KABUL (Tolo News): Residents from various layers of the Afghan society warned that disagreements over the appointment of cabinet ministers threatens Afghanistan’s national interests, and many urged President Ashraf Ghani and chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, to agree on the new appointments and end the stalemate.
Back in May, President Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah signed a power-sharing deal after months of political discord that critics say could have pushed the country towards a new crisis if not resolved. The political tension between the two officials emerged as a consequence of the disputed presidential election of last year, the result of which was announced in February. Consequently, the two leaders, Ghani and Abdullah, held inauguration ceremonies on the same day in their adjacent respective palaces. Ghani was declared president by the Independent Election Commission after earning a slightly higher percentage of votes than rival Abdullah.
“If the cabinet is not completed in view of the situation that we have today, this could be a major threat to the gains we made over the past two decades,” said Rohullah Sakhizad, a legal expert in Kabul. “No mediator is able to resolve their disputes (Ghani-Abdullah), they should bear mercy on the Taliban and agree soon—no one is there to do mercy even on the orphans,” said Ahmad Wazir, a vegetable seller in Kabul.
Ordinary Afghans say that the two leaders are not giving importance to what the Afghan people expect from them in terms of addressing the national issues. “They are enjoying their luxury life and do not care about their people,” said Musa, a resident in Kabul.
“If they do not agree, they will lose the small prestige that they have before the international community or in Afghanistan,” said Farooq Zamani, a political commentator in Kabul. Abdullah has been given a 50 percent share in the cabinet based on the agreement. This means that he can have 11 ministers from his team and five heads of independent directorates plus two deputy ministers in key ministries. He also has a share in nominating his picks as governors in provinces where he won a majority of votes in the 2019 presidential elections.
Previously, sources within the High Council for National Reconciliation said that one of the key disputes is that the share of Abdullah in the appointment of governors, members of senate and the heads of the independent directorates haven’t been determined. There are also reports that President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah are feuding over their picks for the State Ministry for Peace Affairs.
Abdullah has picked former economy minister Mustafa Mastoor for the post, but Ghani has opposed to this decision, the sources said, adding that the disagreements have also delayed the appointment of members of the High Council for National Reconciliation – a government institution that was formed based on thep political agreement between Abdullah and Ghani in May.