IS THERE any other country other than Cyprus, in which a political issue is made out of the transfers of policemen? Here, as soon as the interior ministry or the police chief announces some transfers, the opposition parties go on the offensive claiming that these were politically-motivated aimed at rewarding pro-government officers and penalising officers of anti-government sympathies.
It is in this context that the criticism of the government by AKEL for last week’s police transfers should be viewed. The party is now in opposition and is obliged to alert people to acts of corruption and rusfeti by the government. And we are to believe that when AKEL was in government all the decisions taken regarding transfers, promotions and appointments in the state sector were based on objective and meritocratic criteria.
Then again, when DISY was in opposition it made the same accusations against the AKEL government whereas now that it is in power we are to believe meritocracy and objectivity have been restored to public administration. This is the bunk the political parties, which do nothing else but engage in rusfeti when they are in power, have always served us. And they are too foolish to realise that by criticising the government they were, in effect, complaining that their own supporters were denied preferential treatment.
Everyone knows that all the political parties engage in rusfeti and other corrupt practices in order to hold on to and expand their support-base but they feel obliged to pay lip service to meritocracy and objective criteria only to justify the criticism. After all nobody would believe that any party is remotely interested in – let alone committed to – meritocracy and fairness. In fact the public criticism is made by a party to remind its supporters in the public sector that despite being in opposition it is still looking after their interests.
This is an illustration of how deeply-rooted the rusfeti culture is. The political parties act like mafia godfathers, offering support and protection to their ‘soldiers’ in the public sector in exchange for their votes and those of their families. And they are so committed to this code that they even feel obliged to take a moral stand on an embarrassingly trivial issue like the transfers of policemen. Who cares if a Nicosia-based policeman has been transferred to Paphos or he has been moved from the Traffic department to CID? Transfers are part of the job.
We think the country has much more important things to deal with than the transfers in the police force but unfortunately for the parties there seems nothing more important than keeping the rusfeti culture going.