Yemen’s transitional period
Now that we are in transition, there are three major concerns:
The efficiency of the coalition government and whether yesterday’s enemies will today be able to work together as a team.
The ability of president-to-be Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi to control a country that is experiencing armed conflict and with military forces still in the hands of the old regime.
Infrastructure, corruption and the rule of law.
In spite of the fragile and illegitimate parliament we have resurrected, the next phase will be one of ministers and not parliamentarians. This is dangerous, as it means there is no mechanism given to the people by which they can participate in the shaping of their future – outside of political parties, that is.
This also means that the independent youth and any other groups in society have no one to truly represent them and respond to their needs.
The various ministers whose names are bandied about must be able to handle this stage’s demands in practice. Otherwise, Yemen is a lost cause. It may sound scary but the truth is that the fate of Yemen’s development, both today and tomorrow, lies in the hands of the 30 ministers.
As for security – or the lack thereof – along comes the second concern. How strong is Hadi? And will he be able to direct military and security institutions in a coordinated, constructive way? The most alarming concern regards the issue of trust and the wounded egos of various military leaders. Who has won and to what degree will be a matter to be proven, one way or the other. This is why we have been witnessing killings since the president signed the power transfer deal on Wednesday.
Finally, there are issues that matter to the general public: daily concerns such as power cuts, bills, jobs, safety and so on. Such things are not treated as urgent matters in the new government’s plans. They will be dealt with, as they say, accordingly.
The point is that although Yemenis adjust and keep on adjusting to hardships, they are also very fickle-minded and easy to mobilize. Whether it is ignorance or the lack of a sense of belonging to one nation, this much is clear from the actions and words of many Yemenis across the country.
Just yesterday I was told that some youths in the south have made up their minds to join either the secessionist parties or Al-Qaeda, simply because these entities would give them a cause and involvement – precisely what they aren’t being given through state institutions or policies.
Yemenis are currently living in a state of uncertainty. We know that we are not Egypt because, at least, the entire world has reached some kind of an agreement on Yemen. But we are also not Egypt because Yemen’s many political players are known figures.
We as citizens know what to expect from our politicians because we understand their motivations. We know what we need because we suffer from what we lack. Until true participation becomes reality, such knowledge – though bitter – is just about all we’ll have.