Monday , November 20 2017

Of government and ‘seesaws’

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil
Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil

MOST noble Kuwaitis and many others were shocked and baffled by the verdict on the 2007 emergency power generators case.  Although the verdict is considered harsh, many believe it is justified.

However, the issue has another shocking aspect as an employee was accused of committing a grave mistake; yet the well-guided government rewarded the employee for the mistake, accusation or trial — there is no difference — by appointing him as minister.

The ministry, in which the employee became a minister, is the same ministry where he committed the mistake when he was a department director.  In addition, this employee received unlimited grants, as he was given another ministry — the Ministry of Public Works which is not less important and sensitive than his ministry — the Ministry of Electricity and Water.

The whole news reminded me of the old days, in public parks during festive days, where the seesaw operators move the seesaw up and down, for instance, 10 times, in order to make you happier.  For the children, the operator moves the seesaw three times more while saying, “O child, this is a bonus for you”.

What is the difference between the seesaw operators in the old days and our well-guided government when it comes to grants or movement of the seesaw?

It is an unforgivable mistake for the government to appear as if it is the last to know anything about its employees.  The appointment of someone on trial as minister in the same ministry he committed the mistake is a huge gaffe.

This reminds me of the time I graduated from the College of Shariah and Law in the early 70s.  I was one of seven hardworking law graduates, from well-known families and social background who applied for a job in the Public Prosecution to serve as public prosecutors for the attorney general.

At the time, a public prosecutor post was a distinguished position as the Amiri decrees were issued through the Public Prosecution.  All seven of us were appointed without ‘wasta’ because we deserved the job and there was no need for ‘wasta’, favors or interference from anyone outside the Public Prosecution.  After our appointment, we were called to meet the then attorney general – the late Fares Al-Waqiyan, and the then public prosecutor – the late Waqiyan Al-Waqiyan who were worthy of emulation in terms of leadership, coaching and ethics.

I can still remember the first meeting with the late attorney general, when he told us, “We did not accept you for your academic excellence and hard work.   Instead, we accepted you after an intensive background check on your family surroundings, behaviors, relations and friendships… you are bound to become judges in the future; judging people on behalf of HH the Amir with fairness and justice as ordered by Almighty Allah”.

I profoundly remembered that brilliant occasion, and then I remembered the current situation of the government and the gaffe it committed … I deeply pity our situation.

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil

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