Passing of Yahya Mohammed al-Mutawakkil Another loss [Archives:2003/03/Front Page]

January 20 2003


Yemen has lost another statesman. Still reeling from the Dec. 28 assassination of prominent opposition figure Jarallah Omar, the country must now deal with the Jan. 12 traffic death of Yahya Mohammed al-Mutawakkil, the deputy secretary general of Yemen’s ruling party.
By all accounts, it’s a catastrophe for both his family and the people of Yemen.
Al-Mutawakkil, 60, was the third most powerful man in the country.
He was a patriot who struggled for the Yemeni revolution since its beginning and devoted his life for four decades to the cause of Yemen’s development and prosperity.
He was known for his noble behavior and high morals and that gave him the love and respect of many.
Al-Mutawakkil was traveling in a convoy from the southern port of Aden to Lahj district, about 185 miles south of the capital Sana’a, when the crash occurred.
Several other people accompanying al-Mutawakkil were also killed, and several others were injured, including Gen. Ezzeddin al-Muathin, a leading member of the ruling General People’s Congress.
A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three people traveling with al-Mutawakkil died. It was unclear what caused the accident. An investigation has been launched to discover its cause.
Born in 1942, al-Mutawakkil graduated from Yemen’s military academy in 1962. He served as Interior Minister in several cabinets between 1977 and 1993 and was also Yemen’s ambassador to the United States during the early 1980s.
Al-Mutawakkil was survived by his wife, son and daughter.
A group of specialists will go to Lahj District soon to investigate the Jan. 13 accident that took place at 8:30 am on a highway between Bi’r Naser and Fifth Brigade Camp north Aden.
Sources say that the cause of the accident could be either a technical error or excess speed which caused the car to deviate from the main road and roll over several times.
General Al-Mutwakil was on his way to attend a GPC leadership’s assembly at Al-Husaiani guest house to talk about elections preparations.
Citizens of that area rushed to aid when the accident took place, but al-Mutwakil was already dead.
The Yemen Times has met a number of people who knew him to find out more about what people are feeling.
Matloop Atef al-Sharafi, the head of board directors in the Saba International for Navigation and Investment Company Limited, says “Yahya was not ordinary man but he was a brave and prominent leader that his name linked with the most crucial achievements in the Yemeni society: that is 26 September Revolution and the Yemeni unification of 1990.”
He added “Al-Mutawakkil had a long history of struggling and challenging things, working silently and quietly in different circumstances and conditions and locations for sake of freedom and independence and dignity and prosperity of his nation.”Al-Mutawakkil was known a modest person with good-manner. In a visit that president of republic has paid to Hodeidah city in the end of last December, I sat continuously with the late al-Mutawakkil for four hours in which I observed him. Those few hours gave me an opportunity to discover a nobleman who has good spirit full with love for people and country. He was quiet and good at speaking and listening. He amazed you with his logic and spoken word.
Al-Mutawakkil’s passing away is really representing a grievous loss for the country. And for the General People Congress, it’s a loss of a great national and politician. His passing away represents a big calamity as men like him are rare and no one can replace them. Mercy on the late and condolence for his family and beloved people.”
Dr. Hussein al-Eryani, Taiz University Rector, said “No doubt that al-Mutawakkil’s passing away in these difficult circumstances represents a great loss for the nation as he was known for his honest stands and his good dealing with cases. He was a listener rather than speaker and if he spoke, he spoke about the love he had for his country.”Faisal Saeed Fare’a, the general manager of al-Saeed for Science and Culture Foundation, said “It seems that we are in a time when we lose many of our prominent men, starting with Jarallah Omar and now al-Mutawakkil.
“The fact is that al-Mutawakkil played important roles in Yemen’s history, as he always served national causes. He was a link between the political forces, for he had an open future vision for all people. He passed away in a time the country was in dire need of him. With losing him I feel that we lose one of the few farsighted and intellectual persons who have a library of precious books that gave him vision and experiences.
“I met him when he paid a visit to our foundation four days before his sudden and painful departure. He walked around in the foundation and talked intimately, warmly about this project considered it as civilized one pointing to the importance of taking care of our heritage and history. We had future appointment with him, but fate was quicker and snatched him in that painful traffic accident.”
Abdu al-Wahab Magaless, Sheik and intellectual, said, “Al-Mutawakkil was a first-class politician as well as a cultured person who was known to have noble morals, and brave and prominent stands that served Yemen since his infancy. His death is a big loss for General Peoples Congress party and for the land of Yemen.”