In a meeting with editors of local newspapers, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah urged all citizens who have information and proof about corruption to contact the Public Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha). He also said every informant will be protected. I think this includes the personal info of people who give the tips.
The statement had wide reflections on Kuwaitis, who seem to have different sentiments about the issue of corruption, especially on social media. Some have cautious optimism, while others have disbelief in the government’s seriousness in fighting corruption. There is frustration too, as no one knows about the guarantees for ordinary citizens who report such cases.
I recalled the issue of protected information and personal data guarantees due to a car accident I was involved in personally about 10 years ago, when someone ran the red signal while I was passing from the other side and hit my car. This incident happened in the morning and the street was crowded with people. So, there were many witnesses including a girl in her twenties, who came to the police station to give her testimony.
The case ended in court, but I was amazed when looking at the case reports that the girl’s name and personal data were mentioned to be seen by everyone, and I thought that this brave girl is at risk from the other person who hit me! This is a car accident, let alone more serious crimes such as money laundering, murder or stealing millions! I believe that providing security to persons who report any crime is an important issue, and in case their identity is revealed, the employee should be referred for investigation so the victim can sue them for putting their life in danger.
Also, I don’t think we should blame people who mistrust the government’s ability to fight corruption. We in an Arab country adopt a privacy code. It means that we always say that everything is fine, there is no need for fuss or anxiety, and we should be thankful because we are surrounded by countries that are burned by the flames of strife and destruction. But, why do we always look at the worst model and why do we not look at neighboring Gulf countries that are similar to us in circumstances and what they achieve for all citizens! Why don’t we adopt good models and choose the worst?
For those who ask where is corruption; well, one round on the roads of Kuwait will tell you at once that there is a general defect. Just following up the statements of the former minister of housing who resigned a while ago shows the extent of corruption. Another example is the routine of government departments, which are still adopting a large cycle of paperwork in all their dealings, with a large number of workers, whether nationals or expatriates. This is a form of corruption!
The truth is that corruption is felt and suffered by simple citizens and expats, but they remain unable to combat it because corruption is manufactured and practiced by officials and influencers. Unfortunately, the corrupt people are corrupting everyone, and the simple citizen can no longer manage their needs without wasta. The worst part here is that we taught the expatriates this method, and they are forced to deal with it in order to live here and make some money for their future and families.
It is sad to see that we were not the best ambassadors, neither for our country nor for the expatriates. What saddens me most is that when I meet foreign journalists, they usually have one question – why is Kuwait retreating? A question that is hard to answer.