Civil Society Organizations demand proper representation of the people in the selection of the new Commissioners to the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission

Wahidullah Azizi, Integrity Watch Afghanistan | @WahidSays

Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) are urging the Government to ensure a transparent selection process for new Commissioners for the yet to be established Independent Anti-Corruption Commission. In a joint statement by Integrity Watch Afghanistan and Transparency Afghanistan, two civil society organizations committed to tackling anti-corruption in Afghanistan, also demanded that the process be kept clear of any political interference.

Disbarment of Government affiliates, public vetting of candidates for the positions, ensuring a competitive and transparent selection process where independent institutions and anti-corruption CSO’s should work together to manage an effective competitive process with transparency in the final selection by the President, were among some of the demands requested by the mentioned civil society organizations.

The President approved the Anti-Corruption Law in 2019 under which a Commission will be established. However, this new Law does not provide that this establishment will be in accordance with international standards such as UNCAC which the government committed to five years ago during the London Conference on Afghanistan. Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch expressed concerns that civil society has not been properly engaged, they have not been properly consulted on matters relating to anti-corruption and in particular in relation to the establishment of the new anti-corruption body. Accordingly, Mr. Afzali called on the government to reconsider its exclusion of civil society participation and to commit to an apolitical selection process.

Joy Saunders, chairperson of Transparency Afghanistan Organization stressed the need to do more to fight corruption. Corruption, she said was undermining the Government’s efforts to deliver services and win public support which every government needs. The continuing distrust between the public and government continues to hurt people and further destabilizes the Government. A recent report by UNAMA also highlights corruption as a major obstacle against the application of the rule of law and that it is a major obstacle to the prospects for peace and stability.