Notes from an Afghan Analyst I

The following are some observations and a guest post from Muneer Salamzai:

“It seems to me that this will have a very negative impact on the sustainability of democracy  and elections in Afghanistan. In last ten years of the government in all of the elections we’ve had,  the loser has blamed the winner for corrupting the process and for a lack of transparency.   This has become an “electoral habit”  among the candidates at all level, especially in the presidential contests. In the future it certainly seems candidates will continue to try to use this as tool to pressure the winner in order to ensure his certain economic and political benefits come to them and their supporters as we saw in 2005, 2009 and now 2014.

It was disappointing for me and

many other people that even after spending of  millions of USD, the election commissions were not able to establish mechanisms and system to ensure transparency as well as to maintain impartiality. The blame for this weakness goes to the members of the commissions as well as I also believe  the government especially Karzai and his two vice presidents since they nominated the commissioners tied to them and to both candidates.  Instead, we need to have a transparent process for recruiting the commissions members  on a merit base rather than as appointed political position. Both candidates and high rank officials in government do not believe on transparent process and they raise ethnic and linguistic issues to benefit their supports as much as they can, despite the destabilizing effect that this has on the country.

I feel like my colleagues, friends and I become much more hostile towards each other during election campaign since we were supporting different candidates, but after the deal with negotiation John Kerry, we looked back at the situation with shame, since it was clear that the candidates were manipulating us.

Some people have told me that they swear to God that they will not vote in the future. I also listened as people insulted each other and various candidates.  None of this bodes well for the political future of Afghanistan or civil society.

People now feel that even if they vote, ultimately the situation will be made by John Kerry (or really the US government more widely), though they are at least satisfied at the moment that the immediate crisis was adverted.”

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