Asked for their opinion about the country’s lawmakers on International Day of Parliamentarism, Afghans from around the country on Saturday accused members of the Wolesi Jirga (the Lower House of Parliament) of being inefficient and of putting their own interests first.
Those who talked to TOLOnews said many Afghan lawmakers put their own interests first and had forgotten about their main duties for which they were elected.
“The representatives in the National Assembly only think about their own interests and have forgotten the national interests,” Wali Rahman Shahzada, a Kabul resident, said.
“During the elections, MPs appeared among the people and said they belong to the people. But when they won the elections, they forget the people and their promises,” Abdul Rahman Stanekzai, another Kabul resident, said.
These remarks come after tempers flared in Wednesday’s session which led to a scuffle in parliament.
The incident happened when Badakhshan MP Abdul Latif Pedram criticized government over its zone-based election plan for Ghazni province.
Parliament speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said on Saturday a number of MPs violated house rules and one committed a crime which has resulted in people losing confidence in parliament.
“Those who commit such acts indicates their own bad culture,” said Ibrahimi.
Other legislators meanwhile criticized their fellow MPs’ actions and said such behavior damages parliament’s reputation.
“Members of the house should not damage the reputation of parliament anymore,” said Ghulam Farooq Majrooh, an MP.
“Those who act in contradiction with the law and principles, should be punished based on parliament’s internal duties principles,” another MP Abdul Qader Zazai Watandost said.
Meanwhile, Badakhshan MP Abdul Latif Pedram and some of his colleagues who gathered outside parliament on Saturday said he did not mean to insult any ethnic group during his speech on the Ghazni elections controversy on Wednesday.
He accused the MPs that tried to tackle him physically on Wednesday of being “illiterate” individuals.
“We will continue our efforts to maintain justice and freedom,” said Pedram.
Despite Wednesday’s incident, Afghanistan also recognized the 2018 International Day of Parliamentarism on Saturday, which was observed across the world.
This year marks the first celebration of International Day of Parliamentarism which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in May.
The aim of the day is to recognize the role of parliaments in national plans and strategies and in ensuring greater transparency and accountability at national and global levels.
The day also celebrates parliaments and the ways in which parliamentary systems of government improve the day-to-day lives of people around the world.
It is also an opportunity for parliaments to take stock, identify challenges, and ways to address these challenges effectively.