Fired and hired for their political
By Shakhwan Mahmoud
Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — With
Kurdish elections less than one week away,
accusations of politically motivated public service
dismissals and recruitment have emerged in
Sulaimaniyah province, where the battle between the
Kurdish List and the Change List is most fierce.
The Change List web-site Wusha has revealed a number
of cases where Change
List members were dismissed from government jobs,
allegedly because they did not back the Kurdish
coalition of the long dominant Patriotic Union of
Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).
One such case is that of
Dr. Jaffar Ali, Dean of Humanities at Koya
University, who told Niqash that his university
chairman forced him to resign after he nominated
himself to run as a parliamentary candidate for the
A similar incident allegedly took place at the
Technology School in Dukan. Professor Aras Ahmad
says he was told by the dean that “since you are
promoting the Change list, you cannot keep your
position.” According to Ahmad the dean also told him
that the decision to dismiss him was taken by the
PUK’s Political Bureau.
The allegations of political interference have
provoked sharp responses.
Dr. Kamal Mirawdali,
a presidential candidate, demanded that the
government condemn and prevent the practice, before
commenting that “parliament and the judiciary have
no authority as [their members] only obey their
But the PUK has rejected the claims, calling them
political smear. “Nobody was expelled from his
government post and these claims are only being used
as a means of propaganda,” declared Sa’di Ahmad Bira,
a member of the PUK political bureau.
Yet Bira did suggest that some employees should be
forced out, saying that election law stipulates that
if a person holds a senior position he must resign
to stand as a parliamentary candidate. If he loses
the election he can then return to his position.
The government says that each ministry has the power
to transfer or dismiss employees, but that no one
can be forced from his position for political
reasons. Dr. Muhammad Qardaghi, a spokesman for the
region's president, told Niqash that "we will not
allow anyone to dismiss government employees because
of differences in political views."
At the same time, critics say that the government is
now hiring new staff in exchange for their political
support. Recently, the government ended a four year
freeze on public sector recruitment – the decision
came just as the election campaign began – and
already the ministries of education and health have
recruited more than 2,500 new staff.
But those seeking jobs say they can only get
positions if they pledge their political support to
the governing Kurdish List. According to thirty-one
year old Kazal Tayeb,www.ekurd.net
has been trying to get a government job since
graduating with an accountancy degree eight years
ago, “they only started recruiting to benefit from
Over 230,000 people are now registered as unemployed
in the Kurdish Region, but most of those gathering
at the council headquarters looking for work
expressed the belief that they would have to
demonstrate loyalty to the Kurdish List before being
Once again, the government has denied the
accusations. “[Recruitment] is in no way linked to
elections or electoral campaigns,” said Dana Ahmad
Majeed, governor of Sulaimaniyah province.
Nonetheless, the Change list says that the facts
speak for themselves and that political corruption
needs to be rooted out of the system. The party
which was created when Nawshirwan Mustafa
left the PUK because of lack of internal reform and
corruption, says that new parties are needed to
clean up Kurdish politics.
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