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Status of Governance in Afghanistan

Status of Governance in Afghanistan

Analyzing the persistent violation of the Afghan constitution

The Constitution of Afghanistan is now in its fifteenth year. Since its promulgation on January 26, 2004, the Constitution is probably one of the biggest achievements of the post-Taliban regimes. Although it is the most important legal document in the country; in the past 14 years, there has always been a lot of criticism about its violations and non-seriousness in  implementing it in letter and spirit. Even the senior authorities of the country accept that the constitution has been widely violated in the past. In a message, due to the Constitution Week, the Second Vice President Sarwar Danish said that the violation of the provisions of the constitution has become widespread in the country. The results of a recent research also show that 94 out of 162 articles of the Afghan constitution have been broken. 

Constitution is an official document which lays out guidelines for running the affairs of a state. Afghanistan is one of those countries where, over the years, many constitutions have been evolved and promulgated. The constitution currently in force in Afghanistan – a result of the Bonn Accord – is the eighth the country has since April 9, 1923, when Afghanistan created its first constitution during the reign of Ghazi Aman Ullah Khan. This Constitution had 73 articles. The second constitution was enacted during the kingship of Mohammad Nader Khan, the third in Mohammad Zaher Shah’s kingship, the fourth in Mohammad Dauod Khan’s Presidency, the fifth by the Khalq Democratic party, the sixth and the seventh were approved by the government of Dr Najibullah, the latter was an amended version of the former. The current Afghan constitution was drawn up by Loya Jirga and was signed into law by President Hamid Karzai, the then head of the interim government, on January 26, 2004. The current constitution was prepared after the collapse of the Taliban regime and with the establishment of the new regime in the country. It contains 12 Chapters and 162 Articles.

This constitution, which somehow manages all the affairs in the country and provides the way for people’s monitoring of the government, has been widely violated in the past 14 years. Overall, from the government organizations and departments to the individual citizens of the country, almost everyone has violated the constitution, one way or the other. The Second Vice President, Sarwar Danish, was compelled by the perpetual violation to speak about the violation of the constitution. And, in his early January message, he warned that lack of sufficient capacity to implement the law was one of the main reasons behind Afghan problems.

In a recent joint research report of the Afghan Lawyers’ Association and Pajhwok News Agency Afghanistan, it is stated that in the past 14 years, 94 Articles of the Afghan constitution were violated time and again. Based on this research, more than half of the provisions of the constitution (58 percent) have been violated and from the 38 Articles alone of the Second Chapter, which is about the Afghan citizens, 32 were broken. According to this research, President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and the Vice Presidents were also among the people who violated the constitution about their authorities.

In addition, in the past years, the reports of several researches were released by the non-governmental organizations suggesting that the government had not only failed to implement the constitution but had also been involved in its violation. For instance, Article 71 of the constitution states: “The government is formed of the ministers and is headed by the President,” while the National Unity Government (NUG) is itself formed in extreme violation of the Afghan constitution. While striking the Peace Deal between Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah in September 2014, it was announced that the constitution will be requisitely amended to create the position of Chief Executive, but it could not happen in the past three years.

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About Mairajul Hamid Nasri

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The writer is a freelance writer and columnist. He can be reached at:

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