Kas Saed at the mercy of the political police

She was believed to have been dead since 2011, but all the clues show that she was raised from her ashes by Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine. She is the political police, the one who monitors journalists, those in power and opponents and then transmits bound, oriented and decontextualized reports. Nothing surprising in a dictatorship.

On Monday, October 10, 2022, the President of the Republic receives the Minister of Agriculture Elyes Hamza and discusses the case of two officials from his department, whom he directly accuses of corruption. Nothing less. What allows Kaïs Saïed, a law professor, to launch such a serious and notorious accusation against two of the servants of the state, even before any investigation and judicial decision?

In a video released by the presidency, the president is heard saying that the corruption of the two officials has been documented. “ One of them is responsible for the dams and the other for the livestock, declared the President of the Republic. These two officials used their company cars to attend a meeting of a political party whose name I will not mention. (…)

Adequate action must be taken to this end and against those who attempt to use state funds to serve the interests of a party. The state is the property of all Tunisians! Administrative cars are the property of the Tunisian people and cannot be used for political parties! Those who infiltrate or try to infiltrate the Tunisian administration have no place.”stressed the head of state, assuring that the two leaders in question should answer for their actions and restore the property of the Tunisian people that they plundered.

In fact, nothing allows the President of the Republic to accuse the two officials of corruption. There is not even enough to open a judicial investigation. It is their right, as it is the right of every citizen, to attend a meeting of a political party.

The state car they have is a company car and not a service car. In other words, it is a benefit in kind provided by their employer. Both officials are free to use it for private purposes. Government vehicles that cannot be used for private purposes are service vehicles used for business travel. They are generally available to drivers and technicians.

Company cars are available to executives and in a way replace cash bonuses that they could have claimed.

It is clear that the head of state does not yet distinguish between a company car and a service car.

But the crux of the matter lies elsewhere.

How can it be that the President of the Republic was informed of a meeting of a political party attended by two officials in their company cars? Doesn’t he have better things to do? Theoretically, in this period of shortages, strikes, rationing, trade deficits and great difficulty in getting credit from the IMF, the head of state should have better things to do than deal with this kind of nonsense.

The reality is like that and we can clearly see the priorities of the President of the Republic. He prefers to deal with bullshit than the real problems of Tunisians.

We ask the question again, how can it be that the President of the Republic was informed of a meeting of a political party attended by two officials in their company car? Are the Tunisian political police back to spying on the smallest deeds and gestures of the opposition?

It is clear, and if we stick to the communiqué of the Presidency of the Republic, the presence of the two officials at the meeting of a political party is documented.

Who else can document this but the political police? This takes us back to the sad years of the Ben Ali era, when the political police amused themselves by taking down license plates in hotel parking lots when there is an opposition rally or an embassy hosts a reception. Period when the political police also infiltrated the meetings by presenting themselves under the identity of a media representative.

With Taoufik Charfeddine, it seems we are reliving this dark period in Tunisia’s history.

We gladly admit the presence of the political police and intelligence services incognito at meetings if, for example, it is to reveal possible terrorists. Except we’re not there yet. The political police are there to spy on nonsense by noting the identity of those present and the car they have, then sending reports to their hierarchy, including the President of the Republic.

While the country’s problems are immeasurable, the latter follows up on these trivialities by summoning the minister in charge and publicly accusing of corruption and squandering the people’s property, those officials whose only “crime” is to have attended a political meeting!

It is not the first time that the President of the Republic gives content to false reports that he receives from his services.

Indeed, he has previously accused dozens of public figures of corruption. Publicly, directly or indirectly. We quote, among others, Chawki Tabib and Ghazi Chaouachi. Based on police reports, he banned travel and placed hundreds of personalities under house arrest. It was just a pipe, the judges who investigated the case found nothing concrete to follow up on the infamous presidential accusations.

After the political figures, the President of the Republic amused himself by accusing the wholesalers of being speculators. Accusations as light and also based on false reports. No lawsuit against speculators.

Then it was the judges’ turn to be accused of corruption (and even adultery) and always based on misleading, truncated or decontextualized reports.

Whether these reports are prepared by the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Justice, the purpose is the same. The President of the Republic is tricked and taken on a boat.

The worst part of all this is to see that he leaves aside the emergencies and real concerns of the Tunisians and that he always follows up on trivialities! Corruption, he says!

Raouf Ben Hedi

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