Will the GPC New Government Address Kinds of Corruption?! [Archives:2001/21/Law & Diplomacy]

May 21 2001

Hassan al-Zaidi
Yemen Times
Economic crisis would increase as long as corruption is not curbed and controlled in any stated community. Backwardness and corruption are two faces of the same coin. They are the outcomes of the lack of observation, accountability and fragile public awareness.
Is the GPC aware that it will face mammoth challenges in the coming elections? Is it also aware that it is responsible for all public concerns and worries?
Whatever excuses the GPC may claim it will have very little effect on the people, especially as the opposition may exploit these issues to mobilize public support. For example, the YCRP Islah focused on the rampant disease of corruption in the latest elections. The party made it the most critical issue. On the day preceding the day of elections the lead piece of news in Sahwah, mouthpiece of the Islah party, carried the following title “Tomorrow the People Vote against Corruption.” Furthermore, the lobby of corruption within the ruling party, according to Islah, was held responsible for all the misdeeds that happened during the election process, the news indicated.
What President Abdulrahman Waheed faces recently in Indonesia is a telling example of what Yemen seems to have instance, especially as the Mohammadiah movement is one of the most effective parties in raising voice against corruption issues spread in the government.
I wonder what the GPC government has in mind.
The new government has taken the responsibility for rooting out corruption after the failure of the financial and administrative reform program mounted by the previous government. Therefore, the new government has to curb this disease. It has to dismiss those corrupt officials and hold them accountable wherever and whoever they are.
The new government has admitted the spread of this disease. It has allocated one paragraph in its program “To root out corruption”. It confirmed that corruption is a result of deficiency in the mechanism of the authority and accentuated by dishonest and double dealing persons. These persons have grown opportunists with proclivities to earn money and get power through illegal means and at the expense of law and order. The new government has counted a lot on the local councils for rooting out corruption. However, so far local councils have not been operational. Besides they can do nothing within all these complications and deep-rooted corruption.
We can categorize corruption in the country to be of two kinds:

a) Corruption due to wants:
It is corruption due to the ever-increasing poverty. This makes those working in public or private establishments with low salaries accept bribery.
b) Corruption due to being over rich:
It is the corruption of the well-to-do and officials who are already rich. These peoples’ craving for power and money knows no limits. The non-existence of a strict law of transparency and accountability are the main motives for accepting bribery and imposing illegal fines. This section of people can not give up this habit. It has become an incurable disease.
So as to face this kind of corruption, the government pins hopes on the freedom of expression in its program. It confirmed that within democracy and freedom of expression cultural and social institutions can be established. These in turn will help a lot in fighting corruption.
As a matter of fact, if freedom of expression is given the chance to play its role properly it can help a lot in exposing corruption and uncovering corrupt officials. Through freedom of expression we can fight lots of the maladies including nepotism, unemployment, poverty, weak judiciary system, etc.
Freedom of expression also means abiding by the principle of equal opportunities for all and fair distribution of national wealth. However, we should stress the fact that freedom of expression alone is not enough to do all these tasks, especially as corrupt officials are holding high positions in the authority.
If the government is sincere in its commitment to fight and root out corruption why does it not endorse the principle of assessment of assets which every official has to declare before taking up any high position. He has to do the same upon leaving his position. If this is applied strictly we can know whether he abused his position or not. A son of one of the former ministers invested about $ 10 million recently in a project.
If the principle “Where did you get this from? is rigorously applied, there can be some change for the better.
We have a developing democracy. We have also some freedom of expression although it is restricted by law. You write what you want and we do what we want, but do not go beyond the national framework. We may pull hands against corruption. However, corrupt persons have become stronger as we are in a country where corrupt persons have been catapulted to become Ministers, Ambassadors or members of Shoura council.