THE government always loses the battle because it unfortunately doesn’t know how to gain popular consent. It does not exercise its role firmly because of its fear of parliamentary accountability, which drives it to hesitation. Therefore, it regrettably reproduces the method that its predecessors followed since the mid-1980s after the crisis of “Souk Al-Manakh stock market crash” to this day.
Due to this reason, the executive authority always appears hostile towards popular demands, indifferent to their concerns, and clings to laws that are no longer suitable for the 21st century irrespective of whether it is related to encouraging investment and finance or even in the housing issue, the features of which are still the same as they were in the 1950s, without taking any initiative to solve the issue.
In this regard, it unfortunately did not learn from the experiences of other countries, and this file is getting more and more complex. A citizen in Kuwait has to wait 15-20 years to obtain his housing welfare, while in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other countries, the issue was resolved with a modern form of organization without the state incurring any sums that burden public funds.
As for the issue of freedom and information, instead of developing laws, the Twitter post of a Kuwaiti citizen costs him 10-20 years in prison, with some even facing 50 years in prison. The governments did nothing to cleanse the image of Kuwait in this regard by abolishing laws that restrain freedom of opinion. This has led the country to appear to the world in a way other than its true image of being a habitat for freedom of opinion and expression, and a cultural message of enlightenment to the Arab world.
In addition to that, these governments have not worked towards correcting the relationship between them and the legislative authority, which, in the eyes of the people, always appears to be the rescuer and savior. That is why the MPs intend to play a populist role with ease, realizing that the executive authority does not have the initiative. This was evident in recent events when these contradictory practices of the Cabinet were used to raise the popularity of MPs among Kuwaitis, and thus becoming heroes in the eyes of the people.
It is true that the rescue came from the political leadership through directives to withdraw the reports submitted by the Ministry of Interior. This opened the gates of relief after the government brought the matter to the brink of the abyss, and this led reassurance to prevail among Kuwaitis.
Based on this fact, Kuwaitis are today looking towards a guardian to get them out of the tunnel that the executive authority took them into, because of its disarray, and to rid them of what they have found themselves in. This includes the case of loans, about which they do not ask for anything more than rescheduling, reducing or dropping the interest, or guaranteeing them and rescheduling them for 20-30 years. It also includes dropping of the lawsuits, which have reached about 70 thousand cases in a few years, and the travel ban imposed on about 100,000 citizens over small sums.
In this regard, why doesn’t the state follow the same path taken by the other Gulf states, which dropped loans of their citizens and did not imprison them for defaulting for reasons beyond their control? Why not open the gates of investment, restore the economic wheel and social openness in the country, after the shortsighted decisions and laws led to its transformation, and eliminate the use of the fear-club against the other, which increased people’s losses?
Finally, we reiterate the fact that the state has been unable to market itself to its people, while in other countries the authority shows itself in a civilized manner and serves as a refuge and a haven for people. This is what Kuwait should be, because continuing to rely on a disoriented government will only bring about a worse undesirable situation.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times