IT IS only in Kuwait where the corrupt are bragging about fighting against corruption and the squanderers take up the role of protecting public funds.
While stealing, they scream at the top of their voices to announce that they protect public welfare and the portion of the national wealth allocated for the future generation should not be touched.
Despite many resonating and glamorous slogans and speeches, as well as their claims of being chaste and pure; they continue to corrupt civil employment through the use of ‘wasta’ (influence). They cut through the State’s bone with nepotism as if they are striving to devour it.
All that is left for us is to accept their claims; or else, we will be classified as enemies of democracy and freedom of expression.
It is undisputed that corruption has existed since humans occupied Earth. Many nations have struggled to eliminate corruption, but it keeps on finding its way back. Corruption cases exist even in countries which are more transparent, advanced and law-abiding.
In some countries, senior officials end up in jail for being suspected of corruption; but here in Kuwait, the corrupt carry out their operations in total comfort and then talk about their struggle in eliminating corruption.
Their case is similar to that of someone engaged in a major battle while carrying a file full of corruption germs which mutate and transform into chronic diseases in official circles.
The corrupt usually appoint unsuitable persons to various positions. They never slack when it comes to the interpellation of a minister who rejected their demands, failed to carry out their orders or submit to an influential person.
If you look at ministerial data, parliamentary minutes and speeches of MPs since the first parliamentary term; you will see that all of them vowed to combat corruption and threatened the corrupt.
However, the same people are exhausting all means to get around the law in order to cement corruption in all establishments up to a point where Kuwait, this county of not more than a million and a half citizens, appears like it wants to break the world record in underdevelopment and lack of transparency.
All Abrahamic religions are based on reforming mankind and faith entails piety and good deeds; but when it comes to us, you find those claiming to be pious working towards destruction of establishments as if these are not theirs, or Kuwait is not their permanent residence. They do this despite being aware of the fact that whatever they destroy today will come to haunt them and the future generations.
Therefore, we should not be astonished if we have been in the circle of destruction for the past six decades. This has been happening in a systematic mode of corruption, up to the extent that we have neither gained development nor eliminated corruption.
Several countries have experiments on eliminating this pandemic or limiting it to the least possible rate. Their methods have become fixed formulas for work in the public sector.
Due to these formulas, such countries have gained amazing development; but in our country, the eyes of the corrupt do not blink while bragging about fighting corruption when a project is halted — a project of the size of the northern oil fields which would have generated billions of dollars for Kuwait and provided about 20,000 job opportunities.
Another instance is the cancellation of the Dow Chemicals project, which made the State incur losses that reached $2.5 billion just because someone did not get his share of the deal; let alone the fact that the same person claims to have halted the deal in the interest of the public and future development.
It is only in Kuwait that anti-corruption laws and agencies are almost the same size as several public establishments, yet no one has been arrested for bribery. Even the rulings issued in this regard get squashed easily by lawyer due to many loopholes through which a camel could fit.
In fact, it is only in Kuwait where the corrupt can cover the ‘sun’ of their corruption with a sieve. Worst of all, they are reelected or appointed as senior officials in the government, and at the very least, one of them will be referred for retirement without being held accountable.
If the situation is like this when the entire government and establishments are unable to curb corruption; why not have development and growth in spite the prevalence of corruption?
Why not adhere to the traditional adage, “Give the bread to the baker even if he’ll eat half of it?”
Once that happens, at least we will see projects that will pull us out of the underdevelopment circle which we have been going around for decades. We should not wait for the latest global report to sound the alarm bell for all officials to carry out their national responsibility or we are left to curse the dark when we have not lit any candle of hope.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times