The miss­ing power

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Saleh Al-Shayeji

Par­lia­ments are the most cor­rupt in­sti­tu­tions worldwide, and not only in the Arab world or Kuwait. The rea­son be­hind this is that most of those seek­ing par­lia­men­tary seats are peo­ple with am­bi­tions to feel dis­tin­guished through power, money, pres­tige, fame and con­nec­tions with se­nior of­fi­cials in their coun­tries, which are all very tempt­ing and ca­pa­ble of tak­ing peo­ple from zero up to the most glam­orous and ex­trav­a­gant worlds.

In ad­di­tion, and un­like of­fi­cial or ex­ec­u­tive gov­ern­ment politi­cians who are sub­ject to dis­missal or penal­ties, a par­lia­men­tar­ian is a politi­cian who is pro­tected by immunity. It is this power of par­lia­men­tary bul­ly­ing that sub­jects min­is­ters to their con­trol and mercy. Cor­rupt par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, not all of them, of­ten use such pow­ers to make per­sonal, fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal gains.

The ad­vanced world with very an­cient democ­ra­cies also has cor­rupt par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, but it is less tol­er­ant and stricter with them. There­fore, there are fewer cor­rupt law­mak­ers, be­cause po­lit­i­cal prac­tices there are much closer to democ­racy than those we have in Arab coun­tries, and this helps re­duce the amount of cor­rup­tion that is lim­it­less in our coun­tries.

Many Arab par­lia­men­tar­i­ans have linked par­lia­men­tary prac­tices to mak­ing large for­tunes and end­less per­sonal and fi­nan­cial gains. Many of them made as­tro­nom­i­cal fig­ures with­out fear of any mon­i­tor­ing or con­trol. On the con­trary, the more money they make, the more sup­port­ers and vot­ers they get, as if they are be­ing re­warded for their cor­rup­tion and trea­son to the prin­ci­ples for which they were elected in the first place and to the oaths they take while be­ing sworn in.

The pub­lic power that is sup­posed to mon­i­tor law­mak­ers’ per­for­mance in par­lia­ments is ab­so­lutely miss­ing - be that will­ingly or force­fully. So, why not form a small en­light­ened and faith­ful group in each elec­toral con­stituency to act as pub­lic tool to mon­i­tor law­mak­ers’ per­for­mance and hold them ac­count­able when­ever their per­for­mance is be­low par or is sus­pected to be driven by per­sonal gains? The pres­ence of such a power will surely im­prove law­mak­ers’ per­for­mance and stop, or at least re­duce, cor­rup­tion.

Cor­rupt par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, not all of them, of­ten use such pow­ers to make per­sonal, fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal gains

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