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MISTAKEN is the one who thinks the legislative authority will stop interfering with the other authorities or give up that addiction within day and night.
Those who think that article VI of the Constitution gives the people’s representatives in the National Assembly absolute freedom to practice whatever they deem appropriate for their interests, ignoring the needs of the people and the state, are also mistaken.
Indeed, the system of governance in Kuwait is democratic, whereby sovereignty belongs to the people — the source of all powers — and the exercise of that sovereignty is in the manner indicated in the Constitution.
Unfortunately, this article was undermined in the past three decades to the point of deflating its content, and even deflating the Constitution as a whole.
This happened when the MPs overstepped on the powers of successive governments, either through the force of moral intimidation, or sometimes through under-the-table deals with ministers who were weaker than the dockets they are holding. We hence have had submissive and timid governments that were incapable of taking decisions.
Here I beg to clarify that we are not referring to the last four governments of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, but to the majority of governments that were formed since 1992 to this day.
Therefore, it was not possible to establish a natural balance between the authorities in terms of their cooperation, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, to the extent that the MPs sometimes encroached on the authorities of the ruling system and the government, and tried several times to hijack the judiciary and use it for their interests.
This fact was caused by ministerial incompetence, as when an MP goes to a minister and imposes on him a deal, a project, or a basket of appointments, and the minister rejects it or even asks to be given time, the gallows of interpellation fall on him.
The most prominent evidence of this is what the former Minister of Public Works Jinan Boushahri said at the end of her grilling, “Reform has become impossible. Companies have become stronger in the parliament. This is not the issue of the people’s representatives, but of contractors and companies. The few MPs who signed a vote of no-confidence against me did so because I did not appoint anyone for them, but I instead preserved the public money and upheld my constitutional oath”.
What does this mean? Isn’t it a clear abuse of the legislative tools? This is exactly what led to the resignation of the former Finance minister Mustafa Al-Shammali when the network of parliamentary interests, and other ministers whom he executed politically, took advantage of the malicious grilling and parliamentary questions, which made successive governments appear as captives of the MPs and not the powers entrusted on them, or the Constitution, even the supreme national interest.
This fact has generated a joke about having 51 amirs — one in Bayan Palace while the other 50 are in the National Assembly who tailored the laws according to their whims to the extent that they turned into an executive force in most cases.
For example, some MPs order ministers to cancel an activity or a cultural symposium such as the MP who said he would grill the Minister of Information if the latter allowed Jalal al-Din Al-Rumi to enter Kuwait, even though that man died thousand years ago, and the MP who carried a list of several electoral members to be appointed in a particular ministry, but when his request was rejected, he grilled the minister and found the government was ahead of him in abandoning him, before filling a request for a vote of no confidence.
This systematic corruption did not stop at the borders of the ministries, but went beyond it to the oversight bodies, which the MPs have turned into their farms. They appointed their people to be used as a tool of blackmail for ministers and official institutions, rendering the corruption cases to become selective and far from the proper control standards.
This abuse of constitutional tools prompted the Deputy Prime Minister and the former minister of Defense Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali, along with the former minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmed Al-Mansour in their letter of resignation, to announce explicitly that, “The abuse of the constitutional tools in the country is regrettable, something that prompted us to take this step by submitting our resignations to His Highness the Prime Minister”.
This situation has caused the absence of social justice, which led to the emergence of an unprecedented state of discontent in Kuwait, to the point of invoking flimsy pretexts to prevent people from being redressed.
An example of this is the issue of loans, which was and still is the argument for some who did not borrow that, “Why should only the borrowers’ loans be written off?”, forgetting the constitutional right in Article 25, which imposes on the state to compensate citizens in adversity.
Here, a question must be asked – If an area was subjected to an earthquake God forbid, should the state refrain from compensating its residents because the rest of the areas were not affected?!
All of this is the product of a deep state, which has its tools and arms in the National Assembly, and all official institutions. It is the cause of all these crises. Therefore the permanent answer of government officials to the question “Why aren’t you governing?” is “The Parliament doesn’t allow us!”
There is hope today that the requirements of the Amiri speech will be implemented, and that it will actually be a real start for the separation of authorities and the exercising of each one of its roles without the other encroaching on the authority of others.
There is still room for it. It is better late than never.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times