ARG Criticized For Appointing Former Election Commissioners
Governance and Rule of Law
Monday, 28 November 2016
Last Updated on Monday, 28 November 2016
Written by Karim Amini
Caption of the photo here | Credited to photographer

A number of electoral monitoring organizations, MPs and critics on Saturday lashed out at the Presidential Palace (ARG) for appointing former election commissioners as President Ashraf Ghani's advisors.

They said this move means government is compensating the former commissioners.

According to reports, Ghani recently issued a decree where he appointed all former members of election commissions as his advisors – thereby safeguarding their privileges and salaries.

Electoral watchdogs said this move by the president shows that he has violated the rules based on which government officials are either praised or punished and that it will affect the state's credibility among the people.

"Government is compensating the former commissioners as they have been appointed as the president's advisors. They are supporting fraud," said Mohammad Naeem Ayubi, chairman of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.

"The former commissioners should have gone to judicial centers to be exonerated (of fraud allegations) and based on that they should have been appointed to posts that relevant officials selected for them," said Saleh Mohammad Saljoqi, an MP from Herat.

"If accusations over former election commissioners are not addressed, it will create mistrust in government among the people," said Abdul Qayum Sajjadi, an MP from Ghazni.

Meanwhile, former head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Fazl Ahmad Manawi, said: "Any kind of accusations connected to the commissioners is connected to government as well – particularly to the Presidential Palace, which has been created after many problems caused by alleged (vote) rigging in the election. Therefore, this government will not do this [remove the accusations against former election commissioners]."

"Everywhere in Afghanistan, deals are being made. Everyone is selling democracy, ethnicity, the nation, the people and human rights," said Ramazan Bashardost, an MP from Kabul.

The Presidential Palace would not comment on the report. However, the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah's deputy spokesman Jawed Faisal, said: "The issue of who betrayed whom and when is still in place; but overall the commitment was that the electoral system should be reformed and we should not move forward, to the next elections, with corrupt individuals."

The new election commissioners were sworn in last week and will reportedly start work in the next few days.