Pathetic Local Councils! [Archives:2001/30/Viewpoint]

July 23 2001

Some people received the statements of Prime Minister Abdulqadir Bajammal regarding the inability to operate most of the elected local councils with shock, while others received them normally. The statements of Mr. Bajammal actually revealed the truth that has been hidden from the public for so long. Bajammal should be thanked for his frankness and sincerity in revealing that the country is still too administratively immature to handle this incredibly high number of local councils. The country has neither the money, nor the staff to run and operate those local councils. Yemen is a poor country with most of its population living well beneath the poverty line. It was wise of the Prime Minister to decide against continuing with the original plan to operate three quarter of the local councils. the reasons are obvious, Yemen is still not capable of handling such a huge task.
It was mentioned time and again that the local council system requires awareness, financial resources, administrative skills, security, good democratic experience, plus many other prerequisites. What does Yemen have among these, nothing!
Hence, it was quite obvious that this step would be taken, especially that the country is going through an economic crisis and needs to concentrate on other more vital issues, including public services and education.
One can understand why this decision was taken after the realization that those local councils cannot be operated with available facilities and human resources. They do not have qualified staff, and as the PM said,” Yemen is saturated with illiteracy”, justifying his decision not to continue operating those local councils. “It is difficult sometimes to find 15 to 18 people who can even read in some of those provinces,” he said.
Once again, we as Yemen Times assert the need to move on gradually. We simply cannot jump to become one of the most decentralized nations in the world if we have a population that is mostly illiterate and living below th poverty line.
It seemed as though we needed six months after the local councils were elected to understand that this step was actually too early. I hope we don’t need that number of months to realize that there are other priorities to take care of besides the pathetic local councils we have been chanting for!