Get lessons from the Rose Revolution
Georgia, a state of 4.7 million inhabitants, smaller than Tunisia, has realized tremendous achievements during just five years since the Rose Revolution of November 2003. Following the visit of the Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Baramidze, I’ve become more curious to know about the Color Revolutions and looking forward for our government to-at least- learning from them.
Few but radical changes have courageously been made by the new government of Georgia.
First of all, the government has understood that corruption is the core problem that creates inequality. In fact, radical measures to fight corruption have been seriously implemented. Reforms have been carried out in the education, justice, economic and the public service systems but one of the successful reforms is Georgia’s Police reform. In 2004,indeed , 40000 out of 630000 offices of police were fired in one day and the salary of police, instead, increased 10 times since 2003.Besides, 4000 police of the traffic were fired under Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili and the streets remained with no police for 3 months till new policemen were trained and given new uniforms equipment. Outstanding results has been shown that now Georgia has a police trusted by 81% of the public in comparison to the Soviet-styled force having almost no public support and deeply marred in corruption some six years ago-according to the opinion poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI)- Mr. Giorgi has given a tangible example when he stated: “My wife has been deprived from the license for a year which was unthinkable years ago”. In fact, many people have lost their “chairs”, power and privileges but many people supported the outcome of the reform as the Vice Prime Minister confirmed.Besides, 6 MPs of the ruling party, 14 judges, 1064 policemen and 213 taxers has been arrested.
Economically speaking, Georgia has adopted privatization and the laissez faire laissez passer policy because of the misuse of companies and institutions in the hands of the government since the bureaucrats “don’t care about the objective but the immediate income”. Accordingly, 98% of the companies have been privatized. All hospitals has been privatized which engendered equal competition and eradicated corruption. However, a statement of the Vice Prime Minister will always ring in my ears when he said: “We sell everything except dignity”. Georgia created completion with equal opportunities for state and private institution. The government tried also to set up conditions to solve unemployment and create the best possible investment climate. They offered Liberal visa regulation, free visa with 100 countries, Liberal money transaction, free job trainings and courses of English by municipalities and developed infrastructure such as roads, airports, hydro which stimulate further economic growth.
Education has been on the top list of the reforms. In fact, 25% of the successful students get funding from the state. Very technical measures have been implemented to fight administration corruption especially during the exams and therefore, 1% of the failed students complained about corruption in national exams. Forcing the separations of powers, moreover, judges are supervised by the Supreme Council which is made of judges, civil society, experts, members of Parliament and parties. In the first year of the reform, there was "a show every week of corrupted people taking bribes and filmed secretly". Many other measures has been taken like taxation. The tax code, in fact, has become very simple and clear to avoid double reading and the misuse of corrupt tax administration.Furthermore, Decentralization Policy has given local authorities more power to decide issues that aren’t related to central government and deal with local problems without delay- serving people locally -.In fact, the distribution of power between the central Tunisian government and the local authorities has not even been tackled.
As “healthy development is important”, the government got youth involved in the process and hired young people in ministries and government.
After these courageous and radical changes, Georgia has become a tourist oriented country.it has also become an exporter of electricity in just 3 years whereas it was an importer of electricity, dependent on Russia. Georgia which was considered the Soviet republic most corrupt country in the world after independence, now it is the third force of less corrupted in the world (EBRD Research) and holding number 3 less corrupt police. It is now considered number one reformist country in 5years -by World Bank- and the only country upgraded in the crisis.
Georgia has achieved this success though 20% of its territory is occupied by Russia witnessing is an environment of confrontation and economic crisis. If that was possible in Georgia, can’t be possible in Tunisia? Can’t we appoint technocrats to implement serious reforms? Is it that difficult for our government to create an attractive environment for investors and accordingly create jobs, competition and equal opportunities? Isn’t high time for nation-building and consolidation of a liberal democracy?
I have all these questions in mind but I doubt that any one of our -provisional- public servants would come out and admit like Giorgi has stated “We are servants for the nation, people hired government. We have to remember that we should everyday improve life for people”. When he was asked about the courage to do all these reforms, he answered: “If we love our country we can do it, it just takes effort to explain to people…Our government assumed the responsibility of the urgent action and addressed to people”.