Political reforms is a priority [Archives:2006/1000/Letters to the Editor]

November 20 2006

Mohammed Orner Zain Assaqqaf
President of the Justice and Democracy Party

Dear Sponsors and Participants in the Conference of Donor States

The Justice and Democracy Party offer you the most sincere greetings, appreciating your efforts to help our country to attain economic qualification to keep pace with our brothers in the neighboring countries.

In spite of the significance of that economic assistance, we perceive that what is more important for us all today is presenting support and assistance to our country to carry out political reforms that lead to economic, administrative, financial and legal reforms that build the foundation to build a modern democratic, civic state, a state of institutions, law and a just and independent judiciary, and separation among the authorities.

The weaknesses of the state in performing its duties has led to the spread of corruption, absence of justice and the deterioration of basic services and more than 41 percent of the population is below the poverty line, 47 percent of the population has an income of less than two dollars per day, while the rate of unemployment has reached more than 40 percent, two million children are outside schools, 50 percent of the total population are not covered by health services, 46 percent suffer from malnutrition, 64 percent do not get potable water, and the number of deaths among children has reached 97 out of 1000 births, while the asphalted roads constitute only 9 percent of the total general roads. While the state budget for 2006 has reached YR 1.18 trillion an increase of more than 70 percent over the budget of 2005, the government intends presenting a request to Parliament to open an additional financial allotment of about YR 400 billion, in addition to the fact that it did not benefit from the difference in the oil revenues, for which Parliament had requested from the government to open a special account and to this day no one knows the fate of those billions.

Our country had also received in the past many packages of aid and financial grants which were not fully benefited from in the specified fields. No doubt, these situations that we have indicated have obstructed the development process and local and foreign investments.

At the level of democratic liberties, the government acts to rally against the freedom of establishing political parties and obstructs the work of the civic society organizations and the freedom of the press, through the laws and regulations that are contrary to the constitution, and with the presence of weapons and their trade.

All these reasons make Yemen fertile ground for terrorism affecting everyone. Thus the credibility of the government in combating corruption is embodied not just in the passing of laws to combat corruption, but in the extent of its ability to refer those files to a just, independent and honest judiciary. Therefore we affirm the necessity of giving importance to the issue of political reforms in our country, and considering them among the priorities of your conference to attain our aspired objectives.