A statement from Presidential Palace says Karzai will inaugurate the parliament on Jan 21, after careful investigations regarding election allegations, considering the national interest, and appointment of Senate members. Here you might be confused with the ‘national interest’? People don’t understand what it stands for, specially under Karzai Administration. What if the so-called ‘national interest’ come in clash with the constitution and laws?
This statement comes after a group of over 200 MPs called on the President on Tuesday asking for parliament inauguration by Dec 18, when the tenure of current house will end. Things are going towards a nowhere end. It’s getting ridiculous and dangerous. The international community in Kabul, the United Nations and other champions of democracy are silent watchers while the democratic milestones of Afghanistan are on a reverse path compared to the achievements of last nine years. The US, NATO and the United Nations know it well that a war-ravaged country with ineffective and corrupt Govt. and rampant militancy can easily plunge into civil war, once the fire of political instability is fueled by the current crisis.
The office of Attorney General has no legal and constitutional authority to ‘investigate’ issues related to elections. But their demands are far more ridiculous calling for cancellation of the final election results. The Chief of Independent Election Commission Fazal Ahmad Mana’awi was very right to say that “they have no regard for the law and making fun of it by bullying with their ridiculous demands.” The AG’s office has got very active since the last month after the preliminary results of the elections were announced. It has not only demanded the entire election results be cancelled, but also issued an accusation letter asking capital punishment (death) for officials of IEC and ECC. Later the AG’s office denied that it has asked for execution of election officials. Newspapers in Kabul have published the copy of the letter and ToloNews has also confirmed here. During the Presidential elections, despite the widespread fraud and rigging reports by media and election monitoring organizations, our infamous Attorney General didn’t bother to involve with the controversial Presidential election, despite the complaints filed to them. The recent stance of the AG’s office has publicly made this office controversial, and now people have doubts on its all future decisions as being partial, though they didn’t have such a prestigious acceptance publicly in past too. The other day I was reading the Constitution word by word to find out about the limits of this office, and you will be surprised to know that there was not a single word about the Attorney General’s office and its authorities. The IEC and ECC are constitutional independent organs and no legal or constitutional authority can interfere in their work, according to the roles mentioned for them in the Constitution.
The Head of Independent Election Commission Fazal Ahmad Mana’awi took clear and bold stance on Sunday saying that the elements trying to alter the election results will take the country toward an unavoidable crisis.
Here i am translating some parts of the above press conference of IEC Chief, which reflects how serious the crisis is getting.
“If the issues are taken to the level of force, I think the IEC will not be the winner. Those who are bullying will win, taking the country toward a crisis. We have been trying not to take the issue toward a crisis. But those who are trying to project their personal interests should know that the IEC has not been silent because of being afraid. We don’t want the issue turn into crisis and chaos. And they will be responsible for all out consequence of such a crisis. It is clear that no organ except the Independent Election Commission and Complaints Commission has the right to investigate or review the election results. And no institution including the IEC can cancel the results after it is announced. Nullification of election results is a fantasy, imagination and fool’s dream. Those who are trying to alter the results think that the people of Afghanistan do not understand who are behind these all bullying, but the masses understand the factors and those behind-the-scene actors who wanted something else with election results, and it came out against their personal interests. We have not succumbed to the bullying, and will never surrender to force. The Attorney General’s office has issued a letter with wild accusations asking for capital punishment of the IEC and ECC officials. It’s a mockery of the law and constitutional organs, and attempt to take the country toward crisis. With the situation in our country, if a new crisis is created, it will be drastic and very difficult to control. I hope those perusing their personal interests will stop bullying to avoid a crisis.”
Though not taking the names, Mr. Mana’awi was pointing to the President and Attorney General as crisis-mongers. When Mr. Mana’awi was appointed as the Head of IEC by the President, he was expected to be a loyalist like all other high officials of the Government. But all the people are not corrupt. There are still some individuals like Mr. Mana’awi trying to stay honest with his conscience doing what he is supposed to do, giving some hope to people. Op-eds in Kabul media outlets have been appreciating the bold resistance of IEC against the pressures. The President might be cursing himself for the appointment of Fazal Ahmad Mana’awi as Chief of IEC. It was thought he will be a loyalist, like the previous IEC officials during Presidential elections, who are now enjoying ministerial posts, though as acting-minister, and positions in embassies abroad.
The other day, Deputy Attorney General Mr. Rahmatullah Nazari was asking President Karzai to form a separate commission to resolve the election issues. This is the final tactic with possibilities to work, but at the cost of a drastic crisis. Constitutionally, the new parliament has already come into being with MPs having their certificates from the IEC. We have to see how long the IEC will resist the pressures from the Palace, and what new tactics will be tried. If President Karzai listen to Deputy Attorney General forming a new commission to look into issues, it will be a clear violation of the constitution taking the country toward a crisis and chaos which will be drastic at this crutial time when the US and NATO is pushing the Govt. for security transition.
The US, EU and UN have welcomed the election results. But they have been silent watchers during the month of attempts from President Karzai to change the election results. Though there is a report by ToloNews that these donor countries have slowed down foriegn aid waiting for election disputes. But the champions of democracy need to come with reaction. If there are minor or major changes in the election results, or it is cancelled through other tactics, as demanded by Attorney General’s office, it will be like a commitment of suicide by the Government taking this country to a drastic crisis.
Some of the problems regarding election issues are about the results from Ghazni Province, which President Karzai had said damages the national unity, and the mention of so-called ‘national interest’ is also pointing to this, in the statement from Palace quoted in the beginning of this post. There are 11 seats for parliament from Ghazni and all the winners are from the Hazara ethnic group, while the Pashtun ethnic has no representation this time from Ghazni. It’s a fact that the fear of Taliban violence kept low turnout in some Pashtun districts, but it was not limited to Ghazni, therefore only this province does not merit for such a logic. Which province of the country had no fear of violence and enjoyed election in perfect security? Some bunch of people in all provinces of the country are protesting the election results, does it mean there should be new elections all across the country? If not, then why only Ghazni? And those including President Karzai saying that results from Ghazni will push people to Taliban’s side are damn ridiculous. In many southern, southeastern and northern provinces, there were low turnouts and violent incidents. Taliban have strongholds in many provinces, and it’s not a logic to say that only in Ghazni all the people will join Taliban. It is a bogus and flawed reason, pushed by those who are against the entire election results due to personal interests.
Secondly, there are 18 districts in Ghazni, of which all the MPs have won from 6 Hazara districts of the province. There were low turnout mainly in Pashtun residing districts, but there were similar problems in the other 6 districts too. The ethnic face of tribal and political problems in Afghanistan are very ugly. They are so fragile that can drag the country into crisis with small problems. The problem with Ghazni is just one example of the unjust and politically-designed administrative divisions of provinces.
There are other factors too, such as the electoral system. This post by Afghanistan Analyst Network is an excellent analysis for that.
The solution in Ghazni is not in a new election, nor cancellation of results. I am more than sure, even if this crisis are resolved and the IEC final results remain unchanged, the next elections will bring further crisis. We will face deeper conflicts in future. Solutions are in electoral reforms. Talking of Ghazni in particular, the new parliament after inauguration should work out a new province of Jaghori with some districts of Ghazni. It is a longstanding demand of the people of Jaghori, Malistan, Nahoor, Qarabagh and other densely populated districts to make a new province.
But unfortunately, the corrupt and incapable leadership in Kabul is taking this country on a backward path, rather than efforts to promote the nationhood and real national interest, they are for their individual interests.