Discord over nomination of mayor for Bashiqa

Bashiqa district gate in Mosul, Nineveh, 2021. Bashiqa municipality Facebook page

By KirkukNow in Ninewa

An influential lawmaker is not satisfied with nominating a Kurdish mayor for Bashiqa subdistrict of Ninewa province, by the governor of Nineveh, and the issue has been handed over to the Iraqi prime minister.

In mid-April 2023, Nineveh Governor Najim Al-Jiburi appointed Ghazwan Hamid Dawoodi, member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP led by Masoud Barzani, candidate from the Shabak community, as the mayor of Bashiqa subdistrict, after the retirement of the former mayor.

"The post is the share of the KDP and the party leadership nominated me until the Nineveh administration issued an appointment order," Dawoodi told KirkukNow.

According to the Law on Non-Regional Provinces No. 21 of 2008, the governor issues an appointment order, but in the absence of the district council, the governor appoints the district director directly.

"It seems that Waad Qaddo's group does not like the change and wants to create trouble," Dawoodi said.

KirkukNow had tried to get a statement from the Shabak MP Waad Qaddo for several days, but the efforts were in vain.

Qaddo, the last Shabaka MP, said in a statement on April 17 that the post of Bashiqa sub-district mayor was "the rights of the Shabaka community and an agreement was reached with the local government on that basis, but the Democratic Party interfered in the nomination.”

Last July, Qaddo, also known as Abu Jaafar Shabaki, a former commander of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces PMF known as Hashid Sha’bi and a Shabak lawmaker at the Iraqi parliament, criticized the Iraqi government and Ninewa Governor Najim Al-Jiburi, and led public protests for lack of proper public services.

Qaddo was one of the founders of the Shabak Hashid Sha’bi in 2014 and until September 2020

The Shabak community in Iraq, an ethno-religious group, are estimated be about 300,000 or 350,000 people. 60% of them follow the Shi’a sect, while the rest are Sunnis. The community’s religious practices blend elements of Islam and local beliefs.

They are scattered in the regions of Bashiqa, Bartella, Hamdaniya, Tilkef, a number of neighborhoods of Mosul and some villages of the Nineveh Plain. Like other ethno-religious minorities, they faced atrocities at the hands of the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS.

According to the statistics of the Bashiqa local administration, 64% of the population of the district are Shabak and live in the center of the district and 24% in the villages.

qado & ghazwan

Waad Qaddo (L), Shabak MP, and Ghazwan Dawoodi (R), the new mayor of Bashiqa sub-districtFrom

Sharif Sulaiman, an Iraqi member affiliated to the KDP faction, told KirkukNow, “For more than 20 years, the post of Bashiqa mayor has been given to a Shabak and I thought a Yazidi candidate might be elected this time but it is an entitlement of KDP and they decided for the governor to support a Shabak for this position."

The Iraqi government decided on April 27, 2023, to send a committee from the prime minister's office to Bashiqa in order to "assess the administrative problems and speed up their resolution," according to a statement issued by the prime minister's office and Najim al-Jiburi.

Qaddo issued a statement saying that the prime minister's decision to suspend the work of the mayor until the issue is resolved, but the statement of the prime minister's office did not mention the suspension of work.

"The prime minister's committee came to Bashiqa and held discussions with all communities. The issues have been discussed in detail and the results will reach the prime minister and he will make the final decision," said Dawoodi. “Until then, I will continue in my position.”

Bashiqa sub-district, 12 km northeast of Mosul, has an estimated population of more than 149,000 people, including Shabaks, Yazidis and Christians.

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