Wed, Oct

Senators back elevation of deputy ministers


member-parliamentSome members of the Meshrano Jirga on Tuesday defended the appointment of acting deputy ministers as a legal step, but others insisted on the early nomination of cabinet picks.

Following his swearing-in more than two months backs, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had issued a decree asking all ministers, governors and heads of departments to continue working in an acting capacity.

He had promised introducing new ministers to the lower house in 25 days for a vote of confidence, a vow that has not been honoured so far. Under the relevant rule, an acting minister cannot work for more than two months.

On Monday, a presidential decree directed all deputy ministers and deputy heads of independent government agencies to perform duties as acting ministers and heads. The deputy ministers and deputy heads would continue their jobs until a new cabinet is announced.

In Tuesday’s session of the Senate, a public representative from southeastern Paktia province stoutly supported the move. The previous cabinet was comprised both of clean and corrupt individuals, Yar Mohammad said.

He stressed the need for including competent people in the new Council of Ministers, demanding that corruption-tainted and incompetent ministers be referred to judicial organs for punitive action.

His colleague from central Bamyan province, Hidayatullah Rihayee alleged the acting ministers had been working irresponsibly over the past two months. As a result, he claimed, the country had slipped into chaos.

“Now that the government has made deputy ministers as caretaker ministers, they would cause new problems, including the plunder of state resources,” the lawmaker remarked. He called for immediate introduction of cabinet choices to the lower house.

A senator from Kabul, Khaliqdad Balaghi, also questioned the government’s decision on appointing deputy ministers as caretaker ministers. He believed the step would prove problematic.

Bismillah Afghanmal, a legislator from southern Kandahar province, urged the Ghani administration to nominate skilled and patriotic people as ministers with a sense of urgency.

He went on to ask the Wolesi Jirga not to give trust vote to nominees with dual nationalities. The inclusion of such individuals in the cabinet could spark a new crisis, he warned.