Tag Archives: attiyatallah

Of course the ministers were cleared!

Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Minister Mansoor bin Rajab – who had been accused of financial, administrative and constitutional irregularities – was cleared by a parliamentary committee yesterday.

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Cabinet Affairs Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Ateyatala Al Khalifa had always denied keeping Bahrain’s population explosion a secret.

However, he was let off the hook yesterday by a parliamentary committee, which decided no action should be taken against him.

Let’s forget the ministers’ alleged culpability and mismanagement for a second, both of them, and let us just consider the issues of how they were questioned, how MPs themselves – the supposed defenders of the masses who elected them and that thing called the constitution – have unashamedly sided and sidled to their chosen minister and how the questions were chosen and framed.

To me, the questions in both cases were oratorical more than they were seeking to probe and find truths on which a decision could be based, or even allow the minister in question to realise that he does have people watching over his ministry’s actions and that he will be held responsible for its performance. The “facts” gathered by MPs were second-hand hearsay rather than damning evidence; and over and above these considerations, MPs positions was premeditated based solely on the whether the minister belonged to their sect.

Should we really be surprised that the emperor was proven – once again – to actually be naked?

Carry on chums!

Brilliant performance, and to hell with the country.

Now where did I put that countdown script?

“Cleaner than a white dress”

Is a bastardisation of the translation of an Arabic idiom which is better transcribed in English as “Cleaner than a white thobe” at least – thobe being the Arabian traditional male garment – which might have taken away the derogatory insinuation given by the use of the word “dress”. This Arabic proverb is akin to the English idiom “pure as the driven snow”, but for reasons not apparent to me, the GDN decided in its own lack of wisdom to translate it as such in relation to the Bahraini minister bin Rajab’s declaration of innocence. My suspicion is that they are taking sides, we do not see the same skew in reporting when they talk about the other minister under investigation by parliament.

Not that it would make any difference whatsoever of course; parliament itself is skewed in its current make up, which is sectarian to the core. Am I at all surprised then that Attiyatallah himself was declared innocent of misleading the country by a committee whose members already amply declared their position, even before he was greeted and led to his plush seat in the investigation committee by beaming members of the investigation panel? Of course not. This is a foregone conclusion.

As is the matter of convicting bin Rajab for his financial and administrative irregularities. In that committee, Al-Wefaq’s has the numbers.

The downside for the future of this country is once again the affirmation of the cloud of sectarianism; one in which a person votes for his tribe and sect regardless of the guilt and culpability of the person or issue in question.

Will it explode?

If you’re in Bahrain, you must have felt the tension over the past few months. This tension could in large part be attributed to the Bandargate scandal in which some members of the government and royal family have been implicated in disseminating sectarian strife; a conspiracy which has kept the Bahraini political and apolitical scenes alight.

That powder keg is very close to explosion.

Over the last 3 weeks, parliament, at least the House of Representatives part in it, could not be convened due to vociferous demands by Al-Wefaq (+1) to question the main minister involved in Bandargate on financial irregularities which might be enough to impeach him. The other side of the House adamantly refused to let that intrinsic legislative tool be used claiming that the questioning is unconstitutional and using every single trick they can get hold of to hinder it. So much so that the House’s main legal council quit rather suddenly and flew back to his native Egypt – some say due to him being pressured and cajoled to change his position of which he maintained the constitutionality of the motion.

The “loyalists” as they have become known – wrongly in my view – ditched the main legal council’s advice, ridden roughshod on the second council who agreed with the first, and took the advice of the most junior of councils who seems to have given them what they want.

Al-Wefaq and Aziz Abul continue to hold onto the constitutionality of their demand and did not budge from their position. They want to question Ahmed Attiyatallah and have threatened to continue to disrupt the House’s proceedings until they get their demand. According to the Constitution and the Bylaws, they are well within their right to question said minister.

If you have been following the snippets of news over the past few days, there has been several shuttle meetings between Al-Wefaq and the higher powers in society; Al-Wefaq even met first with the prime minister and then the king to share their views with them. Both, apparently, did not want to interfere in the legislative process but gave their overt blessings that any minister – even if from within the royal family – is not above questioning.

Al-Dhahrani, the speaker of the house, still insists on the unconstitutionality of the motion and wants the house to vote on it. A process that Al-Wefaq is completely against due to it being against the House’s bylaws first, and second, because they can never win that vote given that the current make-up of the House is 22 against and 18 for. You will be interested to know that Al-Wefaq is represented by 18 votes in the House, even though they have gained 63% of the actual vote! But that’s another story.

Tomorrow promises to be stellar. Will parliament be dissolved because the intransigence of the proponents and the opponents of the motion, or will it continue to be disrupted without a solution in the offing?

I personally do not believe that it will be dissolved. A magic solution – as is typical in this country – will appear at the last minute and will save the moment. The stakes are far too high for this “democratic experiment” to fail now.

My mind is still boggled as to why the parliament itself is against using a very important tool like questioning a minister. Other than them being interfered with and pushed into their respective positions, I really have no explanation to this laughable situation.

Well, tomorrow is another day. The sun will continue to shine and business will continue to be done and migrant workers will continue to strike and buildings will continue to be built in spite of everything. The “boom” that we are experiencing; however, might well have a different sound to it come tomorrow.

We shall wait and see.

Interests and friends

When Lord Palmerston said the eternal words which translate to a country does not (and should not) have perpetuals enemies nor allies, but permanent interests, who would have thought that we would see this tenet acted out in our very own parliament by two self-appointed stalwarts of political Islam in Bahrain to attain their own ends? Both are targeting their arrows at sitting ministers; Al-Wefaq wants Attiyatallah’s head, while Al-Asalah wants Fakhro’s.

I can understand the first; as their leader’s public promise on the still-felt repercussions of the Bandargate scandal, but I can’t understand the motives for the second.

wefaq-asala-agreement.png

The papers reports about the Bahrain Investment Wharf project in Hidd, which is owned by Ta’ameer, suggest that Al-Asalah have determined that it was let for 50 years to BIW at considerable sub-market value and they want to exercise their parliamentary privilege and create an investigative committee to look into this project. The minister of industry and commerce Hassan Fakhro is adamant that not only did he and he ministry not do any wrong, but have benefited the country in this deal when compared to like-projects in the surrounding area.

The parliamentary by-laws require a minimum of five members to submit a request for the formation of an investigative committee and as Al-Asalah’s members in parliament exceed that, they didn’t need Al-Wefaq’s support in order to get that committee request tabled. When they will need them; however, is if (or is it “when”) they table a motion of no confidence against the minister to ensure that they will get the two-thirds majority to force the minister to resign. Whether it will actually be allowed to get to that stage is anyone’s guess. Mine is that it won’t.

We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are perpetual and eternal and those interests it is our duty to follow.
Lord Palmerston, British Foreign Secretary, 1848

The upside of this is that both blocs have unequivocally demonstrated that when it comes to political interests, all other considerations get sidelined, even ideological ones which they themselves have heretofore held sacrosanct. They’ve even had this marriage of convenience notorised by appending their signatures to a hastily hand-written document which set their agreement in effect; they will not stand in each other’s way in applying the various constitutional tools in their over-sight roles.

Meaning? Al-Wefaq now have the written agreement to go forth with the Bandargate investigation, and finally, maybe, boot the one who should not be named out. But at the expense of Fakhro’s head and goodness knows what else Al-Asalah will rummage through in the future, which given their past stances against Bahrainis’ freedoms, does not bode well.

But time will tell whether that written document will actually hold any water. We’ll wait and see.

I think there are a few people in the island who are squirming in their seats this morning. Or maybe they’re still blasé about the effectiveness of parliament especially as they seem to enjoy untold support and protection from those who are higher and mightier.

UPDATE 071101: Well this “agreement” didn’t take long. The papers this morning are carrying reports about Al-Asalah back-tracking and spinning it as it has never been and they didn’t enter into any such agreement. Typical. No back-bone probably because the wind-up butterfly wasn’t cocked properly.

He’s not off the hook yet

Bandarite AttiyatallahWhy does it take the House of Representatives five whole months to notify the council that the parliamentary probe proposed by Al-Wefaq into the allegation of ministerial misconduct by Ahmed Attiyatallah and his connection to the Bandargate scandal

Isn’t this a primary abrogation of the elected chamber’s main responsibility of governmental oversight?

has been administratively dropped in compliance with the Chamber’s Bylaws? Isn’t this a primary abrogation of the elected chamber’s main responsibility of governmental oversight? Or was it – as customary to that august institution – acquiescing once again to pressures?

Regardless. The guy is not off the hook, as he should never be, until an honest and deep probe is effected into his self in full view of citizens not to gloat of course, but to set a solid stake in the ground which can serve as a clear and unambiguous warning to corrupt people and with those who live their lives with malicious sectarian intent.

Crafty!

Could it be that Al-Wefaq has taken everyone for a ride with this Attiyatallah parliamentary probe?

  • They tabled the probe motion very late in the first session and even by optimistic timeframe, they would have only had one day, May 30th to question the minister
  • They knew that they would be opposed heavily and must have known that they would not get a majority to allow them to question him
  • They walked out “in disgust” at their opposition finding alleged constitutional fault with their motion to question, even though the office of the chairman and his legal consultant have not as they not only tabled the motion in the parliamentary agenda, but also voted for it
  • Yesterday the parliament voted again on the motion and it did not get a majority yet again. Interestingly, this debacle saw two stooges changing their track from acceptance (of the motion) in the steering committee, to abstention through to utter opposition, clearly showing their flip-flopping ability based on the strength of pull of their strings. Even Filbert is more independent in his thinking than these so called representatives of the people!

Bandarite Ahmed Attiyatallah

The result according to Parliamentary Bylaws is that the motion to question the minister automatically gets deferred to the next parliamentary session starting in October.

Is this what Al-Wefaq was banking on all along? If they have, they have short-circuited their opposition as they have gained a lot more than they lost so far!

  • They have demonstrated to their supporters that they have stuck to their election campaign promises in investigating Bandargate
  • They have demonstrated that they will go after any corrupt official even if that official is a member of the Royal Family, as fringe as they may be, but “royal” nevertheless
  • They have “outed” Asala and Minbar, but good
  • They have gained a whole 7 months to pursue this investigation at the immediate start of the next term, so even if the “loyalists” demand that the probe be done first in the Legislative Committee, in which Al-Wefaq has a majority anyway, they will have ample time to play the game and drive the boat to their own shore.

So if this is the way that they have thunk it and they pull it off, they are a lot more of crafty buggers than we didn’t want to give them credit for!

Asala bloc prevents Attiyatallah from defending his honour

Bandarite Attiyatallah

الأصالة تتمسك برفض إحالة الاستجواب إلى«المالية»

لفت نائب رئيس كتلة الأصالة الإسلامية النائب إبراهيم بوصندل إلى ‘’تمسك الكتلة بموقفها الرافض لإحالة طلب كتلة الوفاق باستجواب وزير شؤون مجلس الوزراء الشيخ أحمد بن عطية الله آل خليفة إلى لجنة الشؤون المالية والاقتصادية بالمجلس’’، وذلك في حال عرض الأمر مجددا للتصويت خلال جلسة النواب غدا (الثلثاء).

وأوضح بوصندل في تصريح لـ ‘’الوقت’’ أن ‘’الكتلة (7 نواب) ناقشت الموضوع في اجتماعها أمس (الاثنين)، ولم تطل النظر فيه’’، معتبرا أن ‘’هناك قناعة سواء كأعضاء في الكتلة أو في جمعية الأصالة أن هناك الكثير من الثغرات القانونية والدستورية التي تشوب الاستجواب’’.
وتابع ‘’ليس من الإنصاف مناقشة الاستجواب بهذه الطريقة، إذ لا نريد محاباة الحكومة أو كتلة الوفاق، وذلك بغض النظر عن الوزير المستجوب’’.
الوقت – ١٤ مايو ٢٠٠٧

Ahmed Attiyatallah, the minister mired in the Bandargate scandal and accused of gross financial irregularities who is now once again the centre of parliamentary attention with Al-Wefaq demanding a full probe into him, has himself and in public demanded that he be given the chance to clear his saintly name; yet, the Asala bloc – who most probably will be joined by their Muslim Brotherhood friends Al-Menbar as well as the indistinct “Independents” – are preventing him from doing so.

These political societies don’t know the damage they are doing to Ahmed’s reputation which is tarnished now and the only way forward for him to regain his credability is to fight tooth and nail to clear his name.

He might take up Jawad Fairooz’s challenge and go for full disclosure of his financial status – as every single public official should in the first place – and accept a public debate.

I utterly and fully support Ahmed’s right to do so. After all, a person is innocent until proven guilty and every person should be given ample chances to clear one’s name.

After all, what is life without honour?