Responsibly Summon the Ministers
The Afghan Lower House of the Parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, on Wednesday’s session could not reach a final conclusion over mechanisms of summoning about a dozen of ministers for under-spending the funds for their relevant ministries. The MPs deferred the decision for reaching a proper mechanism to next week. Earlier, in an astounding move the Lower House of Parliament decided to summon the ministers who failed to spend their fund as some have not been able to spend 50 percent of the budget.
Now, some MPs said that the decision had been taken hastily and many of the eleven ministers could not be taken responsible for the mismanagement, as either they were not in the post during past fiscal year or have already briefed the House over their plans in the relevant ministries and the fiscal issues. But some argued that the decision had been taken according to procedures and the House should go ahead with summoning the ministers. Some of them insisted that the MPs had to stick with the plan and the decision should not be reversed to avoid perceptions that the MPs have hands in gloves with some of the ministers.
The move for summoning the ministers, indeed, seems to be surprising, as clearly it was hastily and arbitrarily taken, making no notice of whether the decision is responsibly and lawfully taken. Some analysts believe that many of MPs intend to pressurize the ministers by supporting the odd decision on Impeachment of President Hamid Karzai’s cabinet ministers. As many of the lawmakers argued on Wednesday, how is it possible to question performance of an official at a specific period of time when he had no role there? Another question that remains is that how the parliament can summon and subsequently impeach some of the newly-appointed ministers with no role in budget of the past fiscal year.
Assume that all the eleven ministers receive no-confidence vote in supposed-to-take-place vote for the ministers in the parliament. Of course, it would be a disaster for the executive and an absolute mess. In retrospect, we see that the Wolesi Jirga have had many flawed records of summoning and impeachment of the officials. Some high-credited ministers were dismissed from their posts by no-confidence vote of the parliamentarians in the past. For instance, earlier this year, the House disqualified Bismillah Mohammadi and Abdul Rahim Wardak then ministers of interior affairs and defense. The dismissal of former Interior and Defense Ministers was considered as a big blunder by the lawmakers, which took place at a crucial time, ahead of foreign troop’s withdrawal.
No doubt that the ministers of the cabinet must be accountable for their failures over spending the budget and implementation of development projects. But, of course it should not go on arbitrarily and must not result to a big vacuum in the government. As there are many officials who are logically responsible for the mismanagements and under-spending of their budgets, for sure the parliament should not hesitate summoning any such officials.