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1150 hard days … We refuse to learn from our mistakes

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Although 1150 days separated the two similar rain disasters in November 2018 and January 2022, this relatively long period was not enough for us to learn anything from it, after the government of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled refused to hold any party accountable for the 2018 disaster despite the fact that everything that resulted from the 2018 rains, including the flooding of bridges, tunnels, and new residential cities, and hundreds of citizens’ homes, vehicles and shops, was caused by negligence and corruption.

The January 2022 disaster was not far from it, and its losses could have been avoided if we had learned something from the lessons of the 2018 disaster, but it is clear that we do not want to learn from our mistakes.

Only the Minister of Public Works at the time, Mrs. Jenan Bushehri, decided unilaterally, after receiving the reports of the investigation committees in the ministry, to issue a set of firm decisions in April 2019, according to which she suspended construction companies, roads and engineering offices from work for four years and closed a large number of cement factories that manipulated mixtures.

The minister was aware that she was confronting the forces of corruption and not long before moves were made to annul her decisions as they represented a precedent in the history of corruption, and should not pass whatever the financial price.

After the Minister issued her decisions, the National Assembly formed an investigative committee consisting of former MP Adel Al-Damkhi, as chairperson, MP Khaled Al-Otaibi, as Rapporteur and former MP Khalaf Dumaither as member and it came out in the seventh month, and after almost three months after the minister’s decision to stop contracting companies and engineering offices, it came out with a sluggish result which did not include any clear condemnations by name, but rather held the Council of Ministers and other government agencies responsible for the disaster, and almost nothing important other than that.

Of course, the issue did not stop at that point. To take revenge on the minister’s audacity a number of deputies submitted a request to interrogate her because she had harmed friendly engineering firms and offices, and the interrogators subsequently succeeded in forcing her to resign, after the government lifted the cover and left her to her fate.

The speech delivered by the Minister of Public Works, Jenan Bushehri in Abdullah Al-Salem’s hall, announcing her resignation and her acknowledgment of her inability to stand against the forces of corruption, was the strongest and most distressing speech in our political history.

After the appointment of Mrs. Rana Al-Faris as Minister of Public Works, after accepting the resignation of her predecessor, the new minister, often with the blessing of the Prime Minister, addressed the Tender Committee with individual letters requesting the lifting of the suspension of this company or that entity on the pretext that it had removed the violations and committed itself to what it should do, in an act that contradicts the truth and all the reports of the Audit Bureau, noting that some of these violations are still there, after 1,150 days until the moment of writing this article.

e-mail: a.alsarraf@alqabas.com.kw

By Ahmad alsarraf