it is my duty to do so. I wanted to encourage all to participate in making the governorate as clean as possible. Besides, we have called for the participation of all the organizations in the governorate in this campaign.
Q: What are the reasons behind the absence of the investment side of both the private and the public sectors?
A: Investment in the Republic in general and in Ibb in particular has still a long way to go before it is fully manifested. It is only a matter of time, nothing more. Besides, if we want to have successful projects they should be fully planned and studied. At large there are some investment in the governorate in terms of building hotels, tourist as well as health places.
Moreover, the leadership seems to be very serious in its attitude towards investment drive in Yemen. This is best reflected in the leadership continuous efforts to render all the facilities for investors. On my part, I am ready to provide any support needed for anyone who wants to invest in the governorate.
Q: What are the reasons behind the state of stagnancy that prevailed the literary area?
A: The cultural activities become intense, obvious and colorful in the various festivities of the country. Therefore, I do not agree with you that the literary activities are stagnant in the governorate for there are a drama band, different tourist as well as cultural journals and circulars issued with full freedom. We have ambitions to establish a library which will back up the cultural side much. For the time being we are seeking to find a proper place for this library.
Q: The number of killing cases reported in newspapers have increased sharply these days. Ibb is considered to be the governorate number 2 in the number of killing cases. Is this a sign of dereliction on the part of the security apparatus?
A: The security forces are doing their job properly in accordance with the law. The increasing number of killing cases that the governorate comes in the first or the second place does not mean that the security forces are to be blamed for there are so many reasonable factors for the occurrence of killing such as the large number of the people living here reaching to 2 million. Besides, crimes do exist all over the world and in all communities. However, the crimes’ rate increases when there are causes such as revenge, tribal feuds and carrying weapons which we are doing our best to put an end to.