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Monday , October 21 2019

Not many fingers will likely remain

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

I heard on BBC Radio a story which occurred during the Indian elections. These elections are being held in various stages and the results are expected to be announced by the end of May.

The story was about a voter named Pawan Kumar who accidentally voted for the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), instead of his party.

Kumar is a Dalit – the lowest social and ritual class in India.  He wanted to vote for a regional party, but was confused by many symbols in the voting machine.

He was quoted as saying that he wanted to vote for the elephant, the symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP); but he voted for the lotus flower (BJP symbol) by mistake.

This is not the end of the story. Kumar went on to chop off his index finger after realizing he voted for the ‘wrong’ political party.

When I heard about Kumar’s story and his chopped off finger, I started imagining our choices, as Kuwaitis, in terms of our representatives in the National Assembly for a period of four years which we did in 2016. Our choices then will continue to haunt us until 2020 unless something happens before that year.

We made hasty or wrong choices in majority of the current Parliament members. These choices were made under pressure from partisan, tribal or sectarian groups. This is the reality of the current social composition which is a norm among its members.

The outcome of this norm can be summed up in a parliament whose members have not shown any achievement in the aspects of legislation and oversight.

The level of accomplishment in legislation is almost zero; while the completed laws are enacted in a selective and ineffective manner as far as the society is concerned, let alone the failure to provide for needs and address loopholes in the current legislation.

These members are masters of tailoring laws in accordance with the needs of the electoral base. There are many examples and we do not have space to present them in this article.

On the oversight, everything is smooth up to a point where corruption spews from every corner of the society and the government. This is a clear indication of lack of oversight and absence of punishment for those engaged in corruption.

The interpellations we witness from time to time are just for showing off. Most importantly, they are used as a tool for blackmailing the government in a bid to win privileges for some MPs and their voters.

This matter has become known to everyone on social media and our heroes hired by our politicians to stir up controversies from time to time within the circle of corruption chiefs to promote their personal agenda.

If we, Kuwaitis, were to chop off our fingers like Kumar for our mistake in choosing our representatives, we would not have many fingers left. Unfortunately, this is the reality we continue to endure.

By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil

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