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The Ambiguous Process of Summoning Ministers

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Ministers of Mines and Culture and Information received votes of confidence by the lawmakers in the lower house of the Parliament. Last Wednesday, the two ministers were unable to satisfy the lawmakers about under-spending development funds of their related ministries in fiscal year of 2011. During last week, the lower house of the parliament summoned eleven ministers for under-spending their budgets in 2011. So far, nine ministers have appeared in the house for explaining their failure in spending less than half of their budgets.

The vote of confidence for Wahidullah Shahrani and Sayed Makhdoom Rahin infuriated many other lawmakers who believed the ministers gained vote of confidence through making secret deals with the MPs and bribing them. Regrettably, the fact is that such games have become common among the lawmakers and there are enough evidences that prove the MPs make deals with the ministers before they summon the ministers to question them on their mismanagements. Therefore, claims about bribes and secret deals among some lawmakers and the ministers are based on some concrete facts and evidences.

Regarding the yes-confidence vote of the lawmakers for the ministers of Mines and Culture and Information, it is fraught with ambiguities. Last week the MPs voted against the two ministers for their failure in budget spending and expressed dissatisfaction to their mismanagements. But in a U-turn move on Saturday, a big majority of the MPs voted in favor of the ministers. The move proved that the Wolosi Jirga continue failing in taking the ministers accountable for their mismanagements and wrong conducts. Such failures undermine the efficiency of the parliament as the main national monitoring body and harm the legitimacy and credibility of MPs’ decisions in the eyes of the people who voted for them.

Summoning eleven cabinet ministers for their failure in spending less than half of their development budgets has been a flawed and divisive process from the beginning. For weeks, the lawmakers argued over credibility of the decision for summoning the ministers and its mechanism. Many believed that the MPs wanted to summon the ministers to pressurize the government and the cabinet ministers, rather than taking them accountable for mismanagements. There were fears that brining no-confidence vote for many of the eleven ministers would create a serious challenge to the executive branch. Finally, the house went on with the summoning still the process is surrounded with ambiguities.

This is while the government agencies are deeply involved in corruption and there is a culture of immunity for government corrupt officials. Times and again, the lower house of the Parliament has failed to do the right job in taking officials accountable and disqualifying corrupt and incapable officials. The systematic failures and blunders by the lawmakers would seriously damage the status and credibility of the Parliament.

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