IN THE NEWS: CORRUPTION AS THE MAIN BARRIER TO PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN (MAY 22, 2019)

Written by admin on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

Corruption As the Main Barrier to Peace in Afghanistan
SOURCE: Daily Outlook Afghanistan
Wednesday, May 22,2019

According to the new report released by UNAMA, though Afghanistan has taken specific reform initiatives in the Justice sector and policy making, corruption has been cited as the main obstacle to peace and prosperity in the country.

Afghanistan as a State emerging from conflict in 2001 had very weak institutions and an influx of outside funds. These two conditions provided incentives for officials to make corrupt deals for personal gain. Outsiders who were brought in to monitor and manage the transition were also at risk of becoming corrupt. The prior conflict was likely to have fostered a culture of secrecy and impunity where self-dealing was easy to conceal.

The new government could not encourage the development of a transparent and accountable government, especially considering those who gained financially from the conflict were in power and sought both to preserve past gains and to benefit from the rebuilding effort. As a result, the incidence and scale of corruption is especially high and destructive in Afghanistan. Political leaders have bought off powerful private actors with patronage, including criminal groups and wealthy business interests.

Those powerful private actors also have bought off weak politicians with money or promises of future jobs and business ventures. This has caused the Afghan political system to be in a corruption trap where payoffs build in expectation of future payoffs, resulting in a vicious spiral.

The concrete efforts of the National Unity Government to counter corruption, in some cases, have breed instability and violence as those who benefited from the corrupt system struggled to maintain their positions. As conflict-prevention and peace-building have been supported by outside funds from international institutions, these funds in many cases simply have been diverted into the pockets of the powerful with some trickling down to the general population as a way to keep them quiet.

In Afghanistan corruption has undermined the reform agenda, and it has been the crutch on which some specific ethnic leaders rely to maintain power in a chaotic environment. In the longer term, if corruption is not limited, it may further delegitimize the state, leading to further outbreaks of violence, weakening the rule of law and increasing the crimes rate in the country.

However, the National Unity Government has taken specific measures to curb corruption; these include registration of the properties of the government officials and improvements in the ACJC. However, it is necessary that the NUG shall take more concrete anti-corruption initiates in terms of employment, accountability, and assessing the officials of the courts, Ministry of Justices, and Ministry of Interior and other public institutions.

In spite of the weaknesses of both democratic and oversight institutions, Afghanistan looks to be on the road to controlling corruption through enhanced democratic accountability. Therefore, the NUG shall take specific measures to sustain its anti-corruption achievements based on a long term strategy to ensure peace and prosperity in the country.

 

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