“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy,” British publisher, writer and political publicist Sir Ernest Benn (June 25, 1875 to Jan 17, 1954).
Immediately after the announcement of the new Cabinet headed by His Highness the new Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, protest voices were heard from several Islamist Parliament members against the appointment of Minister of Social Affairs Dr Ghadeer Asiri.
The reason behind this parliamentary protest goes back to the tweet of the newly appointed minister nine years ago – in 2011, when she opposed the intervention of the Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain. Away from our position on what transpired at the time, there are some points which need to be clarified before anything else. It is the right of any MP to play his or her constitutional role, and no one would object.
In terms of the interpellation motion that MP Adel Al-Damkhi against Dr Asiri, I respect his move as it is in line with his constitutional role. However, I am not obliged to support his parliamentary performance under any circumstances.
Another point is that the new minister did not even enter her new office or play any of her roles; hence, we sense that the matter is personal. She is the target, not her work in the ministry. It means the entire fiasco in this regard lost objectivity.
Protesting against a tweet posted nine years ago enhances the concept of taking issues personal, and that someone wants to find a reason; thus, he excavates past skeletons to reach the target.
This issue is serious as it highlights a dangerous trend. The fuss about Dr Asiri’s nine-yearold tweet indicates that every person in this country is threatened by their past stances, especially when it comes to holding public office such as a ministry or any other office which serves the nation and its people.
This trend does not fit the concepts of transparency, justice and impartiality. On the other hand, the government could have known the trap in which Dr Asiri fell into. Her appointment could have been a mistake and she wanted to get out.
In a bid to please the MPs, an agreement could have been reached to dismiss the new minister. This assumed agreement could have taken place before, during or after her appointment. Perhaps, time will confirm the aforementioned deduction once the minister takes a stand.
By then, everyone will know whether the government will stand with the minister and protect her or we will witness the first resignation in the newly appointed Cabinet. In my opinion, the government will stand with the minister as the agenda of the interpellation does not entail breaking sweat over it.
If the government is serious in its reform process, it should ensure solidarity and give its members confidence in facing the MPs. We should not forget that the pro-government MPs have a comfortable number in the Parliament; hence, there is no excuse for the government not to protect its members.
Nonetheless, if the interpellation against Ghadeer is based on her work or role as a minister, I would stand with the MPs; but because the ruckus is about an old tweet which refl ects the minister’s thoughts at the time, there is no doubt the entire issue lacks objectivity.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi