Locals in Ghazni express deep concern over election process
As Afghanistan is closing in to
2019 presidential elections set for September 28, a number of local officials
and residents of Ghazni province complain about what they see as deliberate closing
of polling centers, mostly in Hazara populated areas of Qarabagh district of
Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, Chief of
Ghazni Provincial Council, claims that 17 polling centers have deliberately
been closed in Hazara populated areas of the district. The centers which are
located in secure districts were closed during the voters’ registration
process, he adds.
Talking to Kabul Now on August
20, local officials said that based on fake security report, the provincial
office of Independent Election Commission (IEC) closed as many as 17 polling
centers in Hazara populated areas of the district. Following the report,
Mohammad Amin Mobaligh, the deputy governor of Ghazni promised that the local
government would rectify the report and take necessary measure to address the
issue but in vain.
With three months gone, the
promise made by local officials has not been fulfilled, and no one has
registered in secure Hazaras populated areas of the district to vote in the
upcoming presidential election.
Out of 33
centers already approved by the IEC for Qarabagh district, there are only 16
polling centers operating in the district. 16 polling centers are currently
operating in the predominantly Pashtun populated and insecure villages,
including Nawrozkhel village, where as some residents claim, the Taliban
administrative center for Qarabagh is also operating.
in the western part of the district, the polling centers have been closed based
on a fake security report in 17 secure villages mostly populated by Hazaras.
Faqiri, however, claims local security officials forge fake report to
disfranchise the Hazara community in Qarabagh district. He says the IEC has
taken a partial position—acting on demands of local officials. “These polling
centers are still closed,” Faqiri noted.
Arif Noori, spokesperson for Ghazni governor, rejected accusations made by
Faqiri. He claimed that the IEC closed these polling centers based on ‘old
security reports.’ He added they have repeatedly asked the IEC to change its
decision over the secure and insecure polling centers in Qarabagh but in vain.
The IEC office in Ghazni, however, stated that it has taken actions in line with local security reports while saying they have not received any updated security report from local officials.
while three months ago the IEC announced that they would extend voter
registration process in the 17 polling centers if security institutions were
ready to ensure security of the areas, an offer that has yet to be put into
of sensitive electoral materials in Ghazni
election timeline all sensitive electoral materials—ballot papers, biometric
devices, result sheets, voters list, and complaint sheets— should be delivered
to polling stations across the country by September 27.
Naseer Momand, the provincial chief of the IEC in Ghazni, however, said that as many as 406 ballot boxes—containing sensitive materials— were delivered to Ghazni on September 14. He stressed that the remaining materials will be delivered to polling centers by September 27.
He further noted that four ballot boxes with all its material were completely damaged and ballot papers and electoral ink of eight other boxes were destroyed when the convoy of materials came under the Taliban attack in Sayadabad district of Maidan Wardak province.
to him, the IEC redelivered materials to substitute those materials that were
Shinwari, a program manager at the Election and Transparency Watch Organization
of Afghanistan (ETWA), said that the IEC did not share any details regarding
the lost materials. “We are deeply concerned about abuse of materials,” he
Habibi, chief of campaign of Stability and Partnership ticket in Ghazni, said
that they did not receive clarifications from the IEC despite repeated calls.
“Perhaps they have made this scenario aiming to rig votes,” he said.
remarks made by Shinwari and Habibi, the IEC office in Ghazni stressed they are
committed to holding a transparent and fair elections.