Govt, deputies ‘merry-go-round’ lingers in ‘bedoun plight’

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“IN PREVIOUS articles, I denounced the escalating political restrictions that the government continues to practice on the bedoun issue and warned of its consequences on the internal and external levels, its dangerous impacts on our image in the international community, which had a strategic depth during the crisis of invasion and the battle for liberation,” columnist Dr Abdullateef Bin Nakhi wrote for Al-Rai daily.

 “In some articles, I also criticized the parliamentarians who invest in the cause and injustice of the bedoun and avoid adopting comprehensive and integrated visions or projects to address the issue but are content with legislations that are limited in effect, narrow in scope and ugly, such as the creation and renewal of channels and mechanisms that enable them to blackmail the bedoun politically, and to attract individuals, among them in exchange for individual aid and services and promises for naturalization.

 “A number of former patriotic deputies such as Dr Ahmad Al-Khatib , Jamal, and the late Ahmad Al-Rubei denounced the ugly role that some MPs played towards the bedoun issue and earlier I wrote about the views of Dr Al-Khatib and Jamal in many articles,

“I will suffice here to present excerpts from the Al-Rubei article that he wrote after the secret session on the bedoun case and published in Al-Qabas newspaper on April 28, 2004, entitled (Extortion in the bedoun case).

 “The article stated that ‘the failure of the session devoted to the issue of the bedoun in the National Assembly is an example of recklessness, lack of seriousness and an underestimation of the issue related to the country’s national security’.

“He added: ‘The easiest thing that some parliamentarians do in this case is insult and accuse the government of negligence and lack of seriousness and it is the easiest thing that any deputy can do.

“The government has chosen to accept insult and this is its own affair, but what matters to us is that the government did not defend itself against the charges and that is a lazy and easy way.

“People need some members of the Assembly who reject government solutions to introduce their solutions, and it is clear up to this moment that the government policy, despite its confusion on this issue is performing better than the blocs and individuals in Parliament.

 “I mentioned these two excerpts after the National Assembly approved the formation of the temporary bedoun committee. Despite my respect for the deputies who proposed the formation of the committee and those who voted to approve its formation and who were recommended for membership, and despite my appreciation for the need of the new deputies for the existence of this committee, I am indignant with the old deputies who agreed to be members including Dr. Jowhar and Mr. Al-Saifi.

“It is unacceptable for a committee to be formed to study an issue that has been circulating for more than half a century, especially since it was presented at a high level during the past year through two proposals for two laws to end their case.

 “Why was the bedoun issue not adopted according to the same approach in which other controversial and confrontational issues imported from the previous Assembly? Why was the urgency to prepare and submit proposals for laws regarding comprehensive amnesty for politicians living in luxury abroad, while a committee was formed to discuss the suffering of the bedoun who are deprived of the most basic rights?

“Why is the opposition of adopting the proposal which calls on the control of the judiciary over nationality issues in support of politicians whose nationalities were revoked a few years ago?

“As for the issue of naturalization of the Kuwaiti bedoun who were deprived of their nationality, and their parents and grandparents, their case is postponed for further discussion in a temporary committee, three of whose members are new deputies.

“The most important question is: Why was the bedoun issue not included in the statement issued by 16 deputies a week ago regarding the obligations of the next government, despite the signature of two members of the bedoun committee —Jowhar and Al-Mutairi — on the statement?”


“It has become clear that the complex situation in the Kuwaiti political scene will not witness simple solutions that can be summarized in the formation of a new government and then building real cooperation between the parliament and the government, especially after what was revealed during the first month of the National Assembly’s  life of a major disagreement over priorities between the parliamentary majority and the government at a time when the parliamentary majority adheres to some priorities as they are the priorities of the Kuwaiti people, the government categorically rejects these priorities and has no room for compromises,” columnist Nassar Al-Khaldi wrote for Al-Shahed daily.

 “The recent elections produced a parliamentary composition that is far from the whim of the government, and therefore it was clear from the outset that the government sought to break the backbone of the parliamentary majority, which was expressed in the parliamentary elections and the accompanying events and then to submit an interrogation against the Prime Minister until the government resigned after less than a month of its formation, and in all cases, whether the government was re-formed and headed by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled or headed by another figure, everyone realizes that matters are heading towards the dissolution of the National Assembly sooner or later, but the question remains ‘is it possible to dissolve the parliament unconstitutionally’?

 “All indicators and the internal and external objective circumstances indicate the exclusion of an unconstitutional dissolution. His Highness the Amir expressed more than once his adherence to the constitution and democratic life. In his speech at the opening session of the supplementary session of the previous Assembly, His Highness said, ‘We affirm our pride in our constitution and our democratic approach, and we are proud of our state of law and institutions and our concern to embody the spirit of the one family that our Kuwaiti society knew and our commitment to our deep rooted constants’.

 “In his inaugural speech to the current parliament, His Highness re-affirmed keenness on the constitution when he said, ‘I affirm our commitment to democracy as an approach, and our respect for the constitution is the principle and the state of law and institutions as a system, and our keenness to rationalize our parliamentary practice and we do not say that we are in a parliamentary experience today but a well-established practice that has been around for nearly sixty years.

 “Add to this the complexity of the international and regional situations around us, which drive everyone to adhere to the constitution, especially since the last unconstitutional dissolution occurred in 1986 and continued until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and some considered the dissolution of the National Assembly at that time and deviating from the constitution as one of the factors that encouraged the invasion of the country.

 “The pledges of the Kuwaitis at the Jeddah conference during the invasion are nothing but an original restoration of the constitutional work that adheres to the Kuwaiti parliamentary system, just as Kuwait is classified by the United States, European and internationally as a constitutional monarchy in terms of the system of government, and therefore it is subject to special treatment as a democratic state, and it is not possible to risk changing these standards just because of a parliament-government dispute.

 “It is also not a secret for everyone that the events that took place in America recently, including the storming of the Senate and the House of Representatives following the democratic transition to the American presidency which had a wide impact on the hearts of Americans, a people and an administration that represented great excitement by adhering to the democratic approach and preserving the most important values they have, and mobilizing all parties, politicians and forces. This will greatly encourage them in their approach to work and their international relations in the near future towards their international allies to consolidate, preserve, enhance and consecrate democratic work.

 For all these reasons, we rule out the unconstitutional dissolution, and we think that constitutional dissolution will happen sooner or later.” 

 “With the exception of the positions of the Amir and the Crown Prince nothing prevents the appointment of a woman from the ruling family as prime minister,” columnist Dr Naji Al-Saud Al-Zaid wrote for Al-Jarida daily.

“The constitution does not contain a text that limits the premiership to males from the Al-Sabah family of others. The number of male and female members of the ruling family has reached nearly 3,300, and many women in the family have the ability, are competent and highly educated who can occupy the biggest executive position in a country, so why was the prime minister’s position limited to only men?!

“Let us give it a try in a new era in which there is a woman prime minister – a prime minister from the ruling family as long as there is freedom to choose and there is no constitutional objection to that.

“When we saw the appointment of the first female minister, until the last, we did not see in their performance or history anything that makes us doubt of their job capabilities. Yes, we have had some failures or whose history was marred by some doubts but we never had a female minister from the Al-Sabah family.

“Through the activities and contributions they have made, it has become clear that among them there are those who can run the state in the capacity of Prime Minister — and experiment will be the best proof, so why not give it a try?”

— Compiled by Ahmad Al-Shazli

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