Kuwaitis bored with grillings, fed up with parliament
The Monday filing of two grilling requests has set off reactions among Kuwaiti voters ranging from apathetic indignation to political fervor. "I am angry about the grillings being filed. I feel like the voters are being played with by the political machine which seeks to get their names in the papers for publicity's sake. it is a game I am growing weary of," said Nasser Abdulwahab.
The requests to grill Minister of Finance Bader Al-Humaidhi and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Justice Abdullah Al-Maatouq come after a long build-up of political maneuvering which began over a year ago. Beginning with the dissolving of Parliament in 2006, a chain of events including numerous grillings, threats of grillings, no-confidence votes, and resignations have plagued Kuwait over the past year.
Multiple grillings are not unheard of, and in fact, in the summer of 1986 three grillings were requested. In the aftermath of the summer of 1986 however, the Parliament was unconstitutionally dissolved and elections were suspended until 1992. Currently, three ministerial positions lay vacant; minister of communication, health, and oil. The new Parliamentary session is set to begin on October 30 and it was thought that the prime minister was set to announce a Cabinet reshuffle to fill the vacancies, but wi
th the grillings in the offing, the future remains uncertain.
There has been talk among political pundits of the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffling just prior to the grillings which would do away with the threat temporarily. "If a new Cabinet is appointed, the grilling will be put in their place and the government can go back to work but only until another grilling is requested," said Jassem Abdulrahman.
Some voters believe another Parliamentary dissolve may be in the works even though HH the Amir has denied he will dissolve Parliament on several occasions over the past year. "With more grillings on the way and little to be said in the way of accomplishment, I foresee another dissolve," said Luluwa Khaled.
Kuwaiti voters speaking to Kuwait Times were unified in their opinion on the impact of numerous threats of grilling. "We are sick of the grillings which always end poorly...nothing is ever accomplished by them and the ministries remain problematic. Their impact is resignations and new unfortunate ministers taking their place," said Noura Ali.
With grillings comes nothing good, in the end I see no improvements based on information gathered in grillings, no good whatsoever." said Omar Fahad. "If one looks at past grillings the usual result is resignations and Cabinet reshuffling which is not a solution. This is avoidance and redirection-pure manipulation." added Iman Jassem.
Ahmad Daoud offered reason to the madness of grillings saying, "The use of grillings to get rid of Cabinet members is political in nature and while it may not accomplish much in the way of ministerial changes, it does serve to push out unwanted ministers.
I blame the MPs who are continually using threats to blame others in order to keep their jobs. You can be sure I will not forget the past year of follies when I go to the polls- whenever they may be held!" said Nawaf Meshari, whose opinion reflected the majority of voters speaking to Kuwait Times. "We will throw them (those responsible for the grillings) out in the next elections," said Talal Muhamed.
In addition to placing blame on Members of Parliament, voters blamed a weak Cabinet for the political crisis. "If they had enough strength, they would make changes in their ministries instead of continuing to facilitate the status quo... It is as if they have no political aptitude at all." said Deema Ali.
The government should appoint a strong willed Cabinet which can accomplish change...I think there are no arguments about whether or not ministerial changes are required," said Khaled Issa. "They (the Cabinet) need backbone as well as knowledge...I am not criticizing their aptitude for their jobs as much as I criticize the manner in which they lay out their plans for each ministry. We need assertive, charismatic leaders in the Cabinet, not pushovers!" exclaimed Saud Mazen.
Voters are at odds as to what the future will bring. "In the end, I think the political players are stalling. They will bide their time until the next election... With the new five voter districts, the old guard needs time to figure out how to remain on top the next time around... They will stall as long as possible to avoid the elections until they are ready and do whatever they can to avoid a premature election," said Yusef Fahad.
When you figure the three minister positions have been vacant all this time, it makes you wonder why they were not filled long ago... It appears that the ministries can work without their figureheads after all, politics is at every level," said Bader Nadal who added, "The new Cabinet will be announced, the grillings avoided (until next time), and everybody looks good.. There will be no great change until after the next elections. Whenever they happen.