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King’s failure to keep his promise killed the palace guard

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PEOPLE of this country are confused about where to start counting the promises made by successive governments, which have failed to fulfill them and were preoccupied with skirmishes with the MPs. Those Cabinets almost turned into something like a mummy that does not move, and if it moves, it is just for the sake of yawning.

No government, especially in the last three years, has realized that the state is like a body, and it is its brain. If the brain sustains some illness, the rest of the parts begin to collapse. Hence, protecting the brain is a very critical issue, because it is the one that watches over the rest of the body’s operations. That is why people all over the world judge their governments harshly if they fall short in any matter.

From this perspective, if the government promises something, it needs to fulfill it; otherwise it would have activated an unhealthy norm in the society, and allowed the corrupt to practice their malicious games and usurp the rights of people. From this begins the weakness of institutions.

There are many promises made by successive governments. Plans were drawn up, but they remained ink on paper. The last government excelled by procrastination. We have the best example of the pensioners’ grant and other issues that concern citizens that got turned into a commodity for both parliamentary and governmental gain. Therefore, it is perhaps useful to recall a lesson learnt from the story about a king and one of his palace guards. This story highlights the severity of the consequences of the failure to fulfill a promise.

The story begins with the return of a king at night to his palace in very cold weather. Near the entrance, he saw an old guard standing in thin clothes. He approached him and asked him, “Don’t you feel cold?”

The guard replied, “Yes, I feel cold, but I do not have warm clothes. I must endure the cold until the end of my guard shift”. The king then said, “I will ask one of my servants in the palace to bring you thick clothes to protect you from the cold”.

The guard rejoiced at the king’s promise. However, as soon as the king entered his palace, he forgot about the promise. In the morning the old guard had passed away and next to him was a paper on which he wrote with a trembling hand, “O king, I used to withstand the cold every night, but your promise of warm clothes to protect me from the cold robbed me of my strength and killed me”.

It is not surprising that Kuwait is witnessing a constant quest to bury it through the indifference of its governments, especially in recent years. There is not a housing issue that has been solved. It has neither benefited from the experiences of neighboring countries, nor has it remedied the challenges and problems experienced, for instance, in the health or education sectors and in the economy.

However, all that is there are promises copied from programs set by previous governments, which led the country to suffer from continuous decline at all levels.

Kuwait needs an official who is well aware of the changes taking place in modern societies. Perhaps the candidates for the presidency of the future Cabinet should carefully read what the former Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and one of the members of the Committee on the Future of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the World Economic Forum Geoff Mulgan said, “We noticed that the current governments in the world are no longer suitable for the modern era in many respects. Many experts believe that a radical reform of the work of governments has become an inevitable necessity. If governments do not comply with the requirements of the people, their ability to govern will be reduced, which will increase popular discontent with them and weaken the state even more”.

Any official should realize from the first moment he assumes responsibility that this is not a prerogative. Rather, it is a continuous work that requires perseverance in following up the people’s concerns and addressing their problems.

In many cases, it is more like a surgeon who performs painful operations to eradicate the disease that the body suffers from, instead of treating it with painkillers that exacerbates the disease. This is the case of our successive governments since the founding of the state of institutions nearly six decades ago.

The time has come for us to have a responsible government that is efficient, experienced, knowledgeable and effective so that it does not forget its promises and can avoid incidents like that of the old palace guard who was not killed by the severe cold but by the king who forgot to keep his promise.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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