Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 15th, 2020

The Positive and Negative Factors of Democratization in Afghanistan


The Positive and Negative Factors of  Democratization in Afghanistan

In the last two decades, it is the fourth time that political power is peacefully transited on the basis of democratic rule without uses of weapon in Afghanistan. Today, the democratization of power transition is one of the moral and legal foundations of the political systems through which the candidates are weighed with the scales of public opinion and, based on their popularity and social bases whether they win or lose. It is natural that any political teams that come with more programmatic and purposeful programs, they will be more successful in satisfying public opinion. However, there are some countries in the world that democracy plays only an ostensible rule for validating political system.
In developed countries, the democracy is considered the key components of those systems though it differs because of differences in political culture, social development, and economic growth. For example, the level of participations is high in Japanese and European democracies while it is lower in the US democracy. In Japan and most of European counties, the level of election participation rank from 70 up to 90% while in the US the level of participation is between 49 and 60%. For example, in 2000 US election, 51.2% of people had participated while earlier in 1996 only 49% of the US people had participated. Despite these differences, the level of transparency is high and the election result is announced within 24 hours.
Thus, in developed countries, the alphabet of violence and intimidation is erased from their political culture and everything is solved through diplomacy and talks. The losing candidates say congratulations to the winning team and in the next five years they act as opposition to bring more growth and development to their countries and people, along with the government. In the developed countries, nothing is above than national interests considering it as an underlying principle and political redline. Unfortunately, in third world countries such as Afghanistan, the politicians are ready to use any destructive tools in order to defeat their political rivals. Sometimes they intensify the social and cultural gaps and even contact to the enemies so as to defeat his compatriot and brother.
In developed countries, there is no failure in democratic game as long as it is held lawfully and peacefully. That’s why; they dare to say congratulation to their rival teams after they lose the election. In addition, they differentiate between foreign policy and domestic policy. In foreign policy, they may use any tool to reach to their political goal but in domestic policy, they are committed to national and moral values. That’s why, whatever the result of a transparent election is, they have to accept as it comes from the core of public opinion and national demands. On the other hand, the government is also bound by law and serious monitoring mechanism so as to make it walk on the right path. 
As Afghanistan is one of the countries that has lately entered the democratic arena, the democratic culture has not institutionalized in the country. Some of the patriarchal mentalities which left from the past may delay or challenge the democratization process in the country. Some of the current politicians who are the survivors of the devastating civil wars have repeatedly resorted to weapons and bloody wars over distribution of power. Though it has relatively diluted than the past, still the violence and weapons are at tip of the tongues, especially the newcomers who lately joined the convoy. It is repeatedly heard, “if the transparency of the elections is not ensured, they will climb the mountains and the country will face the fate of Libya and Syria”. In shorter term, democratization is still under threat in Afghanistan and so needs to honest supporter and strategies already experienced in other countries. 
The first strategy to stabilize democratization is having a level of economic development in a country. The more economically developed the more there are chances to institutionalize democracy in a country. Economic welfare can promote the standard of literacy, education, and public media and eventually pave the way for meaningful political participation. Economic welfare can also mitigate the political tensions as it provide a good tool for the failed political elites to increase their legitimacy through providing privileges to the citizens in certain political conditions. In the other word, most of the public dissatisfactions are rooted in scarcity of economic resources, but if the country is in a good economic capacity then the hand of political leaders are open to satisfy all the citizens.
The second strategy for promotion of democracy is social structure. If the social structure such as political parties, civil society, trade association, professional unions, religious groups, women groups, and labor unions and so on are relatively active and independent, they can play active role for control of power and can pave the ground for political and democratic institutions. One of the main reasons of dynamism of democracy in United State is the mobility of these middle groups. But if there is no middle and pressure groups, the society is more vulnerable to go under domination of political power. In Afghanistan, from one hand there is no active middle social class and on the other hand the political parties have become like a family trade company. In last two decades, we have never seen any political parties that held their internal election or comply themselves with standards of political parties. 
The last important factor in democratization is feeling of oneness in national identity. No countries had reached sustainable democracy unless truly ensure equality regardless of traditional belongings such as race, religion, language, gender, color of skin and other differences. According to experts, no nation will reach real democracy unless cross from identity crisis.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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