Kabul: The first-ever female mayor in the history of Afghanistan has been appointed in Daikundi Province of central Hazaristan. Selection of Azra Jaffery, the new mayor of Nilli District cum city, is a positive step — but only apprently so.
According to the new consitution of Afghanistan, mayors must be elected by popular vote, but the Government has not conducted no elections for this position so far. And appointment of Azra Jaffery, as always, is a symbolic move by the current administration to cover up its inefficiency and failure. There is no visible development work in Daikundi, the poorest province of the country where a humanitarian crisis caused by acute food shortage and heavy snowfall is on its way. All the roads connecting Daikundi to other parts of the country are blocked by snow and the Government has taken no serious notice so far.
Selection of Azra Jaffery as the first woman mayor in Afghanistan may bring some reputation to the corrupt Karzai administration, but it won’t heal the pains of Daikundi residents.
We welcome Azra Jaffery and her sincere ambitions, with the knowledge that she won’t be able to turn a stone in Daikundi. Nilli, where she has been appointed, doesn’t have an inch of paved road, no electricity, no sanitation facilities or any other amenities of a city — how could it be called a city in the first place? If the Karzai wants to urbanize Daikundi, why do its residents have to struggle to survive the deadly winter after two terms of him in office?
Daikundi is one of the safest province of the country, but safety is its downfall, ironically. While talking to Reuters, Mayor Azra Jaffery said, “Insecure areas get the international aid, development, military presence and most of the money…but unfortunately this money does not reach Daikundi.”
If there is no international aid to Daikundi and no attention from Karzai, will Azra be able to do something? Anything?
Says Azra, “Daikundi is a province that needs every type of help available. We need roads, schools, libraries, jobs. My town needs roads, engineers and construction. We need to get on with this work.”
Talk of crying for the moon.
The corrupt ‘democracy’ under Karzai Administration has been using shortcuts to fame to cover its unpopularity. Through such symbolic moves, it wants to hide its policy of discrimination and lack of political interest in Hazaristan. Has the governorship of Habiba Sarabi brought any change in the lives of the downtrodden people of Bamiyan? No, but it has given some reputation to the Karzai Administration for appointing the first-ever female governor in the history of Afghanistan. Mrs. Habiba Sarabi is a hardworking person, but she is vulnerable to the discriminatory aid distribution policy. Bamiyan has been deprived of any considerable development project. Only two kilometers of roads are paved in the entire province. The project of road construction from Kabul to Bamiyan, Daikundi and Herat has been pending for years due to the corruption, lack of interest and abundance of discrimination from the current administration. Italy had long ago announced huge funds for this road construction project, but Karzai is taking no interest to start it, pretending Taliban insurgency along the route.
The limitations to Sarabi’s performance in Bamiyan are very much likely to be faced by Jaffery in Daikundi. While her selection as mayor may be groundbreaking and historic, Azra Jaffery won’t have many accomplishments for it on her resume. Thanks to Karzai and company, that’s just how politics are right now in Afghanistan.