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The Killid Group
Karzai proposes, Governor OpposesWritten by Awrang and Sultanzoi
Sunday, 26 September 2010 10:01
How far does the writ of the Karzai government run? Though derided sometimes in the Western media as the 'mayor of Kabul' because of his limited reach, is President Hamid Karzai now being ignored even within Kabul by the provincial governor?
Though President Karzai appointed a new governor to the Khakhi Jabbar district of Kabul province half a year ago, the man is yet to assume office, since he has not been accepted by the Governor of Kabul, Zabiullah Mojaddedi.
To make matters more piquant, the Kabul Governor, who has shown such blatant disregard for Presidential orders, is none other than the son of Sibgatullah Mojaddedi, the venerated old man of Afghan politics and a close confidante of President Karzai.
Because of this relationship, Sibgatullah Mojaddedi was appointed the speaker of the upper house of Parliament. He was also put in charge of the reconciliation commission that sought to bring in foot soldiers of the Taliban into the mainstream. The commission, by most criterions has been a very limited success so far.
The new governor for the district of Khakhi Jabbar, Shah Mahmood, was appointed by President Karzai six months ago. He was to replace district governor Abdul Qader also known as Qazi Zemarai. However since then, Shah Mahmood has been unable to take his position due to resistance.
The governor of Kabul, Zabiullah Mojaddedi said he would never consent to the appointment of a district governor unless he is consulted before he/she is appointed. "I can't comply with such a plan where I have not been consulted and if the president issues another order, I will not comply with that either."
The deputy head of the Regional Organizations Headquarters, Abdul Malik Sidiqi, however said that the officially appointed district governor of Khakhi Jabbar is Shah Mahmood and that the former district governor, Abdul Qadir, who is unofficially in the job, is not recognized by his organization.
Both sides claim that their candidate is the better one. According to Mojaddedi, the new district governor, Shah Mahmood, lacks experience and professionalism and therefore can't replace governor Qader. "I called in Shah Mahmood, a young man with no experience. The only experience he has is that he claims to have been the director of a student's association. I will never let him govern the district", Mojaddedi told Killid. "At least someone with more experience than the incumbent district governor should be appointed. He has been on the job for five years, he is experienced, and there are a lot of tribal issues the incumbent has to grapple with", he added.
Sidiqi however said during an interview with Killid that consequent to a request made by some MPs and people, the electoral board of directors and President Karzai appointed Shah Mahmood as district governor of Khakhi Jabbar.
Mahmood, he said, was a professional and competent person and a good match for the position. The decision, he added, had been made for the betterment of the district affairs. Sidiqi further said the formerly appointed district governor, Qazi Zemarai used to be a schoolteacher. "He doesn't have a bachelor's degree, but the newly appointed district governor, Shah Mahmood has a bachelor degree in law. He has three years of work experience in NGOs and other organizations and he is talented too".
Sidiqi emphasized that the Kabul government must implement Karzai's order. "If they have a strong reason they can present it to the head of regional organizations headquarters. Otherwise, it is not reasonable to legitimize the position of the former district governor because reshuffling is an ordinary process."
The right of consultation
Authorities say such defiance and negligence has not only affected the regional organizations headquarters and residents of Khakh-e-Jabbar district, but it has also added to differences between the Governor of Kabul and President Karzai.
Investigators believe that corruption, lack of coordination between some government organizations, unauthorized moves, misuse of power, illegal actions, and the inability to apply the law to power brokers has created problems not only in remote areas but also in more secure areas, threatening the legitimacy of the government.
Both sides also claim the failure of the other to communicate. While Sidiqi said the Kabul Governor has provided no information on whether the appointee has been accepted, the Governor of Kabul, Mojaddedi said: "I wrote back to the regional organizations headquarters saying that the man(Qader) is competent and we don't want to see him replaced by someone else. I presented all my reasons to them - the incumbent district governor is acceptable to the people of Khakhi Jabbar because of his efficiency."
Mojaddedi said the two issues he is contesting are the right of consultation to any appointments in his province and the merit of anyone appointed to the job.
That Mojaddedi's father is held in high esteem by the president is perhaps also the reason why the son's flouting of Presidential orders has been ignored for so long.