Oral history interview with Anouar Ben Khelifa, 2015
Anouar Ben Khelifa was appointed Secretary of State to the Head of Government by Mehdi Jomaa in 2014. Between 2011 and 2013, he was chief investigator of the National Anti-Corruption Authority. In 2009, he was chief controller of public services in Tunisia's prime ministry. From 2001 to 2004, he served as assistant controller in the same department.
Scope and Contents
Anouar Ben Khelifa, former Secretary of State to Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, remembers the first days of the revolution as "dream days" when Tunisians displayed their self-sufficiency, and he was both optimistic and afraid. As a "neutral" civil servant working in the audit office during the Ben Ali regime, he had witnessed corruption firsthand but had never taken a public position against the regime nor joined the professional opposition. Ben Khelifa voices appreciation for the solidarity of the Jomaa cabinet because much of his work cut across ministries, especially the national action plan his team developed for the Open Government Partnership. Ben Khelifa viewed his tenure as full of challenges. In particular, he notes the disconnect between the government's image and his own work to achieve more transparency and accountability, ensuring that the government underwent external audits and published the results. Ben Khelifa characterizes pre-revoluton Tunisia as a peaceful country and he lived comfortably and simply; he still lives simply, even as a public official. He states that the biggest success of the government was providing a model for good governance. One concrete success of the provisional government that he notes was the reorganization of the security forces in the country; they were less successful in economic reform. Though Ben Khelifa expresses disappointed by the current state of affairs, he remains optimistic for the future.
Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2015.