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Editorial: Renewed hopes

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Corruption has become a cancer for the society in general and the country particularly as it is eating the social fabric and preventing Afghanistan from development. Since fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the transition and elected governments did little to discourage corruption. That’s why graft has become an acceptable culture in the governmental organizations and private firms. Officials working at important positions demand high amount of money as bribe. In Afghanistan there is no concept of under the table money because government servants have become so daring that they demand bribes openly. It is not a secret but an issue of which everyone has knowledge.

The former top officials claim that they were busy in resolving important issues such as conflict and security. Therefore, they could not launch a comprehensive nationwide anti-graft campaign. Excuses are good weapon to turn face from responsibilities and realities. If this evil was nipped in the bud, the country would have been in a good position now. Moreover, the public would have trust in the democratic government and state institutions. Now, there is a general perception that most of Afghans oppose democracy because they do not see the fruit of this system.

Indeed, it is a great setback for the nascent democracy. Corruption is responsible for this widening trust deficit. The sooner the top leaders deal with this evil force is better because elections are not far away, especially the parliamentary polls. If the culture of graft was not discouraged, the government will be unable to convince voters to give high turnout. Low turnout in the coming elections would mean failure of the democratic system in Afghanistan. The blame-game will not help to save this system because everyone knows about the factors and causes.

In the past, the leaders claimed of fighting corruption but they failed to catch big fish in the net and restore public trust over the system. The nation was shocked when they heard on Monday about the government’s decision to suspend the minister of communication and information as part of the anti-corruption drive which most of Afghans thought is dying. Some officials have alleged the minister of hampering the anti-corruption fight by creating obstacles before the probe committee which is tasked to investigate graft cases and inject heavy dose of reforms.

The decision has renewed the hopes of the public; though, it will take more efforts to restore full public trust over the system. The unity government has taken a good start. Accountability must always start from top to bottom. Suspension, arrest and sentence of a few top officials would help a lot to discourage corrupt people and restore public trust.