DURING the 70s and 80s, the region was embroiled in radical changes, struggles and wars. When such a dangerous environment surrounded Kuwait and led to divisions within the society, the legislative authority did not take up its responsibility as it should have. Instead of participating in protecting the national security, the legislative authority plunged into side conflicts that provoked internal sedition and weakened national security.
Today, this situation is reemerging both in Kuwait and the region. As a matter of fact, the present crisis is more terrible than the one of the past. This led the political leadership to take the decision of dissolving the Parliament due to the critical situations in the region and the security challenges that require immediate confrontation. This was what was mentioned in the decree for the dissolution of the Parliament.
It was essential to return to the people, who are the source of all power, for them to choose their representatives, express their ambitions and stances and participate in confronting the current challenges.
Unfortunately, this is not what is happening. It is not a secret that many of the MPs do not show any concern for the national security or the crises surrounding the country. Their arrival at the National Assembly was based on their desire to capture the power of the government. They do not care about the principle of separation of powers. They are adamant in following the wrong attitudes of the former Parliaments when some parliamentary blocs tried to put themselves in the place of the executive authority.
It seems over five decades of experience, 35 governments and tens of parliamentary dissolutions are not enough for the MPs to understand that each authority has its own responsibilities and independence. This aspect must be considered if we want the state to move in the right direction.
However, the MPs are not the only ones who should take up the responsibility. In fact, some governments gave MPs the opportunity to overstep their constitutional role and quit using their powers. Those governments were afraid of allegations based on weak and vexatious reasons. Instead of facing the MPs, these governments took the safe option of either resigning or demanding the dissolution of Parliament.
All the abovementioned irresponsible behaviors took a heavy toll on the integrated development in the country. The economy and educational level of Kuwait began deteriorating along with the level of services, making Kuwait an investment-repellant country.
Now, some newly-elected MPs who have no parliamentary experience are enjoying themselves by allocating to themselves some kind of a role of guardianship over the state policy and interfering in issues such as Kuwait’s ties with other countries of the world. They deal with the government as though it is a cell that belongs to their political blocs and is supposed to walk on the very line that they draw based on their agendas without expressing any objections. This is what we had earlier referred to as “Parliamentary Dictatorship”.
We have been warning about the consequences of the government showing weakness in front of the MPs who care about nothing but holding on to their green chairs as long as they can as their source of personal gains against the favor of the Constitution and the public funds.
The public funds have always been the first victim. They are unfortunately used for paying the cost of votes in the form of overseas medical treatments or blank checks or undeserved employment or passing of illegal transactions. These MPs consider the government as their private offices for increasing their electoral supporters.
From the time Kuwait achieved its independence, Kuwaitis have been feeling optimistic with each parliamentary elections under the hope that they will receive honey and butter from the two new authorities. However, their fairy-tale dreams and hopes eventually disappear. In some cases, this happens quite early even before the end of the opening session of the National Assembly due to the emergence of ugly aspects related to the conflict between the two authorities. The scene is alike two boxers in a boxing ring waiting for a single second to knock down each other.
The truth is that the two authorities are supposed to represent the two wings of a bird that cannot fly with just one of them.
The 53 years of accumulated experience since the independence of Kuwait should have been enough for our democracy to become wise and reasonable. It should have been enough for the politicians to discard their uncalculated adventures which led to many crises in the country. It was supposed to help them become more capable in reading the future and taming challenges.
The government also was supposed to be steady and firm in practicing its constitutional power without showing any fear of parliamentary grilling or fake rumors or spread of documents.
The political events that took place in the last few years have revealed that the government suffer from weakness which led to exaggeration of some MPs in their games involving national security and almost pushed the country into a dark and narrow tunnel if not for the decisions taken by His Highness the Amir starting with the decree of one-man one-vote electoral system.
That bitter experience should force the government to stop being a fake witness. It has to play its role specified by the Constitution in order to rescue the country from the dilemma that it was about to face due to some parliamentary uncalculated risks.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times