Business for Peace Award

Shooting ourselves in the foot

Published on 27 February 2014 in View Point
Nadia Al-Sakkaf (author)

Nadia Al-Sakkaf


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Just when we started to see progress with the power-transfer process after the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference last month, politicians are resorting to their old ways, trying to derail the process.

The NDC final document says the constitution should be drafted by professionals with at least 10 years of professional experience and that this drafting process should be supervised by a political committee.

It was clearly documented and agreed that the creation of the constitutional drafting committee would be a transparent and merit-based process where the president would create an open mechanism to receive applicants who would then be filtered through based on experience and professionalism.

What happened was the opposite of this. The president met with the politicians, asked them to each nominate three candidates and that was that.

Why was the process not an open one as agreed upon? Who will be reviewing the nominations of these political entities? What if a political party or group presents a sub-par candidate while there are more capable players outside the political game?

This is a critical committee whose performance will either help or harm the transition. We already know that the political committee supervising it will have a difficult time reaching consensus. Now we have two battles to fight. We have to deal with the political committee and the so-called “technical” committee.  

This is a clear breach of the NDC outcomes and one that is directly managed by the president himself. He is supposed to be the champion for change—not surrendering to political pressure in the middle of our euphoric celebration of the NDC as we look forward to receiving the UN Security Council sanctions committee.

If we start making exceptions and allowing ourselves to twist agreements in order to please this group or that group, then the NDC document is not longer our ticket to a better future. Who is to say that the 30 percent quota for women is not going to be changed or that the hard-won agreement to set 18 as the minimum age for marriage will not be ignored by this pseudo-technical constitutional drafting committee.  

Here we go again shooting ourselves in the foot just when the real race is yet to begin. We were just warming up and this bad move is not a good sign.

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4 Response(s) to “Shooting ourselves in the foot”

  1. 4.03.2014 at 13:54
    Dear Abu Moraza From what I have seen and experinced is that President Hadi needs support to be able to push for change. Don't forget that he is part of the old system whether we like it or not. But it is evident especially during the last year that he has been quite supportive of change. Now we want to create pressure groups to remind him that change is a must and he can't surrender to the old ways of doing things. Even if political parties are exerting pressure. Hadi needs to remember his obligation comes first to the Yemeni people not to the parties. Reply from Yemen Times Editor Nadia Al-Sakkaf
  • 4.03.2014 at 13:53
    Dear Rhyolite Yemen has not been able to find competent people because it has not been looking for them. We have amazing men and women who are building other nations instead of working for Yemen because they are not appreciated here. The federal system could be a solution. Don't give up we have not even started. From Yemen Times editor Nadia Al-Sakkaf
  • Rhyolite 2.03.2014 at 23:52
    I fail to understand how ANYONE thinks this scheme is going to work! Yemen hasn't been able to find enough competent people to form ONE government worthy of the name. So how do you expect to form 7 of them? And what will really boggle the mind is that there are certain to be scads of people that are going to be surprised when this gambit collapses from it's own considerable weight! Ms. Al-Sakkaf, please remember that one of the definitions of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different outcome!
  • AbuMoRaZa 27.02.2014 at 11:40
    Ms. Al-Sakkaf, you are so right, the President himself is publicly derailing the implementation of the NDC outcomes, but apparently nobody notices! Let us wish there are more wistleblowers like yourself, actually not only more but enough to raise public awareness of what is really going on.
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