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The Killid Group
Reasons for slow governance in provincesWritten by Qala Nawi
Saturday, 21 May 2011 12:35
Most government officials in the provinces are appointed by the central government in Kabul but provincial authorities have limited latitude in executing various governance and administrative affairs which undermine sub-national governance, officials tell Killid.
Marking the accountability week, the governor of Herat Province, Dawood Saba, said the provincial government under his leadership was performing slow because he was bound to numerous bureaucratic bottlenecks mostly linked to Kabul.
"Nepotism in the recruitment of provincial positions, absence of an effective administrative system of reward and punishment and a lack of attention from Kabul to the problems which inflict provincial authorities are resulting in the slow delivery of services at the provincial level," said Saba, who was appointed as the governor of Herat by President Hamid Karzai in 2010.
He said, in terms of bureaucratic and administrative affairs, the provincial government was completely dependent on the line ministries and other institutions in Kabul which he said was impeding services' delivery. "If the system does not improve the situation will further deteriorate," he warned.
Only 5 of the 15 district governors in Herat Province have been appointed according to the national recruitment rules and procedures but the rest have taken their positions through other means, Saba said. "Some individuals who are widely accused of criminal activities are appointed in senior positions," he said adding that such alleged criminals deserved punishment for their crimes.
President Karzai has been widely criticized for his unrestricted policy of compromise with local warlords and power brokers who are mostly labeled as predatory, criminal and inept.
Saba's concerns were echoed by Ahmad Jaweed Rawof, a senator in the Meshran Jirga: "Law enforcement has often been comprised in the cases of powerful individuals."
Additionally, lack of coordination among different government entities, both at national and sub-national levels, are cited as major impediments towards good governance and services' delivery.
Hamid Elmi, a deputy presidential spokesperson, declined to comment on governor Saba's assertions saying that it was not a policy to react to the views of provincial officials. He said only the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) was authorized to comment on the issue but Killid's requests for an interview with IDLG officials were turned down.
Afghanistan has one of the most centralized government systems in the world and the President has extensive powers in appointing and sacking governors and other provincial authorities. Meanwhile, the Kabul-based ministries lead and supervise the activities of their subordinate provincial entities.