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Saturday , January 29 2022

‘National dialogue’ with whom and for what? Constitution is unambiguous, its text reigns

THE current situation in Kuwait is similar to a person asking two people to stand in two separate lines. Some advisors clearly seem to have lost their bearings when they magnified the size of the “opposition”, when in reality, the so-called opposition comprises not more than eight people who were convicted through all three judicial levels after they were found guilty of the offense of storming the National Assembly.

Instead of serving the sentences imposed on them out of respect for the judicial system, they decided to flee abroad, leaving behind parliamentary advocates who submit to their orders and work to disrupt the country for a year.

The government on the other hand is too weak to perform its rightful role. Instead of resolving matters, it went on to give up its powers by calling for a dialogue!

It is true that the Amiri invitation aims to end what seems like a rupture between the government and the parliament, as it looks like the two parties have not reached a meeting point, especially with the escalation of tension between them, and the government’s failure. This had rendered the parliament to take advantage of this matter and become more intransigent in parliamentary demands to the point of a coup by circumventing the constitution and the law. This, without any doubt, is a major issue and Kuwait will not be able to bear its consequences in the future.

In Kuwait, there is an unambiguous constitution and law in terms of their texts regarding the powers of each authority. If one goes against the other, then the text takes reign. However, in light of the prevailing atmosphere and the weakness experienced by the administration of the two authorities, it brought about this matter, which affects the essence of the state, its existence, and its strength.

Such a dialogue is a clear violation of the Constitution, because it would lead to more tension instead of a successful solution to the fabricated crisis due to parliamentary intransigence to achieve goals that are no longer hidden from anyone.

Therefore, the question we seek to ask is – When will there be a national dialogue?

Dialogue happens between rival parties with the aim of reaching a long armistice and rebuilding the state torn by wars and security disturbances. This happened in Lebanon in 1989 with the Taif Agreement, which the Lebanese MPs reached at the time, paved the way to end the civil war. It also happened in Yemen after the 1994 war between the North and the South sides, in Algeria after the so-called “black decade” of 2002, and other countries that were torn by civil wars.

However, the Kuwaiti situation is unlike any of those cases. The details of all the political crises that the country witnessed since 1964 are known. Until today, they had a clear ceiling, which is the firm stand that restores things to the right place.

In the crisis of the year 1964, the late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem was on vacation in India when the late Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad went to him to explain the situation. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem returned to the country and read some of the stanzas of pre-Islamic poet Sala’ah ibn ‘Amr Afwah Al-Awdi in the opening speech of his first legislative term in 1963: “Responsibilities are given to good people of reasoning, or else they will fall in the hands of the wicked ones. People’s welfare cannot be achieved without a leader, and there are no leaders if ignorance is their trait.”

At that time, the impasse was resolved by dissolving the government, and expelling some of the ruling family members from the government when it became clear that the opposition was right in its position. There was no call for a national dialogue, even though the state was still at the beginning of its democratic experiment.

The same happened during the two crises of 1976 and 1986, when the works of the National Assembly and the Constitution were suspended, and things calmed down in the country, while the opposition exercised its role through the so-called “Monday Diwaniyas”.

A national committee was appointed on January 20, 1990 with the aim of revising the Constitution, and paving the way for the return of parliamentary life, but the brutal Iraqi invasion halted the committee’s work.

The real national dialogue that Kuwait witnessed after 1960 was the popular conference that was held in Jeddah. On that day Kuwaitis reaffirmed their allegiance to the Al-Sabah family, which has been in power for four centuries to date.

Even in the crisis of 2012, when so-called “opposition”, which was a group controlled from abroad, began trying to import the so-called “Arab Spring” to Kuwait through demonstrations and riots caused by the Muslim Brotherhood Group, the late Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad called upon the Kuwaiti elite to meet.

The first thing he said in his famous speech was, “Kuwait was almost lost.”

He explained the situation to them, and issued the one man-one vote decree, which was aimed at popular representation. Despite some setbacks in the new electoral system, things calmed down and the country stabilized.

In most of the ancient democratic countries, political conflict between two parties is limited to seeking to serve the country, as is the case in Britain where the Conservatives and the Labor parties tussle. However, things sometimes get worse than what is happening in Kuwait, or in the United States of America where the dispute between Trump supporters and supporters of Biden were about to clash, but the law settled the matter.

In Saudi Arabia when a group of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood Group wanted to rob the state, King Salman bin Abdulaziz issued a series of firm royal decrees, and everyone accepted.

There are many positive aspects in Kuwait, which unfortunately are not taken into account. The most important among them is that the people have pledged allegiance to His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Crown Prince through the National Assembly, which is a kind of indirect election.

In addition to the separation of powers in accordance with article 50 of the Constitution which states, “The system of the government is based on the principle of separation of powers functioning in cooperation with each other and in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. None of these powers may relinquish all or part of its competence specified in this Constitution.”

Unfortunately, this did not happen in the last two decades when parliamentary dictatorship crept over the executive authority, causing all the negatives that Kuwait has been experiencing to this day.

This anomaly made us laughable in the region in terms of economic, political, cultural and social reforms. Today, we yearn for the past when the country was the “Pearl of the Gulf” in all aspects.

Therefore, this national dialogue means more delay of time and wasting of energies. This is because the devil in the details will always knock on head, which means that the crisis will continue.

Kuwait does not need a dialogue between a few personalities who rebelled against the state, the law, and the Constitution, and a weak Cabinet that fears every outcry. Rather, it needs radical and resolute decisions to restore things to their rightful place.

All of us in Kuwait are smaller than a queue in a major country, and we do not have vast provinces or parties or political groupings that exceed dozens.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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