Naser Koshan

Pros and Cons of staged or fair elections for the president


Fair elections will play a vital role in a bright future and institutionalizing the rickety democracy in Afghanistan. Though this country has already conducted a few landmark elections since the establishment of the interim administration in 2002. But the upcoming presidential election in this spring is considered more crucial as it is afghan led and managed.

In today’s world, elections legitimize the political process in any given country, unfortunately, it is a very ugly tradition in Afghanistan that either an incumbent leader has been removed by a coup de tat or poisoned in the presidential house as they are unwilling to lose grip on power with grace and dignity. Based on the recent developments on the electoral race, the president and his inner circle is clearly meddling in forming a pro government coalition to take the charge and minimize the winning chances of some potent contenders less favored by the president. It is to a great interest of the president to stop meddling and pave the way for a fair and democratic election and amend his past mistakes with a greater chance of admiration post his departure or, on the contrary, stage the elections and further deepen the current crisis in the country.

After a decade of misery Afghanistan has to move from a passive leadership confined to the presidential palace to an active one involved in every aspect of governance and people’s lives. A decade is a life time to experiment a weak, malfunctioned and corrupt administration and as the foreign troops are gradually leaving the country it is the right time to bring a pragmatic and well informed leader in the driving seat. We can no longer afford another decade of misfortunes and economic stagnation.

In fact, as much as this election is being conducted at a very difficult time in the country and is likely to be fraudulent and threatened by the Taliban it is still the only chance for the general public to go to the polling stations and cast their votes for the right person. Certainly the government through the election commission would try its best to infiltrate the election results and create imaginary polling stations on paper, but it is the utmost responsibility of the public and opposing candidates to bring any inconsistency to the media and properly oversee any wrong doings.

On the other hand, Taliban have already declared their stance on the upcoming elections and have threatened to dismantle this process at full swing. Since then they have increased their suicidal attacks in the capital and elsewhere across the country. No doubt they have both an upper hand in easily organizing and targeting any place in the country and an absolute advantage of a media outlet within the presidential office who are intentionally creating sympathy for this group and have always tried to wash out any responsibility of any attacks which they personally claim to have carried out. Apparently this president has received misleading commitments from the Taliban that if he refrains from signing the bilateral security agreement with the U.S. and overlook their genocide, they will lay their weapons down and reunite with their humble brother.

We have to bear in mind that Afghanistan is no longer a central issue for the international community, there are greater problems arising around the world that requires a shift of focus be it the Iranian nuclear crisis or the increasing instability in the middle east and Ukraine.  A prudent leadership taking the charge in a fair and democratic election could change this scenario and provide assurances to our international partners in terms of a long – term viable relations with them based on mutual interest.

Last but not least, it is widely believed that some elements within the inner circle of the president are trying to orchestrate attacks on assigned targets such as the one on the Serena Hotel in downtown Kabul to scare the resident foreign delegations who had just arrived to begin their work as impartial observers in the Afghan presidential election. If this hypothesis is valid then the president is already scared of being replaced by one of his opponents, so to trim such a chance he and his team have already started campaigns to sabotage the election and with no presence of such independent overseers they will create imaginary polling stations and meager the number of polling sites in the relatively peaceful northern region.


Author: Naser “Koshan”

Washington, U.S.

March 2014

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