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Another suspected political firing in Georgia

by | Jun 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another case of a possibly politically motivated dismissal has come to light. This time it’s an employee of United Water Supply Company of Georgia.

Lasha Shvangiradze has been employed in the company since 2006. He works in Khoni, in the region Imereti, west in the country. On May 29, document was sent to his branch-office via Skype which said that he was fired.

The date of the document is June 1. The official reason for the dismissal is that his job contract has expired. But according to Shvangiradze, he signed a one year contract with the company starting from the beginning of 2012, which means that there still are several months left.

Shvangiradze says he had a discussion with a board member of Khoni municipality on May 25, which might be the real reason why he was fired. He said he was vistied by Darejan Kvateladze, an economic advisor on the municipality board.

Their conversation touched on the topic of elections. Shvangiradze told Kvateladze that a change of government is normal in a country, and that it also is normal that if the government changes, professionals remain in their positions.

Kvateladze responded that if he had such position, then it’s better he leaves for Georgian Dream, the main opposition bloc, but he answered that he has no plan to join any political party.

After that, the board member asked other employees for his identity, position and home address. A few days later he was fired. When he asked for an explanation, the head of the regional office told him that it was because of downsizing. His dismissal letter indicated a different reason.

Shvangiradze asked for help from ISFED, which informed DF Watch about the incident, and also told the newly established inter-agency commission which is a government body meant to monitor that administrative resources are not used to affect the election process.

The commission is subordinate to the Security Council of Georgia and chaired by the Secretary of the Security Council, Giga Bokeria. Its mandate is to provide for equal conditions during the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The first statement it made was an appeal to administrative bodies and public schools to hold off firing personnel until the elections are finished, even though they might have planned to downsize.

Recently, the Education Minister fired the head of the National Examinations Center. The official reason was ‘incompatibility with positions during education reforms’, but there are suspicions that it was because of her son’s and brother’s political activism.

Since the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili went into politics, there have been many other similar cases, especially among teachers and public service employees.

DF Watch earlier reported about a case when a headmaster of a school admitted that he fired a teacher because she didn’t love Saakashvili.

Now Shvangiradze appeals to the international community asking for help. He wants those who did this to him to be brought to justice.



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