By: Almigdad Mojalli
SANA’A, June 30- Yemenis people are known for long ages of their loyalty and fanaticism to their tribes and leaders rather than the governments or rulers. During the revolution of 1962, tribesmen were very loyal to their leaders, so those leaders could assume high positions in the state and influencing legislators to formulate laws and regulations in proportion to their circumstances.
“We were following the sheikh …if the sheikh joins the revolution, we do. If he is against the revolution, then we are directly against,” said Hussein Nasser Shaie’e of Bani Husheish traibe.
In the 1970s and 1980s Yemeni people showed more loyalty to the central government than to the tribes and tribal leaders, “we were more loyal to the government during the days of former president Ibrahim Al-Hamdi and during the first half of Ali Abdullah Saleh reign because the law enforcement was prevailing everywhere,” stated Ahmed Saleh Al-Nehmi, a tribesman of Nihm tribe.
Loyalty to tribalism starting increasing after the civil war of 1994, when the tribal leaders were supported with money and arms and asked to lead their tribes and participate in the war. When tribesmen received money and arms from their sheiks, they gathered and followed them.
“During the civil war of 1994, tribal leaders were empowered and supported by both money and arms which attract all people and make them support their leaders,” noted Saleh Rashid Al-Haimi, a sheikh in Al-Haimah tribe.
As a reward for their role during the civil war, tribal leaders were empowered, appointed in many positions at the state, and their demands were not refused. “When people or tribesmen saw that tribal leaders had such status and influence, people particularly those of low scientific qualifications resorted to the sheikhs. Consequently, people started to be more loyal to tribalism than it to the central government,” Izzadeen Mohammed Saleh, a tribesman.
Among the reasons that rose the loyalty to tribalism are the weakness of the government and law enforcement. The people asking for mediation to get a governmental position, the people imprisoned for crimes or any problems, and the people having problems directly go to the sheiks to mediate or find a solution or a way to help them. “They go to the tribal leaders because the know that they will help them as the regime is delicate and no rule of law… ,” explained, Mohammed Naji Al-Harthi, a tribesman.
After the presidential and local councils’ election taken place in September 2006, the power of the tribal leaders increased much more due to their support for the GPC candidate Ali Abdullah Saleh. As a result, loyalty to tribalism represented in the tribal leaders has increased and became more than loyalty to the state or the central government. “certainly, loyalty to tribalism has increased because people found that the sheikh is more powerful than state and can help you more than your academic qualifications or the law itself, because rule of law and tribalism can never come together…tribal power come with the existence of corruption and weak government.
With the revolution of the February, loyalty to tribalism reached the top while loyalty to government decreased to the lowest levels. “People and even commanders in the army forgot about the government and became either loyal to their tribal leaders or to their political parties…no one asked about the government,” Yahya Ahmed Al-Kawli, an officer in the minister of interior.
Last week, a group of tribesmen affiliated to Khawlan tribe, and politically affiliated to Islah abducted colonel Murad Al-Awbali, the commander of Brigade 62 Republican Guards causing a dispute between Khawlan and Sanhan tribe to which Al-Awbali belongs.
. “The abductors are affiliated to Islah party and most of the people in the surrounding area are against Islah and the top leaders of Islah particularly, so they decided to stand against the kidnappers…,” Ahmed Saleh Salah, a head of a village in Khawlan tribe.
2012-08-09 12:08:35 UTC