Sana’a: Yemen president’s new measures against his predecessor have been interpreted by many observers as a brazen step towards asserting control over the troubled nation by reducing the effect and influence of the former president.
Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s guards have recently shut down a TV station funded by former president Ali Abdulla Saleh and days later imposed a blockade on a mosque controlled by Saleh in the capital. Yemen Today TV was accused of inciting frustrated people over power cuts and fuel shortage to revolt against the government.
Hadi served as Saleh’s vice president from 1994 to 2011. Saleh left office in 2011 when Arab Spring inspired protests forced him into handing over power to Hadi in exchange for immunity. During his tenure as a vice president, Hadi had been known as an empty suit who rarely opposed Saleh’s decisions.
A top western diplomat told the Gulf News on Monday that Hadi wanted to teach Saleh a lesson that he is now the president and no longer a powerless leader.
“Hadi sent a message to Saleh that is no longer in his pocket” said the diplomat on condition of anonymity.
At the same time, analysts say that Hadi’s steps were “ necessary” to stop Saleh’s meddling in the country’s affairs and pave the way for the implementation of the National Dialogue recommendations.
The transitional talks came to an end on January after months of discussion between the country’s main political and civil society forces and came up with hundreds of recommendations which set the stage for building a new country.
Abdul Salam Mohammad, the head of Sana’a-based Ab’ad Centre for Strategic Studies, said that Hadi procedures against the former president come in the context of his attempts to succeed the transitional process and put an end to the disruptive parties.
“Hadi targeted Yemen Today TV since it is the media cover of Saleh. These steps came in the wake of some information about a coup by Saleh,”
He added: “Hadi had also some information about Saleh’s relationship with armed groups that target military camps and there are links between his aides and attacks on oil pipelines, electricity towers and seizing oil tanks.”
Saleh’s critics accuse him of supporting tribesmen who sabotage oil and electricity facilities in the province of Mareb. But Saleh responds by saying that his opponents use him as a scapegoat when they fail to fulfil promises.
Pro-Saleh media outlets said that shutting down Yemen Today TV had nothing to do with the alleged coup bid by the former president, rather Hadi’s attempt to strip Saleh from his position as a head of General People’s Congress.
“The Muslim Brotherhood lined up with Hadi to remove the former president from the political scene since he is a strong competitor. President Hadi is seeking to head the party.” Yemen Today newspaper said.
Abdul Bari Taher, a veteran independent political analyst, told the Gulf News that Hadi will not be able run Yemen until he “completely” remove the influential figures who were once ruling the country.
“These forces are unified even when they fight each other since their interests overlap . These forces want to maintain their influence on the country and do not want the country to recover,”
Taher said that Hadi seeks to implement the outcomes of the National Dialogue and the GCC brokered initiative but confronted by these forces that “want to maintain the status quo,”