Aden: Why Does the Yemeni Government Obstruct the Decisions of Governor Lamlas?


Sat, 17-07-2021 01:37 AM, Aden Time

South24 (Aden) 

Aden’s Governor, Ahmed Lamlas, issued a set of decisions to appoint new managers in some state facilities corporations in the southern governorate,  as an attempt to save it from its degraded conditions, and to run the “idle” state institutions, according to observers. 

However, those decisions have been obstructed by warrants  to stop their implementation,  issued by the Yemeni PM, Maeen Abdulmalik, who resides in Riyadh, in an controversial step,  given similar appointments in other governorates which have passed without any barriers.

On June 30, Lamlas appointed Brigadier Anwar Ali Yehia Al Omari as the Director Manager of the Aden branch of the Yemeni Economical Corporation, and Dr. Saleh Al Jariri, a Professor in the University of Aden, as the Director Manager of Yemen Petroleum Company, in addition to earlier  appointments, including journalist Aidarus Bahashwan as Interim Chairman and Editor-in Chief of October 14 Organization for Printing and Publishing, and Dr. Safaa Abdullah Muti as the Director-Manager of the Aden branch of the Central Statistical Organisation.

Following apponitong Al omari in the Economical Corporation, the PM issued a public note  to stop what he has deemed  as a”some governor’s contraventional assignments”[1], then he sent a direct note to Aden’s Governor to abolish appointing Al jariri as  the  Director Manager of Yemen Petroleum Company in the governorate.[2]

Why Aden?

Observers looked at the governmental notes, issued from Riyadh, as an “attempt to thwart efforts of the local authority, headed by Lamlas, to rise up Aden who suffers its worst crises”, after the departure of Maeen Abdulmalik and his government outside it, except the STC’s ministers, without suggesting any significant solutions for its problems, especially the services file.

The observers noted that the recent Aden’s Governor’s decisions, being dubbed by the PM as “contraventional and illegal”, were preceded by similar ones issued by other governors without any objection, such as appointing Managing Director for Shabwa’s Oil Company [3], by Muhammed Salih Bin Adiyo, the governor affiliated with the Islah Party, in addition to a similar assignment in Al Mahrah.[4]

Speaking to “South 24”, Fahd Al Khulaifi, the General Coordinator of Aden’s local authority, noted that Lamlas’s decisions “came in light of the powers vested in the local authority”, adding that there is an insistence to continue activating them as they “serve the interest of the state system, and reform the imbalance in such corporations for developing its performance to benefit Aden”.

He pointed out that the Yemeni Minister of Information,Muammar Al Eryani,  who also resides in Riyadh, previously objected to an earlier public alert, issued by Aden’s Media Office, to all media outlets obliging them to register at the Office, as a condition to continue their activities inside the governorate. Al Eryani  deemed the decision as “power bypassing”.

In the Northern Yemeni governorate of Taizz, the hometown of the PM, a meeting of its local authority and Military Axis decided to financially separate the governorate, and to allocate their resources for the internal needs, top of which the salaries of the Axis’s members, and treating the injured of the fronts against the Houthis.[5]

Maeen Abdulmalik, had issued a warrant to invalidate the decisions of the meeting , but he quickly responded to all Taiz’s authority’s demands, and allocated 1.3 billion Yemeni Riyals, from the Aden Central Bank, to pay the salaries of Taizz Axis’s  soldiers and for treating the injured.[6]

As for the  gas-rich governorate of Marib, the last bastion for the Yemeni Government in North, its total revenues, according to economic sources, go to the local authority after the latter’s refusal to transfer them to the Central Bank, while the revenues of Aden and the nearby governorates have been regularly  transferred to the bank.

Regarding that, Fahd Al Khulaifi indicated that such a “ double standard policy won’t stop change in Aden”, referring to those other governors' decisions which haven’t been objected, concluding that the “goal behind this  is to thwart Lamlas’s efforts by such obstruction”.

Analysts confirmed that the presidential  doublicity in dealing with the governorates’ local authorities is attributed to political motives to keep the southern governorates, including those under the control of the governmental forces, in a stateless constant collapse.

Some sources believe that the “state voice” of the Yemeni government is heard in case of Aden, while keeping silent when it comes to Shabwa, whose governor issued tens of “partial” assignments since his ascending to power, and the same applies to Marib which appears as “a state within state”.

The warrants of  Maeen Abdulmalik have provoked what appears as a rebellion against Lamlas’s decisions, as Brigadier Samy Al Seedi, the Head of the Yemeni Economical Corporation ordered to disregard the decision of appointing  Brigadier Anwar Ali Yehia Al Omari as the Director Manager of its Aden branch [7]. Moreover, Intisar Al Arasha, the former Head of the  Yemen Petroleum Company in the governorate, issued another warrant refusing Lamas decision. Sources confirmed her refusal to hand over power to the new Director Manager.[8]

Exacerbating the crisis

The governmental conflicting  warrants between Maeen Abdulmalik and Ahmed Lamlas come amid the increasing suffering of Aden and other governorates citizens due to the lack of services, and the historical collapse of Riyal, which has dangerously affected food prices in the southern areas, risking famine for  tens of thousands of families, as well the failure to pay salaries of the military section, and lowering the civilians’ salaries.

The STC which rules Aden and the nearby governorates accuses the government of using “starvation policy, and intentional living war against the Southerners”, while the government said that the STC’s control of these governorates “acts as a barrier against any attempts to fix the situation”.

Since his appointment as Governor of Aden in July, based upon the Riyadh Agreement between the Yemeni Government and the STC, Lamlas issued decisions that have been described as “courageous”, making drastic changes in the services corporations in  Aden, such as water and electricity, the majority of which have been met with opposition or rejected by governmental bodies,  based in Riyadh, or being attacked by their affiliating media outlets.

Fahd Al Khulaifi stressed that Lamlas decisions “have improved the performance of such adminstations, and that the relevant parties have exerted a lot of efforts to leave a distinctive print” he noted that “some difficulties exceed the available capabilities and need more time to be resolved”.

The hired energy

Al Khulaifi told “South 24” that “Lamlas intends to issue other decisions in all facilities to face the pervasive corruption lobbies”, noting that “reform needs more time, especially with a heritage of 30 years of the financial and administrative corruption”.

Alongside the decisions, Lamlas made a set of measures in an attempt to improve the service situation, namely signing a contract with the energy company “Bizium” to hire 100 megawatts of electricity to enhance power in Aden.

In his interview with “South24”, Al Khulaifi pointed out that “this hired energy will enter service during “two weeks”, of which 60 Megawatts for Al Mansora District, and 40 Megawatts for Khormaksar”.

Observers said that the recent currency collapse and the attempts to obstruct Lamlas in Aden walk in two parallel lines, by the same parties which aim to t seeks to disrupt the Riyadh Agreement,  exacerbate the situation between its two parties, and hamber any progress in the southern governorates, especially Aden, the interim capital, and the home of STC’s leadership.

A meeting of the Supreme Economic Council, headed by the Yemeni PM,  attributed the currency collapse to what he describes as “stirring rumors”, and recommended taking some steps to avoid more collapse.

Popular Support

Lamlas decisions made a wide resonance, especially after the PM’s warrants to stop implementing them. Activists, southern journalists and thousands of social media users have tweeted under the hashtags "Lamlas faces the corruption lobby","we are all behind you for the sake of Aden", expressing their full support of the decisions.

They indicated that Lamlas decisions would “reactivate” the state institutions in Aden, and relieve the great sufferings of its citizens. They called on governor Lamlas to take larger  and stronger measures, and to fully allocate Aden resources to meet its needs.

Responding to a question about whether Lamlas will take similar steps, Al Khulaifi indicated that the governor “allocated 20% of  Aden’s resources to exclusively serve the governorate”, adding that “allocating full percentage needs administrational arrangements”. He stressed that “if the government failed to do its duty, more strict measures would be taken for Aden”.

Jacob Al-Sufyani

Editor and journalist at South24 Center for News and Studies

- Photo: Yemeni Prime Minister,  Maeen Abdulmalik, and Governor of Aden, Lamlas (official)

- Arabic

AdenAhmed LamlasMaeen AbdulmalikSTCYemeni GovernmentRiyadh Agreement