Islah Party holds the state responsible for increased corruption [Archives:2008/1184/Local News]

August 25 2008

Almigdad Mojalli
SANA'A, Aug. 24 ) On Saturday, the head of Islah Party's information bureau, Fathi Al-Azab, laid the responsibility for the increase in corruption upon the Yemeni state, further criticizing the deficiency of both Yemeni political parties and society in combating and unveiling corruption before public opinion.

Al-Azab affirmed the necessity of creating a society that resists corruption.

He attributed this increased corruption to three main reasons, the first of which is the governing state and takeovers that involve a large portion of corruption in Yemen.

Secondly, he maintained that corruption within political parties is represented in their silence toward corruption, which has contributed to its increase, and finally, there is Yemeni society itself, which is willing to live with and accept such corruption.

Al-Azab downplayed the usefulness of oversight authorities such as “Parliament, the Central Organization for Control and Auditing (COCA) and SNACC [the Supreme National Anti-corruption Committee] because these bodies are subject to the decision maker, meaning the ruling General People's Congress Party, which has no real desire to combat corruption,” he said at a symposium on corruption in Yemen organized by Women Journalists Without Chains.

Ryan Gliha, public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, describes corruption in Yemen as a cancer that's spreading within the country's body and killing everything good created by Yemenis.

He further maintains that, although they are important steps, appointing SNACC, disclosing financial declarations and implementing bidding laws aren't enough to combat corruption.

To help, Gliha suggests creating an expanded coalition involving media, academics, activists and civil society to besiege this cancer and then uproot it.

SNACC member Izzadeen Al-Asbahi points out that civil society, the private sector and all three governmental authorities – the legislative, judiciary and executive authorities – all must be involved in combating corruption.

He adds that the role of the state, the private sector and civil society in combating corruption must be based on two things, the first of which is respecting freedom and human rights and creating a legal structure ensuring no corruption.

Second is the existence of an institutional structure and a commitment to the principles of transparency and competence.

According to Al-Asbahi, Transparency International has identified five fields to focus on in fighting corruption: leadership, governmental reform (including auditing and punishment), creating public awareness and establishing general programs and anti-corruption institutions.

Associate political sociology professor at Sana'a University, Fuad Al-Salahi, adds that social partnership in fighting corruption is based on five factors: official acknowledgment of such social partnership, simplifying access to information and data concerned with anti-corruption issues, building up social coalitions to fight corruption, spreading awareness about the risks of corruption and consolidating the values of uprightness and the principles of transparency.