Silver LiningLack of management or resources?! [Archives:2005/850/Opinion]

June 13 2005

By Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
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The latest festivals run in Hadramaut marking the 15th anniversary of the unification have certainly made me confident that our problem in Yemen is not lack of resources rather than lack of good management of the available resources as well as lack of the will to perform well. Hadramaut turned into a workshop; you could see people everywhere working day and night. It is amazing and everybody who visited Mukala was impressed by the work done.

The work went fine and Mukala was shown in its best shape on the 22nd of May. We also remember how the capital Sana'a was some years ago. Rubbish was everywhere; streets were covered by drains. The Mayor at that time was just relaxing and enjoying the abuse of his position. All people were fed up with him to the extent that they believed that we need a miracle to remove him and bring a new life into the city.

When Ahmed al-Kuhlani came to office, the Capital became completely different. The question for him was not lack of resources but how to be committed and willing to work. Therefore, he found the way easy.

I have become sure that corruption is really the major headache devouring all our resources; it is as the former country manager of the World Bank Robert Hundle described as “a pervasive problem.” I know that we have limited resources. However, those limited resources are not all what matters. What matters is that we have corrupt crooks who are pocketing our money and are abusing the power they have. If we have honest and accountable people, these limited resources can do a lot and bring about good and fruitful results to the welfare of the suffering people. What is worse is that these resources which are already few are being mismanaged.

We can cite the example of Jordan or Oman. I know some people will say that corruption is a problem throughout all Arab countries. I know that but is not on the same scale as in Yemen. Jordan and Oman know well thar they have limited resources but at the same time know how to handle and manage them properly.

I remember once Abdulaziz al-Saqqaf wrote that “thieves can never build nations.” This is completely true as we can build our country if we are honest and professional enough to manage our existing resources. This puts accountability as the main guard and pain killer for this headache. If corrupt officials are held accountable and punished severely, corruption scale can be controlled and the situation might have been completely different.

But, the state of unaccountability and lawlessness has legalized corruption which has become a daily routine that life can not go without. One has to bribe and pay in all government institutions to get things done. You have to pay at the court, traffic, school and wherever you go. This is crazy and unbearable, isn't it?!