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Saakashvili names Tengiz Gunava as Samegrelo’s new governor

By Messenger staff
Friday, January 11
President Mikheil Saakashvili appointed the former Head of the MIA’s General Inspection, Tengiz Gunava as the governor of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, replacing Zaza Gorozia. At a meeting with Zugdidi’s local municipality, Saakashvili spoke of Gunava as one of the “heroes” of the Georgian-Russian August War of 2008. The president also recollected how Gunava protected him from Russians in Poti.

“However, he has recently faced many problems,” Saakashvili said, referring to Gunava’s recent detention for the possession of illegal drugs and weapons charges. Released on 10, 000 bail, Gunava denied the accusations, claiming he had never used any drugs.

Saakashvili said when Gunava was the chief of police in Samegrelo before becoming the Head of the MIA’s General Inspection, he eradicated drug-usage, robbery and severe crimes.

He said in times when the new Georgian Dream government is releasing “Russian spies” as political prisoners, “the real military heroes will definitely have problems.”

“But it does not mean that we will bow our heads and adapt to this,” the president said, stressing that he wants Georgia to continue its rehabilitation. Although Saakashvili said it is not the governor’s function to confront; he does have to protect the country’s achievements and ensure that Georgia continues to develop.

Saakashvili said the governor should cooperate with all the state bodies. However, he still criticized the current government. He said a lot of violators from Eduard Shevardnadze’s government have returned to their positions.

Accusing the Georgian Dream of suspending construction, President Saakashvili said the Georgian Dream is trying to restore Georgia’s “corrupt and criminal past.” He said his regional attorneys have the responsibility to protect the country from returning to the past.

Saakashvili said his team is not making any “political crisis” against the new government. “We only want the Georgian government to do their job and let the economics, people and country develop and take care of Georgia’s future prospects,” Saakashvili said.

Gunava thanked the president for his trust. Familiar with the Samegrelo region, Gunava promised to do everything for the sake of the country.

Georgian Dream member Davit Berdzenishvili thinks that the appointment of Gunava as the Samegrelo governor is a “false PR stunt.”

He said the current governor does not have great functions according to the acting legislation. “Gunava will do the same thing that Zurab Chiaberashvili does – nothing,” he said, stating that the institute of governors will soon be controlled by the government, which is responsible for the management of the country.

Political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili thinks that the president is continuing his confrontation against the new government. Tsiskarishvili said by appointing a person released from prison on bail, Saakashvili is only protecting criminals.