Vice President of VMRO-DPMNE
The latest Transparency International report comes as no surprise to me, and, I believe, is no surprise for the majority of the citizens of Macedonia as well, for the simple reason that we see corruption everywhere around us. It can be found in the lowest sectors, where you literally cannot get any document if you don’t bring coffee or whiskey, or cash as a gift to the desk officer, or you don’t have any close relatives working there; through ministries, municipalities, agencies and government institutions, where services are also not being done without “bringing gifts”, through open trade with law and justice in order to achieve political goals, to suspicious tenders and public procurement. Everyone talks about it and knows it. Unfortunately, this is the bitter everyday life we live in. Everyday that has not been created yesterday, neither is anything new, everyday life that has existed for decades. Everyday life for which all previous governments have equal responsibility, those led by VMRO-DPMNE and those from SDSM, in which the coalition partner is the Albanian political parties, and most often in the last two decades, DUI. And there is no room for amnesty of accountability for anyone.
But it is also a fact that this government of Zaev’s SDSM and DUI, as no other government that had previously been chosen, was elected exactly because this great promise that this will change. The slogans that peace does not come without justice were aimed precisely at the fight against corruption. And yes – the hopes to clear corruption, not only at the lowest but also at the highest levels, were great.
But what do we see as a reality? We see corruption that is blooming, orchestrated by one center of power in SDSM around Zaev’s family, as well as his closest associates; and another center in DUI, which has been operating for years. This should certainly be added to several former VMRO-DPMNE officials who easily found the way to agreement and cooperation with this government in exchange for political deals aimed at destroying Macedonia and changing the country’s name. And of course, cause some damage to VMRO-DPMNE as well. This system destroys the country, makes people adapt to it, “to cope”, or lose any motive for progress, to settle for moderation, or to leave the country. Those who accept the corruption system are considered urban heroes who “managed”, and everyone else is stupid for not having such skills. It’s the harsh reality. That’s why a lot of people leave. And more and more often, highly educated and high-quality people are leaving. So, it’s not as before, those unskilled who have a hard time finding work, yet the bloom of the country is leaving, among other things, because they do not want to wait all day at the counter just because they do not have a friend or a relative on the other side, and they prefer not to bring coffee or whiskey.
What did the government of Zaev and SDSM do to stop this? Nothing! One big nothing! On the contrary, it only stimulates and causes this. Just in this past period we witnessed several corruption scandals. In one of them, in March 2018, with money from the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Interior, without a tender, purchased 45 vehicles from a company of a SDSM donor. Then there was another suspicious purchase, the Central Registry bought vehicles for several million from the same company, and besides this, the company also received a tender for the purchase of a luxury limousine. Last year we witnessed the numerous tenders received by the companies of Koco Angjusev, who despite his promise that his companies will not participate in state tenders, they applied and were granted state money. Koco Angjusev’s company EDC is a new universal supplier of 700 thousand households with electricity in Macedonia. Minister Venko Filipce tried to award a tender of 35 million euros to a firm only four months old, and its owner is a 27-year-old person. The state-owned “Vodostopanstvo” announced that it had signed a contract to rent 15 vehicles for five years, for which it will pay 417,000 euros and then return the vehicles. Another corrupt scandal is when the husband of the assistant director of the Financial Affairs Department at the Customs Administration received a tender from the Customs for maintaining an integral information system worth MKD 4 million. And in the Customs, it is said that nothing goes without an amin to the family of the Prime Minister. Besides this, the daughter-in-law of Zaev’s counselor received 330,000 euros from the government through the Innovation Fund. In REK Bitola there is no end to the manipulations, and suspicious purchases are too many to count. And many more for which I will need at least two pages to just enumerate them.
Therefore, it should not be surprising that Macedonia is on the embarrassing 93rd place for corruption along with countries like Gambia, Guyana, Kosovo, Mongolia and Panama. Far ahead of us are Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and we not even compare ourselves with Croatia and Slovenia, which are far ahead. Someone can say that it was the same in the time of the previous Government, and I agree, but there are two things that are fact: in 2015, when the so-called “bombs” were listened all year round, Macedonia was on the 66th place. A place that is far from good, but much better than this year’s 93rd. And secondly, this government of Zaev promised that Macedonia would do better than the 66th place, not much worse.
The reason for this is as it is, of course it is very simple – and that is the notion of power. Namely, Zaev thinks that by agreeing to change the name of Macedonia and to nationally disfigure Macedonian people have the support to steal as much as they like. After each meeting with representatives of the international community, who sincerely want the country to progress, collects his closest friends and tells them – as you can see, the foreigners are with us, we can do what we want. Unfortunately, this brings Macedonia where it is now – a country that is being devoured by corruption.
And, of course, it is not just rhetoric – VMRO-DPMNE has the strength and knows how to solve this, and showed it with its own example by excluding or distancing from those members of its ranks that are greatly suspicious of having misused power. In the course of its existence, VMRO-DPMNE has done this for the second time, it analyzes itself, purifies its rank, goes through a process of catharsis. The logical question is when SDSM will do the same, or DUI, or some other political party. If it continues like this, Zaev may change the country’s name ten times if he wants to and there will still be no progress, because corruption is devouring society. If there were only whispers about this until yesterday, today the most renowned global institution for measuring the perception of corruption has proven this. Another reason for early elections, and another reason for this government of Zaev to leave as soon as possible!
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik