In protest of what they view as carelessness on the part of the national unity government for continuing to delay the formation of a cabinet, on Monday Afghan civil society groups announced the creation of a symbolic cabinet composed of 26 individuals.
While criticizing national unity government leaders, civil society activists have said that the cabinet delay, which spokespeople for the government have claimed is the result of rigorous vetting and high standards, is causing economic stagnation and deteriorating security conditions around the country.
“The government is pretending that the delay in announcement of the cabinet is due to a search for special individuals, but in reality, the entire problem is due to personal, group and tribal issues,” civil society activist Abdul Baseer Faizi told TOLOnews on Monday.
The symbolic cabinet announced on Monday consists of 24 ministerial nominees, along with nominees for the Attorney General’s Office and the Director of the National Directorate of Security. Key Minister positions, as well as the Attorney General seat, were allocated to females.
“The standards considered by the civil society were merit based, and if the government considers the same standards, they will never face problems,” civil society activist Zahra Spehr said.
The announcement of the symbolic cabinet was somewhat of a black comedy, celebrated with the cutting of a cake. Messages such calling for action against corruption, violence, insecurity and poverty were scrolled on balloons at the event on Monday. “Suicide bombing” was also written on a balloon, which was subsequently blown by the symbolic minister of Hajj and Religious Affairs, accompanied by chants calling for an end to suicide bombings.
Yet the activists in attendance were very serious about the issues at stake. “We hope that these actions will send the message to our government officials to learn from these criticisms and announce the cabinet,” said an activist named Ahmad Zaki.