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Is the Tehama Movement represented at the NDC?

We are now three months into the National Dialogue Conference, where many of the country's contentious issues--like that of the years of war in Sa'ada and Southern separatism--have been discussed and debated.

Prominent members of Yemen's Tehama Movement--a organization based in Hodeida, which advocates for improved regional representation--however, say that there grievances have been put on the back burner.

The spokesperson of movement called on the political powers not to disregard their grievances, which include outstanding claims of regional marginalization and the illegal appropriation of land by sheikhs. Marches put on by Tehama Movement supporters continue unabated, demanding economic reparations from the state and stronger representation in Sana'a.

Khalid Khaleel, the founder of Tehama Movement and a member of the NDC, said the sessions of the NDC have not addressed the claims of the group. The sessions focused on limited remedies of some rights issues and violations committed against people in Hodeida, Khaleel said.

Abduljaleel Al-Abdali, a youth activist in Hodeida, worried that the actions of the movement could further fracture the country.

"We should not protest like this. Otherwise, every governorate would have a movement," he said.

"What former president Saleh predicted--that the country would be polarized after he departs--is happening now in front of our eyes." Political observers have accused former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his aides of supporting the Tehama Movement.

Dr. Nabil Al-Sharjabi, a politics professor at Hodeida University, said that members of the regional movement receive funding from the General People's Congress, the party of the former president.

The poor and unemployed are manipulated by the GPC, Al-Sharjabi claimed.

However, Khaleel denied the accusations that he receives any funds from the GPC.

"We started in the Change Square in Hodeida. We toppled the regime. It is unreasonable that we are supported by the former regime." "We are neither associated to the former regime nor to the current one," he said. "We have political rights and historic grievances. We do not demand separation. We only want to be dealt with as Yemenis, not a marginalized group." Many political sides accuse Abdu Burji, a close aide of the former president--and resident of Hodeida--of supporting and funding the Tehama Movement.

"If Burji supports us; we will accept him because he is one of Tehama locals," Khaleel admitted.

At the beginning of this month, the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar met with the representatives of the Tehama Movement in Hodeida. He promised them to convey their grievances to Sana'a.

The Tehama Movement organized politically at the outset of 2012, though their grievances of regional marginalization and exploitation date back decades.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Jun 20, 2013
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