Parallel bodies and the ongoing governance crisis

Tuesday, 29 November 2016 04:08 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 243 times

Parallel institutions and overlapping functions are a major problem with varying degrees in all areas of governance in Afghanistan. For instance, there are over ten organizations directly or indirectly involved in anti-corruption, yet the problem of corruption in the government is exacerbating. Virtually all national and international transparency organizations believe that Afghanistan is among the world’s most corrupt nations. 

 

As part of the parallel institution establishment trend, the National Unity Government (NUG) added two more selection committees to the list. The new panels will be reportedly tasked to pick individuals for senior political and military slots, a move apparently aimed at sorting out disagreements between President Ghani and CEO Abdullah in appointments since the inception of the NUG. 

While the government is trying to propagate the establishment of these committees as an endeavor to improve governance and appoint qualified and competent people at government posts, the evidence suggests it will not have positive results.  

There are already institutions in the government mandated to handle the tasks for which these committees have been formed.  If these committees work on behalf of the existing bodies, what their task will be then. If government leaders think that those institutions don’t function well which really do, it will be better to reform them instead of creating other parallel institutions. If they cannot be corrected at all, they should be eliminated and replaced by new ones. 

Instead of improvements, the creation of duplicate entities leads to an overlap of functions and institutional redundancy whose elimination was one of President Ghani’s major campaign promises.  

Past experience has shown that reforms in the government require a strong political will and decisiveness, not the creation of new entities. Currently, the organizational redundancy in the government is unparalleled at the regional if not at the global level. In lieu of creating a set of copy institutions, the president and his CEO, through mutual cooperation, better allow competent individuals to take over affairs, and steer the country out of the current governance crisis.