People losing trust in the Parliament [Archives:2005/903/Reportage]

December 15 2005

By: Hakim Almasmari
For years now, the parliament has been witnessing a crisis for not being able to utilize their position. Lack of power, and dishonesty on behalf of some members, are the core for this phenomena. Opposition Members continuously claim that in some situations they compose no power what so ever, therefore, making it impossible for such members to have an effective voice in Parliament. Issues which are supposed to be discussed during sessions are in some situations left aside and given a blind eye.

“We have lost hope in the parliament. Their words mean nothing. This is the reason why this country is only heading backwards”, said Ali Saleh Al-Otmi, a carpenter. “Why does the parliament even exist in Yemen? Most members are not even politicians”, he added.

According to many local observers, weakness is an attribute shared by many parliament representatives, which in return limits their service to society. Unfortunately, only countable members of parliament are noticed giving their utmost effort in fighting corruption from within government circles.

Questions arise as why many parliament members are not doing enough towards the people, while on the other hand; during election period they give promises and pledges for a better future. “They are not there to serve the people, they are there to serve themselves”, said a local activist. “People are fed up and want an immediate end to all this”, he added. Many members openly declare they are fighting corruption and that it rarely exists in the parliament”. In some situations members face outside interference which in return does not give them the ability to offer their duty fully.

Earlier this year parliament member Abu Ras resigned when he realized that there was no hope for change due to the wide spread of corruption in the country, and no serious intentions from officials to change the current situation. He described the government as a “government of mass destruction”, and quoted that it's the most corrupt in the history of modern Yemen. Abu Ras, who is of the Ruling People's General Congress party previously mentioned that the government had doubled the suffering of the people, increased poverty and unemployment, “The government is selling everything off as if it were its own property, and is selling lies and deceit over the complete failure of reform programs,” he said.

Transparency International ranks Yemen the 42nd most corrupted country in the world. It also mentions that the gross domestic product (GDP) per citizen in Yemen ranked a whopping 211th of the 226 in total. This reveals that the poverty rate in Yemen tremendously higher then where it was previously in the past, while in the same time unemployment is a crisis that looks more like a growing nightmare. Could this country return to the great height it once had, or will we continue to sink more? We hope that change is near, otherwise, expect crimes and problems to reach unpredictable levels.

Watching sessions held by the parliament on local television, shockingly you will notice many members enjoying their delightful conversation with other members, some laughing and giggling, while others spread their legs out relaxing as if they were at home or a Qat session. Their actions are enough to prove that they themselves realize that their efforts in many situations are of no value and in return cannot change the country to the better. “Watching them on television, I laugh and feel disgusted. I don't blame them because they feel exactly what we feel, and in return cannot do anything to stop such corruption”, said Saleh Ba-Abbad, a local laborer.

Many representatives complain of the lack of power they possess, while admitting that their powers are limited on certain issues. “There have been conspiracies between the parliamentary leadership, and some leaders of parliamentary factions who have overlooked and approved issues without the knowledge of the parliament”, said a parliament member.

In the meantime, many people still have trust in members of Parliament admitting that they are doing the best they can with the limited capabilities they have. “I don't think the corruption is from the parliament, they are only representatives who are giving their utmost effort to serve the people”, said Ali Mohammed, a businessman. “Combating corruption should be taking place from those higher then the parliament”, he added.

The parliament is looked at with a great amount of respect, but in return is asked to work for the good of the people. Unfortunately, procedures taken place in the parliament does not show that. How do members expect people to have faith in them if they are not offering the country visible assistance? Local and world observers have been continuously comparing the Yemeni people to a time bomb waiting to explode at any moment. We hope government official's look at this issue with great concern, and deal with it seriously and sincerely.