Talal Al-Ghannam

Good morning dear and honorable brothers and sisters, and I wish all of you a blessed week. In this article, I would like to talk about some issues that do not seem hard to address, but the bureaucracy and wasta (connections) that are prevailing in this country transform easy tasks to mountains-like dilemmas. I will start by talking about the Ministry of Higher Education, in which I started work in the early 1990s. Back then, the process of having an academic certificate evaluated took less than a week. But now, I have heard from so many friends that the same transaction takes from one to two months depending on the influence of the ‘wasta’ that the applicant has. And if there is no ‘wasta,’ the process might even take longer. I appeal to the concerned authorities in these departments to ease the suffering of those people and get their issues taken care of efficiently.

The second issue is the family visit visa which has been banned for a number of nationalities, while it is open for others. This issue is of great significance to expats whose wives and kids are back home, and have no chance to bring them to Kuwait even for a visit or on a dependent visa; whereas this transaction is simple for people of other nationalities who can bring in their families without hardships. Kuwait welcomes people of all nationalities, and therefore these bachelors working here need to be close to their loved ones, especially their wives and kids, so that they can feel the warmth of parenthood and family belonging, instead of being separated from them; which is a matter which can have a bad impact on entire families.

I have heard so many divorce cases in Pakistani families in which the husband works here and is unable to bring his wife and kids over because of the ban imposed on people holding this nationality. Pakistan had a brave stance towards Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion, and in the ongoing Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Pakistan has always supported Kuwait in all regional and international arenas. Yet, issues of its nationals remain unresolved in Kuwait.

The third issue is the importance of allowing domestic workers to have the right of self-sponsorship rather than having to be sponsored by a third party. In this case, the worker, being male or female, can have the right to switch employers if they believe that they are being treated badly or unjustly. Every one of us would feel the same if we are put in a place where there is no justice or good treatment; in which case we would seek to move to another place where we can feel happier. These low-wage workers are humans as well, and they have feelings. Whether we are good to them or not will be judged by Almighty Allah in the afterlife.

The fourth issue is an appeal to the Interior Ministry to stop the roaming taxi business in Kuwait. I am not being biased against roaming taxi drivers, but I am saying this because these poor drivers are always chased and bothered by many policemen even if they are abiding by the traffic law. They will always find a reason to pull them over; either a slight scratch on the vehicle’s exterior, a small window crack, or if the taxi is carrying female passengers. Some policemen tend to find fault with the taxis just so that they can fill up their citation records, so that they can get be rewarded with a bonus at the expense of these helpless taxi drivers. If this is the case, then destroy all the taxis and make decent buses that do not produce heavy smoke from their exhausts, do not break down in the middle of the street and most importantly, those which do not race among themselves as clearly seen. especially on Jahra Road.

The fifth and final issue is the need to have road maintenance across Kuwait. Citizens and expatriates have got fed up with this issue for having to fix their cars’ windshields and struts thanks to the thousands of manholes and flying gravel; a matter that has prolonged for years without being fixed. In the United States, affected people can sue the state for this, because they are paying road taxes and the government must be committed to clean and fix the roads from this tax money. Whereas here, no one pays tax, thus they should bear with the consequences.

Till the next article insha Allah!

By Talal Al-Ghannam