Tajikistan: Who Let the Watchdogs Out? | EurasiaNet.org

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Economy and Resources, History, International, Journalism, Politics, Region
Tags: ,

The most extensive personnel shake-up of President Imomali Rahmon’s almost two decades in power is going on in Tajikistan. The turnover in the top echelons of government indicates that media outlets are playing an effective watchdog role in Tajik society.

Rahmon launched the shake-up in early January, sacking several ministers including a close relative, Education Minister Abdujabbor Rahmonov. He also reshuffled top security officials. Subsequently, high-ranking national security and law enforcement officers were arrested for drug trafficking. In addition, the state anti-corruption agency made several high-profile arrests of school directors for allegedly soliciting bribes from students and parents. Corruption in the education system is one of the most sensitive public issues in Tajikistan today.

Some observers say the personnel moves are a direct response to fierce media criticismdirected at Rahmon’s administration recently. In November, for example, a diplomatic spat with Moscow spun out of control and started posing a direct financial threat to many Tajiks after Russian officials began rounding up Tajik migrant laborers, who contribute some 45 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP. The dispute proved a humiliation for Rahmon, who eventually backed down. The Asia-Plus news agency, tapping widespread popular anger over the episode, demanded that Rahmon do something about the daily corruption facing many Tajiks and fire some of his most dishonest ministers.

via Tajikistan: Who Let the Watchdogs Out? | EurasiaNet.org.

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