Tuesday,21 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1126, 13 - 19 December 2012
Tuesday,21 November, 2017
Issue 1126, 13 - 19 December 2012

Ahram Weekly

Yemenis vow to defeat corruption

A surprising outburst by the new president suggests that Yemen’s revolution may still be moving forward, though, like in Egypt, the road is fraught with peril, says Nasser Arrabyee

Al-Ahram Weekly

Yemen’s unfinished political settlement might fail completely, returning the country to violence and civil war. The new President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi appeared this week to be tired and helpless to stop the continuous political assassinations and sabotage acts against oil, gas, electricity and communication installations.

Hadi accused former president Ali Abdullah Saleh of being behind all those assassinations and sabotage acts that took and still take place all over the country. However, Hadi’s accusations were not official or completely public. Hadi was speaking on Sunday to army and security officials in a symposium on restructuring the army and security, and all of a sudden he asked journalists to turn off all cameras and recorders.

He threatened to bring to justice all those spoilers of settlement including former President Saleh. “Those who think they have immunity, they should know, we can cancel it, exactly the same as we made it,” he said.

He said the army and security is still split between three commanders and he is only a nominal commander-in-chief. The three commanders he meant are the son of Saleh, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, commander of the republican guards, and cousin of Saleh, Ali Mohsen, commander of the first armoured division, and the nephew of Saleh, Yehia Saleh, the second man of the central security forces.

“I am the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the republican guards and first armoured division are under the leadership of the minister of defence, and the central security is under the leadership of the minister of interior,” Hadi said. “There are hundreds of billions of money that have been embezzled and a high level of corruption in the army and security, and if they do not stop assassinations and sabotage acts, we will reveal their files and put them on trial,” Hadi added while all cameras and recorders were still off.

The big question was why Hadi asked to turn off the cameras and recorders although he was in a big ceremony and the military and security commanders were from those loyal to him and those calculated not loyal to him. Obviously, he wanted to deliver a message to spoilers including Saleh and Mohsen. What President Hadi said was not new to a lot of Yemenis who want Hadi to do whatever he sees suitable to Yemen.

He should be brave enough to take the appropriate decisions on appropriate time. But he can not ignore two important things. The GCC initiative that is now governing the transitional period which ends only by elections in February 2014. This initiative was also based on giving immunity from prosecution for Saleh and his senior aides.

The second thing that Hadi can not ignore is the compromise: his government was formed from Saleh’s party (50 per cent) and Saleh’s opponents’ parties (50 per cent).

The secretary of Saleh commented on the unofficial statements of Hadi as “very dangerous”. The Political Bureau of Saleh’s party held an urgent meeting after the spreading of Hadi’s statements. But no official position was taken. They only sent five people to Hadi to know what he said exactly and why. A source told Al-Ahram Weekly that Hadi released his statements only after he saw critical statements published by media close to Saleh.

Ahmed Al-Soufi, secretary to Saleh, said if the statement was proved, then Hadi should not be in his current position in our party. President Hadi is still the secretary-general of Saleh’s party. “What we want from President Hadi is for him to declare who is behind the assassinations and sabotage acts, and he should put them on trial, and if he can not, then he will not be able to protect the interests of the people and unity,” he said.

Meanwhile, the slogan “The people want the fall of the regime” has come back again to the minds and voices of the Yemeni youth who were emboldened and inspired by what is going now in Egypt. The difference here in Yemen is that the youth used this famous slogan in a big conference on human rights while the prime minister was speaking on Sunday in Sanaa.

A group of young protesters came to the conference only to tell the prime minister, Mohamed Basundaw, they do not want him and do not want the whole regime, in front of cameras. They came from their “Change Square” where they are still sitting in their tents despite the fact that President Saleh is gone and a new president was elected early this year.

When Basundaw started to speak, they started to chant collectively “the people want the fall of the regime”. And instead of calming them down, the prime minister angrily answered back “you are thugs, agents, and hired.” He also accused them of working for former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“How much did he pay you?” he provokingly asked them in front of cameras. The angry youth, about 40 of them, jumped to the podium where the prime minister was speaking. The bodyguards tried to repulse them, but they failed after one of the young people was injured, his right hand was broken as he was beaten by the guards. The prime minister escaped with his bodyguards and the conference turned to chaos and hurly-burly.

The young people took the microphones and started to speak. They refused everything, but to continue their revolution against the current regime. They also said that their friends are still in prisons of the government.

The prime minister was widely criticised for what he said to the protesting young people. One of the leading protesters, Khaled Al-Ansi, said the prime minister was rude and he should apologise to the protesters.

One of the protesters said the economic situation of those still sitting in was the reason behind that uprising in the conference. “What human rights are they talking about,” asked Said Saleh, one of the protesters. “Our friends who struggled to make Basudawh prime minister are still in prison, and those injured do not have any care.”

The rebel General Ali Mohsen also criticised the prime minister. General Mohsen, who defected from Saleh’s regime last year and declared his support for the youth revolution, said that the government of Basundwa failed to protect the country’s unity, and instead, it encouraged the rebels in the south and north to separate.

Mohsen said in statements published in his newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm, that the provinces of Saada, Hajja, Al-Jawf and Marib are under the influence of Al-Houthi, and the south under the influence of separatists, and Taiz province under the influence of the supporters of Saleh. The government was not able to do anything to stop these rebellions.

From their side, Saleh’s supporters and his party and 14 other parties allying with it are now planning to make a million-man demonstration to demand that those behind assassinations and sabotage acts be revealed and put on trial.

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