A new beginning or a reemergence of the same stakeholders
In a historic move the afghan people regardless of inevitable threats and security concerns all over the country, ventured to rush to the polling stations and cast their votes for one of the two leading candidates in the June 14th presidential race run off. In spite of numerous incidents of widespread fraud and rigging of overall votes both by the staff within the elections commission and government officials it still is a great slap to the faces that has always downplayed the determination and strives of the afghan people for a brighter future and a viable democracy. By now Taliban and their contemporaries should know that their dark ideology has no place in Afghanistan’s future.
In fact, the sole reason behind this tendency of feeling a national pride by inking a finger by the voters is to bring a bout a transparent government tough on crime and steadfast on its economic and social policies. Unfortunately both the campaigns have so far mainly focused on the support of renowned individuals and families who are and were a very key part of the current failed administration. To remain relevant some of these families have intentionally joined both the campaigns with a win-win approach to safeguard their illicitly gained assets. For instance, President Karzai himself was the first among the others who orchestrated the whole scenario of a fraudulent and unpopular elections, it is being said that he personally helped candidates form their teams meanwhile urging several others to enter the race so that he could fragmentize the overall outcome and force the two leading candidates to lean towards a run off. As a result, the run-off which took place on June 14, clearly portrays a much visible vote rigging not only by the high ranking state officials but also by the very own staff of the so-called independent elections commission. Now it is easily understandable that the single reason behind karzai’s disapproval of expatriate staff presence in electoral commissions at their very formation was to have a full influence over the doings of these cunningly orchestrated institutes and eventfully misroute the elections to its current halt.
Obviously from the very beginning appointing the heads of the two commissions from one particular ethnic group by the president is still debatable. Afghanistan has recently surpassed a very devastating ethnic civil war and any negligence in properly addressing critical issues without maintaining a rational ethnic balance could result in further widening the current unfortunate sectarian crisis in the country. Afghanistan still has a long way in emerging as a vibrant democracy with a unified national identity. Considering these social complications the new president and his cabinet has to initiate tough stance and criminal codes against individuals embracing ethnic or linguistic prejudice and discrimination in the future.
Afghanistan’s economic growth has to be a top priority, sadly during the last 12 years the government maintained a dual approach towards economic and social reforms in different parts of the country. President Karzai and his close aides would treat certain peaceful provinces the same way as their approach to the southern insecure provinces. For instance the government did not initiate any grassroots infrastructural project in Bamyan or relatively peaceful northern region since Helmand and Kandahar were simultaneously deprived by a devastating insurgency. His close aides intentionally came up with a discriminating first and second class provinces and citizenship, they would go ahead and consider certain localities and their inhabitants prioritized urgencies while discriminating the potential within several peaceful provinces which had the capacity to turn into a vibrant socio-economic example for the rest of the country. Regardless of who is declared the final winner in the days to come, the new president with a prudent approach towards all these critical issues should maintain a linear and equally deserving approach towards each single province in the country.
Politically, during the last few years Mr. Karzai thinking his backlashes with the U.S. would earn him a patriotic title among his clan was mistaken and his stance on a number of crucial issues key to long term interest of the country has been naïve and largely personal. The U.S. government may have a few strategic outlooks in having the bilateral security agreement signed at its earliest, but Afghanistan’s prevailing status quo clearly demands having viable relations with the rest of the world with the U.S. as a prominent strategic partner. Mr. Karzai was naïve enough to sacrifice national interests for his personal pleas thinking that the U.S. would go ahead and accept his personal plea bargains. Now Once again he is on the verge of making his worst political mistake if he further continues delegating orders to the elections commission and urging certain individuals within this important institution to rig the soon to be announced results favoring his political taste.
It is to the best interest of both the candidates to distance themselves from the outgoing president and utilize their time and energy in honoring people’s votes. Last but not least, the whole presidential set up for a war torn Afghanistan at its core has proved to be problematic; this monopoly in the hands of the president simply turned him into a dictator in the last 12 years and could do the same with the next person in line.
Author: Naser Koshan