January 1, 2011

South of Kurdistan: Mother of all corruption - By Mufid Abdulla

A couple of weeks a go, a local Hawlati weekly newspaper   revealed salaries of several people; they have been retired on the basis of political party connection.   These including 173 people have been retired as the level of ministerial post or advisors to the government.  There yearly salary $45000. Basically, these people have been connected to the PUK leadership. The total salary per a month going out from the PUK coffer is $650000. Fewer have had any posts in Kurdistan, and some of them have died before 1991. Some are now working with the Gorran Party .Tow of them are working previously with Iraqi Communist party Kazim Habib and Albdulrazak Safi.

I was 14 years old in 1976 when the Kurdish civil war had broke out, I was in secondary school and remembered, the war between the two main parties PUK verses The KDP on one side and the war and struggle of the two parties with the Iraqi dictator. The struggle had been concluded in 1991 because of the collective team work of this nation; every body paid their duty to the uprising etc, mothers sent to jail because of their son’s armed struggle, youths sacrificing their lives because of the meaning of nationalism. A real boost came when Saddam invaded Kuwait. Later most of the people including students, workers, teachers, businessman, and celebrities around Kurdistan made this happen. We will see the same thing is happening on both sides KDP and PUK; It’s just that the whole political culture of this country is polarised, you are either with or against them..

I make no apology for attacking all of them because what they did - was more harm to our country’s economy than achievement in their wildest fantasies, whilst paying    themselves outrageous salaries or retirement. We all want our lives back but that is not the way. All this money are very valuable assets, which have been swindled away from our children’s coffer. You have not done anything to deserve that money. Kamal Rauf editor in chef for Hawlati in his letter to President Barzani dated 20/12/10 said  “ But unfortunately today by making decisions to let their party members retire with such big salaries, the heads of the political parties are themselves becoming aggressors and perpetrators of injustice and are oppressing the poor people in this region. Perhaps one time you were one of the person’s feeling the pain of the silence maintained by the world, regarding the oppression and injustice practised against the Kurds”.

While these people have that luxury our hospitals do not make any difference to our lives in the South Kurdistan. Anybody with any serious symptoms of illness; the next day either have to be in Jordan or Iran. People have not got that facility which prolongs human life .We need a public debate about this case. Our nation has not been librated because of these people which have been reward heavily, while the children in our country have do not have adequate school to study or proper food to eat in the morning .

But it is the social, rather than financial, costs that our nation has to pay, that are the greatest tragedy. In the country there is not a basic services such us post, transport,, water and electricity .Now is the time to change that .The PUK leadership have created a culture in which regular work has become unknown to successive generations. This is the deadly culture of dependency. How did we get here?

Finally, I believe there is the element of decency of our Kurdish society which can still claim the credit for the good work they have done. The KRG and political parties can reward these people in different ways, not at the expense of the mass of the people. These people of which their names have come up; these 173 names can issue a statement with different ideas and refer all these monies, which they have been receiving for the last many years;  to send it back to government coffers or nominate some charitable organisation to gain that money. Nevertheless the majority of them have more than one or two privileges from their political parties.


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