Social Security, cowardly trick by Ruling Party [Archives:2006/976/Opinion]

August 28 2006

Nabeel Al-Nowairah
One week age, I met with an old woman who works as a servant for a local companies. She looked tired and full of miseries. I started asking her about her living conditions. Her name is Hajja Saeeda, living in Al-Qa'a zone in Sana'a. She said that her salary roughly covers her family's needs. With a hidden sigh, she said that she also receives social security from the government. “But in the last month, the government refused to give us the social security until we give them our election cards,” Hajja Saeeda stated.

She explained that the government employees asked her to give them the election cards of all the adult members of the family; otherwise she wouldn't receive the security. Powerlessly the old woman said, “I had no other solution but to take all the election cards of the family and gave them to the employees. I want to live and survive with my family. Hadn't I done so, we would die of hunger.”

It is, indeed, a cowardly trick by the ruling party represented by the government to prevent poor people from voting or to misuse their cards. “This is not only my case,” Hajja Saeeda added. “It is the case of all those who receive social security in Al-Qa'a zone. And I think it is the case of all the poor people throughout the country.”

In his interview with Al-Jazeerah Channel, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said, “The elections are free and fair. But when the other parties lose the elections, they say that the elections are unfair.” What kind of fairness the President is talking about? When the citizen is deprived from his basic right of voting to the one he chooses, is this called fairness? When the weak citizen is put between two difficult choices: to vote to the one he chooses or to survive in the difficult life conditions, is this called freedom?

I doubt the upcoming elections will be fair and free. It is just a kind of sham elections where the ruling party rules over the elections until it wins by hook or crook. Stop these cowardly tricks and let people choose the one they want! I am not prejudiced against any party. I am with the one who is voted in by the majority. Let us have free and fair elections so that our country can develop and improve. Let the polling boxes govern this game.

Nabeel Al-Nowairah is a Yemeni writer.

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