Published on 19 Jul 2011 at 10:47
Here, in an exclusive interview with www.bandad.af, Ms. Massoda Karkhi, MP from Herat, talks about the challenges and positive results of the Parliament retaliation to Special Court final decision. As well as, she talks about sustainability of the “Coalition for Support of Rule of Law”.
Tensions between the legislature and the executive have been going on for six months now. What is the main reason for these tensions?
The tension between the legislature and the two other branches of the state [executive and judiciary] has emerged when the Afghan government, particularly President Karzai’s, team started intervention in the election process. Those interventions challenged the election process and as a result the opening of the second Parliament was delayed.
President Karzai inaugurated the Parliament but the Special Court, which was illegally instituted aiming to filter the Parliament, still remain as a sensitive issue. Karzai’s team is still continuing to filter the Parliament by forming a commission to follow the Special Court’s decision.
In my opinion, the main reason of the current tension is the team of President Karzai, which has power and money; and the president, himself, is listening to their voice.
Another reason is the ethnic and tribal conflict inside the Parliament. In the opening ceremony, all the MPs swore to avoid tribal, lingual and regional issues and work for national interests. Unfortunately, tribal and lingual fanaticism has reached to the top inside the Parliament.
When an issue is being discussed or decided by the Parliament, some MPs, even open-minded individuals, give that issue an ethnic nature and create a barrier to avoid the body from taking any decision. In addition to the external reasons and disunity among the lawmakers, absence of strong parliamentary groups is another reason for the weakness of the legislature.
Undoubtedly, the executive and judiciary will take Parliament’s decisions and advice strictly into account if the lawmakers put their tribal and lingual interests aside and act as a united entity for national interests.
For instance, when the Special Court announced its decision to exclude 62 MPs, in response, more than 200 MPs from different ethnic groups formed the Coalition for Support of the Rule of Law. They all stood strictly against the Special Court’s decision.
We see how strong the Parliament is acting now. But this coalition is temporary and formed for a special purpose. I am worried that this “Coalition” will break and the MPs will not remain untied once the issue of the Special Court is solved.
What other reasons besides the tribal conflicts break the MPs’ joint decisions?
Unfortunately, some secret deals are being taken between a number of MPs and the government. When the body wants to summon a minister, or approve or reject a law or budget, the government contacts those MPs to prevent the body from such action.
They accept what the government wants since they receive political and financial advantages for supporting the government. The resulted is that Parliament’s decisions remain just on the paper.
One of the MPs said in an interview with www.bamdad.af, that the government is providing a number of MPs with money and other facilities through different channels, particularly through the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. How much does this issue influence the Parliament to act passively?
I, personally, did not face such a situation. But we must not forget the fact that not only the government but also some other groups give money for MPs. Provincial governors also provide their province MPs with money and houses.
Even though I do not like President Karzai and blame him for the current problem but besides him, his vice presidents also give money to MPs. I mean that Karzai is not the only problem. This coalition inside the Parliament “Coalition for Support of the Rule of Law” is going ahead by money.
Even foreign countries (regional and other countries) are giving money for the MPs.
During the election for the Speaker, one of the MPs offered me money if I would vote for his favorite candidate, but I rejected it.
How did the Special Court’s final decision affect the Parliament? Did it increase problems inside the Parliament or did MPs ignore their internal problems and conflict and become united against the government?
Actually, the Special Court’s decision woke up the lawmakers and made them united against the government’s illegal action. They realized that government would consider their decisions if they become united. They found out that the government could not institute the Special Court if they were united from the beginning.
Now that the seasonal recess has been delayed I am ready to work all day for one year to have positive results.
We are all committed that we will leave the Parliament if the Special Court excludes any MP from any ethnic group.
In your opinion, how sustainable will the “coalition” be?
The sustainability of the “Coalition for Support of Rule of Law” is depending on the planning and achievements of the coalition’s leadership. Sometimes some valueless issues are presented by the “coalition”, which are not that interesting for members of the coalition. But in general, lawmakers are trying to keep the coalition sustainable.
The lawmakers have realized that the Parliament will lose its prestige and become a symbolic entity if they lose their unity.
With all these doubts, what will be the Parliament’s reaction if the government does not take your decision into account?
Unfortunately, the government is trying intentionally to collapse the country into a crisis. We have never seen in any county of the world that an illegal entity excludes elected members of a Parliament and includes its choice.
How will those MPs, who have been working for six months now in the Parliament, be forced out by the Special Court? All the MPs agree that the Special Court’s decision will never be enforced. They say that “we all will be together IN or OUT or there will be no Parliament at all.”
In retaliation to the Special Court’s decision, the Parliament issued a vote of no confidence in the Attorney General, Chief Justice and five of the sitting judges. But the government has ignored this issue. What will be the next pressure from the Parliament on the executive?
Besides issuing votes of no confidence, the Parliament is continuing its political pressures on the government. We have boycotted the traditional Loya Jirga and sent a letter to the UN Secretary General and asked for help.
Also, the lawmakers have made a few visits with two vice presidents, the head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and UNAMA office in Afghanistan to support the election process and independency of the legislature in Afghanistan.
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