KUWAIT: MPs called yesterday for a national reconciliation initiative to resolve the country’s political crisis, which should include releasing political prisoners, returning citizenships that were revoked and ending a clampdown on political dissent. The call was made by senior opposition MP Ali Al-Deqbasi, who was among the former lawmakers who ended a four-year boycott of the parliamentary polls and won a National Assembly seat last month.
His call was echoed by a number of other MPs as the Assembly began to debate the Amiri speech given during the Assembly’s inaugural session on Dec 11. Deqbasi said the country is living through very serious regional conditions, terrorist networks were busted and the country was the target of a deadly terrorist attack. He called for caution and for national unity to be able to deal with the dangers.
“We want a national initiative from all of us here in this chamber including the heads of the two authorities to return the revoked citizenships and release all political prisoners,” Deqbasi said. “We want a national initiative to end the ongoing crisis and those who think that the crisis is over after this Assembly election are totally wrong,” he said. Deqbasi said that he and thousands of young men were the target of teargas and police beatings, adding “we need to overcome that period and move into a new, clean phase”. The lawmaker was referring to street protests organized by the opposition between 2011 and 2014 to protest government policies, especially the government’s unilateral amendment of the voting system.
Opposition lawmaker Mubarak Al-Hajraf warned that if the government does not cooperate on various issues, especially of returning revoked citizenships, he will use constitutional tools against ministers. He said that former opposition activist Saad Al-Ajmi, whose citizenship was revoked and he was deported to Saudi Arabia, should be allowed to return to the country.
Opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri said the government should hold to account all those responsible for leading the country into the current state of affairs. He charged that certain people, whom he did not name, of striking big deals at the expense of the country and who are responsible for the current shortcomings in Kuwait. He said the situation in the country has deteriorated and badly impacted citizens, adding that corruption is rife in all ministries, adding that remaining silent on these situations is a betrayal of the country.
MP Riyadh Al-Adasani accused the government of mismanagement of abundant wealth collected from oil. He said that the economic reform package is devastating for citizens and expatriates, saying that electricity charges have been increased manifold and merchants will increase prices as a result. He said the former interior minister spent KD 23 million on gifts last year, while the government is imposing austerity measures.
The Assembly will continue the debate on the Amiri address on Jan 10, when it is scheduled to also review the government’s reform package amid strong opposition to imposing charges. Before debating the Amiri address, the Assembly reassigned the public funds protection committee to investigate a number of issues related to public funds and the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Assembly also asked its educational committee to investigate allegations of fake degrees and other issues related to the ministry of education.
By B Izzak