Kuwait & Corruption

by Haider on October 2, 2013

Wainra7at (Kuwaiti for: where did it – i.e. the money – go?) is a Twitter account that lists (in Arabic) the tenders granted by the Kuwaiti government, giving the amount paid, for what service, and to which company. Some of the numbers are extremely depressing, when you compare the amount paid to the service requested, especially when you know how poorly the job was done.

Many Kuwaitis feel frustrated by the corruption and seek to end such inflated tenders, as a way of protecting public money.

While measures should be taken to prevent such corruption, I’m personally not concerned with the amounts paid as I am with the services rendered. It seems that those who request the services – in many cases – don’t know how to evaluate the quality of the work they’re asking for. Visit any government institute or ministry website (examples here and here), and you’ll wonder who signed off on such projects.

Please sit down before you read the next sentence: one ministry website I used (I don’t recall which) produced an error message that the service I was trying to use can only be used with Internet Explorer!

Spending a great deal of money on a website is unfortunate. Spending a great deal for a terrible website is catastrophic.

There are two problems highlighted by the Wainra7at account, which can be tackled separately:

  1. How much is being paid: This can be addressed by drawing comparisons between similar tenders (and the cost differences between them), or a comparison with a similar project conducted outside Kuwait, and how much that cost
  2. The quality of the service offered: This can be tackled by setting standards for the services offered to (and paid by) the Kuwaiti government. The input of experts in the field can be enormously helpful, in addition to feedback from actual users

What do you think? How can corruption be tackled? And are you more concerned about the money spent by the government or the quality of the services provided by companies who win government tenders?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

a October 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

It’s the government’s fault for bringing the Islamists to Kuwait. The Parliament is constantly dissolved because the tribal Islamists want full Sharia law like Saudi Arabia. They want religious police, full university segregation at KU and NOTHING ever gets done at the Parliament because the monarchy don’t want to turn the country into a mini Saudi Arabia. Before the 1990s, the tribes barely had any political power in the Parliament so things got done – projects were actually developed, foreign investment was high, there was no gender segregation so nothing was preventing university students from graduating on time and diversification of economy was slowly developing. Now look at the state of Kuwait….. the Islamic Revolution and Islamist tribal take-over both wrecked Kuwait and instigated never-ending sectarianism. Before the Islamic Revolution, people weren’t going around endorsing themselves as Shia Islamists. Sectarian identification in the elections was non-existent. Before the massive influx of foreign tribes and their subsequent naturalization, Kuwaiti Shias didn’t feel isolated and didn’t identify themselves as ‘Shias’ first and didn’t look up to Iran the way they do now. The Islamic Revolution and MASSIVE influx of foreign tribes led to the radicalization and isolation of Kuwaiti Shias which made them identify strongly with the Shia label.

Things will never go back to the way they were before the Islamic Revolution and before the government’s obsession with naturalizing foreign Bedouin tribes from Najd. Society is too sectarian, the government barely gets anything done and it’s the government’s fault for bringing in so many foreign Bedouin tribes who are now mostly hardcore Islamists against the Parliament — which is all hindering the country’s economic development, making society so much sectarian, and hindering university students from graduating on time. Most university campuses in Kuwait weren’t adequately designed for gender segregation.

Why not build more universities? The economy is 100% reliant on oil, at least before 1990 the government had many successful diversification programs like greenhouse farms. Tourism projects, like Silk City, will never get developed because the Parliament is too inefficient. Why is the Parliament so inefficient? Because the Parliament keeps on getting dissolved every 3 months due to the tribal Islamists demands to completely Islamize Kuwait into a mini Saudi Arabia.

Things always got done when Emir Jaber was alive because he KNEW the Parliament experiment would never work. Democracy doesn’t work in Kuwait because the Kuwaiti government has given too many foreign Bedouin tribes citizenship and the government rarely naturalizes non-Bedouins who’ve lived in Kuwait longer than the Bedouins (like many Egyptians and Iranians). Bedouins were a small minority among the Kuwaiti population before the government facilitated their migration to Kuwait in the 1970s and 1980s and consequently handed them citizenship. Why don’t Egyptians who’ve lived in Kuwait for 50+ years get Kuwaiti citizenship? Why is it that only Najdi Bedouin tribes get Kuwaiti citizenship even though they’ve only lived in Kuwait for 35 years at most? Only Bedouins, who haven’t lived that long in Kuwait, get the privilege of Kuwaiti citizenship. Why?

The government is very picky when it comes to naturalization and their criteria is so biased. Democracy can’t work in a country where the government has artificially manipulated the citizen demographics. The Al Sabahs facilitated the migration of many foreign tribes who had never set foot in Kuwait before 1965 but the Al Sabahs didn’t naturalize much of the Palestinians and Egyptians who’ve lived in Kuwait since 1955. This is artificial manipulation. Egyptians are very hard-working and many of them have lived in Kuwait longer than the Bedouins yet most Egyptians rarely ever get naturalized.

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Haider October 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

Thank you for your input, “A”.

You touched on several important issues Kuwait is facing that deserve to be addressed in dedicated posts.

I would also appreciate your input on the problem of financial corruption, or unnecessary spending on poor services. :)

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