Kill the crime, not criminals

Abdul Ghafoor Liwal
Contributor

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To fight the menace of corruption, all the stakeholders must come together because the buck stops at all of us.

My learned friend Dr. Darmal says one should look for alternative treatment if the antibiotics cause adverse health effects. He believes similar approach has to be adopted in dealing with issues of social significance. Without any shade of doubt, Dr. Darmal has a valid point to make. The hydra-headed menace of corruption, he says, has jumped up alarmingly in recent years and all the concerted measures taken to eradicate the menace have failed to deliver results.

Few days back, I came across an interesting report on the growing number of stray dogs in Kabul city that are giving nightmares to locals. A reporter tracking the story asked a municipality official about the measures being taken to address the issue. The official said they are poisoning the stray dogs to get rid of the menace. However, as it turned out, the poison had no effect on these dogs.

Later, after meticulous groundwork and investigations, this reporter discovered that the poison served to these stray dogs was ineffective, as the chemical mixed in the poison was artificial. This bears an eloquent testimony to the rampant corruption in the system and how officials thrive on it.

There are many top-notch government officials in higher echelons of power who are neck-deep in corruption and no action is being taken against them

A retired government employee, while criticizing the government machinery, said a handful of anti-corruption activists had staged a demonstration against corruption recently, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. The political leadership in this country is responsible for letting things go out of hand. There is no strategy to fight this menace. Even the opposition leaders have failed to raise the issue vociferously, because they are no saints themselves.

There are many top-notch government officials in higher echelons of power who are neck-deep in corruption and no action is being taken against them. Ironically as long as these officials hold public office, they chose to stay keep mum about corruption. Once they are out of office, they start voicing their concerns. It is safe to suggest that corruption has become ingrained in the social and political fabric here.

To begin with, the new government should institute a body to investigate all the cases of corruption and get to the root of matter 

Fighting corruption is the biggest challenge facing the new government that will be taking over in April this year. To begin with, the new government should institute a body to investigate all the cases of corruption and get to the root of matter. Once they identify the root cause, then the concerned authorities should seek support from government, analysts, civil society organizations, political parties, religious scholars and citizens to fight the menace together. This body should also bring accountability and transparency in the system so that the government officials think twice before letting anyone grease their palms.

It is also important to understand that corruption cannot be defeated without a strong political will. The top leadership must show magnanimity and conviction to eradicate corruption for the greater good of country.

The prime reasons behind corruption in Afghanistan are poverty, lack of employment, lack of education and lack of accountability. As they say, do not kill criminals, kill the crime. Let us take a pledge to address the issue of corruption in letter and spirit and fight it together. The buck stops at all of us.

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