Wahidullah Azizi, Integrity Watch Afghanistan
Municipal services directly affect citizens. Especially if those services are not satisfactory to the public. In July 2018, Integrity Watch facilitated the Integrity Dialogue where citizens from different sections of society and municipality officials discussed delivery of services in Kapisa. Lack of having a standard city that provides decent municipal services, land grabbing, mismanagement of potable water and dispute surrounding crossing of the transit road from the province were the main issues discussed in the dialogue. In addition, plans for attracting more domestic tourists along the Sayad River and Regrawan historical area was discussed.
Speaking to an audience of more than two hundred people that represented a diverse cluster of the population, Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of the Integrity Watch, called such dialogues as “constructive for trust building” that would hopefully lead to improve municipal services the citizens deserve. He added that, “Service delivery is a key function of the government and can only be effective if public participation is ensured in the process.” Mr. Afzali added, “Public participation would improve integrity of the service delivery system that plays a vital role in winning public trust in the government.” He emphasized the relationship between improving integrity of service delivery, trust building, and improving security situation.
According to the survey findings that was conducted in 9 cities across Afghanistan, Mahmood Raqi city (capital city of Kapisa) ranked 6th with an overall 54% satisfaction rate expressed by citizens. The survey covers sixteen indicators ranging from waste management, car parking, sanitation, roads and sidewalks, to tax collection, access to information, accountability, public cooperation and complaints mechanism. The indicators mainly divided into hard and soft (governance) indicators. Of the two categories, Kapisa has scored low on the hard indicators while it scored 68% on access to information.
Abdul Latif Murad, Governor of Kapisa, emphasized that “municipality should be accountable to citizens.” He assured transparency in procurements in the province and indicated that government now saves 20-30% public money through more efficient procurement. He promised swift actions against land grabbers, providing space for the private sector to invest in the tourism sector in Kapisa and most importantly improving coordination among government departments which plays and even key role in delivering timely quality services to people.
During the Integrity Dialogue citizens raised their concern over the service delivery in Kapisa. One of the issues some of the participants raised was the selling of lands to Kapisa citizens while there was no land on the ground. Mayor explained that the land was sold to citizens without proper procedures by the previous administration in the province.
Integrity Dialogues is a series of new public-oriented discussions that engage people and officials in dialogues related to service delivery including in the justice sector and municipal services.