Rule of law [Archives:2007/1073/Viewpoint]

August 2 2007

Lately, a researcher asked me a very significant question. Surprisingly, though I never thought about it before, I found the answer to it easily. He asked: “what is the one thing that must be done so that Yemen can be better?” My answer was ensuring the rule of law. Just like that. For, I believe that every thing in Yemen could be fixed if only the law is applied equitably. Then, everything else would follow smoothly.

The problem with Yemen is that, first of all, most, if not all, of the ones legislating and applying the law are either corrupt or ignorant. Additionally, there is the issue of equal citizenship; for, not all Yemenis are equal before the law. In Yemen, the family name, the tribe, the bank account, and the relatives in positions of power mean everything, Sometimes, to the extent that intelligence, talent, and a good character become a curse.

Another important thing is that instating the rule of law insures a good environment for investment. Therefore, businessmen would not be afraid to put their money in a country where there is a good judiciary system. Obviously, implementing good law would also insure provision of satisfactory facilities and services to the citizens. It would also mean a better health care system, a good education system, as well as good employment opportunities. Furthermore, rules would be supportive of production and the list goes on.

It would also help promoting security, not only the hard security, the one the government exercises through investigative systems and police forces, but also the soft one through giving citizens a sense of security about their livelihood and future. Terrorism and criminal acts will be reduced significantly because the citizens will feel ownership towards their environment and society. And instead of the indifference Yemenis feel whenever they hear about the various crimes in their surrounding, they would take things into their hands and do whatever it takes, believing that their society and country is safe and secure.

The state of law and order is what our President keeps repeating as an achievement of the current system. The truth is that Yemen is not a state of either law or order, as indicated by everyday incidents.

What we need is to fix our judiciary and law enforcement system before anything else. And, the rest will follow smoothly.