By Lahib Bani Sakher
With the news of the appointment of Mr .Aoun Khasawnah as the next prime minister in Jordan, and with his outstanding credentials, I could not help but to have my hopes high, but should I?
The past few months of turmoil in Jordan, which I believe, was a repercussion of the unprecedented geopolitical changes that are taking place in the region, which in turn, have disclosed the hidden socio-economic and political problems in Jordan.
These changes have provided wider room for expressing views and frustrations on issues affecting the future of Jordanians, which they couldn't dare to put on the table before Jan 2011.
Parties with different affiliations and ideologies stepped in, unprepared and immature, in many cases, presenting unrealistic and very ambitious demands - by seizing this historical moment - and were eager to push their narrow minded agendas to force the government to fulfill these demands, which do not represent the aspirations of the majority of Jordanian, but rather, the point of view of these parties. This can be attributed to the absence of a parliament that represent the majority of Jordanians, and can convey their true aspirations and needs.
On the other hand, the reaction of the system at all levels (The Royal Court, Government, etc.) can only be described as chaotic. Under the pressure of the endless demonstrations, which forced the sttae to rush into reacting recklessly, by promising to fulfill the demands of the protesters, who again do not represent the majority of Jordanians. The measures that were executed by the executive bodies such as the National Dialogue Committee, the Committee for the amendment of the Constitution, etc.. were very promising . The outcome of all these movements was conveyed to the public, to ensure them that things are on the right track.
On one hand, I couldn't identify a party that might represent me and my views, from the ones who are active and taking the lead in street protests. With the passage of time. I was convinced that I didn't delegate any of them to speak for me, and for the majority of my fellow Jordanians. I felt alienated! .
And on the other hand, the actions which were taken by the government to fulfill its promises - and in particular fighting corruption - were inefficient, insufficient, lagging behind, and non-transparent . And it was obvious that they were buying time, and counting on the fading of street pressures.
During this period I realized that I have lost my compass. .its not functioning anymore, which left me confused and in the middle of nowhere, and don't know which direction to take, and where to go next!
This vacuum was, unfortunately, a golden moment for the old guard and the parties with regional affiliations with their brain-washed followers, to commence the awful action of dismantling the social fabric of our precious and beloved Jordan. Taking advantage of our youth to utilize them to implement their agendas.
Back to our newly-appointed Prime Minister, definitely, the scene is not a one man show, and should not be at anytime.
Thus, what we are expecting from the PM is to bring the respect back to the system. We hope that he will be able to fix and reactivate the compass of Jordanians, so we may all return to the right track as we used to be.
The characteristics of the right track, in my humble view as an ordinary Jordanian, is to ensure that the following is considered for discussion:
1. Ensure a longer term planning for our system at all fronts, political, social, and economic. During the1980s, Jordan had successfully implemented multiple 5 five years-plans, which were the pivotal pillar of all the achievements that we are enjoying and continue to be proud of such as; The Jordan Valley Canal, and the King Hussien Medical Center, among others. Thus, implementing and planning similar projects will be the only way out of this impasse for Jordan
2. The most important factor to ensure the success of above-mentioned plans is to have the right persons in charge. The selection criteria which is to be revised by the government should generate the most qualified and suitable persons for each task. Thus, the methodology and execution of such criteria should be at all time transparent and disclosed to the public.
3. Sectors that require urgent intervention should be identified, and all efforts from all entities and bodies of the government should pour into these sectors, to achieve the agreed upon objectives in the proposed time frame. The sectors that I think are the first to be tackled are: poverty eradication, water scarcity, and education.
4. In order for Jordanians to regain their trust in their government, is for the government to ensure that fighting corruption is its ultimate priority. Therefore, tangible measures should be taken to strengthen the capacity and efficiency of the Anti-Corruption Commission; by increasing the allocated funds, qualified and sufficient number of staff, and most importantly to clarify and expand its mandate and power.
4. There are three issues that will have a great impact on Jordanians' social, economic, and political future in the next 10 years at least, and they are: The construction of a nuclear reactor, the huge foreign aid, and the invitation for Jordan to join the GCC..
We ordinary Jordanians want to weigh in, and have our voice heard in all three above-mentioned issues because of their huge impact in our lives. And we want to bear part of the responsibility, and eventually, to be accountable for the outcomes, because Jordanians were always marginalized when it comes to decision-making on issues pertinent to Jordan's future such a the disastrous privatization, selling of government land, etc…
5. Finally, I want to shed light on a very disturbing issue that Jordanians are frequently discussing behind closed doors, and recently few are voicing it in public. It is the issue of the Royal Court. We Jordanians are not really aware of its real structure, funding, disbursements, or staffing.
People want to know if taxpayers’ money is the only source of funding for the RHC. And if this is the case, what kind of auditing is being implemented, and under which clause of the government budget it is listed.
All these questions need to be answered in order to have a fresh and transparent start for the new government.
Last but not least, I hope that my compass will soon be fixed, with the measures and actions to be taken by the new government. Then and only then, the path will be clear once again for me to take it in full speed, to shape a brighter future for my children in each step, and ultimately to end up with a prosperous and just Jordan, for them to continue to enjoy and admire.
….. Long live Jordan
** Dr. Lahib Bani Sakher contributed this article to Ammon News English.