Fixing My Compass | View Points | Ammon News

Fixing My Compass

[10/18/2011 12:00:00 AM]

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.

  • 1 zizo 10/18/2011 11:03:05 PM

    Good points

  • 2 Nael Khleifat 10/19/2011 3:32:15 AM

    Dr. Lahib;You've managed once again to crystallize our thoughts so eloquently.Thank you for an insightful views. I am of the opinion that your compass is pointing toward righteousness; the most sought after objective of any honest Jordanian who has the love of his/her country at heart.All the best; Nael

  • 3 ranman 10/19/2011 7:32:01 AM

    In the last 10 years Jordan had 10 prime ministers. Things only got much worse politically, economically and socially. How can that be? Are all these PMs Bad and incompetent, well, maybe one or two, but what about the rest? No doubt, all these men came to serve with high hopes and great expectations to meet the demand and the challenges Jordan and its people have been facing since the last 20 years. Unless you are from Mars, the truth is: the real running of the country is done from within the Royal Court and it’s done by shadowy characters. The prime ministers don’t really have the real power they need to implement their policies and govern as they see fit and demanded by the people. The demand come from the Royal court to enact all kind of polices and carry out orders by individuals who are only looking after and to protect their own interests and the interests of the governing elite. Interference on appointments, on awarding business contact, on giving licensees, on controlling the media, interference with the Justice system, with educational system, with awarding or denying citizenships, controlling the selling of state owned businesses, and in giving out and awarding State lands; And too much interference on local policies. One phone call from the Royal Court will put a stop to any project that is good for the country and start another project that will only benefit unknown people. Interference with all ministries at all levels. This is the real problem Jordan and its people are facing. Prime ministers are only used to fall on the sword and take the blame for failures of these corrupt polices and orders and the people who are making them. Mr. Aoun Khasawnah is an honorable and a good man. He has the capacity and the intellect to do so much good for Jordan. But Only if he is given the mandate and the full power of his position; Only if the royal court stops interfering with the running of the country to benefit the few at the expense of the many. 10 prime ministers along with more than 200 ministers in the past 10 years failed to bring Jordan back from the brink…what make you think this PM will be any different? Since Jordan does not elect its PM -which I don’t recommend at this juncture-then, the next best thing in which to give this new PM a chance at succeeding will be for his Majesty the King to announce to the people that this new PM will serve 4 full years with the full mandate and power of his office and without the interference of any outside authority (royal court). He must be allowed to fully assemble his own team of ministers without any influence or pressure from all the shady characters in the Royal court. He must be given unfettered access to investigate and prosecute all who found guilty of any corruption against the State or found guilty of interfering with the running of the government and its various state institutions. He must be allowed to hold frequent and unsupervised (by the Royal court) News conferences which he can use to speak directly to the Jordanian people and tell them the truth and the whole truth about their country’s measures of well-being and health. He should not dress up, skirts or in any way sugarcoats the dire situation Jordan finds itself in courtesy of blunders by inept selfish unaccountable ruling class elitists. Short of that, by next October there will be another PM being readied and groomed to take the plunge and take the fall for all the disastrous political and economic blunders courtesy of the out of control Royal Court. God Bless Jordan

  • 4 R. Twal 10/19/2011 8:46:49 AM

    As usual Dr. L. Bani Sakher is an articulate thinker with Jordan's future and prosperity in mind. How I wish the Prime Minister designate would read her article. I have not read any mention of the most important issues spelled out by the various parties or demonstrators about the important issues enumerated in Dr. Bani Sakher's article. Education, poverty, Employment, social safety net and especially the corruption that has become cause celebre in the country.The rest of my thoughts and more are mentioned in the article.Yes Long Live Jordan

  • 5 Pilgrim 10/23/2011 1:08:31 PM

    Well said ranman, your submission has hit the nail on the head - the points you have raised are at the root of Jordan's political woes, and only by addressing these issues in an open forum will the seeds of meaningful reforms be sown. God bless Jordan.

  • 6 Amin Safi 1/12/2012 1:39:30 PM

    Great article, thank You Lahib

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