Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Where is the governance of the government?

While millions of Afghans are starving of chronic food insecurity, worsening national security and fragile governance, some parts of the government chose to fight alcohol and foreign restaurants so that at least some Afghans that used to get some benefits and income from those venues, wouldn’t get anymore. And they might have to join criminal gangs and the militants to earn an income. I have no affiliation with the restaurants nor commiserate with the alcohol cause.My problem is with the larger governance failures in Afghanistan that have caused increased insecurity and militancy.

Paradoxically, there have been numerous instances that the police officers snatched the batches of alcohol for their own consumption and that has been the primary reason for their loyal commitment to this fight. On the conditions of anonymity, a National Directorate of Security employee says that almost every police officer in Kabul that he knows of are drunk at night. Why doesn’t the government prevent this situation?

When governance converts into a merely political function then delivery of social services do not have any operative meanings for a government, and that is the plight of the Afghan government. However, this lack of a strategic vision of the government impacts its political agenda’s as well. While banning of foreign restaurants and alcohol might rehash the memories of the Taliban regime and might be a pleasant reason for them to listen to the government’s plea of integration and reconciliation, at the same time such acts antagonize the masses against the government for lack of basic services. Now and in the future the government will have more militants and ‘angry brothers’ to integrate and more to reconcile with.

Unfortunately it seems hopeless for Afghanistan to recuperate its sinking ship in the next 5 years as opportunities shrink for the country. Afghans hoped that at least the next 5 years, they will see some tangible governance schemes and projects to transform their misery into an improved condition of health, education, security, and economic sectors. But those hopes seem to remain as dreams only.

While the new government is entering into its 6th month, still the fate of half of the ministries is unknown. The parliament has been constantly asking for the remaining ministers to be introduced but their requests met with no response from the central government so far.The cabinet has always been a political body rather than strengthening governance to deliver basic services to millions of Afghans throughout the country. The media reports that almost 100 young men enter to Iran illegally everyday due to the lack of jobs and income opportunities in their home provinces and they face severe conditions and some indulge into illegal crimes and drug smuggling. The current education system is suffering great deal of negligence for all these years due to lack of leadership and accountability. In the last week of April, in a third incident of school poisoning, in one day around 80 girls get poisoned in schools in Kunduz province to make them bid farewell to education and the country’s Minister of Education seems occupied in the politics and arrangements of another political action, the upcoming peace Jirga.

However, the government is focusing on political propagandas instead. Such a lack of governance is a serious crisis in the country and will not allow any political settlements or peace processes to succeed nor any international counterterrorism approach will be effective in a fragile governance structure.

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