Initiatives for national reform (Part 1) [Archives:2006/965/Opinion]

July 20 2006

Abdulrrahim Muhsin
On 24 June 2006, parliament member and businessman Hamid Abdullah Al-Ahmar launched an initiative for national reform. His initiative has politically overstepped all that have come before. Al-Ahmar had expected a popular revolution to erupt if the issues of domestic congestion and government insistence on maintaining power over military-family governance failed to be addressed. He has predicted that a popular revolution would create a dividing line between two styles of regime: one a corrupt and despotic military system and the other a just and democratic parliamentary one.

This “peaceful popular revolution” which encountered difficulties after an incident at the southern airport in the capital on 24 June 2006 and the success of intelligence and security authorities' compulsory mobilization of military and civil employees, is now top of the Yemeni people's agenda. I do not believe that this society would tolerate the consequences of such a political imposition. The results would directly harm the livelihoods of both individuals and families. They would also negatively affect tradesmen who have offered financial support to the military rule. These funds were originally collected by raising the price of consumer goods and accessories, paid by Yemeni citizens. In principle, the businessmen responsible for this have the right to spend their money any way they like, but they should avoid using the same tactics as Somali businessmen. That is, financing domestic disputes and war lords in order to accumulate enormous personal fortunes. We have also seen that some of those financing the system of military rule are weapons dealers and smugglers, who are ready to contribute funds to activities aimed at agitating domestic conflicts. This comes at the price of failing to support development projects instead. By financing this network of political despotism and corruption, these businessmen are neglecting their mission and hindering the establishment of a modern Yemeni state, a development awaited so eagerly by the Yemeni population and international community.

It is difficult to classify the project of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) for political and national reform as a secure political initiative. This is because it has included a program of strategic alliance dependant on the possible decisions of the JMP management regarding the structure of state authority if military rule came to an end peacefully by the time a transfer of power became reality.

On the other hand, the agreement of principles is a repeated version of the agreement made in 2003. Since this initial report, the will of the electoral bloc has been weakened and Yemeni political credibility compromised by the rigidity of the presidency. Awareness of this added to Hamid Al-Ahmar's in depth knowledge of the secrets of governance led him to summarize his vision for the rectification of the domestic situation, requirements of globalization and the future of the country as a whole. It also led him to publish his proposal paving the way for the transfer of power in Yemen to civilian rule and the building a modern state. Al-Ahmar's proposal was published in Al Ayyam newspaper on 24 June 2006. Unfortunately, the proposal was not given the coverage it deserves, despite Al-Ahmar being a powerful social figure with strong connections to governance for more than four decades.

The proposal suggests an interim period during which there would be:

– A postponement of the presidential elections for two years,

-The formation of an interim government,

-The carrying out of constitutional amendments,

-The structuring of a serious agreement between the ruling party and the JMP that accordingly, there would be an adoption of a common national program to prepare Yemen for an improved future.

Abdulrrahim Muhsin is a well-known Yemeni journalist and opposition activist. Established the anti-regime movement called “Irhalo” which means get out. He was a former media person of the presidency office.