Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, July 9th, 2020

What if Law Protectors Turn to Law Violators?

Afghan men and women flocked to ballot boxes to celebrate democracy through casting their votes so as to send their representatives to parliament, which is called “the beating heart of democracy”. They participated in parliamentary election in life-threatening situation and a number of people have been killed during registration for voting.
Afghans paid heavy sacrifices in support of democracy and the fingers of some voters were amputated by the Taliban fighters for being inked to cast their votes. Although the Taliban militants sent threatening messages to Afghan men and women for their participation in elections and sought to mar election process, the masses, except for the few, cast their votes regardless of the danger.
However, the newly elected MPs have had serious quarrel over the chairmanship of the parliament. The undemocratic attitude and furious argument of MPs outraged the public conscience and disappointed the voters. Videos and photos of the MPs, showing their physical involvement and angry expressions, have been posted online and changed into a political satire on social media. Footages, apparently captured by some lawmakers, showed that MPs trying to stop the new speaker to take his seat as the chairperson.
In addition to putting the reputation of parliament and MPs under question, the MPs attitudes had been a strong blow to democracy. In fact, if MPs are not able to resolve a minor issue within the parliament through peaceful means and violate law in the beginnings, how could they manifest the public will, monitor the government, and approve law?
It is self-evident that resorting to violence and hurling vitriolic attack on each other, instead of resolving the issue through legal means, is against the country’s law. Apart from the law, the pugnacious attitude of MPs is morally outrageous and hurtful to citizens.
The tension sparked off when Mir Rahman Rahmani, who was competing for the seat with Paktia MP Kamal Nasir Osuli, was declared as the Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament after getting 123 votes – one vote lacking to form 50+1 and qualify him for the seat – while Osuli got only 55 votes.
Political maturity in Afghanistan is a lot to be desired. It is believed that racial and sectarian orientation still plays a dominant role in the election of a representative across Afghanistan. For example, a large number of people, especially in remote areas, consider family relations and racial and sectarian backgrounds of a candidate as qualification for being elected. Therefore, only few political elites are elected as MPs.
It is stated in Article 81 of Afghan Constitution, “The National Assembly of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as the highest legislative organ, shall manifest the will of its people as well as represent the entire nation. Every member of the Assembly, when voting, shall be judged according to the general interests as well as the supreme benefits of the people of Afghanistan.” Hence, MPs have to consider the national interests and work for the betterment of the society, and manifest the public will properly, rather than self-interests. They have to respect law and moral principles of the society.
Unluckily, the prerequisite for parliamentary election is so simple: being Afghan citizen, being at least 25-year-old, and “shall not have been convicted of crimes against humanity, as well as a crime or deprivation from civil rights by a court”. There is no mention of political maturity and level of knowledge.
The MPs have to be cautious not to create a racial or sectarian rift within the parliament. They are the representatives of the entire nation rather than of a racial or sectarian group and have to manifest the will of all citizens. Thus, they should think out of the box and struggle for national interests. MPs are supposed to monitor the government and make sure that the law is implemented thoroughly. If they themselves lack knowledge and moral principles and act beyond the law, the social and political crises will continue unabated.
Considering the social, political, and economic challenges of the country, Afghan lawmakers are expected to resolve the issues devotedly. Afghan people elected them as their representatives in the hope that they would support democracy, legal principles, and national values. Therefore, MPs have to respect the law and national values and perform their duties responsibly. Indeed, MPs have a high moral and legal responsibility to fulfill and keep “the beating heart of democracy” moving. If law protectors turn to law violators, lawlessness will prevail and the society will fall in the quagmire of social and political crises.