Unified will and decision [Archives:2008/1123/Opinion]

January 24 2008

By: Ali Mohsen Hamid
It is unusual for a writer to give an essay to someone else as a gift, but a writer should gift a book he authored for a respected friend. So, I will go beyond the usual norm and gift this essay to Dr. Mohammed Abdulmalik Al-Mutawakel, Hamoud Ubad, Minister of Youth and Sports and Mohammed Al-Jayefi, appointed minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who met in Al-Mutawakel's house, along with me, in 1986 for discussing the 'National Covenant” and then presented their remarks and comments on the covenant to the General People Congress. At that time, neither negligence nor rust infected the covenant, but later on, unity had the covenant infected with flabbiness since it was drawing its value, not from its strong provisions, but rather from a Sana'a's pervasive feeling of a competitive regime in Aden.

Following establishment of the National Unity, apathy was noticed nationwide. For further information, syndicates and unions were active prior to the unity, but after the unity, they turned to be nationalized and in line with the top decision maker in the country. This essay concentrates much on what has been contained in the “National Covenant Document” and attempts to clarify the obviously remarkable contradictions between the covenant and essays about this matter.

Unity of decision and the covenant:

Fortunately, this essay attempts to explain the wider purpose behind the most recent initiative made by President Saleh to amend the constitution, move toward a more presidential system and give absolute powers to President of the Republic. In the meantime, the reader should have noted that Mr. President doesn't pay closer attention to the move toward a presidential system in his addresses. Instead, he excessively talks about the local governance and its advantages and nothing more. Ultimately, nobody needs to care about Mr. President's addresses or essays since most of them are employed as a measure to evaluate public reactions before the implementation of his intents.

To verify that GPC is progressing on the wrong course, I remind the respected readership that the introduction of the National Covenant, issued in 1982, disclosed the following facts:

The first fact is that the Yemeni people did not make their ancient civilization except under unity of land, people and governance. Despite its being the GPC's ideology, the National Covenant doesn't contain anything about the unified decision and will. For the covenant's introduction, unity of governance means that Yemen should be governed by a politically unified system, but not a totalitarian regime. Being one of the major facts that correlates between unity and democracy, such a fact indicates that “Reunification could not have been established until the birth of a governance system based on shoura (consultations) and popular participation for all.” If this is our past, why do we forget about it? Why we did not remain adherent to the Shoura and citizens' right to exercise politics.

At this point, it has been made clear to us that the common denominators between the unified will and decision, on the one hand, and the Shoura and people's involvement in politics, on the other, are missing. The first fact implies an effective participation in taking decisions and drawing policies, as well as examining them well before implementation, through the engagement of effective political forces and civil community organizations.

The second of the facts means nothing more than further consultations and deliberations between decisions makers. Had the covenant's party (GPC) remained committed to this fact, its officials would have understood that unity must be of a sustainable democratic nature. In this way, the covenant would have embodied ambitions of Yemeni people, who strove for a long time for the sake of replacing the totalitarian regime by a shoura-based system, as advocated by the Yemeni generation that revolted against the Imamate in 1948. We are entitled to blame the present generation that put cotton on their ears and shut up their mouths, thus demonstrating no reaction to the deteriorating situation of their country.

The third fact of the covenant confirmed that “bind fanaticism produces nothing more than evil, and any recurrent attempts by a fanatic group to exterminate others or oppress them have ultimately failed throughout the different stages of Yemen's history. According to this fact, any partial or comprehensive stability for Yemen under an oppressive regime misleading and deceiving its citizens is impossible to last for a longer period of time. This kind of stability often ends up with a catastrophe while dialogue is the only means for creating better living standards for all the Yemeni citizens without an exception.

This fact ascertains that fanaticism is evil, attempts to exterminate others are doomed to fail and stability through fools and deception is impossible to last for a longer distance of time while the civilized dialogue, on the other hand, is the shortest way to achieving all people's interests.

All these are facts and not fabrications, and history is full of lessons and examples. Every noble issue has its own wicked elements, who shift it from the right path. Also, such elements, available anytime and anywhere, turn to be a hammer for destruction. Yemen has proved to be a home to such wicked elements, who never care about peace, stability, progress, or justice.

Wherever and whenever these wicked elements exist, interests have been and still are the source of conflicts, as well as just and unjust wars in any country. But, it is unbearable for a particular group of people to construct palaces or double their wealth at the expense of others' lives or via illegal earnings. In its chapter No. three, the covenant reiterated what was advocated by some Quranic verses that prohibited earning and making money via illegal means in order for livelihood sources not to be suspicious.

When the covenant discuses people's interests, it means the economically, politically and culturally coexisting interests and prevents influential persons from demonstrating dominance over the interests of simple citizens. Interests proved to be responsible for the war in South Sudan while the year 1987 disclosed that a fair distribution of wealth and senior government posts is the workable solution to such a kind of conflicts. Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi, who was at that time serving as Sudan's Foreign Minister, did not listen to such expressions. During an interview with Events Magazine, he preferred separation of South Sudan to quitting enforcement of legislations in this part of the Arab country. Due to this policy, Sudan paid an expensive price in a war that continued up for 17 years, thus destroying the country's infrastructure and causing splits and fragmentation among its people.

Source: Al-Wasat Weekly.