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Parliament Defiant As Outrage Over Impeachment Vote Grows

Members of the public said security officials have failed to safeguard the people, and that parliament should have dismissed the officials

Afghans across the country this week blasted lawmakers in parliament for putting their own interests ahead of that of national importance following their votes of confidence on Monday of the three heads of security.

On Monday, MPs carried out a vote of confidence against Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi, Interior Minister Taj Mohammad Jahid and Masoun Stanekzai, head of the National Directorate for Security (NDS), following a string of security failures in recent months - particularly the recent attack on a high-security military hospital in Kabul that killed over 50 people.

Members of the public alleged that in many instances lawmakers deliberately attempt to sideline national issues and instead pursue their personal interests, calling the move insulting to the whole nation.

They said security officials have failed to outline a working security strategy to safeguard the people, suggesting that parliament should have dismissed the officials from their jobs.

“When a minister commits an act of treason and parliament casts him a vote of confidence, this means that treason is increasing,” said a resident of Helmand, Matiullah.

“The people have lost confidence in parliament,” said a resident of Baghlan, Haris Sayar.

They accused the lawmakers of making deals.

“They (security officials) are incompetent people, they must be held accountable,” said a resident of Kandahar province.

“Every province has one representative and they are supposed to think about the people, but they only think about their own pockets,” said a resident of Kabul, Dur Mohammad.

“Whenever their pockets become empty, then they decide to impeach someone and take money,” said Ashiqullah, another Kabul resident.

Humayun Humayun, the first deputy speaker of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament), on Saturday said President Ashraf Ghani had told him not to summon security ministers; otherwise, he will send an order to dissolve the national assembly.

This comes after mounting criticism against security chiefs over the dramatic surge in insurgent attacks on key towns including Kabul.

On Wednesday, civil society activists, in a symbolic move, impeached members of parliament and security officials amid growing outrage over Monday’s move.

They also demonstrated in front of parliament and chanted slogans against the lawmakers.

“During the initial days of their work, they (MPs) even had no cars to drive, but today they talk about (being worth) millions of dollars; where is this money coming from,” said Mohammad Hashim Haikalzada, a civil society activist.

Parliament Reacts

The administrative board of parliament has dismissed these allegations against lawmakers, and said MPs considered all aspects of the law in the impeachment process.

“I have to be accountable to my vote, I must show my vote to the people, when the people want a red card, I must raise the red card, if the people demand a green vote, then my vote should be a green vote so that the responsibility on the shoulders of the house of the people as a democratic institution is upheld,” said MP Nahid Farid.

“This portrays democracy, the constitution has given us that right; the lawmakers have the right to hear the explanations of ministers and to be satisfied or reject them,” said MP Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost.

Parliament

Parliament Defiant As Outrage Over Impeachment Vote Grows

Members of the public said security officials have failed to safeguard the people, and that parliament should have dismissed the officials

Thumbnail

Afghans across the country this week blasted lawmakers in parliament for putting their own interests ahead of that of national importance following their votes of confidence on Monday of the three heads of security.

On Monday, MPs carried out a vote of confidence against Defense Minister Abdullah Habibi, Interior Minister Taj Mohammad Jahid and Masoun Stanekzai, head of the National Directorate for Security (NDS), following a string of security failures in recent months - particularly the recent attack on a high-security military hospital in Kabul that killed over 50 people.

Members of the public alleged that in many instances lawmakers deliberately attempt to sideline national issues and instead pursue their personal interests, calling the move insulting to the whole nation.

They said security officials have failed to outline a working security strategy to safeguard the people, suggesting that parliament should have dismissed the officials from their jobs.

“When a minister commits an act of treason and parliament casts him a vote of confidence, this means that treason is increasing,” said a resident of Helmand, Matiullah.

“The people have lost confidence in parliament,” said a resident of Baghlan, Haris Sayar.

They accused the lawmakers of making deals.

“They (security officials) are incompetent people, they must be held accountable,” said a resident of Kandahar province.

“Every province has one representative and they are supposed to think about the people, but they only think about their own pockets,” said a resident of Kabul, Dur Mohammad.

“Whenever their pockets become empty, then they decide to impeach someone and take money,” said Ashiqullah, another Kabul resident.

Humayun Humayun, the first deputy speaker of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament), on Saturday said President Ashraf Ghani had told him not to summon security ministers; otherwise, he will send an order to dissolve the national assembly.

This comes after mounting criticism against security chiefs over the dramatic surge in insurgent attacks on key towns including Kabul.

On Wednesday, civil society activists, in a symbolic move, impeached members of parliament and security officials amid growing outrage over Monday’s move.

They also demonstrated in front of parliament and chanted slogans against the lawmakers.

“During the initial days of their work, they (MPs) even had no cars to drive, but today they talk about (being worth) millions of dollars; where is this money coming from,” said Mohammad Hashim Haikalzada, a civil society activist.

Parliament Reacts

The administrative board of parliament has dismissed these allegations against lawmakers, and said MPs considered all aspects of the law in the impeachment process.

“I have to be accountable to my vote, I must show my vote to the people, when the people want a red card, I must raise the red card, if the people demand a green vote, then my vote should be a green vote so that the responsibility on the shoulders of the house of the people as a democratic institution is upheld,” said MP Nahid Farid.

“This portrays democracy, the constitution has given us that right; the lawmakers have the right to hear the explanations of ministers and to be satisfied or reject them,” said MP Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost.

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