depoliticization

Sigrid Arzt

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4
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Robert Joyce
Name
Sigrid Arzt
Interviewee's Position
Former National Security Advisor to the President of Mexico
Language
English
Town/City
Mexico City
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, Sigrid Arzt Colunga explains the role of the Technical Secretary of the National Security Council in Mexico. She discusses the administrative coordination necessary to serve national and public security needs in Mexico. Just as the Calderon administration is coming into power, she describes the political diplomacy and cooperation she uses to transition into her newly created role as the President’s security adviser. She also details the process of communicating with and reporting to the President and Congress, as well as coordinating efforts with other ministers and technical secretaries. Arzt says one of the challenges of the job is that the legal mandate detailing the power of the position is vague, and because it is a new position, others in the bureaucracy and older agencies do not immediately accept her authority. Arzt also explains the mission and vision behind the National Security Plan, and describes some of her responsibilities, like allocating budget appropriations, working with the governors to secure states, and coordinating agenda items for the President’s meetings with senior administrators. 

 

 

Profile

At the time of this interview Sigrid Arzt Colunga was working with a think tank, conduting policy research in Mexico. She had extensive experience working on national and public security issues through her academic work, with the Fundacion Rafael Preciado, and through public service. She worked both as a public servant and a consultant for Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional  (CISEN) and served as Technical Secretary to Attorney General Antonio Lozano Gracia during President Ernesto Zedillo’s administration.  She also formerly directed the NGO Democracia de Derechos Humanos y Seguridad, an organization that gathered information and made policy recommendations regarding issues of security, human rights and transparency. She officially joined President Felipe Calderon’s transition team in October 2006 as the Technical Secretary of the National Security Council, and served in that role until resigning in March 2009. 

Benjamin Cestoni

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2
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Flor Hunt
Name
Benjamin Cestoni
Interviewee's Position
Acting Director
Interviewee's Organization
National Academy for Public Security, El Salvador
Language
Spanish
Nationality of Interviewee
El Salvadoran
Town/City
San Salvador
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Benjamin Cestoni describes the recruitment procedures employed by El Salvador's National Academy for Public Security.  Every three months, the process begins with a national recruitment announcement, a sequence of five qualifying exams that apply appropriate standards for both male and female potential cadets, personal interviews, and a vetting process that involves background checks within the recruits’ communities.  Cestoni identifies the financial burden associated with foregoing salaried employment while at the academy as a challenge for both recruitment and completion of training.  The effectiveness of each recruitment round depends on the agricultural seasons, and there is a high drop-out rate due to cadets finding paid employment.  The main incentive to join the academy is the prospect of long-term job stability, but Cestoni says the promotion system must be improved.  He underscores the success of recruitment of women, whose enrollment increased from 4% to 7%.  He identifies areas of present and potential coordination with the National Civil Police.  First, a recent curricular shift at the academy favors hands-on, skill-intensive training over theoretical instruction, which necessitates the cooperation of the police.  Second, there is constant feedback between the two institutions, so that training workshops are developed in response to the needs of acting officers.  This process resulted in great improvement in the area of investigations.  Nonetheless, Cestoni points to a need for coordinated follow-up on students after graduation, to consolidate assessment of each officer’s career progress.  Cestoni attributes academy modernization to the support offered by the international community, especially from Spain, France and the United States.  His most important suggestion for cost-efficient cooperation is for donors to emphasize deployment of trainers to the host country over inviting trainees to donor countries.

Profile

At the time of this interview, Benjamin Cestoni was the acting director of the National Academy for Public Security in El Salvador, a position he had held since 2006.  A lawyer by training, he worked at the Attorney General’s Office for 12 years and was appointed as the executive director of the Commission for Human Rights under President Álvaro Magaña in 1982.  He subsequently served as the presidential commissioner for human eights during the administrations of presidents José Napoleón Duarte and Alfredo Cristiani.  His political career began when he was appointed as President Armando Calderón’s personal secretary.  Cestoni was then elected as deputy to the Central American Parliament, and served as minister of transportation.

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79 MB
Full Audio Title
Benjamin Cestoni Interview

Ibrahim Idris

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5
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Arthur Boutellis
Name
Ibrahim Idris
Interviewee's Position
Police Operations Coordinator and Officer in Charge
Interviewee's Organization
United Nations Mission in Liberia
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Ibrahim Idris, the deputy commissioner of the Nigerian police, recounts his experience working in the United Nations mission in Liberia as it relates to police reforms.  He explains how the Liberian National Police was disorganized after the war.  The U.N. Police deactivated the national police, opened a police academy and built more police stations throughout the country. Idris states that the initial focus was on individual capacity development. He describes recruitment, vetting and training processes. He identifies gender challenges, as women tended to be less educated and less represented in the national police. Hence, the U.N. set up a special education program for women who wanted to join the police service. Idris explains that the U.N. later concentrated on institutional development, which involved depoliticization, management and leadership, technical specialization and the creation of legal documents like the Police Act and the duty manual. He also discusses the role of establishing an external oversight body and strengthening Police Community Forums in fostering police accountability.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Ibrahim Idris was a United Nations police operations coordinator and the officer in charge of the U.N. mission in Liberia.  He arrived in Liberia in 2004 as a U.N. police adviser. In his homeland of Nigeria, he was the deputy commissioner of police.  He joined the Nigerian police service in 1984 as a cadet officer.  He later served as a crime and traffic officer.  In 1987, he transferred to the Police Mobile Force, a special unit that dealt with riot control and anti-insurgency operations.  He served as the commandant of the Mobile Police Training School from 1998 to 2004.

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100MB
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Idriss Ibriham Interview

Artan Hoxha

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5
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jona Repishti
Name
Artan Hoxha
Interviewee's Position
President
Interviewee's Organization
Institute for Contemporary Studies
Language
Albanian
Nationality of Interviewee
Albanian
Town/City
Tirana
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Artan Hoxha speaks about government reform movements in Albania.   He opens his discussion with the reforms that took place in Albania from 1992-1996. These focused on opening markets and pushing privatization movements. Hoxha cites the drive towards reform from within Albania as a factor in their success. He then speaks about later reforms including de-politicization efforts within the military, police, and the public administration. He continues his discussion by speaking about the importance of good human resources and training in reforming the public sector. He cites competitive recruitment, proper training, and comprehensive performance evaluation as essential to an effective government. He concludes his discussion by touching on the importance of transparency and modern technology in the public service sector.

Profile

At the time of the interview, Artan Hoxha was the president of the Institute for Contemporary Studies, an Albanian think-tank. He served previously as the Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation in the Albanian government.   There he oversaw public sector reforms including the restructuring of ministries, downsizing of the public administration, and decentralization of services. His work with the Intsitute of Contemporary Studies has been focused on similar reform practices.   

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Audio Available Upon Request

Büdragchaagiyn Dashyondon

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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
Büdragchaagiyn Dashyondon
Interviewee's Position
Former Secretary-General
Interviewee's Organization
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
Language
Mongolian
Nationality of Interviewee
Mongolian
Town/City
Ulaanbaatar
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Büdragchaagiyn Dashyondon discusses the democratic and market reform that occurred in Mongolia in the 1990s as the country transitioned away from socialism. He elaborates on the relationship between geopolitical events, reform within the Communist Party and overall national reform that eventually led to the adoption of a new constitution in 1992. He speaks about the changes in the Communist Party’s ideology, both due to domestic and international concerns, and the political gradualism through which democratic reforms were achieved without violence. He also describes key decisions, such as the resignation of the politburo, and how party members worked to ensure that these reforms were achieved from within the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party.
 
Profile

Büdragchaagiyn Dashyondon was a long-time official in the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party (MPRP). After serving as director of the MPRP school, Dashyondon assumed the position of deputy head of department of the central committee of the MPRP, a position he retained until the beginning of the democratic transition in 1990. He then became the head of the central committee of the Metropolitan Party. In 1991, he rose to become secretary-general of the central committee of the MPRP, which was the equivalent of the then-defunct position of chairman.  He served in this capacity until 1996, when the MPRP lost power. 

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51MB
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Dashyondon Interview

Semboja Haji

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2
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Daniel Scher
Name
Semboja Haji
Interviewee's Position
Researcher
Interviewee's Organization
Economic Research Bureau, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzanian
Place (Building/Street)
University of Dar es Salaam
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract
Semboja Haji describes the challenges facing police reform in Tanzania in 2006 and the assignment of a “team of experts,” which he led, to devise a reform strategy.  He explains that prior attempts at police reform had failed because of a lack of commitment by the government and insufficient financial resources. He says outdated laws and regulations, some stemming from the colonial era, governed the police.The team, comprising seven academics and 28 police, conducted two years of research, including interviews with more than 2,500 police, politicians and civil society leaders, and reviews of police reform efforts in other countries.  He explains that members of the Tanzanian police bought into the reform program because they felt the reforms reflected the input and suggestions they offered in interviews. He says the reform program was entirely designed by Tanzanians without external advisers or donors in order to avoid constraints imposed by donors, and because foreign experts lacked an intimate knowledge of policing conditions in Tanzania.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Semboja Haji was a researcher at the Economic Research Bureau at the University of Dar es Salaam. Trained as an econometrician in Sweden and Norway, he later became a senior research fellow at the Economic and Social Research Foundation in Tanzania, where he worked for eight years. He helped develop the Tanzania 2025 Vision and Zanzibar 2020 Vision strategies, and had extensive experience advising the Tanzanian government in areas including national investment policy, energy policy, telecommunication, economic growth and poverty reduction.

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53MB
Full Audio Title
Semboja Haji Interview

Jaime Castro Castro

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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Matthew Devlin and Sebastian Chaskel
Name
Jaime Castro Castro
Interviewee's Position
Mayor of Bogotá, 1992-1994
Language
Spanish
Nationality of Interviewee
Colombian
Town/City
Bogotá
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this Interview, Castro describes his role in issuing the 1993 Organic Statute of Bogotá that put an end to decades of governability deficit and bankruptcy in the city. He credits the Constitutional amendments of 1991 for enabling the reform process without garnering prohibitive resistance early on, but he attributes that lack of opposition to indifference and underestimation of the future impact of the changes rather than agreement with the project for Bogotá. Once the constitutional mandate for passage of the statute was in place, drafting was initially delegated to Congress, while Castro found himself participating in what he describes as a de facto joint administration with the Bogotá Concejo (city council) that exceeded the limits established by constitutional separation of powers. He dedicated his first year in office to assembling a highly competent and depoliticized team, in what amounted to a break with Colombian tradition. He managed to deal with pressures in this respect by appointing Concejo members’ protégés for politically inconsequential  posts. During his first year, Castro also acquired the practical experience that would inform his draft of the statute once Congress failed to produce a viable document. The Organic Statute passed by decree in late 1993, and became the road map for Bogotá by formalizing the separation of powers between the mayor’s office and the Concejo down to the implementation level, introducing a decentralized regime within the city and setting the bases for comprehensive taxation reform.  Castro was then confronted with high political costs—including the possibility of impeachment—that were compounded when the statute came into force at the same time that the electoral campaign of 1994 started.  Castro points to the lack of immediate visibility of the reform that made him especially vulnerable to criticism by political opportunists, particularly on taxation matters. Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the statute was left untouched as it began to deliver results. In discussing potential shortcomings of the final statute, Castro highlights the lack of attention to the regional dimension. On that note, he calls for a unified approach to address common problems across issue areas that plague Bogotá and the surrounding municipalities in Cundimarca. In closing, he encourages other reformers to take office ready to spend rather than increase their political capital by passing unpopular but necessary measures.
 
Profile

A lawyer and statistician by training, Jaime Castro Castro had a distinguished academic career in public administration.  In 1968, he was appointed as Presidential Secretary for Administrative Reform under President Carlos Lleras Restrepo. Two years later, he became President Misael Pastrana’s Legal Secretary to the Office of the Presidency before being promoted to Minister of Justice and Law in 1973. A year later, he was elected Senator and later served as Minister of Government for Belisario Betancur. He was a member of the National Constitutional Assembly of 1991 before being elected as mayor of Bogotá in 1992. After completing his term in 1994, he has remained active in politics and academia. 

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Richard Panton

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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Summer Lopez
Name
Richard Panton
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Director-General for Training and Development
Interviewee's Organization
Liberia Institute for Public Administration
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Liberian
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Richard Panton describes the role he played in public sector reform in Liberia. Before the civil war, he explains, civil servants were adequate and well trained. But they began to take jobs in the private sector, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations after the war, leading to a decline in the public sector’s capacity. Also, due to transitional arrangements, recruiters did not consider education and professionalism when selecting public workers. Reform was necessary to resolve capacity issues. The Civil Service Agency was in charge of selection and recruitment, payroll and age structure, and promotion systems. The Liberia Institute of Public Administration designed a curriculum for training existing public workers. Panton was involved in designing and facilitating training programs in records management, project planning and management, human resource management, strategic management, and financial management. According to him, some of the challenges included a shortage of training equipment, budget delays and inadequate specialists in human resource management.  

Profile

At the time of this interview, Richard Panton was the deputy director-general for training and development at the Liberia Institute for Public Administration. He joined LIPA in 1998 as a special assistant to the director-general. He was also a trainer of the African Management Development Institute Network and an instructor of public administration and management at the University of Liberia and United Methodist University. Panton joined the government as a cadet in 1985 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He worked in the Office of the Deputy Minister for Administration. He later moved to the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor concentration in political science from the University of Liberia and a master’s in development management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.  

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73 MB
Full Audio Title
Richard Panton - Full Interview

Filloreta Kodra

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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jona Repishti
Name
Filloreta Kodra
Interviewee's Position
Head
Interviewee's Organization
Department of Public Administration, Albania
Language
Albanian
Nationality of Interviewee
Albanian
Town/City
Tirana
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Filloreta Kodra discusses Albanian public administration reform. She outlines the difficulties in transitioning the civil service from that of an authoritarian regime to a democratic one. Kodra details the process of reworking an inadequate legal framework and her strategy when working with donors whose ideas conflict. She touches on the challenges of a government where corruption, patronage, and authoritarian tendencies can undermine reform efforts. Kodra also focuses on the role of salary negotiation for civil servants in reform and how to attract better candidates to public administration.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Filloreta Kodra was the head of the Department of Public Administration in Albania. She was responsible for transitioning and reforming the civil service after the collapse of many state institutions in 1997. She had extensive experience with the civil service in Albania through her work within the Ministry of Labor as a specialist and was involved in the creation of the National Council of Labor, an advisory body to the Ministry of Labor. Kodra began working in public administration in 1981. She also served as the president of the Institute for Studies on Good Governance and Sustainable Development in Albania. She later became the vice minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities.

Full Audio File Size
105 MB
Full Audio Title
Filloreta Kodra - Full Interview

Eric Kamwi

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9
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Rachel Jackson
Name
Eric Kamwi
Interviewee's Position
Commission Secretary
Interviewee's Organization
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ)
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Zambian
Place (Building/Street)
Electoral Commission Building
Town/City
Lusaka
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Eric Kamwi, the Commission Secretary for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), describes the role of the ECZ in monitoring elections and providing forums for dispute resolution. To decrease the likelihood of violence during the 2001 elections, Zambia began to use Conflict Management Committees. These committees require the training of conflict managers who travel to districts and resolve challenges on the ground. They deal with issues ranging from bribery and vote buying to disputes over campaign posters and flags. Despite the overall success of the system, including the resolution of over 70 cases in 2006, Kamwi acknowledges that there is room for improvement. For example, the committees are seasonal and exist only during elections, requiring the retraining of personnel every five years. Additionally, even though the committees have the funding and the power to expose government violations of the electoral code of conduct, this has not deterred the ruling party from violating the code. Yet another challenge is ensuring that the quality of training within each district is of equally high quality. Each district receives the same training material and the same length of training, but varying levels of trainer ability lead to different outcomes. Kamwi concludes the interview by championing the Conflict Management Committee model and encouraging other states like Namibia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to adopt it. He has high praise for the committees and hopes that conflict management becomes its own division within the ECZ in the near future. 
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Eric Kamwi was the Commission Secretary for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). He joined the ECZ in 2001 as Assistant Legal Counsel and worked his way up to the position of Commission Secretary in 2010 and head of the legal department as well. Kamwi’s responsibilities as Commission Secretary included convening meetings, recording information from those meetings, and providing general legal advice concerning elections. Before working for the ECZ, Kamwi practiced law with a private firm.     

Full Audio File Size
49 MB
Full Audio Title
Eric Kamwi Interview