STC President with the negotiating delegation and the Southern ministerial bloc, December 24, 2020 (official)

The STC Ministerial Bloc: Suspended Hopes and a Weak Role


Thu, 27-07-2023 03:54 PM, Aden

"Instead of contributing in fighting corruption and lobbies, they have become involved in them"

Abdullah Al-Shadli (South24) 

On December 18, 2020, the Yemeni parity government was formed by a decree of the then-Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi. This was part of the understandings related to the Riyadh Agreement signed with the STC in November 2019. Of a total of 24 ministerial portfolios, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) took 5 ministries including Transport, Social Affairs and Labor, Public Work and Roads, Civil Services and Insurance and Fisheries and Agriculture.

Abdulsalam Hamid was appointed as Transport Minister, Mohammed Al-Zaouri as Social Affairs Minister, Abdulnaser Al-Wali as Civil Services Minister, and Manee bin Yamin as Fisheries and Agriculture Minister before taking over the Ministry of Electricity in July 2022 amid an ongoing and escalatory electricity crisis in the capital Aden and other governorates. 

In addition to these ministries, the Social figure Waed Bazeeb, who is close to the STC, was appointed as Planning and International Cooperation Minister. 

Due to the circumstances that accompanied the formation of the parity government and the tragic conditions suffered by South Yemen people at the levels of services, livelihood, and economy, much hope was placed on this bloc to push the work of the government in spite of the absence of the sovereign ministries from this group. 

However, the STC’s ministerial bloc has been completely under the level of expectations despite individual remarkable successes achieved in the ministries they lead. The bloc failed to adopt the required stances in many turns and stages over the past period. Moreover, the bloc shares the responsibility for the general failure that swept the government in the main files, foremost of which are services, currency, and salaries.

This negative stance of the STC’s ministerial bloc has led to a surge in critical voices. Many of these voices are already allying with this bloc or part of the STC itself. They include for example STC Vice President Ahmed Saeed bin Break who criticized the Yemeni government in a recent TV interview and asked STC’s ministers to resign. He also said: “I support uprooting this government and its officials”.

The cabinet

The STC’s ministerial bloc represents about 20% of the Yemeni Cabinet. However, the bloc failed to prevent passing decisions that have worsened the economic situation in South Yemen. Furthermore, the bloc didn’t pressure to issue decisions that could help improve the situation. The most prominent of these decisions is raising the customs tariff by 50% in January issued by the Supreme Economic Council, led by Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik and ratified by the cabinet. 

The STC's ministerial bloc just issued a statement claiming that the decision and other accompanying ones that included raising the prices of electricity and domestic gas "were discussed in the Cabinet without a quorum". However, the statement didn't explicitly ask for revoking these decisions. It just urged to revise it and to consider remarks about them "if these measures were put to carry out the conditions of international and regional donors in order to make drastic reforms in the financial policy of the state".

These decisions deepened the crisis of people in South Yemen. They led to a big decline in the activities of the strategic Aden Port and the Mukalla Port in Hadramout in favor of the port of Hodeidah controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi. The rise of the customs tariff in the government areas came concurrently with big Saudi facilities to the Hodeida Port as part of direct talks with the Houthis at that time. Reports issued by "South24 Center" pointed out, in numbers, the size of the decline in the Southern ports over the past months.

Additionally, the STC's ministerial bloc failed to move several important files as part of the government. In statements to a local radio, Social Affairs Minister Mohammed Al-Zaouri revealed what he described as "shocking facts" regarding the government and the situation in South Yemen. The Minister said that "parties obstructed reviving the Aden Refinery and providing 17,000 jobs for youth in the government's areas". 

Al-Zaouri indicated that the Houthi militia still controls oil companies, commercial banks, national funds, navigation authorities, offices of UN organizations, and commercial agencies. He added: "The Yemeni government didn’t take any measures against the Houthi decision to stop the flow of goods from the Aden Port to their areas. Aden's markets are open to them while their markets are closed". He called for halting the trade traffic from Sanaa in response to the Houthi measures.

Al-Zaouri pointed out that the governorates under Houthi control benefit from millions of dollars in the form of expenses and salaries from the internationally recognized government while the Southern governorates suffer from complete deterioration in all fields. Nonetheless, he said that 'the presence of him and other Southern ministers in the government "suppressed many decisions that would harm people of South Yemen".

Part of the failure 

Yasser Al-Yafei, Head of "Yafa News", agreed that "the performance of STC's ministerial bloc has been under the expectations and victories achieved by Southerners". He told "South24 Center": "Unfortunately, they didn't add any new things that can reduce people's sufferings in the Southern governorates and the liberated Northern areas but they have been part of the government's failure".

He added: "After the formation of the parity government, people expected that the Southern bloc would adopt a decisive stance towards some issues and could dismantle the lobbies of the deep state that mess around the service files in the government's areas and some of which work in favor of the Houthis. All of this didn't happen as the bloc goes in line with the failure of other ministries. Therefore, this led to more collapses and the decline in services".

Journalist and political analyst Salah Al-Saqladi believes that "the STC has become at stake politically and morally due to the current horrible conditions". He told "South24 Center": "People are fully exhausted and their hearts have reached their throats. We know that the STC's participation in the government and in the PLC is symbolic even though the STC claimed the opposite and named it a parity government".

Al-Saqladi pointed out that "the STC's actual ministries are few non-sovereign and non-revenue portfolios". Consequently, "it has a limited role and impact. However, this doesn't absolve it from the responsibility of the deterioration of economic, living, and service conditions, especially in Aden and other Southern governorates in which it has a presence", according to him.

Al-Saqladi believes that the STC "needs to revise this partnership and to be honest with the coalition". He added that "all STC's pleas and pretexts are seen by people as flimsy in front of unbearable hell of service and living. As a whole, the STC is facing a difficult test, to be or not to be, to side with the victim or the executioner and the corrupt. There is no longer a gray area".


On November 2, 2922, Civil Services Minister Abdulnaser Al-Wali, who is also a senior STC official, praised Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak during a TV interview on AIC TV. Al-Wali said: "Bin Mubarak is a top-level professional figure". He denied the presence of overemployment in the Foreign Ministry and the diplomatic corps. He claimed that "There is no overemployment within the Foreign Ministry except for some attachés".

This strange praise stirred questions about a possible melting of the STC's ministers in the networks of influence and corruption that extend and penetrate deep in the Yemeni government. The issue of overemployment in the Yemeni Foreign Ministry topped the Presidential Leadership Council's (PLC) attempts to correct the imbalances during the past period. It was also acknowledged by Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak himself who claimed that it caused campaigns against him.

Yasser Al-Yafei does not rule out that "the deep state and the corrupt lobby affected some ministers of the STC's bloc". He added: "Indeed, the deep state and the corrupt lobby inherited 30 years ago are very strong. This may impact some ministers. Instead they contribute in fighting corruption and these lobbies, they have become involved in them, whether by the lack of supervision imposed on them or their realization that this is an interim stage in which they should make gains".

"They should realize that they reached these positions through massive sacrifices and a popular mandate. Therefore, they must side with the people's choices, not to their personal interests. We hope to see soon a clear and outright position from them toward what is happening", he added. 

It is worth mentioning that "the parity government includes several other Southern ministers who reached their positions through the Riyadh Agreement. Although they are not officially included in the STC's frame, they are seen as a result of many years of the STC's efforts to enhance the presence of Southerners in the legitimate authority".

Note: "South24 Center" did not contact the STC's ministers in the government to take their opinions

Abdullah Al-Shadli 

Journalist at South24 Center for News and Studies

South YemenAdenRiyadh AgreementParity GovernmentSTCMinisterial Bloc