by Kamal Jafarov
The fight against corruption is a priority of state policy. The measures taken in this area are systemic. Currently, Azerbaijan has all the mechanisms to combat corruption.
Our successes in this field include advanced legal framework, effective operation of specialized agencies, e-government infrastructure, ASAN Service model, increase in salaries and cooperation with civil society. Certainly, all these successes are related to strong political will.
One of the most important tools to prevent corruption is mechanisms of public control. While receiving the new chief executives of Agstafa and Imishli, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev instructed to involve the general public in the fight against corruption. Receiving the new district executives of Aghstafa and Imishli, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev gave instructions on involving the general public in the fight against corruption.
The importance of public control in ensuring transparency of public administration has always been highlighted by president Aliyev in his speeches. There are precise mechanisms and clear goals in this area. All these features are part of a flexible management model. In accordance with the direct instructions by the head of the state, all these issues, drawbacks and problems of concern must be addressed openly and resolved within a short period of time. Officials must take a proactive approach in the investigation and solution of these problems.
The greatest political capital of the head of a state agency is the trust shown to him by the head of state. This political capital aims to serve citizens. Officials must gain public confidence through this political capital. In my view, serving citizens is loyalty to the head of state. In some cases, officials use this trust for personal interests, and the consequences are evident. With the president’s strong political will, corrupt government officials are dismissed and punished. This all happens openly in front of the public.
How must be public control?
Public councils are one of the most significant forms of mechanisms of public control. There are several reasons for public councils to be of special importance.
First, public participation is a part of democratic governance and an effective model of communication between state agencies and citizens. Such a model of communication precisely identifies the problems of public concern and also increases trust in state agencies.
Second, it ensures citizens’ participation in the adoption and implementation of decisions at the central and local levels of executive authorities. In such administration, the responsibility for the decisions lies not only with state agencies but also with citizens. This makes citizens more responsible and understanding to the processes taking place in governance. Therefore, state agencies themselves should be interested in such models of governance and communication.
There are positive models of public councils, such as the Migration Service, ASAN Service, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection. However, the activities of public councils under most government agencies are of formal nature. There are three reasons for this: first, the heads of some state agencies do not have the political will and interest in this area; second, these officials involve people in public councils who are not professional or do not have public authorities; third, the effective functioning of public councils is not ensured.
How should the activities of public councils be organized?
Firstly, public figures who are professional and aware of the problems of citizens should be involved in the operation of the public councils based on the objective criteria. Later, the heads of the state agencies need to adopt a proactive approach. All necessary technical and organizational resources should be provided for the operation of the public councils. The members of the public councils should stay informed about the operation of the state agencies and have access to the administrative buildings of them.
The public councils should hold regular meetings aiming to discuss all the problems. The sides should unite by a common aim and joint efforts in the solution of the problems.
Another important issue is that all state agencies need to report two times in a year. Particularly, the heads of executive authorities in regions need to report at the public events with the participation of hundreds of citizens and members of public councils. The members of the public councils have the right to defend the operation of state agencies.
How can volunteers organize public control?
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed an order declaring 2020 the “Year of Volunteers” in Azerbaijan. ASAN Service started Volunteer movement years ago. Nearly 30,000 young people volunteered at the Service and currently, they hold different positions at a variety of organization.
President Ilham Aliyev has highlighted the significance of the volunteer movement in his speeches several times. This promotes kindness, new behavioural rules in the society and young people play a very important role. President Aliyev recommended state agencies, as well as private sectors to involve volunteers. This policy allows young people to improve their knowledge and skills.
Volunteering is the most successful format of the joint action of citizen, society and state that unites people with a common goal. It is also an example of patriotism and commitment to their nation, country and national-moral values.
Well-educated young people play a very important role in the comprehensive development of our country. Today Azerbaijani young people actively participate in our society. Our young people fight for their motherland. Most of our martyr have been young people. The vast majority of our border guards are young people. Our young people guarantee public security and win victories in sports events.
The state agencies need to contribute to the development of young people by promoting them in regard to their experience and activities.
President Aliyev pays special attention to the promotion of young people.
The latest appointments to the local and central executive authorities and young MPs representing the New Azerbaijan Party at the Azerbaijan parliament (Milli Majlis) are the examples of his attention. Today Azerbaijani youth united around President Aliyev and completely support his political policy. Young people have great sympathy for the president. President’s speech inspires young people. The state agencies should draw the necessary conclusions.
The involvement of volunteers in state agencies expands public control opportunities. They also become the goodwill ambassadors of those state agencies. Besides, they help to build a positive image for the agency. For instance, ASAN Service has a positive image in the society. Of course, one of the main reasons for this positive image is young people volunteering at the service.
Finally, President Aliyev determined to fight against corruption and his demands from the officials are clear. Each official person represents political management. These officials are provided with great resources along with with political trust. Therefore, they must always put the interests of the state before his personal interests, choose the right model of communication with citizens, solve problems that concern them, and further strengthen public confidence towards government and political governance.
Azerbaijani MP Kamal Jafarov is the member of the Committee on Legal Policy and State Building of the Milli Majlis.