Krypometer’s top lies

To mark international fact-checking day, we look back at some of the ‘top hits’ among the lies and broken promises caught by our truth-o-meter, Krypometer.

Since Krypometer was launched in December 2016, BIRN and Internews Kosova fact-checked about 100 statements made by Kosovar politicians, most often finding them skirting the truth.

Although Krypometer has often discovered that politicians do sometimes tell the truth, our fact-checkers have managed to find more ‘untruths’ and broken promises.

One of Krypometer’s all-stars is President Hashim Thaci. He was initially caught lying about the Brezovica resort investment, the establishment of the Kosovo army, and the empty threat of suing Serbia for genocide.

Thaci, as well as other leaders, promised to revamp Brezovica resort by attracting foreign investment and creating 4,000 jobs. The initial investment plans of 400 million euros failed and the new resort was never built.

On February 17, 2014, Thaci promised that it was the last time that the Kosovo Security Forces were marching in this capacity – next year, he said, they would march as a proper army. In early 2017, now President Thaci brought up the issue of the army again, saying he would resign if the current legislature would not vote for the army.  But by June, Kosovo had gone into snap elections and a new legislature was elected, without the army being established. Needless to say, the President has not resigned yet, either.

Another recurring character on Krypometer is Ramush Haradinaj, especially after he was elected Prime Minister. Promises he made before he took the job often painted the new PM into a corner.

Haradinaj also insisted that he would never form a coalition with PDK or LDK. He broke his promise just as the deadline for party registration with the Central Election Committee was nearing midnight on May 16, when Haradinaj signed a deal with PDK to run together. Krypometer found his statements as absolute lies.

While Haradinaj was still in opposition, AAK party members complained about the government’s luxurious expenses. Besnik Tahiri, now the national coordinator for state reform, criticized the practice of buying high-end phones for government official saying  that the purchase of luxurious phones was “a joke. It’s terrible.”

But only days after Haradinaj was sworn in, the government had spent 6,000 euros to purchase 14 phones for the PM’s office.

Haradinaj also lied when he stated that once he came in power, visa liberalization to the Schengen zone, would happen within 90 days. Over 200 days have passed since Haradinaj was sworn in and Kosovo still does not have a visa-free regime with the EU member countries.

Before he became a prime minister, Haradinaj was determined that there was no need for more than a deputy minister for each ministry. Yet, today, Haradinaj’s cabinet is the largest ever – it has over 60 deputy ministers, with some ministries counting six deputy ministers.

Like Haradinaj, the current Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli, the leader of the New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, also made statements that he later had to swallow. Before the June elections, when some Kosovo parties congregated into two opposing coalitions, Pacolli had maintained that he would never join a coalition with the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, or PD.

By May 2017, he signed a deal with LDK to run with the LAA coalition, and by August he betrayed his coalition partners and joined the governing coalition with PAN.

Krypometer found Pacolli’s statements as absolute lies.

Pacolli also made it to Krypometer, after he made false statements about the number of countries which had recognized Kosovo’s statehood. The number, which Pacolli claimed was 117, is in fact 116.

Another high-profile regular on Krypometer was former Prime Minister Isa Mustafa. The economics professor was caught making false statements about the country’s economy and development.

In February, Mustafa also claimed that his government had decreased unemployment from 34 per cent to 26 per cent. Krypometri found his statement to be partly true – according to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, unemployment had decreased to 27.5 per cent.

Besides Kosovo’s political leadership, on a local level, most mayors were also found changing their electoral positions.

Very few of them — only two — have kept their promise to appoint a gender-balanced cabinet.

Although when running for the mayoral seat they promised to appoint women to 50 per cent of the directorates, the mayors of Prishtina, Shtime, Decan, Junik, Mitrovica, Obilic, Vushtrri, Klina and Ferizaj did not do so once they were elected.

02/04/2018 - 15:34

02 April 2018 - 15:34

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.