WHEN people read Article No. 50 of the Kuwait Constitution and then look into the reality of the situation, they see a huge difference between its text and the action on the ground in terms of exercising power, especially in regard to the legislative and executive authorities.
As per the aforementioned article, the government system is based on the principle of separation of powers and functioning in cooperation with each other in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. None of these powers may relinquish all or part of its competence specified in this Constitution.
However, in the past three decades, this article has been undermined by parliamentary practice, as the MPs managed to dominate the government, which is entrusted with the executive authority. Such a dominance has led to the paralysis of the country.
Ideally, every authority is supposed to exercise its powers to the fullest without any overlap.
The Parliament is supposed to monitor and legislate in a manner consistent with the spirit of the Constitution, without yielding to the desires of its members in line with sectarian and tribal political tendencies. It is supposed to develop the country and the society.
Unfortunately, the Parliament tends to impose its partisan tendencies on the Cabinet. At any given opportunity, it turns away from the repercussions of the laws that it had passed, and instead holds the government responsible.
Worst of all, people accept whenever the government is criticized. Since the government does not master the art of managing its media and marketing its decisions, successive governments always appear mistaken, and, in essence, pay the price of bowing to the desires of the Parliament.
Since the late 1960s, the executive authority seemed to have abandoned its primary role of protecting the society from any infiltration of political trends, either sectarian or tribal, when it yielded to the logic of prevention and prohibition.
It is as though the generation that drafted the Constitution and the laws were not true believers, and those who came after them possessed the ultimate truth of the matters; hence, we see legislations that were absolutely inconsistent with the Constitution or the global progressive movement.
The situation worsened when this backward group of people went on to interfere in people’s lives to the extent of banning any form of joy and fun, and building a wall of suspicion and betrayal around the culture to such a degree that the nation has become closer to the concept of a “Taleban state” through its expression of its traditions and customs.
This phenomenon has rendered mass exodus of Kuwaitis in the past two decades, all in the name of going out to enjoy after all windows of freedom were shut in their faces.
On the other hand, our neighboring societies are opening up, which means Kuwait, as a cultural message to the Arab world, has turned into a prison that is dominated by the backward tides.
Just imagine that the Minister of Interior fails to defend a very innocent national and cultural activity at Mubarakiya market, and instead yields to the wishes of a certain MP who hates such festivals.
This kind of scene can only be described as a backward parliamentary dictatorship that imposes itself on the State as a whole with the power of intimidation and extortion.
As for these political factions that tighten its dominance grip, they facilitated the emergence of the subversive scourge that we witness today, such as the high rate of drug use due to the ban on liquor, occupational corruption and cover ups, conspiracy against the State with the help of some foreign parties, and spread of extremism not only at the political level but also at the tribal and sectarian levels. All these have made Kuwait gloomy without anything good going on here.
In the face of this dire situation, some action must be taken. The government should use emergency decrees – a step that was tried before in relation to the decree for the one-vote system which was successful.
This is the only way to stop this absurdity and rearrange the papers in a way that suits the supreme interest of Kuwait so that it qualifies to become a partner in making the future of the region; otherwise we will remain prisoners of underdevelopment and corruption.
People are progressing but we are falling behind. Will the government take such bold steps or will it remain afraid of its shadow?
After all, with the interference of MPs, tribes, influential people, sectarian and political tides, and the tampering and attempts to dominate, the government ends up being the only one for people to blame. This is because the government is like those people who lock themselves in delusions and do not take necessary initiatives to exercise their power; eventually becoming weak, and weakening the Kuwaiti national immunity in the process.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times