Why I ran against Ali Abdullah Saleh [Archives:2006/982/Opinion]

September 18 2006

Sumayya Rajja
Anger, pure and simple. Anger that after 44 years we do not have one decent hospital to go to when we are ill. I travelled from Sana'a to Harath and noticed that the health units that dot the highway are all closed. Naturally with a budget of 2000 riyals a month how can they remain open?

Anger that after 44 years we are illiterate, sixty percent for women and fifty percent for men. Hurt to see our children crossing to the Saudi border at night to sell water to feed their families.

Upset at a spiraling population, 20,000,000 that mostly live in extreme poverty.

Anger at the high rate of unemployment. Disgusted by the monolithic prisons that tarnish the countryside.

As for the position of women; mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters, we have been

relegated to the purdah. More women have placed the veil on their faces today than in my childhood, the 1960's, my teens the 1970's and twenties, the 1980's.Why?

How can we measure progress purely by the number of products we can now buy in the supermarkets? Or purchase of a $10 million dollar villa with imported Italian marble, plus a kidney shaped swimming pool in the basement, and drive on super highways.

Yes we have had stability for twenty-seven, thank-you Mr. President.

Yes we have a united Yemen, thank-you Mr. President.

Yes we are selling our oil, thank-you Mr. President.

We admired you for your courage in leading Yemen twenty years ago.

We praised you for uniting the country.

But how can I vote for you today when according to one estimate, alone, the cost of printing your pictures all over Yemen. By one unit, the Military Company Ltd, (Muassassa Askaria) is 500,000,000 (five hundred million riyals) while the cost of 1500 health units across the country's total yearly budget is thirty six million riyals, 36,000,000. Is this rule by the people? Is this our brand of DEMOCRACY?

My vote is for Bin Shamlan. Yemen must change leaders in order to survive one more year let alone seven more years.

Sumayya Rajja is the first female candidate to run for the presidential office in Yemen.