The results of Kabul, Balkh and Badakhshan provinces were delayed. Now the preliminary results announced by IEC (Independent Election Commission) (results online here) shows huge differences from the statistics that came out from polling stations, particularly in capital Kabul. The question is, why preliminary results of far flung provinces troubled with insurgency were already announced, but three important provinces—Kabul, Balkh and Badakhshan—were delayed? Technically, the results from capital Kabul, nearest to IEC headquarters, should come sooner than any province. These provinces determine much of the power balance in the parliament. And the mysterious delay of the counting from these provinces has not only raised doubts in minds of people, but also there are huge difference in numbers of vote, that were received on election night and later from the polling stations. Something has been engineered there.
Recounting the Fraud?
The IEC has said votes of 35 polling centers are invalid, while ballots from other 30 centers, being suspicions of fraud, will be recounted. It also reports there have been violation and fraud in total of 125 polling centers. There were total of 4,632 polling centers across the country.
This is not understandable, how a recount of fraudulent will solve the problem? The ballots stuffed with votes from fake voters, children, and males thumbing in place of women, will all be counted once against, thats it. Everything seems symbolic exercise of the Commission to cool down the criticism and blindfold thousands of complaints by candidates, observers and media reports.
Further ridiculous story is that, ‘disputed’ votes from polling centers with reports of fraud and violations have been divided in three categories. Only one category of these votes will be declared invalid, the second recounted while the third category will be reviewed. Out of 4632 polling centers, 125 were with reported cases of fraud and ballot stuffing. But strange is that votes only from 35 polling centers have been declared invalid, which will be identified only in one category. It means majority of votes from these 35 centers will be counted valid, in the second and third category.
There are hundreds of media reports about fraud and ballot stuffing on polling day. But the most striking ones are from two foreign newspapers. Many districts in insurgency-hit south have recorded turnout exceeding 100 percent.
One district in Paktika province recorded 626 percent voter turnout, according to reports obtained by McClatchy.
626% turnout!, and IEC has not dig into this particular district.
The reports put the total turnout for the races for the five lower house seats from Paktia at 111.37 percent, with six of 10 districts reporting attendance that exceeded 100 percent and one reporting precisely 100 percent, a glaring indication of fraud
With insurgents having control in many districts in this province, how could one believe the turnout exceeds 100%?
Inside, election workers were busy stuffing ballots on behalf of a candidate named Hajji Wahedullah Kalimzai. Although only about 20 men had come to vote thus far, hundreds of ballots were being marked in favor of Mr. Kalimzai. It was a scene repeated throughout the province. The elections in Wardak were marred by widescale fraud, violence, and an extremely low turnout, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the new class of lawmakers that will represent the province.
The IEC workers were bribed for ballot stuffing.
We were given $200 each by Kalimzai’s people to fill out the ballots for him,” he explained, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
But, the IEC results on its website show Mr. Kalimzai with second leading votes in Wardak! The IEC did not bother to investigate the Syedabad area of Wardak where its workers were paid 200$ each to stuff the ballots.
It’s extremely ridiculous and disgusting. It undermine the whole credibility of elections, and the way IEC is responding to allegations. It will discourage those millions who exercised their right of franchise standing in lines from morning to evening on polling day. When see such fraud occurs, and people come to parliament through stuffed ballots, how could one believe in democracy in Afghanistan?
International Community and UN
With the news of internal differences in White House about the war in Afghanistan in Bob Woodward’s book, the international community seems to have less interest in elections, corruption and the rest of stories in Afghanistan. Washington right now seems to be all about ‘victory’ and exit strategy in Afghanistan. There was this less interest from the begging. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) kept silent on the removal of Electoral Complaints Commission being replaced with a Karzai-appointed panel. How those who have registered hundreds of complaints would have confidence in the investigation the way IEC is proceeding the exercise of recount? And there is a complete lack of confidence on the panel, appointed by Karzai.