One down, several to go to regain confidence

1 Oct, '06

e-Voting has been shelved until 2010, where the same arguments will take place unless voter confidence is regained in the wake of Bandargate. The government has been keeping mum about the situation, probably praying that it too will be forgotten. After all, other scandals have. Do you still remember what happened with the Social Insurance? And that has been “investigated” by parliament no less, yet, no criminal charges or charges of any kind have been levied at those in the wrong, and they haven’t even been relieved of their positions yet.

So can we expect that Bandargate will result in anything concrete? Of course not. It’s been three weeks now since that report has been released and all we got is continued bluster and the people named and shamed in that report still report to work quite diligently, completely secure in the knowledge that someone is protecting their backs. In fact the only hilarious thing that has happened – in the way of a response if you will – is the release of another Bandar report last week, but that one stunk quite badly.. “someone” decided in their (hasty) and (finite) wisdom that they should release another version and list some opposition names so that they can muddy the waters a bit. More proof that whoever did that should have been drowned at birth and thus save Bahrainis a further humiliation. That brainfartist included illustrious and much respected names like Dr. Abdulaziz Abul, Ibrahim Sharif, Muneera Fakhro, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja, et al.

Bahrain's smart cardThe CIO, that much beloved organisation at the centre of Bandargate, held a press conference yesterday morning to tell the press and political societies their amended view on electronic voting. They initially said that they will limit the voting percentage wise and use Internet voting to a certain number of Bahraini expatriates. Incredulous? Perfectly so, but being an Arab I knew that was nothing more than a face saving gesture.. if they actually have any face left to save that is. Well, the first thing is that 8 political societies boycotted that meeting! Then, when the news came out of this “face saving gesture” activists hit the roof.. much more importantly; however, it seems that the king has too! So, he slapped Shaikh Ahmed down, the result of which he (or some of his minions) called the national press around 9pm last night and told them that

“We have referred a recommendation following the meeting to the executive director of the elections process not to use the e-voting system in the 2006 elections and rely on the mechanism used in the 2002 elections,” Shaikh Ahmed said.

“We will work together in the next four years to prepare the community and the political societies on the e-voting system and we hope that it will be welcomed by all.”

Yeah sure.. the other one plays Jingle Bells quite nicely when pulled!

So it’s dead and buried. That’s one thing that the king has graciously taken care of finally, thank you your majesty. Please do not stop there; though, your citizens require a few more steps to get them to re-believe in the country and your government. The least of which is sending Shaikh Ahmed on an extended holiday somewhere nice, and as he will be on sabbatical after the long and arduous work he has thanklessly done – especially through signing so many documents of the half-A5 size – he deserves the break. And while we’re at it, why not cancel that smart card thing? Okay okay, you’ve spent far too much money on that thing so far, but at least it’s a lot less than what Shaikh Ahmed has buying prospective members of parliament (yes, including the illustrious and very cheap Jamal Dawood who once wanted all websites to register at his department at the Ministry of Disinformation) and their likes. Or at least reduce the amount of information stored on it to the minimum until proper laws protecting the privacy of information are coded.

Much more important than all of this of course is the formation of a investigative committee into Bandargate and ensure that they get access to whatever and whoever they need and publish their findings transparently and bring charges to all those involved in such a heinous and evil plan.

Please?

I think the time is very right to re-establish the trust of Bahrainis in their government; as everybody I spoke to, and judging by most of the articles in the national papers, that trust has all but disappeared and it requires YOUR radical intervention to allow us all to turn a new page before the elections come about.

Because if reparations are not made before then, you will probably find that people just couldn’t care less about the elections.

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Comments (13)

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  1. H says:

    Regaining public confidence in governmental politics is tricky, twice as much in Bahrain. I hate to say this, but I fear the confidence is lost in more than politics.

    As far as I can think back, I haven’t seen anyone who genuinly had confidence in political figures in Bahrain. They always said that there was no other resort, and think that one day, maybe one day, representatives and officials will put their money where their mouths are. It rarely was the case, no?

    Still, good catch from the King. Two more strikes, a player out, and a round won for the good people of this island. (I don’t know why I feel it’s became a game that has to be played)

    And so far, I’d stay optimistic, it’ll at least make the day pass by easier than being otherwise.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Also something to note, Wael Rashid Buallay (GDN Today) has now become the executive director for the upcoming elections..

    some good chipping going on I think..

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is great news. I don’t know whether Sheikh Ahmed will get the fired before the election though. In the Gulf it seems that no minister is ever sacked for anything; what usually happens is that the guy is sidelined and then quietly dropped in the next cabinet reshuffle.

  4. can we talk now says:

    well, why don’t you run, Mahmood? you could make a difference..

  5. Anonymous says:

    ^^ cause he can’t grow a long enough beard in two months.

  6. mahmood says:

    true! and I just clean-shaved, so it’s double trouble 🙂

  7. can we talk now says:

    come on guys, now who is being a pessimist?

  8. Richy says:

    Hi Mahmood
    I am Richard from Switzerland. I read your blog frequently since I will be moving to Bahrain with my family in a few days. Your posts give me kinda inside view of what is happening on the island. Once in Bah I will write much more on my blog as well, giving the foreigner side views on it.
    cheers

  9. mahmood says:

    You’re more than welcome here Richard!

  10. Anonymous says:

    here’s the first big newspaper to mention the bander issue,

    International Herald Tribune

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/02/news/bahrain.php

  11. Anonymous says:

    the world media finally wrote about the story, this might put pressure on the government to cut the crap and pretend they care.

    THE NEW YORK TIMES
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/02/world/middleeast/02bahrain.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    GUARDIAN UNLIMITED
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6120911,00.html

    WASHINGTON POST
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/02/AR2006100200868.html

  12. mahmood says:

    And the snowball is gathering pace… I wonder what it will wipe out in its path.

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