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Is Ghani Executing a Pre-poll Rigging

Feature: Is Ghani Executing a Pre-poll Rigging?

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has started speedy appointments and dismissals in key positions of government departments in recent months. In different decrees of President Ghani last month, ten new people were introduced and appointed to key posts in civilian and military departments, including ministries, departments and local offices. These appointments were made while presidential candidates had previously called on President Ghani to stop the decree and appointments on key posts at government departments.
President Ghani himself is one of the candidates for July 20 presidential polls. In less than five months, the presidential election is scheduled to be held across Afghanistan for the fourth time after US invasion of Afghanistan.
Under Article 61 of the Constitution, “The presidential term shall expire on 1st of Jawza of the 5th year after elections.”
Elections for the new president shall be held within 30 to 60 days prior to the end of the presidential term.
But so far this time has not come and, according to the Constitution, Ashraf Ghani has all his competence as the president but the argument is on appointments and dismissals by him in government departments; while, his rivals accuse that new appointments in government departments are nothing but political interference for the election, and President Ghani, as one of the candidates for the upcoming July 20 election, should not “morally” do that.
President Ghani from the day after he announced to run for this year’s presidential polls till now has appointed three new governors for Herat, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces that are both demographically large, economically and culturally rich.
President Ghani has recently appointed new acting ministries for Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC), Hajj and Religious Affairs and Interior Ministry (MoI).
On the Other hand, he also appointed new Kabul Mayor and Head of Afghan Red Crescent Society. Similarly, President Ghani has appointed three people at the key positions of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) during this period.
Former Advisor to President Ghani was appointed as new acting minister for Commerce and Industries, Adbul Hakeem Monib as new minister for Hajj and Religious Affairs, Hassan Banu Ghazanfar, sister of Yousef Ghazanfar, third vice President of Ashraf Ghani in the presidential election as head of the Afghan Red Crescent Society, Ahmad Jawad Peykar as head of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Mohammad Musa Alami, head of the Norm and Standard National Directorate, and Ahmadzaki Sarfaraz, have been appointed as New Mayor of Kabul.
During this time, new district governors have been appointed to a number of districts. In last two months, the President has also dismissed many government officials due to their links with other candidates and appointed trusted figures close to himself in different governmental positions.
The first victim of his electoral campaigns at the top government leadership, was Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, Second Deputy to CEO. He was dismissed by Ashraf Ghani due to Atmar’s presidential ticket where Mohaqiq will run as Second Vice President in upcoming polls.
Mohaqiq rejected President Ghani’s dismissal decree. He said that the decree was against the spirit of national unity and also against the terms of agreement that were agreed during the formation of National Unity Government (NUG). He argued that he was elected to his post by the vote of Afghan people not by the President Ghani, so President had no authority to dismiss him. The CEO Abdullah also supported Mohaqiq’s stance and insisted to continue his post till the end of NUG’s term.
In the meantime, Ghulam Nabi Farahi, Minister of Tourism, Sattar Saadat and Sardar Roshan, were also dismissed on the pretext of working with Hanif Atmar’s team.
Provincial governors of Nangarhar, Kandahar, Maidan Wardak, Paktia, Kunduz, Farah and Khost have been appointed for electoral purposes.
Matin Baig, the head of IDLG, is election campaigner for Ghani in the north and north-east provinces of the country and his spouse is also appointed as Afghan Envoy to UN who replaced Mahmod Saikal one of talented Afghan Diplomat.
Most of embassies and Afghan missions outside the country have been assigned to family members of a the government-run electoral team.
On the other hand, a significant percentage of Misrhano Jirga seats has provided the ground for electoral campaign by the president Ghani. He has appointed Fazal Hadi Muslimyar as Senate Member due to his support with Ghani Presidential ticket and also Mohammad Akbari one of candidates who had failed to gain votes in parliamentary elections is also appointed as Senate Member by President.
Erfan, the members of the Dawat e Islami Party, Gulalai Noor Safi, a former MP from Balkh and Kamil Baik Husseini, were also appointed as Members of the Senate.
Some sources also indicate that President Ghani, for the sake of the support of Abdul Rab rasol Sayyaf, has appointed Sayyaf’s nephew at the Afghan Embassy in Kuwait and paved the way for his son to win parliamentary election.
The biggest misuse of government’s post is the participation of Amrullah Saleh, who is nominated as First Vice President of Ghani’s team, at important government meetings and government decisions. Amrullah Saleh, currently, has no official government position, but he attends most of the meetings and also accompanied President Ghani in recent trip to Germany for Munich Summit.
Major concerns of Afghan election observers and transparency watchdogs are the use of government facilities by government officials for election campaign. President Ghani is not only campaigning in his provincial trips by misusing the government facilities but he is also planning to dismiss and appoint electoral campaigns teams in order to turn upcoming presidential election in his favor.
(Sahar News)

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