Kosovo Outsources Employment Bids Amid Nepotism Wiretaps

In a bid to fight nepotism and politically influenced employment, Kosovo will hire a private company to manage the recruitment process of senior positions in its state institutions.

The British ambassador in Pristina, Ruairí O’Connell, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, and Kosovo’s Assembly Speaker, Kadri Veseli, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Monday to launch an project which will help strengthen the transparency and accountability of Kosovo institutions.

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PM Isa Mustafa, Head of Assembly Kadri Veseli, British Ambassador Ruairi O’Connell 

The British embassy in Pristina will finance an independent company that will lead the process of recruiting senior staff and filling open positions in Kosovo institutions. This company will present a shortlist of the most qualified candidates for those positions.
Kosovo will then have the responsibility to appoint the best candidates from the shortlist.
O’Connell said that by implementing this plan, it would prove that Kosovo’s leaders “really want to fight nepotism.”
He added that one of the very first things he had been told by Kosovo’s officials was that nepotism is the biggest problem of the country, commenting on wiretapped conversations published by an online newspaper Insajderi.com.
Six wiretapped phone conversations involving Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci and Adem Grabovci, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, which were made public on August 1 by Insajderi.com, suggest that the two men agreed over the phone about who to put into which public sector position and on how to pressurise MPs to adopt two laws.
“Nepotism and employment on family and party basis is not something new. Last time we heard telephone conversations of state top officials and the impact they had on the employment of their relatives.”
O’Connell added that nepotism is “a cancer that stifles the state” and claimed if it continues it “certainly will destroy Kosovo.”
“Now no one believes that employments are conducted on the basis of merit and qualifications, so we need to crack this practice and should restore peoples trust in the institutions of Kosovo,” he said.
To put the issue into a different context, O’Connell referred to judoka Majlinda Kelemendi’s gold-medal win at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, posing the hypothetical question: “What would happen if Kosovo’s athletes would be selected for Rio 2016 on family and party affiliations”.
The Kosovo Assembly Chairman, Kadri Veseli, who is one of the senior officials registered in the wiretapped conversations, said that everyone knew where the problem was and how exactly the situation in Kosovo is, adding that they will work to change this situation.
“The issue of nepotism and the employment issue which often is not based on merits is a reality which occurred following 16 years after the war, but that does not stop us to go ahead,” Veseli claimed. I encourage all young people, professionals, all those who can give the state more, to apply in every free state position.”
Asked about the wiretaps, Veseli only said: “It is us who raised this issue with the British embassy and this came as a result of one year’s work.”
PM Mustafa said O’Connell, Veseli and himself had jointly assessed that “it is in the interest of Kosovo institutions to make the best choices regarding the staff that will be in charge of the independent agencies.”
He stated: “Firstly we shall respect the professional side of people who will guide these institutions and public companies, because we think that such selections are always the best ones that contribute to the implementation of the government programme we have, but also to our targets development.”
“We will be committed to work together and to improve some remarks that are also provided in the Report of Progress,” Mustafa said.

Balkan Insight

15 August, 2016