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Friday , October 30 2020

O’ Prime Minister, seal the hornet’s nest

Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

THE current situation in Kuwait can bear neither procrastination nor flatteries and praises of His Highness the Prime Minister or the entire Cabinet. Everyone must rise above the futile statements of admiration, and instead adopt frankness and openness, as these represent the only way to solve our challenges that continue to increase day after day.

In this regard, I recall the quote used by the Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz three years ago. He said, “May Allah have mercy upon the one who shows me my faults”.

This quote carries with it a call for transparency in dealing with public affairs. Flatteries are often poison mixed with honey, and do not encourage or contribute to taking the right decision, but instead misleads and confuses the one who is being flattered.

Eight months have passed since the current Cabinet became operational, but the question that begs to be asked is, “What did His Highness the Prime Minister accomplish during this period?”

Did he put the government on the path for addressing the challenges facing the country or did he leave the matter of the COVID-19 pandemic to the Minister of Health and his contradictory decisions that have failed in flattening or even lowering the curve of infections?

In fact, the decisions taken had led Kuwait to live under lockdown for a period exceeding the countries that were hit harder by this pandemic.

As for the anti-corruption file, despite all the referrals to the Public Prosecution, does His Highness believe he has sealed the hornet’s nest of corruption? Or is he satisfied with what newspapers and social media have given him? Or were they just coincidences?

Furthermore, the Cabinet has engaged itself into the parliamentary game of the pursuit to increase electoral gains. It did not work on passing the laws that would help address the negative consequences of the financial crisis, which subsequently increased the burden on the private sector at a time when there is much talk about facilitating the entry of foreign capital into the country.

The question is – how would any foreigner or even a Kuwaiti properly invest when there are no flexible laws that protect investments, such as the bankruptcy law, which has been in the drawers of the National Assembly for years and is taken out to the discussion arena whenever there is need for a media review, and then returned back into the drawers?

Several months ago, the government submitted a bill to borrow KD 20 billion. Despite the embarrassing financial situation left by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, and in addition to the Minister of Finance’s explicit announcement that “there won’t be enough to pay salaries for the month of November,” the government left the matter to parliamentary juggling and the social media.

It is as if the government is not the executive authority responsible for this matter. It is instead focused on counting the number of votes that the minister would receive during the “no-confidence vote” or offering concessions to save the Cabinet member in question.

His Highness the Prime Minister should not be supported by giving him flowery words, but by thorning him with facts so that he makes decisions without fearing backlash from an MP or an influential person, or even the social media.

In fact, we should frankly say that the simplest way of getting things done from now on is through the decree of necessity on all pending bills, first and foremost the Public Debt Law.

Unfortunately, Kuwait is the only country in the region where everything is subject to bargaining and blackmail, when the government can actually do a lot with its papers and authorities.

That is why we say openly – Seal the hornet’s nest, Your Highness … you can do that, and we hope you will do so.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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