The interior minister yesterday made an unprecedented decision by forming special teams with the participation of members of non-governmental organizations to combat vote-buying ahead of the forthcoming general elections. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, who is also defense minister, formed five teams, one in each electoral constituency, consisting of the head of the police station in the concerned areas in addition to members from the Kuwait Transparency Society, Kuwait Lawyers Association and Kuwait Journalists Association.
The decision comes amid allegations of rampant vote-buying in all the constituencies and accusations that “political money” was being used in a massive way to influence the outcome of the Feb 2 elections. The move comes a day after Kuwait Transparency Society announced a reward of KD 5,000 for those who inform about any vote-buying case in all the constituencies, and urged the government to sponsor the idea. Head of the society Salah Al-Ghazali said the money was donated by a private person and called on the government to take a similar measure in order to curb vote-buying. Hours after their formation, assistant undersecretary for public security Maj Gen Mahmoud Al-Dossari chaired a meeting of the teams which discussed ways and means to apply the law and prevent irregularities during the elections.
The minister’s decision comes a day after the interior ministry referred five cases of outlawed tribal primaries to the public prosecutor who has opened an investigation and could start summoning those accused. Those tribal primaries were held on Saturday by five tribes in the fifth constituency. The ministry said that it has submitted substantial material evidence for the crime. But the Mutairi tribe, the largest in the fourth electoral district, went ahead and held its own primary late Tuesday, while the other big tribe in the district, the Rasheedi, postponed their primaries. Mutairis selected four candidates who will represent them in the general polls. The primary was reportedly boycotted by the majority of the tribe especially after the main candidates and ex-MPs decided not to take part in the illegal elections.