Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Causes of Electoral Violence in Afghanistan

Democratization is has started in Afghanistan and Afghans will not let any force to set back this process. As a result, democracy has been embraced by most Afghans. In fact, democracy has given the power to the Afghan people to rule through electing their leaders. Therefore, a fundamental bed rock of democracy in Afghanistan is the election of political leaders through the electoral box.
Indeed, electoral process gives the Afghan citizens the sole right to elect their preferred political leaders. As if this is not enough, electoral process in Afghanistan have most often been characterized by violence at various stages, from pre-election, during elections and post elections. This electoral process which gives rights to the people to govern themselves has been challenged by the threats to security and development. According to research findings, Afghan political leaders are one of the main causes of the violence in the country. These leaders violate the electoral law in different stages, including prejudgments about electoral results.
Electoral violence in an Afghanistan election can be seen manifested in various forms as physical assaults, snatching of ballot boxes, murder labeling the candidates as the agents of other countries and even calling them as unbelievers in order to prevent people from voting to certain candidates. 
However, first and foremost, electoral violence in Afghanistan is caused by poverty. Poverty in Afghanistan is very alarming and this gives room for the unemployed majority to be manipulated to perpetuate all forms of electoral violence. Even people sell their vote to certain candidates and if they receive money from a candidate, they try to bully the voters not to vote to other candidates, but the one they recommend to the voters.
The vanity and poor performance of the security forces also give people the impetus to stage electoral violence. The ineffectiveness especially on the part of the police service is a major factor which encourages electoral violence. Pre-electoral violence is often associated with killings but the police service always fails to get to the root of those killings. This failure seems to be creating a culture of impunity and motivation for recurrence of crimes and violence in our society.
Week performance of Afghanistan electoral bodies is one of the other major factors of electoral violence in Afghanistan. These electoral bodies have performed poorly in the past, though they were expected to mature by passing the time. However, week performance of the Afghan electoral bodies in parliamentary elections in 2018 has disappointed the Afghan voters. As a result, the turn out of the Afghan voters were very low in the Afghan presidential elections. Thus, both Afghan government and international community fear electoral violence spark the country once the presidential elections result is announced by the IEC.
Weak governance and corruption also instigate electoral violence in Afghanistan. Corruption sets the stage for structural violence. Weak governance and corruption make Afghan people feel desperate enough to seek any means of revenge against political authority including violence.
In order to resolve political violence, capacity building of Afghan electoral institutions, and accountability, social justice, and transparency, rule of law, gender equality and due process must guide governance and leadership in Afghanistan. The critical point must be made is that despite the challenges that emanates from the practice of democracy, it is far better than any other form of governance that Afghans can think of. Consequently, when these measures are well instigated, integrated and adhered to, Afghans will be freed and void of any electoral violence.