ReflectionsMr. President”The Hell of Maswari is far more better than Kohlani Paradise” People Say! [Archives:2004/780/Opinion]
By Yahya Al-Olfi
The activities of Sana'a Mayoralty lately have been a subject of scorn and sarcasm by the helpless citizens who are being intimidated on a daily basis by soldiers and thugs with predatory mentalities. Having witnessed personally many such sad incidents around Sana'a. I felt dismal to notice that after 42 years of September Revolution which broke out in order to return the Yemeni his dignity, Sana'a mayoralty soldiers roam the streets and attack the jobless individuals who have no income except to work as peddlers. The Baladiya / Municipality thugs when asked why they are acting like that they reply, if you want to know go ask Uncle Ahmed Kohlani!.
I tell Mr. Kohlani it is your good deeds towards the inhabitants in Nuqum, which gave you the opportunity to assume this position. That, by the daily acts of your soldiers the good reputation is being eaten away by the minute. When the aggressors say, go and ask Uncle Ahmed, they mean by that you have given them the green light to act as they are acting. Don't you know that such acts give a bad image of the government and the president himself? Haven't you heard about the kid who was killed in Bab Al- Yemen by your callous thugs whilst he was escaping from them. Are we citizens, or people under occupation? People now are referring to your soldiers and employees as “Sharon soldiers”, because they act ruthlessly exactly like the Israelis against the Palestinians. I am neither the first nor the last to speak about the growing obnoxious behavior of your people. Another division of your irresponsible aggressive people is called the “Ashghal”. These are 100% thieves if they were bribed they would let you build amid a highway and if you were a poor man with a shelter they would come to destroy your shelter and steel your belongings. One day I lent a man a petty sum of money and for three continuous years he could not pay me back. Last week I saw him driving a Mercedez-Benz and wearing trendy clothing. When I asked about the sudden complete change I was told he works for “Ashghal”, that only people with connections work there and are in a position where they trade their powers for concessions.
The image now about the mayor is that he is merciless in comparison with his predecessor, because at the time of Maswari they did not have free hand to do what they want, the fees were not raised and now they are tenfold. Newspapers have been referring to such incidents but no real remedy was apparent because the Baladiya, Ashghal and Amanah are still bad and becoming worse.
I shall refer for mere substantiation to three criticisms in our local newspapers, the first was an expression of hope in “Akhbar Al-Youm” that the Mayor shall penalize the Baladiya thug who acted ignominiously towards a woman selling bread in a Catha Edulis market, vide “Akhbar Alyoum” edition 268. I read also a criticism in Althawra daily where the writer Al-Khameesi criticized the uncalled for destruction of cemeteries' walls in order to build new walls and I add wouldn't it have been better if the mayoralty built public bathrooms instead, I just hope that the mayor will once visit Amran collective taxies station on the T.V. road in order to know what I mean. Also in “Al-Wasat” weekly newspaper edition 25 page 6 you can read an article titled ” Violent Raids are waged by Sana'a Mayoralty against Markets whilst President Ali Abdullah Saleh was delivering his word on the occasion of the 42 anniversary of September 26th revolution.
The writer Mr. Al-Ezzi Al-Osami recounts what he saw as follows: ( hat I saw with my very own eyes in the Catha Edulis Market, next to 45m Street crossroads, Sheba Zone Al-Safiya Directorate and we are celebrating the revolution which came to liberate Yemenis from oppression, injustice, colonialism and dictatorship gave me a huge psychological shock to notice the fear of the sellers anticipating a sudden attack of human vultures belonging to the capital mayoralty to deprive them from gaining their daily bread. Minutes went by after which the vultures arrived and the tumultuous escape took place because of the rampage perpetrated by the Mayoralty people. I thought there was an air raid like those waged by the Americans against Falluja and imagined myslef amid a street in Gaza under the attack of the ruthless Israeli aggression force. After getting my due terrorization, punching and bullying because of my unlucky fortune, which made me, venture into the hapless market. I later knew that this unrestrained wildness was perpetrated by a Mayoralty jeep bearing plate number 6415 and the people on it were already in the market wearing camouflage clothing and were awaiting the zero-hour. Sellers captured were ordered either to pay a bribe on the spot or else they would be taken to the filthy horrible jail of the Baladiya/Mayoralty, even a small kid selling Guavas on a wheelbarrow was made to pay all what was in his pocket. After blackmailing the people the aggressors left happily thinking they have just won a battle. Anyhow I hope that the mayor shall read the whole article which despite its being heartbreaking does not reflect the whole picture of what is going own.
I have decided to suffice myself with the above and try to give the mayor some advice in order to shore up his reputation which is deformed by his own personnel and so that he can get gratitude from the people not hatred towards him, the president, the government and the regime in general.
1. First of all, the rise in the different fees should be annulled together with the newly uncalled for devised fees. Reasonable fees such as those under Maswari should be kept.
2. A new mechanism for payment of fees should be employed either to renew permits every five years like the Commercial register which has lately modified its past bad behavior and made renewal now every five years or else pay the permits fees to the banks every year when paying the tax, because the taxation authority has recently adopted this method which is working well. These measures shall make it easier for the people to comply.
3. The Taxation Card should be the standard on which businesses are to be judged. The bigger the tax you pay, the more facilities you get from banks, customs etc.. as practiced in developed countries.
4. In case a citizen perpetrates a contravention, he would be served a notice to comply or else he would have to show up in the court where according to the law the court should ask a police station to follow up the implementation of its verdict. This way, the Baladiya is being civilized and the employees of Baladiya do not look as ugly aggressors as they really are. No military men should be employed in Baladiya offices at all. Civil employees shall be restricted to just give notices and write reports and have no jailing powers at all because the situation now is disgraceful.
The court alone should have the right to issue verdicts and hence all Baladiya prisons must be closed if we want to confirm that we are a country living in the 21st century not a country living and acting by the obsolete Ottoman laws. Again Baladiya prisons, which are terribly horrible and illegal, should be closed down immediately without wait and the military must be removed from all the Baladiya districts because they are a shame. The legal courts and police stations are the ones having the powers to enforce the law. Our judiciary must be activated and the dishonest judges removed if they do not perform well. Sessions should be open for the public.
I hope that these words will not fall on deaf ears, because they are meant for the general good and to improve the image of the state vis a vis its people let alone avoiding the negative impressions taken by foreigners.