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Kandahar MPs, Govt. Trade Charges

Hamidzai Lalai

KANDAHAR – With no sign of a patch-up in sight, the blame game between Wolesi Jirga members representing southern Kandahar province and the provincial administration continues over persisting public problems. MPs Abdul Rahim Ayubi and Hamidzai Lalai, addressing a public gathering in Kandahar City on Thursday, accused the provincial government of corruption and sought immediate replacement of the governor.

But the governor’s office said the lawmakers, in a bid to hide their own failure in resolving people’s problems, had started blaming the government to gain political mileage ahead of the 2014 presidential elections. In emotional speeches to the gathering, also involving some women, Ayubi and Lalai asked President Hamid Karzai to announce a major reshuffle in the provincial set-up.

The public meeting at the Sherzai Park was attended by hundreds of people. Some women, who were allowed to speak on the occasion, said their spouses had been imprisoned without reason and their fate remained unknown. The crying women insisted their husbands were innocent and their cases were yet to be processed. The participants told their representatives that instead of resolving their problems, the provincial government was busy making assets through corruption.

In his remarks, Ayubi said their visit to Kandahar was aimed at listening to people’s problems and resolving them. He added the provincial government had clearly failed in addressing the concerns of residents. Lalai showed media representatives written complaints that he received from the people of Kandahar against the local government. Both urged the central government to fire high-ranking officials in Kandahar and replace them with honest individuals.

Lalai warned of a protest movement with support of people against the provincial government if it did not act to remove people’s complaints. But the provincial administration claimed the legislators wanted to promote their own agendas. The governor’s spokesman, Javed Faisal, said the MPs had failed to share public problems with officials in Kabul.

He added the provincial council was responsible for listening to and sharing people’s problems with the provincial administration. The lawmakers had been invited to the governor’s office for consultations over the problems facing residents, but they did not come.

Faisal admitted residents of Kandahar were facing a whole host of problems, but improvement in governance over the past four years should not be ignored. He also acknowledged inordinate delays in processing inmate cases, saying the provincial government looked into complaints in this regard on a daily basis. Up to 200 cases were investigated daily, the spokesman concluded. (PAN)

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