Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Electoral Malpractice and its Consequences

An election is a procedure by which members of communities and for organization choose representatives to hold an office.
The general idea of the meaning of election is reflected in the below definition. “Elections are the democratic method of choosing representatives of the people”. If the above definition is so, then how does it come about that election are held in all types of countries, even in those where democracy does not exist?  
Some scholars argue that elections are a technique for forming representative bodies and or for delegating authority.
It means therefore, that elections can be used instead of other techniques (designating representatives by succession ex officio or by appointment) without having any democratic substance. In other words, elections are not confined exclusively to democracies.
In essence elections had been held in western democracies long before universal suffrage was achieved and in actual fact elections are held in political systems which do not have a democratic structure: a classic example is USSR, where the domination of one party (The Communist Party) was written into their constitutions. Other include; Socialist Hungary and Romania, where representatives were reappointed at regular intervals.     
A malpractice in its ordinary meaning has to do with illegal or wrong behavior while in a professional job. Electoral malpractice include falsification of results, to violence, snatching of ballot boxes, multiple voting, illegal voters list register, impersonation, purported switching of votes or among the wrong winner in an election by an electoral officer etc.
Electoral malpractice and violence, especially the incidents that occur with some regularity, seems indicative of more widespread systematic grievances. Treating electoral malpractice and violence as a criminal matter or a cyclical phenomenon is not likely to end future elections from being irregular and violent.
How to Curb Electoral Malpractice
Several postulations have been put forth by scholars on how to achieve free and fair elections and consequently achieve correlation between elections and legitimacy. For example, they have put forth the following as common denominators in their recommendations for a free and fair election: independent electoral body, independent judiciary, explicit electoral rules.
Yet, in spite of all these recommendations, electoral fraud has continued in many countries unabated. Some of the methods adopted are either with rapid crudity or highly sophisticated. These scholarly recommendations made by the highly rated scholars have failed to address problems associated with electoral fraud because; they have failed to take cognizance of the environment in which their recommendations are to be implemented. 
Therefore, attempt is made here to recommend environmentally realistic solutions capable of resolving electoral manipulations. Hence, recommendations, here are borne out of peculiarity of Afghanistan’s environment. 
For instance, any meaningful attempt to stem electoral fraud in Afghanistan must give consideration to the wide gap between the haves and have not. There is no doubt that poverty has impacted negatively on the electoral behavior in at least three ways: (1) it encourages buying and selling of -votes by the electorate (2) inability of candidates and political parties to access media with equal strength by competitors for the purpose of citizens education and enlightenment (3) encourages the emergence of the dangerous, dimension of godfather-godson syndrome in Afghanistan politics.
Poverty of ideas and that of wealth have made many of the electoral manipulations easy. It has made it difficult for the creation of a level playing ground politically. A bad Candidate with impoverished ideas about governance may be rich. These riches have made him to access hungry minds, print posters to enlighten the electorate, bribe all the stakeholders in the Electoral process. This is because the rich candidate or their god fathers may equally have resources to induce the poverty stricken before or on the day of lections to manipulate voting and electoral process. It is equally possible to buy over hungry voters polling and counting officials and law enforcement agents. All these electoral officers can be induced to facilitate, the rigging of elections by the wealthy politicians.