On October 20 and 21, 2018, 3.5 million people in Afghanistan showed their commitment to uphold their democratic duty to vote. Unfortunately, the credibility of the Election Commission has now come under question. Allegations of commissioners requesting bribes and the methodology used to count votes created suspicion, with the extension of election dates creating a window for overnight election fraud.
People queued up to cast their votes. But the electoral process now stands mired in controversy. (Source: Reuters)
Analysts shared their perspective, candidates held demonstrations, people registered their complaints with the Election Complaint Commission, but were finally told that the dispute would be settled with judicial intervention.
Did this make me angry?
I ran for a seat in Kabul’s Parliament and won. I won the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. I may not be announced as an official member of Parliament, but I live in the hearts of my people. During my campaign trails, I identified gaps between the public and government, and between the people themselves and this led me to draw some conclusions.
One major fear among the public in Afghanistan is not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
Government communication with the public is slow. The public is last to be informed about visiting delegations, about laws passed, policy and regulation developed. I am bringing up this topic now because of the possibility of an agreement with the Taliban.
This is truly unacceptable.
Where to, Kabul? There is an atmosphere of deep uncertainty in volatile Afghanistan. (Source: Reuters)
There needs to be a two-way conversation, not a one-way portal. Listen to the public, solutions to many problems could be found by holding a consultative process with the public. The public shares the same concerns as the government and everyone should hold a stake in these talks.
The Afghan public needs to be part of any dialogue with the Taliban. (Source: Reuters)
Therefore, I recommend to the government that an open communication be held with the citizens to understand their grievances and find a constructive solution to the problems ailing us.
Another issue I must highlight is the lack of inter-community conversation within the society of Afghanistan. We are not aware of what is happening on our streets and in the neighbourhood. The repercussions of this social breakdown are seen in the growth of insurgency, sectarianism and a lack of ownership that ultimately divides us. We must communicate with each other to create a consensus on security, migration and other civic issues ailing us.
I recommend that the governor’s office, the municipality and police work together to form community forums, where people can assemble and discuss ideas to face the common challenges facing them.
After decades of war and violence, Afghan society suffers from alienation and divided houses. (Source: Reuters)
A consultative approach of this nature would help rebuild Afghanistan into a robust and vibrant democracy.
I won the election because I could understand the pulse of the Afghan people.
I won by recognising my responsibility to my nation and people.
I won because I will work tirelessly to bring change for a better tomorrow.
Also read: Old friends, continuing partners: Why India is crucial for Afghanistan's stability and growth