Upon the request of the Omani Interior Minister, the mayor of Al-Kamil wal Kafidistricts in the Sultanate of Oman has issued a circular to all elders warning against the danger of the growing phenomenon of tribal gatherings and participation of members of similar tribes from outside Oman.
This happened in Kuwait some time ago when tribal delegations ‘demonstrated’ during a visit of a tribe to another state as if they were heads of state and created a state of tribal alienation. The circular states such meetings have played a role in consecrating the tribe at the expense of the nation and the law.
The interior minister emphasized the importance of participation of the elders in enlightening their groups to shun such gatherings at the tribe level because they may produce tribal rivalry, hostility and discord among members of society or may even exploit this to achieve objectives of tribal aspects especially during elections.
In Kuwait, we have a law that prevents by-elections or the socalled primaries, sectarianism and tribalism in particular, and forbids gatherings of any nature, but our government has failed to limit or eliminate the two illegal phenomena. We really need firmness to limit these phenomena because they are dangerous. Half the society, at least, prefers tribal affiliation, and to a lesser extent sectarian affiliation than showing belongingness to the state of institutions and law.
The government often does not care about the seriousness of this duality, which is the root cause of a large scale corruption that destroys the society. Such affiliations, which are not taken into account or sometimes blessed, justifies why a government employee pays more attention to the members of his tribe and his sect, and perhaps turns a blindeye to forgery of any document which his favors his tribe or sect.
Therefore, we really need decisions similar to the decision that has been issued in the Sultanate, the need to promote the spirit of citizenship and belongingness to the homeland. This is in addition to renouncing the belongingness to others. This is not easy if state institutions are not convinced about preventing tribal groupings of every nature.
It is also necessary to stop the ministerial quotas on the basis of religious, sectarian and tribal grounds, and to stop the feeling of the majority that affiliation to the tribe or sect, or to religious party is the only way to get promotion and ministerial positions — a feeling that was established with the formation of the last ministry, where almost each party had a slice of the cake, and this gave the feeling that tribal affiliation is the basis, and not efficiency, or belonging to the homeland.
The phenomenon has recently increased when a number of university students announced through various means of communication of the choice of their tribes to participate in the student elections inside and outside Kuwait. The silence on such practices entrenches more tribalism and marginalizes the role of the state.
By Ahmad Al Sarraf