The protest that caught Rama and Basha by surprise

The protest that caught Rama and Basha by surprise

By Plator Nesturi

The protest of the residents of Kukes against the toll charge introduced on the Nation’s Road, seems to have caught not only the majority and Prime Minister Rama by surprise, but also the opposition and its leader, Basha. The reaction was strong and judging by the aggravation of the citizens, it looked like it reflected not only the problem with the tax that was introduced, but also the accumulation of a number of problems which relate to the lack of perspective and extreme poverty in this area. It’s no surprise that the area of Kukes is one of the areas with the largest number of people who started to seek economic asylum in the EU member countries in the past three years. But, it’s not only the left wing which is in power today, to be blamed about the aggravating situation. The responsibility for this goes for everyone who has led Kukes and the entire country. Therefore, we cannot say that the revolt is against the left wing which is in power today, but against the entire political class which is responsible for the poor quality of governance, the low levels of economic development and the race to excel in corruption.

Kukes reflects the outcry of civil wrath and although setting fire to things and the manifestation of violence are condemned by the law, they are elements which convey a message to politics. A message which means that enough is enough and that the government cannot decide for everything and not ask for the citizens’ input. But, at the same time, the protest was addressed against anyone who is responsible for this situation. And the opposition cannot be exempted either. The slogans chanted in this protest were meant to protest against problems encountered by common people. This protest was not aimed to voice support for Basha and discontent against Rama. On the contrary, the fact that several opposition MPs went to Kukes to provide political support, was the most miserable proof of the lack of confidence for the party that has led this city for over 20 years.

Nonetheless, there’s a difference in the impact of this protest on the political class. Prime Minister Rama has been surprised by this due to the fact that Basha’s weak opposition did not have the necessary strength to organize such protest. Meanwhile, once again, Basha had the chance to see how the party that he leads is so distant from the people. Even Basha looks scared by this manifestation of civil discontent. He cannot hide this through the declarations that he makes from the DP headquarters in supporting protesters, but all of this acts as a political message for the media market. No senior politician visited Kukes, although the main topic of the recent days was the protest that was held there. Like Rama, who as he was on a visit to Vlora, talked about the investment that will take place in the airport of Kukes, the leader of the DP went to Shkodra to request the release of the arrested people and the abolition of the toll charge.

Nonetheless, on the day the protest was being held at the entry of the highway, SP’s officials issued statements saying that the violence that was seen was masterminded by offices in Tirana. While Basha doesn’t seem to have the “guts” to do such move, then who is responsible of setting this up? Are we dealing with two fractions acting within the DP where each one has its agenda? Braçe MP went as far as declaring that police should not arrest the citizens of Kukes, but Berisha. If they declare this, then they know that Basha is not dangerous.

In all cases, the protest that was held in Kukes will shake the political class. First of all, it will shake the people in power. Although they say that the force of the law will act upon those who caused the violence, the government now will be very careful with every incentive which may have a direct impact on the lives of the citizens. In front of this protest, the state is looking to calm the situation through consensus. Therefore, in all likelihood, a soft approach will be shown about the fate of the arrested people. Meanwhile, in terms of the rightists, who so far have expressed their opposition through the color of their ties and speeches from parliament, time has come for them to make up their minds and become an alternative where citizens can believe.