Saleh increases pensioner reinstatements, pensioners remain skeptical [Archives:2007/1076/Front Page]

August 13 2007

SANA'A, August 11 ) President Saleh issued two presidential decrees, the first declaring the reinstatement of 380 commanders of different ranks to the military forces after their forced suspension. The second decree declared the promotion of 397 commanders.

The articles of the presidential decree [No. (65) 2007], stipulated the return of 156 generals, 71 lieutenant colonels, 107 majors, 28 captains and 18 first lieutenants.

This is the third group of pensioners to be dealt with in light of results found by committees undertaking field military work assigned to study the pensioners' cases in different governorates and recommend the higher committee of commanders as well as propose the chief of general staff and minister of defense.

President Saleh issued a decree stipulating the return of 416 pensioners to the armed forces as “Second Patch.” The reinstated commanders reached to 913 in the first patch according to the president's decree.

Articles of another decree stated the promotion of 57 generals to brigadier generals, 79 lieutenant colonels to generals, 40 majors to lieutenant colonels, 137 captains to majors, 80 first lieutenants to captains and four second lieutenants to first lieutenants.

Brigadier Abdullah Al-Kaboudi, director of the financial department in the Ministry of Defense and also head chairman of the field military committees, pointed out that the two presidential decrees (No. 65 and 66) for 2007 were a continuation of dealing with the issue of pensioners, whether cases of reinstated pensioners or those related to deserved promotions of suspended pensioners who reached one of the two terms.

Al-Kaboudi added that the commanders stipulated by the decree to return to the armed forces represent the third patch included in the review. The commanders who are included in the promotions and deserved settlements according to decree No. (66) represent the second patch of retired commanders reaching one of the two terms.

Likewise, the coordinating committee for political, popular and civil society activities was announced last Wednesday in Al-Mukalla city. The committee consisted of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), Al-Wahdawi Assembly Party and Hadhramout Solidarity Forum, the Reconciliation and Tolerance Forum in addition to the coordination committees of military, security and civil pensioners associations. The coalition adopted by the JMP aims at expanding the rule of political and popular work in the governorate.

A partisan representative who attended the coalition meeting told the media that representatives of the partisan and social parties included in the committee pledged to adopt the issues of southern governorates, especially Hadhramout. He also added that they considered the defense of these issues as a national and human duty.

The pensioners of Shabwa demanded the release of pensioners detained during Thursday's sit-in in Aden. In a statement after the march that took place in Azan city in Mayfa'a district, they expressed their sorrow regarding people's doubts about their unionism. They affirmed their solidarity with unification that guarantees equality as well as freedom of opinion and expression.

In a statement distributed to the media and civil society organizations, pensioners called to maintain solidarity and lift banners of the peaceful struggle to demand rights and freedoms. It also ensured that civil and peaceful struggle will remain the best choice and the right way to obtain rights and freedoms.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Ma'tari, secretary general of the pensioners' association in Al-Dhala', stated, “The coordination council sticks to its firm attitude of not dealing with governmental committees. The governmental committees were formed to absorb the pensioners' rage as their previous sister committees.”

Al-Ma'tari also stated that those who met with the president last week have no relation with the pensioners' associations, representing only themselves.

Entassar Khamees, a human rights activist, said that the protests of the pensioners will increase until they put a limit to the “outrageous injustice” to which pensioners were exposed. Khamees clarified that the protests are not against unification, which was the “dream of all southern citizens,” and stated, “The unification that divided the country into two parts psychologically and sentimentally is the unification of May 22 which we are in favor of.”

Khamees, in a press release to published on Saturday, stated, “The pensioners are the victims of the war of '94. They were unfairly retired. The reality is that 90 of the pensioners, military or civil are from the southern part [of Yemen]. They are qualified enough. The state had spent hundreds of millions some day upon them before [their] being thrown onto the streets.”

With respect to political parties, particularly the JMP, Khamees said that the motion of these parties was “weak,” exacerbating pensioner solidarity after the events of August 2, repressing the authority during the pensioner sit-in in Aden.

She also mentioned, regarding the last official directives issued to deal with pensioners' complaints, that the president admitted the availability of mistakes in retiring those military personnel but “admission is not enough. There are so many directives that have not been executed.”

She went on to say, “We are not the callers of secession and separation of the country. We are with unification heart and soul, however, we are with its reform too. It is bitten by corruption. We are not against northern citizens. We seek to reform unification and breaking down the anniversary of July 7, 1994 as it is a stigma.”