Afghanistan: National Unity government slammed for not filling up cabinet positions

There are as many as eleven cabinet positions lying vacant and being attended by other ministers in caretaker position even after three years of the National Unity Government (NUG), under President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah.

The primary reason for not filling up the vacant cabinet posts is mainly the two leaders have failed to reach consensus on the candidates to hold the ministerial berths.

Currently, of the 25 cabinet posts, eleven are being run by acting ministers. Several vital cabinet posts such as ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of defense, ministry of interior, ministry of transport and civil aviation, ministry of communication and information technology, ministry of economy, ministry of education and ministry of information and culture, ministry of public work, ministry of higher education and ministry of borders and tribal affairs have been lying vacant and being looked after by other ministers as caretaker ministers.

It is stated that the failure of the leaders to fill up vacant cabinet posts have seriously affected the delivery of services and governance.

MP Akbar Stanekzai accused the NUG leaders of giving cabinet berths only to the rich and powerful Members of Parliament. He said, “A poor minister is fired and the one who has the power remains in his seat; it is an act of insult to the lawmakers.”

Ghani and Abdullah have been severely criticized for their failure to fill the cabinet posts.

Lawmakers argue that the caretaker trend has had a significant impact on service delivery in certain sectors and on good governance.

MP Sayed Nadir Shah Bahr stressed that the NUG leaders must remove the caretaker system in the cabinet once and for all and appoints the ministers.

Recently the government has announced it had introduced at least eight candidates for the post of ministry of defence; interior; transport and civil aviation; communication and information technology; Economy; public work; higher education; and ministry of borders and tribal affairs.

However, Parliament speaker Abdul Rauf Ibarahimi expressed apprehension about appointing eight cabinet ministers on Wednesday for want of quorum in the Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) as he said the NUG might not have the required number of lawmakers on that day.

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