The journey of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed in Tataouine was a challenge and an adventure whose outcome was not certain.
Given the degree of tension in the region, any other political figure would have received the same reactions as him. What had already happened to the Minister of Employment still in Tataouine is proof of this.
For this reason, it is necessary to pay tribute to Youssef Chahed for keeping this visit despite the risks about which his team have certainly spoken to him.
Accompanied by 11 ministers and secretaries of state, Chahed visited Tataouine, a region of southern Tunisia hit in recent weeks by protests that falsely claimed jobs and development.
Arriving with some “gifts in his hands”, as “leaked” in some sites, the Tunisian Premier announced no fewer than 64 measures during this visit. They include the financing of 670 small projects and 150 projects for the benefit of women, the extension of the Solidarity Bank’s intervention to finance agricultural projects, the creation of a complex for employment and self-employment and the recruitment of 500 workers in the environment company, a structure fabricated to absorb “unemployment”.
All this was not enough to calm the anger of certain inhabitants. Already in the office of the Governor, whom residents refused to hear and booed at his meeting, some asked for “the share of the region in our oil resources”. That request already said a lot about the real reasons for social protests.
Made angry at the authority of the state by parties and sides, the people of the South ended up turning oil into “grape of anger.” It is also, it must be remembered, a region that has always lived, since the end of the reign of Bourguiba, and under the watchful and half-watchful eye, on smuggling and parallel market.
Upon leaving the governorate, Chahed was booed and his procession left in a hurry outside the police siege around the seat of the Governorate. Those are the facts.
⦁ Who sows laxity, harvests “Go out”
Just like his predecessor, Chahed had long been warned against the recurring signs of loss of state authority, which has kept marking his term as Prime Minister since last August.
Chahed will receive the first boomerang in the face the day after his inauguration speech. On August 26, 2016, he told MPs: “we will act with resolve and firmness to face all illegal sit-ins and all irregular strikes”.
The next day, he faced such movements and forgot to be “firm and determined”. Work stoppages, strikes of all kinds and by all categories of population multiplied, without his government going to the end of its logic of firmness and despite the departure of more than one investor.
Citizens disrupt the work of phosphate and oil workers. In Kerkennah, the rebels will even be assured of never being prosecuted.
In Tataouine lately, citizens massively walk to (oil) concessions, stop hydrocarbon transport trucks and cut off the water, without being bothered.
There was also laxity towards the smugglers whom he has several times said he knew and even repeated that several heads will fall. Tunisia is still waiting to see something other than the heads of underlings and small hands. Judges, teachers and other trades observe illegal strikes without the laws being applied to them.
Parties remain non-porous to all requests for information about their financial resources or brandish slogans calling for the establishment of the Caliphate, without the laws in force being applied to them.
Tunisians attack state officials and when one of them is arrested for trafficking or for disobeying the laws, he is cleared.
⦁The bitter taste of a “Go out”
Throughout the last seven years of a democracy that is increasingly rhymed with impunity and letting go in almost every field, insolence towards any sign of the State’s authority has become a reality.
It was no longer surprising, then, to see Tataouine, left under the influence of parties or sides whom everybody says to know, and no one dares to point his fingers, defy the representative of the authority of the State and receive him with “Go out” and force him to leave the premises prematurely.
Tataouine where these parties and sides have developed with impunity hatred against any authority when its smugglers cannot buy and the affront against the symbols of that state of which for years others convinced them it has despoiled their region in favor of other regions.
Chahed, who refused to adopt a political, social and economic policy, of the “iron hand in a velvet glove” to run a country that has become ungovernable and whose ministers even sided with claims that are far from social tasted this Thursday April 27, 2017 to the bitter taste of the loss of authority of the State.
A State where the head of government is still left not respected and worthy of the confidence that would enable him not to water the desert with projects that will never bring the falsely claimed “Development”, but to simply do the work for which he has been appointed and the program for which he had even been applauded in August!