Demining experts prepare for a controlled explosion to destroy explosives and mines laid by Al Houthi rebels in the southern city of Aden on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

Al Mukalla: Yemen’s former vice-president and prime minister on Tuesday heavily criticised his dismissal by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, saying that the decision breached the GCC-brokered peace initiative and the constitution.

Hadi on Sunday dismissed Khalid Bahah from his positions as his deputy and head of the cabinet and replaced him with two powerful political, tribal and military figures.

In the presidential decree, Hadi said Bahah was dismissed due to his government’s mishandling of many thorny issues like failing to alleviate people’s woes and merging militiamen into the armed forces.

Bahah, who initially issued a reconciliatory note, issued a lengthy statement on Tuesday accusing the president of breaching previous agreements and the constitution and urged the political forces to reject the decision.

Bahah said he was forced to look the other way at Hadi’s abuses of power as not to cause a rift between his government and the presidency.

Bahah, who took charge in late 2014 as a consensus prime minister after Al Houthis captured the capital, accused Hadi of initiating a parallel government that works “independently” from his government and committing “improprieties” like buying off people and vested interests.

In April last year, a month after the beginning of the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen, Bahah was appointed vice-president in addition to his position as prime minster.

The popular, non-partisan politician escaped death in October when Daesh-linked suicide bombers attacked a hotel housing government officials in the southern city of Aden. In his statement, an angry Bahah said the dismissal breaches principles of the constitution, GCC peace initiative, UN Security Council Resolution 2216 and political consensus.

“This is not true,” Mukhtar Al Rahabi, a former top media aide to Hadi, told Gulf News on Wednesday. “Bahah was dismissed by a president who has constitutional legitimacy. The same political parties that endorsed his selection as the vice-president and prime minister are backing the president’s decree,”

Al Rahabi said the removal of Bahah is also linked to the simmering differences between the president and his deputy. “In his decree, the president detailed why he is at loggerheads with Bahah.”

Some observers think that despite Bahah’s charisma and management know-how, he still lacks the political and military leverage that his replacements have. Al Rahabi said that Lt. General Ali Mohsin Al Ahmar, the newly appointed vice-president, has “huge” military expertise from internal wars and the new prime minister, Ahmad Obaid Bin Daghar, has served in many governmental positions since the socialist rule in South Yemen in 1970s.

However, some analysts think that Hadi made Bahah a scapegoat for the failures in his governance. “Bahah was prompted to issue this strongly worded statement when Yemeni activists began accusing him of betraying the country and allying with Al Houthis. The man felt offended and humiliated,” said Yasser Al Yafae, a local journalist from Aden.

Hadi’s critics say that Bahah’s successors are unpopular in the south where the separatist sentiment holds sway. “Daghar is known for his strong public opposition to secession. Al Ahmar is loathed here for his role in 1994 war,” said Al Yafae. Al Ahmar and Hadi were leading army commanders who defeated the forces of former South Yemen in 1994.