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What Do President Ghani’s Recent Appointments Reveal?

Over the past few days, President Ashraf Ghani has made a number of changes in government posts, including Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the former national security adviser for the post of minister of foreign affairs; Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, the former minister of economy for the post of minister of finance; Tahir Zuhair, the current governor of central Bamiyan province as nominee for the post of minister of information and culture; Daud Sultanzoi, as mayor of Kabul city; Mohammad Shaker Kargar as chief of staff; Sayed Wahid Qatali as the governor of Herat; and Mohammad Ayoub Salangi as the deputy head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) for finance and administrative affairs.

But these appointments, along with Ghani's recent reorganization of the Ministry of Finance, seem to suggest an approach that diverges from his earlier views on governance, expressed at the beginning of his tenure as president. 

During the initial days of the National Unity Government in 2014, President Ashraf Ghani, while appointing Ahmad Zia Massoud as top adviser on reforms and good governance, said that governance is not a project and that every government official should work within the framework of their authorities.

“As a president, I want my authorities to be limited. But the limitation does not mean changing the law, limitation means the law should determine the scale of my authorities—and the specific criteria for governance that can help is to get rid of the problems when it comes to the appointments,” said Ghani during a speech in 2014.

Ghani's recent restructuring of the Finance Ministry has been described as "dismembering" it, and he has been accused of "carving-out" vital functions of the ministry and bringing them under the Palace's control. 

But in the first few months that Ghani took office in 2014, he said the following about reform in the Finance Ministry: 

 “Today, as the honorable Ministry of Finance is heading to parliament, it has a $140 million budget deficit, but I am not prepared to go and beg, I need you to come up with authentic and relevant projects and programs, otherwise, I will not beg anyone."

 Also in 2014, Ghani pledged to let the voting public play a central role in the appointment of mayors.

“My recommendation to every district of Kabul and the Kabul municipality is to allow the people to give the marks, prepare a public examination card and give marks to an honorable mayor and the municipality so that we can hear the voice of the public directly and find out their problems and find out that how they (people) assess the work of the present institution,” Ghani said at the time.

Also, on February 23, Ghani after taking an oath of office as president for the second time, pledged to form an inclusive government: “After holding comprehensive and broad consultations, we will form an inclusive government supported by all.”

What do analysts say?

“He (Ghani) must act according to the Constitution of Afghanistan, he should make merit the standard, he should consider expertise and commitment and education,” said law expert Nasrullah Stanekzai.

But the supporters of Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani's rival, said that these appointments will only create a crisis in the country.

“He (Ghani) is resorting to hasty decisions; I think this will not help to resolve the problems, instead his approach will intensify the crisis,” said Faraidoon Khozon, one of Abdullah’s spokesmen.

It's expected that Ghani will make more appointments in the coming days and send the nominees to the parliament for a vote of confidence. At the same time, efforts are also underway to help Ghani and Abdullah resolve their differences.

What Do President Ghani’s Recent Appointments Reveal?

Pledges by President Ghani at the beginning of his first term in 2014 suggest a different approach from his recent appointments and ministry restructuring. 

تصویر بندانگشتی

Over the past few days, President Ashraf Ghani has made a number of changes in government posts, including Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the former national security adviser for the post of minister of foreign affairs; Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, the former minister of economy for the post of minister of finance; Tahir Zuhair, the current governor of central Bamiyan province as nominee for the post of minister of information and culture; Daud Sultanzoi, as mayor of Kabul city; Mohammad Shaker Kargar as chief of staff; Sayed Wahid Qatali as the governor of Herat; and Mohammad Ayoub Salangi as the deputy head of the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) for finance and administrative affairs.

But these appointments, along with Ghani's recent reorganization of the Ministry of Finance, seem to suggest an approach that diverges from his earlier views on governance, expressed at the beginning of his tenure as president. 

During the initial days of the National Unity Government in 2014, President Ashraf Ghani, while appointing Ahmad Zia Massoud as top adviser on reforms and good governance, said that governance is not a project and that every government official should work within the framework of their authorities.

“As a president, I want my authorities to be limited. But the limitation does not mean changing the law, limitation means the law should determine the scale of my authorities—and the specific criteria for governance that can help is to get rid of the problems when it comes to the appointments,” said Ghani during a speech in 2014.

Ghani's recent restructuring of the Finance Ministry has been described as "dismembering" it, and he has been accused of "carving-out" vital functions of the ministry and bringing them under the Palace's control. 

But in the first few months that Ghani took office in 2014, he said the following about reform in the Finance Ministry: 

 “Today, as the honorable Ministry of Finance is heading to parliament, it has a $140 million budget deficit, but I am not prepared to go and beg, I need you to come up with authentic and relevant projects and programs, otherwise, I will not beg anyone."

 Also in 2014, Ghani pledged to let the voting public play a central role in the appointment of mayors.

“My recommendation to every district of Kabul and the Kabul municipality is to allow the people to give the marks, prepare a public examination card and give marks to an honorable mayor and the municipality so that we can hear the voice of the public directly and find out their problems and find out that how they (people) assess the work of the present institution,” Ghani said at the time.

Also, on February 23, Ghani after taking an oath of office as president for the second time, pledged to form an inclusive government: “After holding comprehensive and broad consultations, we will form an inclusive government supported by all.”

What do analysts say?

“He (Ghani) must act according to the Constitution of Afghanistan, he should make merit the standard, he should consider expertise and commitment and education,” said law expert Nasrullah Stanekzai.

But the supporters of Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani's rival, said that these appointments will only create a crisis in the country.

“He (Ghani) is resorting to hasty decisions; I think this will not help to resolve the problems, instead his approach will intensify the crisis,” said Faraidoon Khozon, one of Abdullah’s spokesmen.

It's expected that Ghani will make more appointments in the coming days and send the nominees to the parliament for a vote of confidence. At the same time, efforts are also underway to help Ghani and Abdullah resolve their differences.

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