Obstacles hindering political development in Yemen [Archives:2008/1194/Opinion]

September 29 2008

Ahmad Mohammed Abdulghani
If democracy stands for the kind of political system that allows open race for power and is in line with respecting human rights, this means that democracy is in any way better than totalitarian regimes, be it in the area of economic and social development or in managing standing political conflicts.

Democracy doesn't monopolize possession of power, nor is it based on eliminating other political partners from power. Instead, democracy is based on the peaceful transfer of power and equal opportunity to every individual to take part in power, which ensures any decision being in line with people's opinions and taking for granted role of the opposition in evaluating mistakes and suggesting remedies.

It goes without saying that democracy helps establish transparency and easy access to information, thereby encouraging all those concerned to express their viewpoints about particular issues and make use of the available resources in the country to suggest workable solutions to any pressing national issues.

Although the Republic of Yemen announced following the democratic course from May 22, 1990 onward and confirmed this in the constitutional article (5), which reads that “Political System of the Republic is based on political and partisan plurality with the aim of enhancing the peaceful transfer of power”, a quick glance at Yemen's political situation reveals that the country failed to overcome pressing totalitarianism-related problems. Consequently, Yemen could not have built real political and democratic experience.

Eighteen years have passed since the national unity was established while we are still facing the same problems of the past as a result of a weak state and its vulnerable components, as well as a poor political system that couldn't understand successive changes and deal with them positively and effectively.

Members of Yemeni society feel that the state and ruling regime failed to manage and improve the available political, economic, social and cultural components in their homeland.

The tragedy continues to worsen in the eye of Yemeni society members who are currently paying the price for mistakes committed by the government, coupled with its wrong and deceptive policies that fluctuate between available democratic texts and absent democratic practices, according to a statement released by Dr. Al-Dhahir.

In such a context, one may understand the salient obstacles faced by the process of political and democratic development in Yemen. Any state should have a representative character, sovereignty and ability to bring its citizens together and engage all social groups in political development. But, what happens in Yemen is that the state remained representing the natural expansion of fragmentations and splits with the local community, and therefore couldn't get rid of the traditional norms in terms of structures and their cohesive elements that govern community relations.

Seemingly, our state has become a single authority representing a particular social group and excluding other groups, which is why political observers predict that the same problem will be bequeathed to many generations to come.

Source: Al-Ahale Weekly