Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 25th, 2020

Corruption is a National Threat to Peace and Prosperity

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Corruption is a National Threat to Peace and Prosperity

Undeniably, corruption is a serious issue which not only deprives the country from many international aids but also block implementing national projects in Afghanistan.  In recent days, the government has announced the Dastarkhan-e-Melli (National Food Table) but unanimously rejected by parliament due to widespread corruption in the country. The representatives of people in parliament say this plan is too big to be transparently implemented in the current corruption context. They emphasize that the enormous amount of allocated money for the plan can fund many national projects in the country while there is no guarantee for transparent spending in national project as well. In general, the administrative corruption is not only national threat to Afghanistan but also considered as mother of all problems in the country. It hugely increased the distance between government and people. It tremendously held back the economic growth and caused promotion of poverty in the country; it enormously demoted the culture of meritocracy but promoted the culture of despotism in the country.
Since 2001 many plans have been made to root out the issue but none of the efforts have produced effective result in the country. Sometimes it is said that the created anti-corruption plan itself intensify the problem. The recent rejection of the Dastarkhan-e-Melli by parliament shows the peak of distrust and distance between government and people which originated from the corruption issue. During covid-19 pandemic crisis many of world country have fiscally helped their people but in Afghanistan the corruption does not allow. Unfortunately, the international donors also failed to contribute in fighting against corruption problem in the country. They have continued pouring billions into the country without a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy and finally no changes happened in the destiny of the country. Poverty and insecurity have been unexpectedly increased after two decades their presence in Afghanistan. In recent days, the president said that 90% of people lie under poverty line in the country while billions of dollars poured to the country since 2001. Overall, the corruption not only devours a huge amount of national budget but also play as dividing role in the country.
As pointed out, the administrative corruption deprives the country from millions of international donation. Millions of dollars already returned to the origin countries due to the widespread corruption issue while millions are conditional to transparent spending. However, corruption is not a new phenomenon; it is an old and complicated phenomena which has more highlighted in last two decades with freedom of media in the country.  Acknowledging the serious problem in the country, once the former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai addressing the corrupted individuals said, “If you cannot stop corruption, at least do not take the money to Dobai, Turkey and other countries”. In fact, this was a bitter confession by the president of a country showing his inability against corruption and mafia groups in the country. Based on this, corruption needs to a stronger and more powerful strategy to be succeeded to or else it will be subject to failure as in the past.
In regard to typology of corruption, it is happened in form of demanding and offering bribes, both in the private and public sectors and on large and small scales. There are also many other major forms of corruption, including nepotism, legal and political corruption. Even, In Afghanistan’s elections money plays the most important role in success of candidates. a large number of people are not ready to vote for PDH and Master Degree holders but for votes for money givers. According to transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Afghanistan ranked 177th place out of nearly 180 countries in 2017. The Corruption, insecurity and drug trafficking has become as global feature of the country affecting all aspects social and political lives. In last two decades, it has wasted a huge amount of resources that could otherwise enable the country to cross from the current crisis and largely reached to self-reliant.
As abovementioned, corruption is a serious factor to insecurity in the country. In fact it is the main way through which the enemy penetrates into the system and makes a tragedy inside the country. However, penetrations into political system or security system are not possible by ordinary people and without support of top traitors. Therefore, we need to develop a national, realistic and long-term strategy against corruption to filter everyone, especially top politicians. We must note that the corruption addicted politicians use every type of tool or corruption to stay in power. They do not care about the country, national interests and the plight of the people; their real redline in Afghanistan is having access to government resources and preservation of their wealth and personal capital. Therefore, the fights against corruption have failed because the fighters were less powerful then elements of corruption.
The last reason behind failing corruption is lacking serious mechanism against controlling corruption in the country as there is no official unit to register the property of all politicians in the country. However, a recently a plan heard for registering the property of top government officials. In most other countries, the government not only registers the property of politicians but also register the property of ordinary people. in other countries, there is a specific office who registers the wealth of all residents, especially the politicians.  Besides having a clear mechanism, the meaningful participation of civil society is also important for any successful anti-corruption policy. Professional reporting by media outlets, and independent monitoring and reporting by civil society Organizations help expose corruption and educate the public as to their rights.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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