What lessons can be drawn from the events in Gedabey?
Bakı/23.06.23/Turan: The recent protests in Seyudlu village of the Gedabey district, where residents demonstrated against the establishment of a new artificial reservoir for wastewater from a gold mining enterprise, shed light on systemic issues in Azerbaijan. Political commentator Nasimi Mammadli discussed these issues on the program "Difficult Question."
Mammadli emphasized that the events in Seyudlu are not isolated incidents but rather part of a larger pattern seen in various regions across Azerbaijan. He attributed these actions to poor management, which he identified as the common factor underlying social unrest in the country. Problems such as water supply issues in Saatli or other grievances in Dashkesan and Ismayilli can be traced back to inadequate management.
According to Mammadli, the root cause lies in the appointment of officials by the president, who are primarily accountable solely to the head of state. There is a governance system in which no one apart from the president can hold officials accountable or demand reports from them. This concentration of power in the hands of central and local executive authorities fosters complacency among local officials. They understand that their obligations are primarily limited to fulfilling the instructions of their appointing authority, and there are no other mechanisms or institutions to demand accountability from them.
The observer further highlighted that the crisis extends beyond Gedabey, with similar problems existing throughout Azerbaijan. The local government system is experiencing apathy and a sense of complacency. Mammadli noted that the powers of local executive authorities are increasingly being curtailed in favor of central authorities. Additionally, there are rumors of a potential referendum to reorganize the country's 78 districts into 14-15 regions, which could potentially see presidential representatives leading these regions instead of heads of executive authorities.
These events in Gedabey underline the need for addressing systemic issues in governance, ensuring accountability, and empowering local authorities to effectively address the needs and concerns of their communities.