Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 28th, 2020

Political Leaders Should Respect Law and Order

The participation of less than 20 percent of the eligible population in the September election, indicates that Afghans have lost their trust in democracy. The current crisis emerged after the announcement of presidential election generated concern for the public.
The crisis shows that without urgent reform to the centralized political system, Afghanistan will remain mired in factionalism and civil conflict. Without political reform peace will be impossible.
Since 2001, Afghanistan has held four presidential elections. Each election was more corrupt that the one before. The last presidential election was also largely rigged, which led to the current crisis. After counting votes, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani’s opponent Abdullah Abdullah said that the results are a “coup” and has threatened to form an alternative government. He has embarked on appointing provincial governors in northern zones. Ghani’s former vice president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, urged citizens to march into the streets to protest.
If political leaders continue to fuel the tension, Afghan ordinary people are likely to be the main victim of the crisis without gaining anything in return. It is believed that heads of political parties, who oppose the election result, seek to gain official position within the government and not be marginalized from the power.
However, a political analyst said, “Leaders from across political factions insisted that political reform come before negotiations with the Taliban. Many parties, especially Abdullah and his allies, hoped for greater decentralization of authority to ensure representation of minority groups in the face of a peace agreement with the Taliban. Their main contention has been that the current system is not responsive to Afghanistan’s political problems. They argue that citizens will only feel comfortable negotiating with the Taliban if there is greater representation of local voices in government.”
If political leaders are concerned about the marginalization of minority groups in the peace talks, they have to urge the formation of an inclusive negotiating team rather than triggering crisis. It is believed that Abdullah had predicted his loss in the election since he reiterated that he preferred peace talks to the election and would step down anytime if peace was to come.
It is understandable that the corrupt presidential election undermined democracy in the country, and the low voter turnout will put the legitimacy of the government under question to some extent, however, sparking off crisis through illegal means will compound the challenges.
At the current sensitive condition, as there is also growing optimism about the outcome of peace talks since the Taliban have declared reduction in violence, Afghan political leaders have to act cautiously and prevent from crisis.
Declaring the announcement of Ghani as the winner illegitimate, the Taliban will also have their preconditions for power-sharing. Decentralization of power and inclusion of minority groups may be a solution to the Afghanistan’s dysfunctional system. If the government accepts power-sharing with the Taliban group after the peace talks, the minority groups should also be included in the government.
Predicting the crisis, the majority of Afghan population preferred peace talks to the election. With the disputed 2014 elections, Afghans feared that the last election would lead to crisis. They are privy to the characteristics of jihadi and political leaders, who paved the ground for the emergence of the Taliban through triggering civil unrest. They again seek to push the country to the crisis.
History shows that the current political figures, who oppose the election result, were responsible for civil unrest. They have constantly capitalized on public sentiments. If the country is plunged into further crisis in the wake of the unwise practices of political leaders, they will be blamed for the rest of their life.
It is the responsibility of all political leaders to mitigate the challenges of the country and nation. They have to be role model for the ordinary people and should practice upon legal and constitutional principles.
On the contrary, if political leaders resort to violence and ignore law and order, ordinary people should never be blamed for illegal practices. In such a case, democracy will be meaningless and law and order will be violated, which will lead to chaos and disorder.
Afghan citizens have to be cautious not to fall victim. That is, those political leaders, who claim that democracy is dead with the corrupt election, neither care about democracy nor about people’s rights and freedoms. It is because they simply focused on their self-interests when they held power. The public suffering and violation of their rights and the high level of corruption did not come to end when political leaders occupied high positions within the government.