Amid reports that tensions in between the Houthis and the Salafis have re-emerged in the province of Amran, located directly north of the capital and a sudden surge in assassination, Yemen President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi called on his countrymen to stand by him as he wished to oppose such “forces of evil.”
Having inherited a fractured and almost bankrupted nation (Yemen is the poorest and most restive nation in the Arabian Peninsula) President Hadi had from the onset an impossible task: mend decades of mis-management, nepotism, corruption and latent sectarianism as well as tribalism.
However, the man who for the greatest part of his political career stood in the shadow of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as his long-standing Vice President, President Hadi managed in a short two years to introduce Yemen to a different form of governance, one based on democratic principles.
And while of course Yemen’s toward journey democracy remains difficult and at times painful, changes of such magnitude often are.
Following years of living under an absolute presidential system, Yemenis have only began to comprehend dialogue and grasp political pluralism; Yemen as a nation will need to learn to find its way and define its course in consensus not in despotism, a brand new concept of governance.
But if progresses have been promising, testament of Yemenis’ dedication to democracy, dangers are legion and pitfalls are a plenty. If anything the NDC could be remembered as the easiest and less turbulent chapter of the country democratic transition. With all principles laid out in its book of resolutions, Yemen politicians will have now to implement change on the ground, a task many have said to be dreaded.
As many will confirm, if managing to get Yemenis to agree on anything is a mighty task, the implementation of an agreement can be even more challenging, as often parties will have a different understanding of how what they agreed upon should come to be.
As per noted by President Hadi, security remains a dire issue, a threat to the nation. The Yemen’s cycle of violence needs to be ended if the nation is ever to pull through as fear and distrust are not conductive to growth and political stability, quite the opposite actually.
Communities will only retract behind their walls, and Yemen democratic dream will wither in the shadows.
“There are serious decisions to be made after the national dialogue has concluded regarding recent security breaches,” warned President Hadi. And indeed only earlier this week, a Houthi NDC representative, Ahmad Sharafeddin was gunned down by unidentified armed militants as he was making his was making his way to the NDC. As a result the Houthis retracted their delegation from the NDC. Although the move will have no immediate repercussions since all NDC decisions have already been made, such a stance does not bode well in terms of political cooperation.
Keen to extend an olive branch and express his utmost disgust at such acts of senseless violence, President Hadi noted, “destructive terrorist act that targeted the security and stability of the country.” He added defiant, ““Even if the president and all his team were assassinated, the dialogue must continue to defeat the forces of evil.”
With another year on his presidential clock, President Hadi, who was elected back in 2012 for an initial two-year term, has been tasked with ushering Yemen into the next stage of its transition: the drafting of a new constitution and the nomination of a new government.
With factions already geared up for a fight as none are willing to consider conceding an inch of power, President Hadi will face its biggest battle yet by attempting to redefine Yemen’s political landscape.
Hadi pledged to “work on implementing the agreement [NDC resolutions] accurately, literally and in a gradual manner in the coming period.”
Coming Saturday real work begins.