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Abdullah says Ghani unfit for the presidency

CEO, President at loggerheads

Chief Executive’s speech is against spirit of governance: Presidential Palace

By Mansoor Faizy

KABUL: The National Unity Government (NUG) is caught between political and legal crisis after Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah criticized the president for failure to deliver on the promises.  A new turn has come on Friday after Presidential Palace showed reaction on the chief executive’s statement.

Abdullah said that Ghani was unfit for the presidency. The Presidential Palace on Friday slammed Abdullah Abdullah for his remarks against President Ghani. This indicates that the NUG is in troubled waters and the chances of its survival are little.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in a gathering on Thursday at Sapedar Palace on International Day of Youth criticized President Ghani over some issues. He said he had no option but to express his views openly.

He said that he was the first person who endorsed Ghani as President of the country. “How do you spend your time when you can’t meet your chief executive for even an hour or two?” he asked.

The CEO revealed that over a period of three months he could not meet the president even for three times.

Expressing his grievances over the non-implementation of the NUG deal in the two years, Abdullah said that on different occasions he tolerated the president’s reluctance over national issues, but now his patience has reached at the boiling point. He said that leaders in every country have conflicting arguments, but if someone doesn’t have patience for discussion, then he is unfit for the presidency.

He said that president is not mulling to address national issues, including electoral reforms and distribution process of the computerized national identity cards.

“Electoral reforms were one of the promises made when the National Unity Government (NUG) formed. Why were not these reforms brought?” he asked. The NUG emerged as result of a political deal between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. According to the deal the NUG has to convene a Loya Jirga within two years to create post of Chief Executive, and introduce electoral reforms to have free and transparent elections.

However, the CEO’s remark earned reaction from the Presidential Palace.

“Taking into account the sensitive situation of the country, it requires political elites, government officials, seasoned scholars, tribal elders and the people of Afghanistan to continue join efforts to overcome all challenges,” the Presidential Palace said on Friday in a media statement.

The National Unity Government under the leadership of President of Afghanistan in nearly two years despite several challenges had gained significant achievements, the statement claimed.

“With regrets, Dr. Abdullah’s speech the other day was not in accordance with the principles and spirit of governance, because governance is based on the principles and criteria to implement the law,” the statement said.

A source within the Presidential Palace who wished to remain anonymous said that President Ashraf Ghani and the CEO Abdullah Abdullah were on the same page on several important issues.

“He [Abdullah] was included in every meeting. The CEO was present in several meetings held at the Presidential Palace such as National Security Council, economic council, procurement commission and other important meetings,” the source added, without elaborating further.

Amrullah Saleh, the ex-chief of National Directorate of Security who now leads the Green Trend party, told The Associated Press that Abdullah’s allies are standing firm on their demands. They are seeking sweeping reforms and want Ghani to stop “micro-managing” the government and “consolidating personal power,” Saleh said.

He said his camp also accused Ghani of side-lining Abdullah from the decision-making process. “If President Ghani thinks that he [Abdullah] will continue to tolerate this, he will not,” Saleh said.

Jamiat-e-Islami Afghanistan, a political party led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani, also showed support for the chief executive. Abdullah Abdullah is member of the party.

“This period in Afghanistan’s history requires a legitimate and functioning government committed to implemented a compressive program of reform and empower the Afghan public, thereby making the value of the Constitution a daily reality for the people of Afghanistan,” Jaimat-e-Islami said in a statement.

Stability of the country is strengthened by a genuine political partnership between the president and the CEO, the statement said.

Dedicated to political consensus, commitment to reforms, and cooperative decision-making, the unity government will fulfill the aspiration of the Afghan public for peace, stability, security, rule of law, justice, economic growth, and delivery of services with particular attention to women, youth, Ulema, and vulnerable person, the party said.

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