Kuwait facing big problems exposed by coronavirus pandemic
Following is the first part of Saud Abdulaziz Al-Arfaj open letter to His Highness the Prime Minister outlining problems and solutions faced by Kuwait society. – Editor By Saud Abdulaziz Al-Arfaj
You have been appointed Prime Minister by HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and the ink on the document has not yet dried up.
His Highness the Amir appointed you because of your wisdom, experience and the ability to take decisive decisions in managing government’s affairs. This is in addition to your clean reputation to shoulder the responsibility, foremost of which is to fight corruption and the corrupt, and this gave us hope as we began to see light at the other end of the tunnel in terms of reforms.
We may well have been stunned as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, announced the corrupt will grill your government in a bid to remove you from power, and this is a clear indication that corruption has reached the highest levels of the State, and this is what exactly made me write to you, Your Highness the Prime Minister.
This is especially after I read articles in the Al-Qabas newspaper penned by columnists Iqbal Al-Ahmad, Ahmed Al-Sarraf, and Dr Modi Al-Hamoud on April 7 and 8 on the topic of corruption.
Your Highness, unfortunately, all State ministries are contaminated with corruption, and worst of all, we are facing big problems which have been exposed by the coronavirus epidemic.
It is an utter tragedy as corruption has become deep-rooted in the country of humanity whose leader has been declared World Humanitarian Leader by the international community, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, who has been bestowed the Medal of Honor.
This corruption manifests itself in falsification of academic certificates, poor education, the low level of teaching, and the backward outdated curricula. There is corruption everywhere be it in the area of electricity, water, roads, bridges, buildings, hospitals, universities, etc.
At some point, HH the Amir of this country, when he was the prime minister, described the corruption in the Kuwait Municipality to be so big that two camels will not be able to carry in on their backs, indicating the extent of corruption in this sector.
Corruption has infested the distribution and utilization of agricultural plots, which are given to people who have nothing to do with agriculture. Similar is the case with industrial plots which were distributed here and there based on influence (wasta), nepotism and favoritism.
As for the health sector, there is multi-million dinar corruption in contracts involving medicines and the overseas medical treatment programs, and also in the Awqaf Ministry which has disrobed religious morals from its entity.
To list other few examples of corruption, are the arms purchase deals by the Ministry of Defense, as well as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor which has a stigma of visa trade on its forehead because influential people have succeeded in flooding the country with thousands of marginal workers that continues to disrupt the demographics of the nation.
Another example is Ministry of Interior where forgery of citizenship abounds. This is in addition to the so-called ‘bedoun’ crisis which has led to another major imbalance in the structure and composition of the Kuwaiti society, to a point where some of them have the courage to insult the political leadership of this country, something which cannot be tolerated.
This matter is very dangerous and requires urgent intervention to stop corruption from festering, which has struck almost all corners of the country.
Here I would like to take this opportunity to highlight an article written by columnist Dr Modhi Al-Hamoud in (Al-Qabas) about statements made in one of the meetings with the former American ambassador to Kuwait, Deborah K. Jones, when talking to the youth.
Quoting the article, “Kuwait will not survive until 2020 because those responsible for it and the notables are busy plundering its wealth as if it were a temporary country…” It is not clear whether the aforementioned statement was made by the former ambassador or by the young people in her presence, but what is clear is, the statement was said under a pessimistic cloud.
In my opinion, the American ambassador, whom I know very well for her love for Kuwait and its people, through her observations and follow-up of the situation of the country during the past years, warned of the possibility of the situation further deteriorating if corruption is not dealt with or remains as status quo.
Here, I invite Ambassador Jones to visit Kuwait as a guest and friend at any time because Kuwait lives with the help of its children and their sincere efforts, with the prudence of its Amir and his wise policy. If the government does not know all this, then that is a calamity, and if it knows, the calamity is still greater. To be continued tomorrow
Saud Abdulaziz Al-Arfaj