The Women’s Councils and Civil Society Organisations have issued a statement calling for a swift and peaceful resolution to the election gridlock
“We, leaders of women’s councils and civil society organizations from 34 provinces of Afghanistan, come together to raise our collective call for immediate and peaceful resolution to the election gridlock that was created by the alleged cheating in favor of presidential candidate Asraf Ghani-Ahmadzai.
The prolonged lack of clarity on how the issues would be resolved has been causing anxiety and polarization among our people, both along political and ethnic lines. We therefore ask the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to immediately and continuously apprise the public on the actions being taken to address the cheating allegations and stop the worsening antipathy between the two presidential contenders and their followers. The IEC should admonish both parties to refrain from any actions that would aggravate the volatility of the situation. Furthermore, all efforts should be taken to ensure that the scheduled announcement of the election winner is done expeditiously. However, we would rather have a late announcement than receive a timely result that is tainted with irregularities. Thus, we support a thorough audit of the canvassing results, especially in the provinces afflicted by alleged wrongdoings.
To the next President of Afghanistan, we pin our hopes on you. We urge you to put priority on the following concerns in your governance agenda:
a) National reconciliation and unity – Reach out to as many sectors of the population as possible and enjoin them to rise above the negativities of the past election. The sooner healing and reconciliation are started, the faster we could start to confront the many challenges that have been without action for years;
b) Women’s empowerment and human rights – Clarify your strategy for promoting the status of women, including the strict implementation of the anti-EVAW decree; the thorough assessment of the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan and other national commitments on gender equality; and the re-education of society towards a culture that is respectful of women’s rights, contributions and potentials;
c) Engagement of civil society – Strengthen the roles of the civil society in governance affairs and support the strengthening of organizations of the minorities and disadvantaged sectors especially the widows, disabled, internally displaced people, released prisoners, victims of natural disasters and armed fighting, and the poorest among the poor;
d) Mining sector – Accelerate the development of the mining sector to achieve sustained economic growth and self-sufficiency. Create a multi-sector body to prevent corruption and misuse of the proceeds of the mining sector and ensure that mining ventures are done with appropriate attention to their potential negative impacts to the environment; and
e) Peace – Assess the impacts of the existing framework for national peace and reintegration, especially with the Taliban, towards ensuring that it is not done at the expense of justice, and returnees are mandatorily subjected to de-radicalization process.
We put so much hope in the election and worked hard to enjoin our citizens to cast their vote, believing in the promise of a better life that both candidates committed to deliver to the Afghan nation. The time to see the fulfilment of those promises begins now and we trust that our new President will not fail us this time.