Tunisia – Victory to People Power

January 16, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

The North African nation is in major political transition after the people successfully unshackled themselves from decades old authoritarian oppression.

Tunisia having been a French colony sought independence in 1956 and subsequently President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali gained power in 1987 imposing repressive form of government until the recent ousting.

The citizens across the nation were marginalized due to massive corruption, political suppression through surveillance and confinement of human rights activists, sentencing journalists for revealing the reality on soaring unemployment and economic chaos.

As a result the former Tunisian government ranked lowest in public internet access and freedom of press in the world.

These activities were considered mild compared to the abuse of Presidential power with opposition quelled eliminating checks and balances in a political system characterized by the people as kleptocracy thriving under nepotism through political appointments of family members including subservient entities in various capacity exercising control over economic sector.

Further insight confirm that President Ben Ali’s son-in-law Sakher al-Materi (daughter Nessrine’s husband) was groomed to succeed the Presidential position prior to overthrow of the government.

Although Tunisia is no exception in this regard the uprising attributed to a college graduate Mohamed Bouazizi’s tragic self-immolation upon being denied street vendor permit by the local authorities reportedly dependent on bribery for service.

Again such frustration is experienced by many in most regions becoming the tip of the iceberg as witnessed in Tunisia.

The regime expulsion was inevitable given the deteriorated economic conditions depriving the vast majority the political and economic opportunity while the minority flourished through concentration of power retained among the self-proclaimed privileged groups in the society.

Emancipation is not without sacrifice and hence should not be squandered in the aftermath of this political transformation.

Tunisia is at the crossroads requiring due diligence in seeking political representation.

People having secured the much anticipated freedom through solidarity are now challenged with leadership vacuum and could overcome any trepidation by ensuring the constitutionally approved lawful government is dedicated to individual liberty, political rights, social progress and economic prosperity for all.

It is imperative for the people of Tunisia to appoint effective head of the state committed to progressive values embedded with democratic principles in the interim and beyond not only for national security but also to achieve the twenty first century goals.

National defense is paramount to prevent undesirable elements taking advantage of the political situation in any format. Border patrol and local vigilance is a priority to protect the nation against harmful infiltration.

People governance could be expedited by an early election to establish political stability and national sovereignty.

In the process, it’s extremely important to be prudent in choosing the Presidential candidate including the entire cabinet sworn allegiance to the republic of Tunisia and not external powers maintaining authority over leadership commonly identified as the puppet administration.

The contemporary political environment resisting transparency and accountability – Tunisia could perhaps set precedence in this respect by forming an independent committee to investigate the predecessor’s alleged crimes and embezzlement charges for recovery of public assets seized during the undemocratic rule.

It would also benefit the democratic system to continue the public review and monitoring of activities to promote efficiency within and outside the government.

Tunisia has come a long way and deserves to share the new millennium prospects made possible by the deceased Mohamed Bouazizi in the small town of Sidi Bouzid and thousands of dissidents enabling the political victory.

May Mohamed Bouazizi soul rest in peace and remembered as the light in the national awakening.

Congratulations! To the Jasmine revolution on the new independence and reviving hope for millions aspiring similar outcome in their respective domain.

Best Wishes for a spectacular future to the people of democratic Tunisia.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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