SILVER LININGIncapacitating state constitutional agencies [Archives:2007/1080/Opinion]

August 27 2007

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Last Wednesday, President Saleh established a new committee whose task is “following up and studying social phenomena that negatively impact on the social peace, national unity, and development.” The committee, which is associated directly to him, is also to focus on studying security disorders such as revenge, carrying weapons, kidnapping, extremism, and banditry.

The committee, according to the decree, will study other passive practices like tribal, regional, and sectarian fanaticism and propose solutions. It also would assess negative consequences of the 1994 civil war and suggest complete answer. It will also tackle economic and administrative issues. Before that, Saleh set up an eight-member committee to follow up the implementation of his elections platform. This is weird, is it?

Such committees are meant to declare that the constitutional institutions like the government, parliament and even his ruling party have failed in doing their job and that the President needs such people to work on issues that fall in line with the tasks of these constitutional institutions. What is then the business of the government if this committee would handle such crucial social, economic and even political issues? The ruling party should have a team to assess the implementation of the president's elections program rather than an independent committee. It is the job of the ruling party and its government to implement the program and then assess its points of strengths and weakness.

Yaser al-Awadhi, a leading figure in the ruling party's politburo analyzed the pitfalls of the regime of Saleh in his interview with al-Shar'e newspaper. He openly said the PGC is not ruling and that the traditional party composed of the cronies of the president is really running the country from behind the curtains. He also said the problem lies in the full power of the man, letting no room for other agencies to operate.

After his interview, al-Awadhi was praised for voicing the ailments crushing the majority of the people. However, many people at the ruling party have been shocked by the openness of the man as they are used to just exercise lip kissing regardless of the consequences. If people with good visions like al-Awadhi are available in the ruling party, why do not they make use of them and their insights to find a way out? Why should not he work under the umbrella of the ruling party rather instead of such committees?

I do not mind that they make use of the expertise of some people in carrying out such tasks if those consultants have enough experience to be of a true help. Unfortunately, some of the people of the recent committee have no experience to enable them produce an efficient study or analysis of the relevant problems. Again, such members of these committees may be used as records to justify the failure of the ruling party and its government in addressing very serious issues that could embroil the country into turmoil.

Otherwise, the president has a consultative or Shoura council whose job is to look into such problems and advise the president. If we assume that the state agencies are not able to do the job, which I do not think so as their power is intentionally paralyzed, they then have to be held accountable for their failure and substituted with competent people.

This is because addressing such issues does not require tribal Sheikhs or social dignitaries representing regions but people with good expertise to come up with concrete solutions. They should work under the umbrella of the agencies that are constitutionally accountable before the public. This is really meant to further weaken and incapacitate the function of these agencies and put all the magic keys to all Yemen's ordeals in the hands of one person.

Mohammed Al-Qadhi ([email protected]) is a Yemeni journalist and columnist.