KABUL (SW) – President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has recently at least 60 trips to different provinces to inaugurate multiple development projects, according to the spokesperson for the presidency.
However, findings by Salam Watandar indicate the President inaugurated a number of projects that were already inaugurated by other officials or were lingering since the previous government. Here is a brief review of a number of such projects that have been inaugurated for the second time during the tenure of the National Unity Government.
The 200-bed general hospital in Kunar province was inaugurated by Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister for Public Health, on 11 November 2018. It was inaugurated five months later by President Ghani. The MoPH minister as well as governor of Kunar shared comprehensive details about the project on their respective facebook pages while the presidency later shared more details about it this year.
Similarly, the elite school of the Herat Chamber of Commerce and Industries was first inaugurated by President Ghani on 28 Arpil 2018, but later Minister for Education, Mirwais Balkhi, inaugurated it again on 22 April 2019. This school is developed with a cost of AFN 30 million on a patch of 6000 sq. meters of land donated by the HCCI.
The Qaisar – Laman highway in Badghes was first inaugurated by President Ghani along with a number of ministers. It was later inaugurated again by Minister for Public Works, Najibullah Ozan and later by the MoPW’s deputy Mehmood Balegh.
The Bamyan – Maidan City highway as well as the Bamyan Airport was initially inaugurated by former deputy president Karim Khalili in 2010, however, President Ghani inaugurated it again in 2014. The recently launched administrative complex at the Darul Aman was first inaugurated by the former minster, Syed Sadat Mansur Naderi, last year. President Ghani inaugurated it again earlier this month.
When contacted, Nasir Taimuri, public relation officer at the Integrity Watch Afghanistan, acknowledged the trend of repeated inauguration of development projects during the NUG tenure.
Yosuf Rasheed, chief executive of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, told SW that there is no mention of restricting the activities of the President during the polls in the law. He clarified that until and unless President directly asks people to vote for him, his inauguration of projects cannot be considered as part of electoral campaign.
Defending the President, Sediq Sediqi, spokesman for the presidency, said there is a need to vividly observe the projects since the previous inaugurations were related to different segments of the related projects. He clarified that the survey and designing of the Darul Aman Complex was inaugurated last year while President Ghani this week laid foundation stone for the complex.
This comes as a number of presidential candidates have blamed President Ghani for using state resources for electoral campaign.