Silver LiningWill the President do it? [Archives:2005/862/Opinion]

July 25 2005

By Mohammed Hatem al-Qadhi
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Like many millions of Arabs, I was appalled when I heard president Saleh declaring that he will not run for the presidential elections in September 2006.We are still in a state of awe as we have never experienced such a decision for many years in the Arab world as Arab rulers either go through cope d'etat , death or by foreign forces like what happened to Saddan Hussein. Many Arab intellectuals hailed the courageous decision taken by Saleh and appealed to him to go ahead with it.

I believe if Saleh means it and is serious about it, it would be a great achievement for him, Yemen and a good model for the Arab totalitarian regimes. This is because if he insisted on leaving the power, he would have started an initiative that must live in the Arab world and would have hit the nil on the head in choosing a peaceful transfer of power. But, if it proves to be a political maneuver and an early campaign for the elections, it would be catastrophic as the man would appear fooling not only the people but also the world.

We should build on that historical decision and consider it so till next year. This does not necessarily mean that we do not like the man who commanded the respect of all by taking such an unprecedented courageous step.

Saleh has done many good things for his people and nobody denies this. But, because we like him, we want him to set such a model for the Arab regimes in laying the foundation for a peaceful transfer of power, making Yemen command the world respect and appreciation.

I know that the cronies around him will strive very hard to get him overturn his decision because such corrupt crooks can not survive without him and his tolerance with people like them. They just know nothing but lip service and kissing to get more and more enriched by exploiting their positions.

Hey guys, it is enough for you and Saleh can serve the country even if he is out of power. He himself said that he would continue to work with the new leadership despite its political affiliation or tendency and will never hesitate to give his good and wise advice to the next generations. I believe the man is tired and bored and wants to leave power commanding the respect of everybody which really shows his political shrewdness . I think the man can do a lot during the remaining period of his term in office till next elections. He should embark on projecting a strategy to breathe a new life into the society plagued with corruption, poverty, lack of law and order, tribalism and many others of such stuff. He can lead a drive for change, introducing real reforms into the political, educational, economic, social and cultural systems of the nation. The recent riots and violent acts that swarmed the country reflects the suffering of the people whose anger will not be subdued and calmed down by tanks and armored vehicles next time despite the fact that we all disagree with the way they showed their resentment over the price hikes which was totally unacceptable. Yet, it is a good signal that things are not on the right track which means that Saleh can start reform by curbing corruption which is a pervasive problem and a headache for all of us, holding corrupt officials accountable. He can also strive hard to ensure that the next presidential election be competitive, fair and free despite of who is going to win so as to enhance and nurture the emerging democracy which is, of course, the future of the country. It is in this way the man will be immortalized in the hearts of the people .Don't you think so?