Editorial

Government’s accountability to nation

Accountability is a key requirement of good governance. Not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. The institutions in Afghanistan, on the other hand, have lacked this basic factor in past years which has resulted in uncontrolled corruption and mismanagement. Therefore, it can be easily observed that billions of dollars have been spent for the development, and the country is yet to develop as much as it could. As a matter of fact, accountability can be achieved when there is transparency and the rule of law.
In a democratic country the ultimate authority lies within the people. And ultimately, all the governments are accountable to the people. Moreover, to guarantee such accountability, the National Unity Government of Afghanistan has established and strengthened the political systems in such a way that people have most of the power, though indirectly.
The unity government upon its inauguration vowed to improve transparency in mega projects and fight corruption and to ease people’s access to information. The president established and has been chairing different councils, including high economic council and the national procurement commission to improve economic growth and fight corruption. The president also ratified the law on access to information in 2014 to ease media and people’s access to information.
Meanwhile the government upon its commitments to the nation, has started the accountability of government to nation program where the ministries and independent directorates have started to share their last year’s activities and ongoing year’s plans with people through media. The program has started a week ago and would continue in coming days.
In a democratic country where officials would be responsible before nation, they would do their best to improve their works as the people would monitor their activities. The current system difference with that of Taliban is that the group at the time of their reign, was not feeling responsibility before people and has never shared any information about its works to the people.
Meanwhile, it is necessary for accountability that not only governmental institutions but also the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders. The access to information focal points have been assigned to all ministries and organs in such a way that to help individuals and media in accessing their required information. Therefore, the private sector should do the same to institutionalize democracy in the country.
Freedom of speech laws, whereby citizens can demand the disclosure of information regarding government activities and a whistle-blower protection law in order to encourage the reporting of corruption cases can further reinforce the impact of increased transparency on accountability. To be fully effective, however, such laws need oversight and implementation bodies. Afghanistan rudimentarily needs these laws formulated and enacted with soul and spirit.
Working in conformation with each other, the governmental institutions can keep the conduct of public officials in checks to know either they are functioning in accordance to rule of business prescribed by constitution or detracted. Therefore government’s such program would further bring transparency in public affairs and would encourage the officials to work hard for development of the country.

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