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Cablegate: Kandahar Governor Highlights Governance and Development

VZCZCXRO7761
RR RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #4016/01 3491322
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151322Z DEC 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4001
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 004016

DEPARTMENT FOR SRAP, SCA/FO, SCA/A, EUR/RPM, INL/AP, L
STATE PASS AID FOR ASIA/SCAA
USFOR-A FOR POLAD

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PINS PHUM CA AF
SUBJECT: Kandahar Governor Highlights Governance and Development
Challenges

REF: A. KABUL 3659
B. KABUL 3472

KABUL 00004016 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: In a December 12 meeting, Kandahar Governor Weesa
briefed Ambassador Wayne on governance and development challenges in
his province. Weesa highlighted the need to improve capacity at the
district level, strengthen the judicial sector, and improve power
generation and distribution to boost development. A friendly and
knowledgeable interlocutor, the Governor demonstrated little acumen
for working around the huge challenges to governance posed by the
Kandahar's tribal, political, and criminal powerbrokers. End
Summary.

District Governors Lacking in Qualifications
--------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) During a December 11-12 US-Canadian joint trip to
Kandahar, Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs
Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne and Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan
William Crosbie met with officials at Kandahar Air Field (KAF),
Forward Operating Base Wilson in Kandahar's Zhari Province, and the
Canadian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT) in Kandahar City.
The focus of the two-day visit was governance and development
planning in the province, and enhanced coordination between the
United States, Canada, and the Afghan Government (GIRoA).

3. (SBU) Meeting on December 12 at KAF, Kandahar Governor Toryalai
Weesa outlined the challenges he faces in improving governance at
the district level, highlighting the severe shortage of
qualifications of many district governors. Observing that district
governors usually had university degrees and experience in the
1970s, he lamented that tribal affiliations have become the leading
factor for selection today, which is also the case with
district-level Chiefs of Police. Observing that the Independent
Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG) appoints the district
governors while the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) names Chiefs of
Police, the Governor complained that this severely limited his
ability to influence the selection or termination of these
officials.

4. (SBU) Governor Weesa highlighted the need to provide governors
with budget authority if they are to have the ability to carry out
governance responsibilities. Ambassador Wayne noted that
discussions in Kabul on a performance-based governance fund were
proceeding, with an effort to resolve overlapping interests and
authorities between the IDLG and the Ministry of Reconstruction and
Rural Development (MRRD). He cited recent discussions with MRRD
Minister Zia over a possible way forward which would enable District
Development Councils, led by MRRD, to focus on development while the
Afghan Social Outreach Program (ASOP) focuses on governance,
political, and security issues.

Justice Sector Not Effective
----------------------------

5. (SBU) Governor Weesa called the courts and the state attorney's
office major problems facing the justice sector in Kandahar. The
lead prosecutor for Kandahar was not even a law school graduate, he
said, and local residents are unable to obtain decisions or
adjudication of disputes from the legal system. Instead they are
forced to pay off officials in the justice sector to resolve issues,
he stated. The senior judge, for example, maintained his family in
Saudi Arabia, which would not be possible on his modest salary. A
system of judicial brokers also influences verdicts, he stated.


Energy a Key Impediment to Development
--------------------------------------

6. (SBU) While business in Kandahar City has increased, the lack of
electricity is a major impediment to development, Governor Weesa
said, observing that some 90 small factories were currently closed
due to the lack of power. The two most important challenges were to
generate more power from the Kajaki Dam and to guarantee fuel
deliveries for diesel-powered electic power plants. The insurgency
has complicated increasing the yield of the Kajaki Dam (reftels),
while diesel powered plants rely on funds from the Ministry of
Economy, which are slow to arrive, which then hold up payments to
contractors, who then do not make deliveries until they are paid, he
noted. To improve delivery from Kajaki, the Governor recommended
upgrades to the distribution system, which is some 90-years old and
loses about 40-50 percent of power generated through an aged
distribution system. Another way to improve hydroelectric power
deliveries was from the Arghandab River, he said, a signature
Canadian project.

Comment

KABUL 00004016 002.2 OF 002


-------

7. (SBU) While we hear rumors that Kabul will name a new governor
in Kandahar, Governor Weesa gave no indication that he was about to
move to a new post or step down. A pleasant interlocutor with an
excellent understanding of the major issues facing the province, he
has shown little acumen to work around the tribal, political, and
criminal groups that block even basic progress on the most important
governance, judicial, and development challenges. With coalition
security forces about to converge around Kandahar City, we should
have new opportunities to seize the initiative on governance and
economic development, but Governor Weesa does not seem to be up to
navigating these factions and powerbrokers to bring about
significant change. The visiting Ambassadors heard an identical
assessment of the problems with electric power during a visit to the
Kandahar City Power Station, which generates electricity for the
city via diesel turbines and operates with USAID funding.

8. (U) This message has been coordinated with RC(South).

EIKENBERRY

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