Yemeni PM Maeen Abdulmalik next to the Saudi ambassador at Hadiboh Airport on Socotra Island, May 14, 2018 (Saudi Embassy)

Warning Alarm: It is Time for Maeen Government to Resign


Wed, 23-08-2023 11:58 AM, Aden Time

The government has not been able to fulfill people's aspirations which have been crushed by crises.


Since the formation of the Yemeni parity government in December 2020 led by Dr. Maeen Abdulmalik based on the Riyadh Agreement between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the then Yemeni President, it has failed to make any remarkable achievements in comparison with prior governments. It has not been able to fulfill people's aspirations which have been crushed by crises over years. Abdulmalik has so far led two consecutive governments. The decision to form the government was basically considered a Saudi move to solve the crisis that erupted between the government and STC after the August 2019 events in Aden. Gradually, it became clear that the change aimed to assert regional presence more than being an actual move to find drastic solutions on the ground. Even after the power transfer on April 7, 2022, the government remained the same except for minor changes. The changes included 4 of a total of 24 ministries, namely the Defense, Oil and Minerals, Electricity, and Energy portfolios.

During his first and second tenures, Maeen Abdulmalik has not delivered any remarkable achievements although he belongs to technocrats. On the contrary, the poor performance of his two successive governments since 2018 has aggravated livelihood and economic conditions in the country. This has resulted in the deterioration of the lives of citizens due to the lack of basic services such as electricity, water along with the remarkable spread of corruption across the organs of the state. Nonetheless, it seems that there is an immense determination to keep the man in office to apparently serve the interests of the Saudi-led Coalition at the expense of Yemenis. According to economic experts, the government's corruption has led to the collapse of the local currency to its lowest levels against foreign currencies as well as unprecedented price hikes. Additionally, the government's corruption has hit all economic sectors such as oil, communication, electricity, public works, roads, and the central bank. Its policies have delayed and marginalized the ports in Aden and Mukalla in favor of the Houthis. On the other hand, the government claims that it has taken corrective measures to reduce corruption.

"He works without a national sense. He talks too much while doing little" according to PLC Vice President Abdulrahman Al-Muharrami who criticized PM Maeen Abdulmalik. Between September and November last year, Al-Muharrami instructed "Maeen" to implement measures based on a report issued by a committee formed by the PM himself about the massive official inflation in the Yemeni diplomatic attachés abroad. Furthermore, Al-Muharrami submitted to PLC a big corruption case related to Maeen Abdulmalik's office. It included seizing 45 million dollars monthly. Al-Muharrami called PLC to form a committee to investigate, the aforementioned corruption case but this has not happened yet.

Along with the aforementioned reasons, it is clear that one of the main factors for the survival of the Maeen government is the close relationships between the PM and Saudi officials. There is a network of legal and illegal interests between them at both Saudi and Yemeni levels in several files, foremost of which is reconstruction and relief according to exclusive sources who spoke to "South24 Center". Major corruption operations have been carried out through seizing portions of the monthly funds pumped by the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen. Meanwhile, many projects and plans haven't been implemented on the ground. The Saudi policies in Yemen have led to strategic mistakes by leaving the Yemeni file into the hands of traditional figures who have failed to assess the Yemeni scene and who have repeatedly delivered misleading reports to maintain their interests with influential parties in Yemen.

On August 13, official media platforms reported about an attempt by armed groups affiliated with the 'Giants Brigades' to storm and besiege the Maashiq Palace, the headquarters of PM Maeen Abdulmalik in the capital city of Aden. However, the Giants Brigades later denied -via Twitter-the authenticity of these circulated reports. They justified this by saying that a team affiliated with Al-Muharrami's office went to the PM Office to pursue the file related to faculties and institutes for security and military training. It turned out that this team went there according to a prior appointment and approval. Nonetheless, the ministries of Information and Foreign Affairs issued brief statements claiming that the palace and the PM were besieged. 

On the other hand, diplomatic missions representing France, UK and the US expressed their concern toward storming the government's headquarters in Aden. In a joint statement, they underscored their full support of the Yemeni Internationally recognized government. They added that "the latest developments would undermine the government's efforts to restore services and achieve its tasks in this decisive time". The goals behind the amplification of an event that didn't occur in the same way by which it was depicted are unknown. Furthermore, there are questions about how Western politicians were misled to believe such inaccurate narratives. However, this is apparently related to an attempt to prove that Aden is an unstable and unsafe headquarters of the legitimate government. These goals are sought by many Yemeni political parties to change the seat of the interim capital to Marib or Hadramout. This is consistent with the desire of the PM and many of the government's members to stay in Riyadh and other capitals.

It is important to say that changing the government's headquarters is not the main dilemma as much as replacing the Maeen Abdulmalik government itself and the mentality that manages people's interests. All political parties, including PLC members, agree on the failure of the government. However, there have been no real efforts to replace it. This can be attributed to the possibility that a cabinet reshuffle decision is no longer a national one. There are concerns that PLC members may delve into problems of division and disputes over quotas and ministerial portfolios. As a result of these complications, replacing the current government may take too long. This is well understood by Maeen Abdulmalik and his ministers in a way that gives them enough space to relax. This includes the ministerial bloc affiliated with STC which proved fragile as some of its members have adapted to corrupt deals.

Keeping the current form of the Yemeni government and not making the cabinet reshuffle a top priority for PLC members would aggravate the weakness of political and military confrontation against the Houthis. This would also increase the poor humanitarian conditions and popular resentment. Furthermore, issues related to services and reforms would be vulnerable to blackmail and political maneuvers, not only at the local level but at the regional one. It seems that some parties actually benefit from keeping the status quo.

The vital starting point to achieve this decisive change is to build political consensus and harmony by PLC members who should recognize the importance of the departure of the current government and work to carry out this. The cabinet's reshuffle has become an urgent priority, especially since all parties agree on its weak performance. This would help PLC members to start discussing important crucial issues at political and military levels as well as matters related to political settlement, attaining peace in Yemen, and activating the role of the regulatory bodies to monitor the performance of any new government instead of discussing the issues of services, livelihood conditions and laying the foundation stones for projects that ultimately do not see the light, especially if this change does not require the green light of Saudi officials.

South24 Center

South YemenYemeni governmentMaeen AbdulmalikParity governmentPLCSaudi ambassadorSTCCorruption