COMBATING corruption is a trademark in election campaigns as candidates have been reiterating it for the past 30 years. But once they get elected, they start manipulating public funds and openly violate laws.
One might exert pressure or even oblige ministers to employ his aides in positions for which they are not qualified. Another could take on the duty of sending people to overseas medical tours and then brag about how many people he sent abroad for treatment, while another proposes laws that could lead to squandering of public funds.
Moreover in parliamentary history, those who do not talk about combating corruption are more corrupt than those who claim to be fighting against it because they engage themselves in battles to protect ministers who facilitate corruption for them. Otherwise, they push steadfast ministers to the grilling podium. They gather signatures for the vote of no-confidence even before filing interpellation documents in the Parliament. They block development projects if they have no share, do not serve their interests or are not beneficial to their people. They exaggerate the cost of a project from KD 1 million to KD 2 million or KD 3 million as long as they get their share.
Indeed, corruption and its various forms had become a problem suffered by the entire world. However, the difference between advanced countries whose officials respect the Constitution and laws; and the backward countries is that the former combats this catastrophe with actions, not words. This goes to the extent of a minister resigning for using public fund to put fuel in his car and returning small change. Therefore during election, it is not necessary for candidates to raise fighting corruption slogans because moral obligation and respect for the law guarantee solution to any problem which may have been caused by corruption.
In backward nations, MPs, in fact, ministers commit grand corruption. We have such people in this country, so Kuwait’s corruption index has been rising for the past 25 years. Last year, Kuwait ranked seventh in the Arab world, first among the GCC countries and 69th globally — out of 177 countries.
This painful reality was not changed by slogans of candidates striving to propagate corruption, whether through laws meant to increase their political gains, and obviously, they increase their other gains as well, or by fighting against administrative and economic reforms. Actually, they propagate mismanagement for the State establishments to remain as their grazing grounds.
Unfortunately, those talking about chastity and portraying themselves as pious and clean, claiming their hands are not contaminated by public funds, are the ones drowning in corruption.
They fit in what the Prophet’s (PBUH) companion, Ibn Mas’oud (may Allah be pleased with him), quoted Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as saying, “Indeed, what people learned from words of the earliest prophecy is: If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.”
This is why they commit grave violations shamelessly. People who are not ashamed of themselves, their people and their lord, do not deserve to be legislators or trustees of public funds and the rights of future generations.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times