Party Shuffle

10 Jan, '05

In the continuing Winds of Change series in Bahrain, it seems that there’s going to be a limited ministerial change and ministries restructuring to be announced today or tomorrow. This is good.

But don’t hold your breath for the ancients to leave, the Foreign Affairs, and Defense will stay as is, and no, the premier ain’t goin’ no where either.

People who are reportedly to be booted are:

1. Abdulla Saif, the minister of finance and national economy, and the chief negotiator of the FTA is to be fired. This is the most surprising change to me. This move might be completely to appease our friends the Saudis. Now that they claimed their victim and got the pound of flesh, I hope they’ll now move on (and give us back those 50k barrels, please? pretty pretty please?)

2. Nabeel Al-Hamar, the ultimate survivor whom everybody suspected to be booted out on several previous occasions, is once again in the reports that he’ll be fired. But mark my words, he’ll land a very cushy job nevertheless. This guy will just not disappear! They are also reports in two Arabic dailies (Al-Wasat and Al-Ayam) that the Ministry of Information is going to be broken up into corporations, or amalgamated into the Ministry of Youth and Sports on a temporary basis until it is completely disbanded.

3. Abdulnabi Al-Sho’ala is shown the door. Wouldn’t it have been much better if parliament opened the door for this guy and shoved him out of it instead? Hey who am I kidding… Let’s see if they (the parliament) do anything to try to return the BD44 MILLION ($116.7m) referred to in the Transparency report as “missing” from the Housing Bank.

4. Mohammed Al-Muttawa is out. He’s probably going to be re-assigned as the Bahraini Ambassador to France. Can’t we open an embassy in the Antarctic or something? The weather there is quite amenable to freezing lips shut thus hindering speech, but with all the hot air, that might not work very well…

5. Shaikh Essa bin Ali Al-Khalifa, minister of oil is out. Can we ask for him to be frisked before he leaves? Body search? No matter. He’s been there for yonks and he’s reportedly going to be booted, and his ministry is going to be amalgamated with the ministry of power and water. So the next time we get a blackout, with both Alba and Bapco falling under the new ministry, there won’t be much excuses for screwups… or will they once again get creative?

Our friend Majeed Al-Alawi will continue to be a minister (huh?) but his current Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is going to be split up into the Ministry of Labour and a new Ministry of Social Affairs. He’s going to keep the former, while the latter is reportedly going to the 2nd woman minister: Dr. Fatima Al-Balooshi who is a Dean in the University of Bahrain.

In the shuffle, the Minister of Justice will be rotated, to be replaced by Mohammed Al-Sitri who is the current Municipalities minister. The current minister of justice is reportedly going to be assigned as one of four vice-premiers. The first time ever that this position which was recently enacted anyway, will be occupied by a Shi’a. Learning? I hope so.

My suggestions to the government (parliament, hello, are you awake? sit up and listen:)

1. Ensure that every new minister declares their personal wealth as a condition of accepting the job.
2. Ensure that they don’t hold any Commercial Registrations.
3. Ensure that they don’t have any direct or indirect business interest.
4. Audit the outgoing ministers, and don’t be afraid to ask “Where did you get this from and how?” type of questions.

Of course the GDN doesn’t know (or need to know) any of this!

We’ll hear all of these confirmed or denied in the next few days…

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Comments (10)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Party Shuffle

    well this shows some progress I have to say that I’m happy that the Ministry of propaganda will be dissolved.


  2. anonymous says:

    Party Shuffle

    Somebody needs to put an end to Nabeel Al Hammar…permanently. And his wife’s cooking show during ramadhan is terrible. . .and to top it all off, she gets paid 600 bds per episode for showing “the world” how to do um alis!! I’m sure Saif, Sho’ala, Muttawa, and AlKy all have enough money stashed somewhere, so their financial futures aren’t at stake.

    The Information Ministry needs to be dissolved and the introduction of privatized television channels might actually be good for Bahrain. I can’t take the bad graphics of Channels 4 and 55 any longer! That damn red and white sail thing needs to go.

    Having an independent bahraini news sources (free of brown-nosing editors) will be pretty cool as well. Just grabbing a random title from the GND’s website, here’s a little excerpt taken from one of the major headlines: [i]The world is waking up to the success of Bahrain’s economic policies, said Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa yesterday. [/i] What on earth is he talking about? “The world is waking up”? [i]Bahrain[/i] doesn’t wake up on Bahrain and neither does the rest of the world.

    And to just throw a random question out there, does the Bahraini Parliament have a liberal “bloc” representing the normal minority of people of the island?

    A. Mous

  3. mahmood says:

    Re: Party Shuffle

    It’s after 6pm, so there is almost no way in hell that you would get a press release until tomorrow at 6am! At least not in any of the normal news aggregators like google or yahoo. So I have no idea if there has been an announcement yet. Maybe I should watch the 8 o’clock news tonight just in case!

    as for a liberal bloc, the closest thing we have is the “democrats” which includes the only 3 active members of the current parliament: marhoon, zainal and abdulnabi.

    about the GDN’s headlines, I was seriously considering as part of the GDN’s post is to start logging all their headlines for a month or so and see how much they repeat themselves. I normally almost get violently sick when I read their headlines in the mornings… now I just completely skip the cover page because I know it’s an ass-kissing gallery only. Sans news.

    Bahrain TV and their graphics… yeah, don’t get me started. I wasted 6 months training them on the world’s best equipment, and this is the shit that comes out of them. The very same equipment that others have earned an oscar out of!

    I agree with you on Al-Hamar. However I disagree with you regarding his wife’s payscale per episode. That should be left to the market to determine and that fee, it should be a lot higher than this if the show attracts viewers and advertisers. That’s the only way you can produce better quality shows… you have to pay for good productions otherwise you will end up with the crap we have on our screens now. When they pay what Bahrain TV pays for even Ramadhan shows, don’t expect oscar material or anything even close to that standard.

  4. mahmood says:

    Party Shuffle: more conjecture

    Information Minister Nabil al-Hamr is to be named information advisor to King Hamad, a post he occupied before becoming information minister in April 2001, said the official, requesting anonymity.

    The state minister for foreign affairs, Mohammed Abdel Ghaffar Abdullah, is expected to become the next information minister.

    DAMN, if this report is true, then that means that the MoI will still exist! Well if it does, I hope that they work extremely hard at completely revamping their processes, unblock the press, be more cooperative, and privatise TV and Radio and allow any business entity to broadcast.

  5. anonymous says:

    Party Shuffle

    Al-Hamr is to be named information advisor to King Hamad
    a post he occupied before becoming information minister in April 2001

    The state minister for foreign affairs, Mohammed Abdel Ghaffar Abdullah, is expected to become the next information minister.

    The governor of Bahrain’s central bank, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Khalifa, will be named minister of finance and national economy

    Abdullah Hassan Seif, who will in turn become economic advisor to the prime minister.


    HEHE, the state of affairs in this country is changing, change is slow is it not?:D

    @ strav. 🙂

  6. kategirl says:

    Party Shuffle

    In today’s [url=]Gulf News[/url] story about the shuffle it says:

    Sources said the new cabinet “looks more of a reformist team, which is expected to boost the King’s reform project.”

    I don’t know enough about each of the new personalities in the Cabinet, so I can’t comment, but I was wondering what you think about it. Can we really expect the new cabinet to help along reforms?

  7. mahmood says:

    Re: Party Shuffle

    Well 4 of the 5 fired ministers are going to be appointed as the premier’s consultants, while the 5th (Al-Hamar) is to return to his old job as an adviser to the king. You do the math!

  8. Alireza says:

    Re(1): Party Shuffle

    Appointing these guys as ‘consultants’ sounds like some sort of face saving measure – so they’re technically not sacked. It’s like the old Minister of Interior – he was ‘appointed as a consultant’ to the King’s court last May. Has anyone ever heard of him again?

  9. anonymous says:

    Re(2): Party Shuffle

    Kind of like the adage of “keep your friends close but your enemies closer”

    The countdown is at 43 days.

  10. anonymous says:

    Party Shuffle

    43 days till what?

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