SANA’A: Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi replaced several top ministers yesterday amid rising popular discontent driven in part by power cuts and high prices.
The changes announced by state news agency Saba included new finance, oil, electricity and foreign ministers, among others.
The reshuffle was unlikely to immediately assuage anger in Yemen’s 25 million population — 40 percent living on less than $2 per day — who have struggled with weeks of power cuts and long queues to fill their cars with fuel. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Hadi’s house in the capital before the decree reforming the government, angry at a city-wide power cut about to enter its third day. “Leave us, leave us, down with the corrupt leader!” residents chanted in front of Hadi’s house.
“This failure by the government has turned our lives into hell: No electricity, no petrol or water. They have to leave us right away,” said protester Mohamed Sharaf.
The blackouts in the capital is widely blamed on the sabotage of oil pipelines by armed tribesmen with grievances against the government. The attacks have deprived the state of revenue to buy fuel products, increasing the cost of food in the country. Sanaa’s two million residents have been forced to light their homes with candles or private generators, fuel for which is increasingly expensive.
Hadi appointed Yemen’s UN Ambassador Jamal Abdullah Al Sallal to the post of foreign minister. Hadi also named Mohammed Zamam finance minister and Ahmed Abdul Qader Shayyeh oil minister.