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Days without ethics

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Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

IN this article, we will talk about the proposal presented to the Parliament by the representatives of the Islamic Constitutional Movement (ICM) whom we respect as individuals.

The proposal is mere orders from the cardinals of the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Kuwait – the group to which our rational governments gave in an unprecedented manner the keys to the educational sector, Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, the Zakat House, and various independent bodies and institutions.

The proposal entailed amendment of the electoral law, which does not allow parliamentary candidacy for anyone who has been convicted in crimes related to honor and trust. The article in question highlights that those who have been convicted in final rulings for crimes that violate honor and trust are not permitted to run for the Parliament.

However, the Kuwaiti Brotherhood Party finds this law unpalatable because many of its party icons are not qualified to run for parliamentary seat due to this law.

It is clear that this party is ungrateful for what our rational governments lavished it with, such as a humongous headquarters that blocks the sunlight, billions of dinars, “parachute appointments” for its affiliates in high positions, and the contracts and tenders in which they failed miserably but the government did nothing.

The party wants to reinstate their icons back in the Parliament, despite them being convicted of crimes related to violation of trust and honor. They want to see the Parliament with the membership of those whose followers have been convicted of such crimes, and well-known public figures who fester day and night on various means of communication, television interviews, and newspapers!

We can only shake our heads with regret over the depravity and corruption that have descended into our society. Many of the current and former MPs are brewing corruption, and their bank accounts are filled with the millions and hundreds of thousands that they earned because of their seats in the Parliament.

Many laws and ethical rules have been violated to obtain the parliamentary support that the government and its ministers need, or for parliamentary intervention in order to appoint people undeservedly, or obtain a tender from which they reap millions, even though they may falter in the implementation of these actions.

The story of the disgraceful proposal from the Brotherhood’s representatives reminded me of a bill related to the Parliament’s internal regulations that was presented during the time when I was a member of the 1992 Cabinet, serving as the minister of Oil. Following the resignation of the Cabinet, I returned as an MP in 1994, and the first thing I thought about was establishing an “Ethics Committee” in the Parliament.

For this purpose, I visited the ambassadors of the great democracies of the United States, the United Kingdom (Britain) and France, asking them for a copy of the laws of their parliaments on this matter.

I obtained those laws and drafted a similar law, which was referred to the Legislative Committee for discussion. I remember one of its members asking, “Why does he want to treat them as if they are stubborn students?”

The ethical proposal did not see any light, despite the fact that such a committee is found in the internal regulations or rather, standing orders of all parliaments in the developed and backward world except for the Arabian Gulf Street Parliament.

The law focuses on directing the blame or punishment for misbehaving inside and outside the Parliament, which are actions that do not reflect in the penal laws that may prevent punitive actions against a misbehaving parliamentarian. Here is the role of the parliamentary ethics committee to hold such an MP accountable for unethical behaviors.

How full of ethics were the old days compared to the current days without any ethics!

e-mail: ali-albaghli@hotmail.com

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil