The Unity: Guarantee of Continuation [Archives:2005/848/Opinion]

June 6 2005

By Ibrahim Hussein Mohammed
By the lapse of fifteen years of the establishment of The Republic of Yemen, no one can deny the advantages the people have achieved. One of these is freedom; the freedom of movement of people and capital and above all the perishment of the iron grip that used to terrorize the people, both in the north and the South. Added to that is the return of those who escaped from the south in the period between 1967-1990

The greatest achievement that came along with the unity, was the democratic policy, that enabled the underground political parties to appear overtly, besides those new ones which appeared after the unity. Several independent and party newspapers also appeared. The period also witnessed the rise of civic and none governmental societies

There was an overwhelming feeling of happiness at the first year in the south, due to the easy reunification of families, the availability of commodities. The key official figures, (general managers and above) have enjoyed extra merits and allowances. They also received new cars and others, the thing that contributed to the feeling of satisfaction at the outset of the unity.

However things changed in the two years that followed, as we explained in our previous essays, and things became grimmer following the 1994 war. People of the south paid dearly, whereas the leadership turned a deaf ear. The majority of the leaders became war lords. The tragedy of the 94's war to most of them was a means of gain, and the south was a booty, commercially, business wise, in official positions, real estates and others.

The misery and suffering which people experienced is no longer confined to the south, it also crept North and the whole country is now suffering the main factors of this suffering being, starvation, in addition to deterioration of security and the high rate of corruption.

The May 1990 Unity is not only facing one danger , but it is really threatened by all the above motioned factors. It would be futile now to keep on talking about southern opposition, while addressing a growing opposition in the north is far more useful. It is true that there is a special characteristic for the south, but it is not the previous political south. It is the eminent geographical south, and the same is true for the north.

I believe that the unity issue necessitates a high degree of prudence and cooperation from both sides, the authority and the opposition to spare the country the disasters of division and separation.

In my view , the most important guarantees for the continuation of unity of May 22and national unity at large lies in the following :

1. The respect of the constitution by all sides

2. A just and strong judiciary system whose decisions are respected and executed

3. The military and security activities are to be within the law and constitution

4. To disarm all Yemeni people with guarantees not to use the formal arm against them outside the law

5. To tackle the corruption through serious legal procedures, and stop the plunder of public wealth. I believe these are the simple real guarantees apart from the complicated political addressing, that the ordinary individual could hardly understand . None should be above the law whoever he might be, a president, an MP, a sheikh, a military leader or an opposition member

6. I believe that this is not an easy task, but there should be a real political and public will, and we should agree on a specific time limit of three years for instance . But the most important thing is that we should start today . without any further delay.