Mohammad Ashraf Ghani

In 2014 presidential election, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani made big promises to draw public vote and attention. At odds to his promises, the country underwent quite the opposite what Ghani had promised.

Seeking another term in office, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the incumbent president, repeatedly claims that he will fulfill a list of promises if he is reelected for a second term. The promises are made while in general perception of the Afghans he has failed to deliver much of his promises he had made while running for 2014 presidential election. Elitaat-e-Roz reporter Hamid Fardadi has taken a closer look at the list promises Mr. Ghani had made during 2014 presidential campaign.

To build an all-inclusive government, Mr. Ghani vowed that he would bring amendments in Afghanistan’s constitution and create the post of third vice presidency. At odds to his promise, no amendment was brought in the constitution and no post of third vice presidency was created. Many believe that Ghani put all his efforts to monopolize the power. Under President Ghani, even his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, ran out of patience and repeatedly objected Ghani’s style of governance. “I have not been able to meet Mr. Ghani for the last three month”, once Abdullah protested in a very soft manner.    

“I have not been able to meet Mr. Ghani for the last three month”,

once Abdullah protested in a very soft manner.

   

On fighting corruption, just as recent as last month, Ghani reopened the Kabul Bank corruption scandal. He issued a decree—as per that he transferred one of the prime suspects of Kabul Bank scandal, Khalilullah Ferozi, from prison to his residence—putting him under house arrest. After Ferozi was put under house arrest, Rahmatullah Nabil, the former chief the NDS, claimed that Ghani had released Ferozi in return for a 30,000,000 $ contribution to his campaign camp.

Most of Ghani’s critiques, however, strongly believe that his approach on fighting corruption has been selective. As the corruption scandal of 10 percent tax was leaked to the media, Ghani suspended his minister of communication and information technology, Abdulrazaq Wahidi, and ordered the court to put him on trial over alleged embezzlement and abuse of authority. Wahidi, however, was acquitted by courts after rounds of public trials, but he accused former finance minister, Eklil Hakimi, of being involved in corruption existing in collection of the 10 percent tax. Mr. Ghani, despite the evidences presented by Wahidi, awarded a national medal to Eklil Hakimi, and appointed him as senior adviser in his office.

“I will create two million job opportunities if I am elected as president,” Mr. Ghani would loudly chant as he was campaigning for 2014 presidential election.

A rough statistics show that under President Ghani the challenge of unemployment was not only addressed but more Afghans have lost their jobs.           

Of the dozens promises he made on development projects and economic growth—which include initiating a gas pipe line project in Jowzjan, housing scheme in major cities of the country, reconstruction of Kajaki power dam in Helmand, building Machalgho dam, constructing an international airport in Khost province, turning Kandahar into a transit center in the region, extending Turkmenistan gas pipeline through Afghanistan, promoting tourism industry in Bamyan and constructing Bamyan-Herat highway, completing Herat-Iran railway project, building a railway line connecting Aqina, Hairatan, and Sherkhan Bandar ports to Silk Road through Badakhshan to China, designing Bakhshabad dam in Farah, and building a 200-bed hospital in Kapisa.

But he failed to fulfill not an iota of his promises.

Speaking in Kunduz during a presidential campaign in 2014, President Ghani promised that his government would change the province into a transit road, but on the second year of his term, the province fell to Taliban’s control for the first time ever since 2001.

Ashraf Ghani had also vowed that he would “change Afghanistan’s eastern provinces into power exporters.” His promise of creating power stations was not only materialized but power shortage in the capital Kabul is on dramatic rise in the sixth year of his reign.   

Under President Ghani, the government founded air corridor to export country’s agriculture products to India and Gulf States.  Azerakhs Hafeezi, a member of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce, however, says that transportation capacity of the air corridor is very limited and it costs Afghan merchants a lot of money to export their goods through the air corridor.

He established the Central Command of the Armed Forces to bring change in the defense sector, but death toll of civilians and military forces increased as he took office.  After formation of the National Unity Government (NUG), the Taliban managed to take control over Kunduz province. They captured a large swaths of land in Ghazni, and ever brought Fara city under their control for few days. According to interior ministry spokesperson, the Taliban are currently controlling 22 districts while nine other districts are contested between the militants and the Afghan forces.

Latest report by US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) suggests that the Afghan security forces face a decline in number.  

Reports indicate that the Taliban have control on parts of Ghazni province and reached close to its capital city while Ghani had promised to Ghazni residents that the province would be cleaned of the presence of the Taliban. The Presidential Palace, however, says that security situation of the province has improved. “The two districts, Dehyak and Khwaja Omari, have been taken back by [Afghan] security forces,” the palace said in a statement, adding that Ghazni-Muqur highway was cleaned of the presence of the militants. It further noted that the Taliban’s “red unit” was completely vanished by Afghan security forces.

In regard to the promise of constructing 10,000 houses worth 79 million $, a major part of which was planned to be distributed to victims of the Afghan security forces, the government said it has already distributed 767 residential apartments to the victims in a new township in Kabul and 1,177 residential plots for families of fallen Afghan police and military forces.

One of many promises Mr. Ghani made was building as many as 2,000 school building within two years. He also vowed to distribute plots for teachers, and establish an Islamic international university.

The government, however, claims that it has already distributed 92,000 plots in 90 townships across 27 provinces for teachers.

Commenting on promises made by presidential candidates, Saifuddin Saihun, a lecturer in Kabul University, says Afghan politicians lack visions on long term development initiatives. “These are not plans and initiatives. These are propagation and empty promises,” he added.

“These are not plans and initiatives. These are propagation and empty promises,”

he added.

Mr. Saihun went on to criticize the development policies of the incumbent government, saying that in the annual budget of the country, it has allocated a 313 $ to each citizen in Paktia while a 50 $ is allocated to each citizen in Ghazni province.

Habibul Rahman Pedram, an MP who represents Herat province, asserts that Ghani tries to remain in power. “The people must not forget that NUG leaders have failed to deliver their promises,” he noted.

The Presidential Palace, however, claims that most promises President Ghani made have been fulfilled. In his campaign Mr. Ghani, however, makes promises that will fulfill the reaming parts of his promises if he wins a reelection in 2019 presidential election.     

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