Members of the provincial council and residents of southern Zabul province say the council has been successful in timely resolving people’s problems as a result of increasing its coordination with provincial departments.
The council has performed well during the last one year and been able to develop close relations with residents, within the body and with government entities.
The council members admit they have not yet fulfilled promises they held out to people during their electioneering but cite insecurity, a lack of government’s strong will to execute orders and changes in provincial administration among problems impeding their progress.
Local residents say problems are enormous and the provincial council needs to work more hard and mount pressure on the government to resolve the existing problems.
Akhar Mohammad, resident of Mizan district, said provincial council members were serious in their work and were quick to resolve people’s problems.
“I had a work pending with a department. My work was delayed under various pretexts. Then I visited the provincial council office. They phoned the director of the department and my work was done the same day.”
He said people had all their hopes pinned on the provincial council and the public representatives should increase their efforts at preventing corruption in government departments.
Akhtar Mohammad said they could not find access to parliament members and could not directly visit government officials and the provincial council was the only entity they could approach when in trouble.
A resident of Qalat city, the provincial capital, Habibullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the provincial council was the best connection between the people and the government.
He said though the provincial council had improved its performance compared to past years, still major issues people faced remained unaddressed.
He said government departments were still rife with corruption, almost all reconstruction projects had been brought to a halt and people suffered from unemployment, with the provincial council resolving petty issues.
“The main square in Qalat City is half ruined, but the provincial council is yet to pay heed. More than half of schools remain closed and joblessness is creasing day by day. These are things the public representatives should pay attention to.”
Last year when the provincial councils were elected, the government denied the bodies the right to evaluate the performance of local departments, triggering protests by the provincial councils. However as the protests continued, the president issued a decree reinstating their right to monitor the activities of local departments.
The provincial council members in Zabul say using their right to evaluate the performance of local departments they have increased their watch on corruption.
A member of the Zabul provincial council, Mohammad Daud Gulzar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that as a result of their efforts to prevent corruption, some departmental heads had been removed and referred to the prosecutor’s office.
He said they had collected evidence about the involvement of some government officials in corruption and they were trying to get them legally punished.
He said security issues and the lack of strictness on the part of government to enforce its orders had rendered them unable to resolve people’s all problems.
About their achievements so far, Gulzar said they had been able to visit districts and create advisory councils of elders and youth, monitor government projects and departments and increase coordination between the government and people.
He urged people to cooperate with them in preventing administrative corruption and bringing peace to the province.
Zabul Governor Mohammad Anwar Ishaqzai during the council’s administrative board election, told Pajhwok Afghan News that he was satisfied with the council’s activities.
He said the council members had been cooperative with his administration in combating corruption, enhancing security and monitoring projects.
The governor said the council should increase its efforts because there were a lot problems and a lot of work was needed to be done in order to effectively respond to people’s problems.
He said the provincial council as an important organ of the system had its role in many spheres and they consulted the council on various issues.
The council has nine members, including two women. But local residents say the number of council members is not enough keeping in view the province’s population.
The provincial council members also say Zabul is a large province and they cannot reach every area and call for their strength to be increased.