I ONCE tweeted that Muslims cleanse sins through Hajj, Christians through confession in church and Hindus by plunging into India’s holy Ganges River. The Jews do so with a ram that carries all their sins and set it free into the wild.
In Kuwait, sins are washed by putting them on the head of an official and dismissing him from his job, so the other officials escape from punishment and accountability.
The scapegoat is part of biblical rituals that became a model worldwide. The scapegoats in the recent material losses and floods on the roads are Director General of the Public Authority for Roads and Transportation Eng Ahmad Al-Hassan and the undersecretary. These two officials have no intimate relations with the minister of public works.
I think Al-Hassan is not responsible for the damage that the State suffered simply because he took office just some time ago. A big part of the responsibility falls on the one who sacked him and the rest of the State officials in the last half century including ministers, undersecretaries, supervisors, engineers, and managers of road projects and infrastructure in the most corrupt and spendthrift ministries, most of whom were aware of thefts in road projects.
They were unable to do anything or benefited from the situation and their names are well-known. I was once a party in maintenance contracts with the Ministry of Public Works. I know very well the extent of corruption when implementing maintenance projects.
Certainly, we do not exclude some engineering offices whose design and supervision works for major projects make them directly responsible for the disaster.
The other noteworthy thing, which we discussed more than once, is the illogical law on the Public Authority for Roads and Transportation. We reiterate our view that it is difficult for any national intellectual – as I understand it – to manage this body efficiently without taking responsibility from time to time.
Another important thing to know is that what happened in Kuwait recently and a few years ago – heavy rains, harming people’s interests, closure of roads and suspension of classes – are happening even in the most advanced countries.
The absorptive capacity for rainfall in any country is designed and implemented according to the annual rainfall rate. It is not designed for exceptional cases and this is a very costly process. It is economically and environmentally useful for absorbing or bearing material losses between periods due to excessive rainfall more than the general rate. It is better than the construction of a sewage network costing billions and remains unused for years. If he suddenly wants to transport more people, he has to bear the cost of renting a bigger car and he will pay less than buying a large car that is not needed for years.
The flooding in some areas is also due to the inability of pumps to siphon water in a manner that is parallel to rainfall volume. We reaffirm that both Ahmad Al-Hassan and the undersecretary were scapegoats. I say this and I have no interest other than to reveal the truth as I see it. I do not know any of them. They should not have been sacked. They should have remained in their posts and held accountable if proven that they committed mistakes. It is very funny that they were dismissed from their posts, followed by the formation of a higher committee to look into the cause of the problem.
After writing this article, I found out the minister of public works took a very surprising, and perhaps, courageous decision. He resigned, went home to rest and to avoid gossips here and there. Kuwait is a State of gossips.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf