New picks for ministries: Yet a delayed, flawed step

Sunday, 26 November 2017 03:21 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 236 times

In addition to its betrayal of commitments in other areas, the National Unity Government (NUG) could not have completed even its cabinet in over three years.  About half of the cabinet, including some key ministries such as the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Ministry of Interior (MoI), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), is still led by caretakers. Following strong criticism, pressures and breaking of promises, the government finally introduced 12 ministers-designate to Wolesi Jirga (WJ) or the lower house of parliament for trust vote. The lawmakers will hold a vote of confidence for these ministers-designate after assessing their documents and hearing their plans. Taking into account the past experience, the lawmakers cannot be very much expected to confirm or reject these picks based on merit because there are always reports of corruption and bribery in the trust vote motions.

 

While the government’s introduction of the new nominees is a positive step, it is overdue and imperfect. On the one side, there are a lot of questions about the competence and qualification of some of the ministers-designate, but on the other side the government has not yet introduced candidates for the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education.

 In terms of qualification, one criticism is about the nomination of Wais Ahmad Barmak for the Ministry of Interior. Barmak who has previously served as the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) doesn’t have any military experience. While Afghan forces, especially the police have faced with serious challenges, the appointment of an unprofessional person to run a key security institution is a strategic mistake. Such appointments are never done on the basis of merit and professional qualification, but rather the power-sharing agreement between the president and his chief executive officer, through which unprofessional individuals have been installed in government institutions. The government should have better appointed someone else who best fit the requirements of the key post. Similarly, there are reports on social media that the educational documents of Shahzad Gul Aryoubi, the nominee for the Ministry of Higher Education, have problems. If that is true, the president should not have nominated him at the beginning, but now that he has been nominated, the lawmakers should carefully review his documents. 

 

Even with the introduction of 12 ministers-designate, the cabinet will still not be completed because the MoE and MoFA belonging to CEO Abdullah based on the power-sharing agreement are still held by acting ministers. If all the 12 new ministers-designate secure a vote of confidence, two key government ministries, the MoFA and MoE, will still be led by caretakers. 

 

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