Many Yemenis, along with a lot of people interested in Yemeni affairs, wonder whether the Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi will succeed in managing the transition period, which extends for two years after his election as a president on 21 February.
This inquiry seems normal and spontaneous, given that the man kept a low profile for a long time as vice president since 1994. Normally, a vice-position does not allow its occupier to show his/her actual abilities – whether that person was a vice-president, a deputy premier or undersecretary – as chiefs often outshine their deputies, and even, in many cases, do not give them any specific powers, especially in third world countries.
For more than seventeen years, lieutenant general Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi has seemed to the Yemeni public as if his primary functions are protocol-like but not executive. Although he used to be familiar with most of the security and, specifically, military files and express his opinion, but the final decision had always been to President Ali Abdullah Saleh. And as Saleh's relatives and countrymen have been appointed in the most important leadership army and security positions over his 33-year reign, so they were his actual partners in decision-making at both the security and military levels.
Yemenis do not remember that Hadi has assumed an exceptional or serious task throughout his tenure as Vice President; the most significant work he used to undertake was to work with the political leaders – suite surrounding President Saleh – for consultation and decision-making in regards to a particular issue. Among such issues were the Yemeni-Saudi borders that were demarcated in 2000, the problem of the maritime border with Eritrea after it occupied the Yemeni island of Hanish in 1995, or the six wars against the Houthis since 2004, which lasted six years.
Perhaps the only significant and temporary issue, which Hadi was tasked with (though it was halted later), was the lands in the southern provinces. Following the escalation of protests by human rights and political groups in those provinces since 2005, he was tasked with addressing the issue, assisted by a committee, in 2008. The committee was in charge of finding an ultimate solution for the land issue.
Nevertheless, the settlement's principles agreed by the committee did not apparently meet the vision of Saleh, so the committee's works were stopped shortly after they had been commenced. This issue has been so far one of the reasons for continuing protests against the regime.
But those who closely know Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi do not feel concerned about his abilities to manage the upcoming transitional period, for simple and clear reasons. First is that he is a military man known of seriousness and being brought up as a strict serviceman and well-educated. Hadi graduated in the reputable British Royal Military Academy "Sandhurst" in the 1960s, and he is a voracious reader keen to follow the latest.
Second, he took a number of leadership military positions during the 1970s and 1980s in the southern part of Yemen, before unification, which was ruled by the Yemeni Socialist Party known of its efficient, serious and integral leaders then, and of successfully uniting 23 sultanates in one nation and extending its influence and authority. All this made Hadi actually comprehend the concept of the state's authority and the significance of establishing the law values, which he has not certainly felt throughout his tenure as vice president of unified Yemen; during the past seventeen years highly prevailed by typical chaos.
Third, his closely contact throughout that period with President Saleh – famous of political cunning and endless maneuvers – would have equipped him with a lot of political expertise and different capacities to deal with political issues, internally and externally.
So these capabilities soon began to appear in the recent period, when he assumed the country's administration, especially after signing the Gulf Initiative and its operational mechanism on 23 November last year. The plan formally and completely gave him all the necessary powers to achieve a peaceful power transfer, as a prelude to his election as president of Yemen next February.
There is no doubt that Hadi has strengthened his prestige and respect among Yemenis during the past two months, as integral and clean-handed politician. He also has increasingly gained trust and admiration of Yemenis, and even regional and international parties concerned in supervising the Initiative implementation. He is the president to be elected according to a national, regional and international unprecedented consensus about his character.
Certainly, his performance, characterized by patience, wisdom, flexibility and intelligence over the past months, has given assuring indicators for all observers that his assumption of first responsibility will highlight his overall capabilities, especially with the wider space of decision-making. Many observers remember how former vice-presidents in several countries have demonstrated their exceptional efficiency when assuming the presidency, which was not prominent or clear.
With the three above-mentioned features that had characterized Hadi's personality, all indicators seem encouraging that the man is able to lead Yemen to safety, and that – in cooperation with the national reconciliation government and public, regional and international exceptional support – he would be best placed to lead the ship towards the establishment of a civil state based on good governance, the rule of law, inculcating the values of freedom, justice and equality, and turning the pages of autocracy and family, tribal rule forever.
Source: UAE al-Bayan Newspaper