Yemen has been anything but logical or conventional in its process of so called change. As the world watched an inauguration ceremony president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi it yet again felt like an ‘only in Yemen’ moment.
Saba News Agency was quoted saying,”The so-called inauguration took place in the House of Representatives as President Hadi received the winning certificate in the presidential elections from the Supreme Commission for Elections and was sworn to office.”
The inauguration on Monday was merely a technicality as was the uncontested elections. These technicalities were there to appease the international community and for all to pat each other on the back for being apart of Yemen’s road to ‘democracy’. So Monday, 27th was no inauguration, but it was more of a farewell to Ali Abdullah Saleh and the last chapter of the international community to prove their ‘success’.
The actual decision of Presidency had been made when the GCC deal was first offered. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was from the beginning going to take over; whether the people wanted him or not. I believe the whole 90 day period was incorporated into the GCC deal so the people were convinced enough that they were getting change. Nothing could’ve been achieved if enough people were not convinced that the ‘elections’ would be the best option and that they’d won – when in fact they were far from winning.
The irony of this being the same arguments of Yemen needing stability and the same scare tactics were used so people subsequently believed choosing Hadi would be the lesser evil. Yemenis had different reason for voting or boycotting. For some it was an end of an era, to vote would mean removing the constitutional legitimacy of Saleh. While for others who did not vote they felt that the streets had taken Saleh’s constitutional legitimacy and unless their other demands were met they would refuse Hadi as the settling chip.
Personally I hardly think a Saudi composed, United States-backed Gulf Cooperation Council deal and an imposed leader is democratic. Although in yesterday’s inauguration Saleh might’ve not been his usual self – I suspect he’s quite content after 33 years. He was given the stage to address the Arab League head Nabil ElAraby, UN special envoy Jamal Ben Omar, foreign diplomats, members of parliament, journalists and the nation he once oppressed. As all in the presidential palace clapped it seemed they’d chosen to ignore the fact – before them was a dictator who’d killed his people and had done nothing good for them in the three decades of rule yet he faced no consequences.
Any who’ve followed Yemen’s revolution will know that Ali Abdullah Saleh didn’t just run the country on his own. Saleh was merely the head of all the roots implemented deep into Yemen’s structure – the roots being his relatives. Relatives placed quite cleverly in high ranking positions within the armed forces.
The speech of the newly appointed president was disheartening as Hadi took the stage to address the nation he failed on the first hurdle by calling the revolution a crisis. Failing to recognize that the ‘crisis’ was in fact not a ‘crisis’; but was and still is Yemen’s people demanding democracy and a better future. What a way to begin a ‘new Yemen’ comes to mind.
The world might think that this is the road to ‘stability’ none see the lack of addressing southerners, Houthis and independent youth [all of whom boycotted the election process] as of real concern. National reconciliation cannot be imposed nor can begin unless the grievances of all are truly addressed and a framework is put in place.
The people demanded a regime change not a shuffle of what was already deemed rotten. Enforcement of rule, exclusion and division is what the old regime based it self on, Yemenis should not accept that ever again in any form. If all Saleh’s relatives are not eliminated from within the military and security units, and if the armed forces are not restructured then expect Saleh to carry on “dancing on the heads of snakes”. The people of Yemen have to always bear in mind we did not choose the ruler who was inaugurated nor the dictator we bid farewell to. If ordinary citizens don’t mobilize and truly strive for freedom for all of Yemen’s citizens we may just end up with a regime extension and never change.