Minister of Local Administration resigns [Archives:2008/1208/Front Page]

November 17 2008

Mohamed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, Nov. 16 ) Minister of Local Administration Abdul Qader Hilal, who was also in charge of the reconciliation and reconstruction process in Sa'ada, resigned from all his duties two days ago.

He explained that he resigned after being subjected to denunciation, slanders and suspicion of his loyalty to his country by some bodies which he described as “corrupt and hypocrite and who aim to destabilize the president's trust”.

“As the matter has become unbearable, I find myself obliged to resign from my post as Minister of Local Administration and I will continue to be a faithful citizen forever,” said Hilal in his letter he sent to the President. The president accepted his resignation and appointed Minister of Interior Rashad Al-Masri to temporarily fill in the position at the Ministry of Local Administration.

Hilal visited the Ministry on Sunday in his personal car and bid farewell to his colleagues and friends, who described the scene as upsetting and that, by his resignation, the Yemeni government has lost one of its most decent and faithful heroes.

President Saleh had last week ordered the intelligence services to investigate Hilal for charges of links with Abdul Malek Al-Houthi, head of the Houthi movement in Sa'ada and with the opposition. Hilal, who was in charge of the committee for reconciliation with the Houthis, was seen as successful and was duly respected by both sides.

Hilal had already been subjected to past charges by some bodies in the government which accused him of contacts with the opposition. Mass media supported by the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) had previously launched a campaign of criticism and scolds against Hilal, similar to the latest accusations that prompted him to resign.

He succeeded in stabilizing the crisis in Sa'ada for the last four years – something no one else was able to do- due to his good relations with both the Houthis and opposition. His success gave rise to envy, especially among those “war merchants” whose projects he put an end to, according to locals in Sa'ada.

Political analysts commented that charges against Hilal about his relations with Houthis and Islah Party, which is part of Muslims Brotherhood Movement, contradict each other as the two parties have contradictory ideologies and opposing political stands.

However, the accusation of siding with the opposition, especially in the south, could be related to a report he had presented to the president jointly with Saleh Basurrah, Minister of Higher Education, regarding the illegal appropriation of lands in Aden. In what came to be known as the Hilal-Basurrah Report, they mentioned a number of influential personalities who had illegally appropriated public lands in Aden, which aroused the anger of the latter against them.

President Saleh had already ordered to dismiss Hilal from his tasks in Sa'ada as head of the reconstruction committee two months ago, but retracted his order later because of wide public and official condemnation against such a decision, as Hilal is respected by the people inside and outside the government.