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Mar 05, 2019
New poll commissioners chosen in 'biased manner'
KABUL (Pajhwok): Election oversight institutes say four Wolesi Jirga candidates and one agriculture graduate were chosen against merit and independency among the newly-elected election commissioners.
On February 12, President Ashraf Ghani decreed the dismissal of the election commissioners after amending the electoral law.
Later, political parties introduced 66 individuals and civil society institutes 15 people to replace the former commissioners. Sixteen women were also among the suggested candidates.
On March 1, 17 out of 18 presidential candidates cast their votes to elect commissions’ new candidates.
Sayed Noorullah Jalili, a presidential candidate, criticized the selection process of new election commissioners and said he did not participate in the voting process.
The committee which conducted these elections announced that Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah and Sayed Esmatullah each had received nine votes, Habib Rahman, Mohammad Qasem, Awrangzib, Musafar Qoqandi, Hawa Alam Nuristani, Mohammad Younus Tughra, Chaman Shah Etimadi received eight votes each.
Similarly Mohammad Zakir Zaki, Mohammad Hanif Danishyar, Zahra Bayan Shinwari, Sayed Qutbuddin Roidar and Geti received seven votes each and were declared winners.
The committee said Najibullah Kamawal and Mulavi Din Mohammad Azimi had also received seven votes each.
However, a letter from the Presidential Palace titled ‘presidential candidates’ on Sunday said that Zakir Zaki and Geti were replaced by Rahima Zarifi who secured five votes and Maulvi Din Mohammad who received seven votes, due to what the letter said ‘problems’ in documents of the two individuals.
According to a presidential decree, Elyasi, Zahra Bayan, Azimi, Tughra and Roidar have been appointed as members of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) and Esmatullah Mal, Abdullah, Aurangzeb, Danishyar, Qoqandi, Hawa Alam, Rahima Zarifi as members of the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
Chaman Shah Etimadi was appointed as IEC secretary and Habib Rahman Nang as IECC secretary, according to the decree.
Three of the 14 commissioners that included three women were introduced by civil society institutes while the rest were suggested by political parties.
A list obtained by Pajhwok Afghan News show Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah, Rahima Zarifi and Habib Rahman Nang have been introduced by civil society groups.
Sayed Esmatullah Mal was introduced by Hezb-i-Ijmaye Roshangaran Milli, Mohammad Qasam Elyasi by Harakat-i-Islami Mutahid, Aurangzeb by Hezb-i-Wahdat Milli, Musafar Qoqandi by Etidal-i-Milli, Hawa Alam Nuristani by Afghanistan’s New National Front and Mohammad Younas Tughra by the Junbish-i-Milli party.
Chaman Shah Etimadi has been introduced by Hezb-i-Wahdat Islami, Mohammad Hanif Danishyar by Hezb-i-Insijam Milli, Maulvi Din Mohammad Azimi by Jamiat-i-Islami, Zahra Bayan Shinwari by Sulh-i-Milli Islami and Sayed Qutbuddin Roidar by Harakat-i-Mardum party.
Tribal balance has somehow been observed in choosing of the 14 election commissioners.
Six of them, (Sayed Esmatullah Mal, Aurangzeb, Hawa Alam Nuristani, Zahra Bayan Shinwari, Sayed Qutbuddin Roidar and Habib Rahman Nang) are Pashtuns, three (Maulvi Din Mohammad Azimi, Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah and Rahima Zarifi) are Tajik, three others, (Mohammad Qasim Elyasi, Chaman Shah Etimadi and Mohammad Hanif Danishyar) are Hazara and two others, (Musafar Quqandi and Mohammad Younus Tughra) are Uzbek.
In the first list of winners announced earlier, four commissioners were Hazara while two were Tajik but Rahima Zarifi, a Tajik, was later added to the list.
Ten of the winning commissioners have bachelor’s level education, one is Ph.D, one MD in medical and two others are masters.
One of the new commissioners has received education in construction engineering, one in medical, one in philosophy and sociology, one in Sharia law, one religious studies, one in social science, one in administration, one in agriculture, one in commerce and management, one in penalties and criminology and three in political science.
Five of them are aged between 39 and 53 years and nine others are between 42 and 56 years.
Hawa Alam Nuristani, Mohammad Qasem Elyasi, Mohammad Younus Tughra and Sayed Qutbuddin Roidar had contested the last Woleis Jirga elections on October 20 and 21 in 2018 and some of other commissioners have government jobs.
Shah Hussain Murtazavi, deputy spokesman to the president, said that those selected as election commissioners automatically lost their government jobs.
Mohammad Naim Ayubzada, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA), told Pajhwok Afghan News that the new election commissioners were chosen biased hosen.
“Unfortunately these figures were voted in a biased manner and three principles such as professionalism, experience and independency were not considered in the selection process,” he said.
He said the new commissioners had somehow links with political parties and they could not be independent.
The list released by the election committee says the individuals selected as members of IEC and IECC have no affiliation with any political parties.
Yousuf Rashid, head of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FFEFA), also said merit was ignored and personal interests played a key role in the selection of new commissioners.
“These commissioners have links with at least one party or presidential candidate, for example Hawa Alam Nuristani is mother of Faramarz Tamanna, a presidential candidate, we also had this problem in last elections, this issue is worrisome,” he said.
“Presidential candidates irresponsibly voted figures for individuals they favored, cut deals and killed the merit…, political parties also proved that they want all, the government, the parliament and election commissions,” he said.
He said Zahra Bayan and Roidar who had experience of the IEC were chosen as IECC commissioners. Mawlana Abdullah, who is a legal expert, was chosen as IECC commissioner instead of IEC, he added.
“These appointments prove that the vote process victimized basic standards for a post,” he concluded.
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