IEC commissioner defies UNAMA’s letter, calling it mere lie

Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah, a member of Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (IEC), has been accused of threatening an IEC employee, Bashir Ali, who is database manager at the National Tally Center.

An official letter, apparently signed by Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), came out on Monday, November 11, expressed serious concern of the United Nations over behavior of Mawlana Abdullah in a meeting held to discuss election-related issue on November 05.

“During the meeting, UNESP technical advisors and the international commissioners witnessed direct life-threatening statements being made against Mr. Bashir Ali, Database Manager for the National Tally Center, by Commissioner Maulana Abdullah,” the letter read.       

Mr. Abdullah, who was quick to defy UNAMA’s letter, appeared at a press conference on Tuesday, November 12. He said concerns mentioned in the letter issued by UNAMA are baseless. He called on international organizations to launch a probe on ‘accusations’ raised in UNAMA’s letter.

Following this blame game, Kabul Now asked UNAMA office in Kabul to give details. In an email, a UNAMA spokesperson wrote: “Afghanistan’s electoral authorities face a range of complex and difficult challenges in managing the count and tabulation of recent Presidential elections.  UNAMA remains committed to providing technical advice to assist the electoral authorities in their work to ensure the results are fraud-free and credible, and the process transparent.  It is important that the electoral authorities respect all tenets of the country’s electoral law, act with transparency in their operations, maintain full accountability for their work, and expedite the issuance of results at the earliest time.”      

IEC Commissioner Abdullah, however, underlines that a ‘network’ of local employee at UNAMA have plotted this allegation against him, something UNAMA office has neither approved nor denied.     

Mr. Abdullah claims the network—in line with the state builder presidential ticket led by the incumbent president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani—have been plotting to silence his voice which is ‘loud against any sort of election fraud.’ “The Independent Election Commission is an independent organization, no one can silence my voice here. I am prepared to sacrifice my life for the sake of a transparent and clean election,” he warned late on Tuesday.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, by mandate, is a political mission that supports the Afghan government and people. It also supports the Afghan electoral process, peace reconciliation and protection of civilians in armed conflict.

Many Afghans are eager to know more about the story going on behind the curtain of the blame game wrestled between UNAMA’s office and the IEC commissioner Abdullah.

Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah, a veteran journalist, is seen as a ‘loose cannon’ in the hand of the incumbent chief executive Abdullah Abdullah who is the main rival of Mr. Ghani in the 2019 presidential election. A number of Afghans believe that UNAMA cannot be mistaken in terms of what they call the wrong behavior of Mawlana Mohammad Abdullah albeit others expostulate, claiming that a number of local staffs at UNAMA office have influenced UNAMA’s stance against IEC commissioner Abdullah.