In the second part of his speech at CIVIL’s seminar “Transparency and responsibility in the political processes”, Branimir Jovanovic, PhD, a civic activist and finance expert, former advisor to ex-Minister of Finance, Dragan Tevdovski, focused on the poor health reforms, the (in)dependent and (un)just judiciary, the privileges of officials and on the overburdened public administration.
“Healthcare. Something that deeply and intimately affects us all. What does SDSM’s program say: we will enable quality healthcare available to all. What’s the reality? The reality is paediatric cardiac surgery that you are moving from public healthcare to a private hospital, you are destroying it and 10 years of what was built during the time of VMRO-DPMNE, who were disgusting in terms of healthcare, but still were doing something, investing in it, they are destroying that. And you have promised that you would make the entire public healthcare of better quality and available to all. Instead of stimulating and developing the public healthcare, investing and bringing back doctors from private hospitals into stated-owned, precisely the opposite is being done”, stressed Jovanovic.
Jovanovic also spoke about the current situation of the “independent” and “just” judiciary.
“Tell me, for whom has been there justice in these two years? Gruevski fled, we pardoned everyone. What do we have now? Was there any responsibility? Was there justice for anyone? No. We criticized the previous governments that no one was held responsible for anything. They all had big scandals, no one was held responsible. And we talked about that, Gruevski, Kamcev, Mijalkov, all those big businessmen have to be held responsible before the law. What do we have now? Gruevski is freely wandering around and taking pictures with models in Budapest, Mijalkov is enjoying himself in “Marriott”, we all saw what Kamcev is doing, it’s really difficult for him, caged within four walls, right, we really did see justice for everyone”, Jovanovic illustrated our “justice for all”.
There were especially fierce reactions by the participants who were present in the part about SDSM’s unfulfilled promises in regards to the privileges of officials, the government’s comfort through the reduction of the number of official vehicles, as well as the abuse of their travel costs.
“Stop the abuse of travel costs. We criticized Silvana Boneva for the travel expenses, and now we have Mira Diesel, and not just her. This was one of the first things, or scandals, which appeared after the establishment of the new government, and at the very beginning as well, the summer of 2017. And those who were most called upon to say and take action for the case did nothing. And that is only a minor thing. The travel costs that are paid for MPs amount to hundreds of thousands of euros annually. Which from a 3-billion-euro budget is nothing. And what is most important is that you criticized that and now you are doing the same thing” said Jovanovic. He shares almost identical views with CIVIL’s efforts and the Initiative “End of profligacy”.
Jovanovic also criticized the promise for rationalization of the Government’s organization, that is, the reduction of the number of ministers. Namely, as Jovanovic emphasized, the number of ministers to be reduced from 26 to 20, while in fact it increased by one. Including the ministers without portfolio, who are not doing anything.
“Very important to me: public administration. Creating a professional and efficient administration that will provide quality services to the citizens”. In these two years, we haven’t seen a single reform in the public administration. There are quality people, but do you know who they are? Those at the lowest level. Those who have just started to work and have enthusiasm. Those who now have 10 years of service can’t work anymore, they don’t want to work. You have a system who is rewarding the second ones. And you as a minister can’t do anything – the law doesn’t allow you to. That’s why we have such situations”, explained Jovanovic, pointing to the possibility of new protests, precisely against this Government, demanding responsibility.
Where did the government go wrong?
Jovanovic, through his experience and as an activist, but also as a person who for two years was part of the current government, gave his view and reply to the question he put before himself and before the participants at the CIVIL’s seminar.
“The mistake was made at the very beginning when problems weren’t cut at the roots. You have a disease that is at its beginning, if you don’t treat it at the very root, if you don’t treat it at the beginning, it will spread and will be too late after that. They should have reacted at the very beginning when the first signs of the problems being repeated appeared. At the beginning. This should have been done at the beginning by cutting down on travel costs, representation costs, when cars continued to be bought, it was back then that employments of close people without merit started, even back then there weren’t reactions at the political level, it has already gotten out of control.
Why didn’t they react? Because they were too soft and too tolerant. One big mistake of this government is that it was too tolerant and permissive. I’m not saying it should be dictatorial as the one of Gruevski. But a system of rewards and punishments has to be made in order to differentiate good from bad. This is where this government made a mistake, and I think that now it will be very difficult to change things”, said Jovanovic.
CIVIL in the following days will publish also the last part of the speech of Branimir Jovanovic, as well as the speeches of the President of the SCPC, Biljana Ivanovska, and of the Mayor of the Municipality of Veles, Ace Kocevski.
The seminar “Transparency and responsibility in the political processes”, is part of the project with the same title and is financed by National Endowment for Democracy.
in cooperation with Igor K. Ilievski
camera: Dehran Muratov
editing and photo: Biljana Jordanovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian