His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah made a clear statement last week at the inauguration of the new term of the National Assembly, saying: “Motivated by the responsibility and trust I hold, I say frankly and seriously: I will not allow turning the grace of democracy we are living under into a curse that threatens the stability of our country.” This was a direct message to those who may think or try to use their power to manipulate the constitution to harm democracy. HH the Amir said, “we must safeguard our democratic system and prevent any breach of its rules, so it does not become a tool of destruction and damage.”
The opening remarks of HH the Amir were published by most websites and dailies and can be fully read, but I wish to highlight some of the remarks that I consider very important. I believe that the speech by the Amir always carries specific and clear messages about local and regional situations, but this speech is considered very important and decision makers should consider it a warning to take caution. HH the Amir affirmed that he will not allow violating the constitution for personal interests. It should not be disputed or manipulated.
Sheikh Sabah said: “The rights of members of parliament to pursue the truth should be respected, but at the same time, it is paramount for MPs to use their powers in a responsible manner and in line with the constitution.” I think by issuing a direct warning to lawmakers, HH the Amir is telling them not to turn the grace of democracy into a curse, because he will not allow the country’s stability to be threatened.
Last week there was a big debate in the National Assembly and reactions on the Kuwaiti street between supporters and opponents with regards to rejecting the revoking of the memberships of MPs Jamaan Al-Harbash and Waleed Al-Tabtabaei. This subject has caused political, legal and constitutional controversy as several lawmakers insisted the decision was a violation of the constitution. The Assembly retained in a close vote the membership of Tabtabaei and Harbash despite the two receiving jail terms. Twenty-nine MPs including all the 12 Cabinet ministers voted against the two lawmakers retaining their seats.
The controversy has been addressed by several legal experts, who support the positions of deputies and say parliamentary immunity gives them the freedom to return to the country without legal accountability. Others consider that judgments issued on behalf of HH the Amir must be taken into account and that the interior ministry must arrest these people.
I think that such issues should not take much of the concerns of the people, as it is assumed that there are constitutional laws that protect the constitution and its principles. The constitution should not be violated under any circumstances. I think this issue does not concern the daily concerns of people because there are many other important matters that need attention, such as health, education and others.
I believe that the speech of HH the Amir was accurate, with specific messages that must be turned into action programs by deputies or others. The violation of the constitution for individuals is a historical precedent that could lead to a breach of the constitution. It should never happen.
By Muna Al-Fuzai