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Power Struggle and Corruption

 

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Kabul Mayor Mohammad Yonous Nawandish and a number of Lower House representatives are engaged in trading heated accusations pointing fingers at each other for being involved in corruption. In response to the House representatives’ call for dismissal his dismissal, Nawandish published some evidences to the media and accused the MPs and the Speaker of the House of illegal demands and corruption.

In recent weeks, a number of Lower House representatives including the House Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi accused Kabul Mayor of being involved in corruption, incapability and negligence. They demanded President Karzai to dismiss the mayor but the president refused the demand as Nawandish was visiting China. During recent days the attempts by the House representatives to unseat the mayor from his post have been intensified as some representatives are continuing their sit-in protest in front of Kabul municipality.

There are still many ambiguities in the allegations the mayor and the MPs are making against each other. On one hand the accusations are indicating a full-scale power struggle between the two sides which involve corruption to some level for both sides. The accusations reveal that both sides are involved in corruption, though to the scope of corruption for each side might be different. The lawmakers are constitutionally bound to oversee the government and government officials and make them accountable, but the sad news is that they are also involved in corruption. Amid this trade of accusations, it is not clear whether which party is really involved in wrongdoings.

As the heated confrontation between the lawmakers and Mayor Nawandish continue, the Afghan judiciary should act quickly to establish facts and pursue those who are involved in corruption, whether in the house or the cabinet, through legal procedures. It is expected that the legal authorities conduct a thorough investigation about the accusations and counter-accusations of the MPs and Kabul mayor against each other. Obviously, the cases of the MPs and the minister are part of a bigger problem in Afghanistan: that the whole system is run by corrupt officials so that the system has become an unresponsive one to the cases of corruption and misuse of power and authority.

Relevant institutions must act in this regard and pursue the officials and lawmakers in the parliament that are involved in corruption. However, the calamity is that the judicial and anti-corruption institutions are not serious in fighting corruption. The anti-corruption bodies have no single major achievement in fighting top-level corruption. President Karzai has repeatedly vowed to eliminate corruption but has lagged behind the promises he made during past twelve years. The ultimate reason behind the failure to fight corruption effectively is as crystal clear: there is no serious political will among the leadership of the government of Afghanistan.

If the parliament and the judicial authorities fail to address the hot-debated accusations of the mayor and the MPs, the whole system including the judicial and the parliament would further lose credibility in the eyes of the public. With top-level corruption at the peak, the people of Afghanistan have less confidence in the government and legal system of Afghanistan to effectively fight corruption. In last one decade, hundreds of thousands of acres of public land have been seized by top government officials or strongmen with backing from inside the government.

 

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