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THE disregard towards responsibility in the executive branch has gone beyond farce to ridicule. Kuwait, throughout its modern political history, has never witnessed such repeated failures from the Cabinet like it did with the four governments of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled.
The mistakes committed in the last three years exceed all that the country has witnessed from 1962 to 2019, which was the year when Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled assumed the presidency of the Council of Ministers.
There is no bad adjective that does not apply to those governments. They were professional in missing all the opportunities to take bold decisions. They were also well versed in spreading an atmosphere of ministerial instability because its leader made it easy from the beginning to abandon the ministers, some of whom did not spend more than two months in office, due to the absence of ministerial solidarity, and the rapid submission to the voice of an MP or a hint of interpellation.
It is safe to describe his four governments as “black comedy” that is laughable to the point of tears, because their president voluntarily relinquishes his powers every time, and transfers them to the National Assembly for fear of accountability.
This reached the extent of a state where if the minister wanted confrontation, his ascension to the podium was fraught with great dangers because the entire Cabinet had preceded it by sending signals to the MPs which were interpreted as “ready to abandon the minister as long as the head of the Cabinet is not harmed”. This is a heresy that no democratic country in the world has witnessed.
The sins of the last four governments are many, and the many promises made by their head were not implemented. His plans failed miserably, starting with the plan to combat COVID-19. Its measures produced such confusion that Kuwait experienced the longest period of closure in the world. It was the only country that left its citizens to suffer a lot in various airports around the world because of the applications that were intended to benefit some people. These applications forced people to reserve rooms in local hotels, and prevented them from living in their homes until the completion of the period of institutional quarantine. It seemed as if the government was a hotel agent and not an executive authority responsible for easing the burdens on its citizens. Billions were spent to deal with the pandemic but in the end, the result was more cases of infection.
This failed plan can be considered as nothing more than a sample. The biggest catastrophe is that the international financial institutions reduced Kuwait’s sovereign rating twice within two years. The reports were clear in describing the origin of the cause, but the government was in another valley, as it linked the country’s fate to the public debt law that the parliament has not approved to this day.
If the picture is so bleak in the financial and economic aspects, it is grimmer socially when those governments succumbed to the visions of some MPs. It increased the closure of the country, and prevented all sports, cultural and artistic activities because of the detest of the enemies of joy. On the other hand, the neighboring countries have made great strides in opening up and investing in local tourism.
It is this free fall of the governments of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled that made Kuwait plunge into more crises. It currently needs several years to recover, provided that there is a government that is able to take bold decisions, and ministerial stability that does not favor any one, and is not subject to the MPs.
Recently, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled submitted his resignation. All that Kuwaitis wish for today is a change of approach through a new prime minister, given that nothing will change otherwise, and Kuwait will continue to suffer until God decrees a matter that was already in effect.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times