Problem of favoritism in government institutions

Monday, 23 April 2018 02:47 Written by  Read 119 times

The preference of relationship over merit and qualification in government institutions in Afghanistan has deprived Afghans of good governance. On the one hand, there is a serious dearth of professionals in the country but on the other hand, the problem of favoritism has eliminated the possibility of utilizing the potential of existing professionals.
Over the last decade and a half, some Afghans acquired postgraduate studies and became professionals, but those who do not have connections and relatives in government institutions are not given the chance to serve people and the country. It is very common among people that they have to find a patronage before applying for a government post, because they know their qualification and commitment alone will not help them get the job.
While the government claims achievements in this area, the reality is squarely otherwise. The criterion for high-level government appointments is not merit, but connections. There is still need for nepotism and favoritism to get senior government positions. The highly paid positions are for the powerful and rich.
Speaking at a gathering in Kabul Saturday, President Ghani billed the first ever appointment of commercial attachés through “open competition” a turning point and an achievement, saying it was the triumph of merit and qualification over nepotism and favoritism. His statements, however, invited different reaction on social media, with some calling it a symbolic step like its other deceitful actions. Some applicants who had gone through the test for these posts have claimed that the appointment of the new commercial attachés has been made based on patronage not merit.
Administrative corruption, nepotism, and favoritism together have crippled governance in Afghanistan. Instead of paving the way for good governance through merit-based appointments, the prevalence of favoritism on merit continues unabated in the government. The government always talks the talk, but never walks the walk. While the government publicly announces its appointments are made through open competition, it is obvious that getting a key government post without the use of patronage remains to be just a dream for Afghan youth. If the government really has an appetite to counter corruption, it should start from making sure merit triumphs over patronage.

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