Municipality first public body set up in Kuwait

The old Municipality administration building

KUWAIT: Kuwait Municipality was the first public service body established in Kuwait – in 1930 – to initially serve Kuwait City. It later extended its services to cover villages and Failaka Island 20 years later, as mentioned in a book titled ‘The Dream of Modern Kuwait…History of Kuwait Municipality Pre-oil” written by Municipality director from 1971 to 1980 Mohammed Al-Maosherji, who attributed the idea of establishing the Municipality to Sheikh Yousif Al-Qenae, who wanted to follow in Bahrain’s footsteps in this regard and published the idea in Kuwait Magazine in 1928.

In this regard, civil society researcher Bader Al-Hetaitah told KUNA that the Municipality was established before the discovery of oil and that it used to rely on both donations and revenues it collected as fees. Hetaitah added that a meeting was held at Mubarakiya School on April 9, 1930 to call for electing the first 12-member Municipal Council for a two-year tenure, before direct orders from Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah were made to appoint Sheikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as the first Municipality chief, while Sulaiman Al-Adasani was elected as its first director.

Hetaitah said that Kuwait was plagued by smallpox from July to December 1932, which claimed around 3,000 lives. “It was then that the Municipality imported the needed vaccines from Iraq and launched a vaccination campaign to fight the disease,” he explained.
In addition, Hetaitah said that under its second director Nisf Al-Nisf, the Municipality played a major role in recruiting citizens to work in a private shipping and unloading company, distributing aid to citizens affected by the heavy rainfall in 1934 – the year of haddamah (destruction) – which destroyed several houses, and collecting a half per cent custom tax to be used for establishing the first education ministry (al-maaref department). – KUNA