Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Observing the Law, Respecting the Law


Observing the Law, Respecting the Law

“Constitution of Afghanistan is one the best constitutions in the region; it is modern, advanced and a democratic law. Political and civil rights of people of multi-ethnical and multi-cultural society of Afghanistan, have been recognized in the constitution. Sovereignty belongs to people, citizens from all walks of life, irrespective of their ethnicity and religious background are equal under the law. This constitution is the first and the most democratic constitution of Afghanistan.” These and some other appreciative words in praise of the constitution were said in ceremonies on the occasion of 14th anniversary of approving the constitution. President Ashraf Ghani in a gathering at presidential palace said: “this constitution has specified our political system, defined our national identity and religious identity and no one can rule the country by force.” But executive chief of national unity government: Dr. Abdullah Abdullah spoke about needs and urgency to amend the constitution. He protested presidential system and what he called ‘centralization of power’ which has led to monopoly of power and despotism. Mr. Abdullah emphasized on execution of national unity government’s commitment about changing the political system and amending the constitution. Head of Wolesi Jirga; Abdul Rauf Ebrahimi also praised novelties and modern values of the constitution; but he warned that powerful men are exempt of punishment and breaking law is turning to culture in Afghanistan.  
Despite the fact that our constitution is the best one; but situation in respect of ‘rule of law’ is not satisfactory. Once a local research institution (House of Freedom) conducted a survey on enforcement of constitution and the result showed that 92% the law has been violated. This is while that Afghanistan is in list of most corrupt nations of the world. Another research carried out in 2016, indicated that Afghans have paid about three billion dollars bribe to individuals in government in one year.
In fact, breaking law in our country is the biggest problem; people in all ranks have broken the law and most unfortunately, major violators are high officials in government. Each year we have celebration on the occasion of approval of the constitution. It is good to remind people about this great achievement of our history; but enforcement of the constitution is the biggest appreciation and homage to this mother law. 
Our constitution is indeed the best one throughout our history. Despite our traditional and national values have been enshrined in the constitution, international, modern and democratic values are also respected in the law and the state is obliged to abide by them. But why chief executive of government Mr. Abdullah and some others talk to amend the constitution and change the political system from presidential to parliamentary. People who support parliamentary system, assert that all power and authorities are concentrated in presidential palace and this is why the system does not function properly, corruption and nepotism is increasing day by day, government has been changed to an autocratic and despotic system and monopoly of power has crippled machine of the state.
According to the constitution, president at the same time is head of the state and leader of the government; he makes the policies while enjoys widespread executive power too. President has major role in appointing high judges and members of Supreme Court. Ministers are chosen by president; though approval of Wolesi Jirga is required. Governors of the provinces are appointed by president and it has been seen in the country that he even expanded his role for selecting assistant of governors, deputies of ministries and other positions like commanders of police and security chiefs in the provinces too. Mr. Abdullah Abdullah speaking at presidential palace, added that in accordance with the constitution, Mayors should be elected by people; but government is not ready so far to hold election for that. “Political and geographical situation of the country and diversity in ethnicity in Afghanistan require devolution of power to local government.” Abdullah said.
People who struggle for change of the political system to parliamentary, believe that wide authorities of president given by constitution, prepared ways for misuse of power; therefore there should prime minister and government should be made by political parties, so that power is distributed and leaders of government should be accountable to their parties and as well to both houses of parliament. “Leaders of the national unity government at the beginning agreed on creation of a joint commission to study amendment of the constitution and making premiership post through holding Loya Jirga (grand assembly).” Abdullah said this and added that there should be check and balance in power and nobody should have concern about decentralization; yet it guarantees more role and participation of people in government.
Nevertheless, there is not seen any serious step and effort in government and among political leaders of the country for change of political system. President Ghani though said, constitution permits us to bring changes in it; but he pointed out: “to enforce the constitution thoroughly, supplementary law should be passed.” Some political opposition accuse president and some other leaders inside government of not acting upon agreement between two groups that have made the government. According to them, president and his allies in government do not want to share the power with others; that’s why they have violated the agreement and the group led by Dr. Abdullah has not been given due share in power and even the chief executive of government has not any significant authority in government.   
Notwithstanding the good points and some weakness and imperfection of the constitution and political system of Afghanistan, what seems to be the most urgent need of the country, is to stabilize the political situation; because change of the system and amending the constitution is one of the most important national issues and that should not take place hastily. Decision on great national issues like constitution and political system should be taken after nationwide and long deliberations and consultations. The political situation should be normal and stable so that we do not repeat mistakes of the past and what was done at the time of approval of the constitution. For now, the situation is not favorable to adapt parliamentary system; we have not nationally accepted political parties and the change of rule might lead to tragedies and the situation might get worsen. We are at war with militant oppositions who reject the system from base. We should not do what weakens the state and create opportunities for further militancy and insurgency in the country. 

Asif Ghaznawi is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at asifghaznawi2007@gmail.com

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