Former chairman of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) Najibullah Ahmadzai on Thursday accused the Presidential Palace of making illegal demands on the election management body and said that the Presidential Palace wants to manipulate the next elections.
“Independent election commission was asked to (conduct) illegitimate work, personal demands were made including the manipulation of the elections,” said Ahmadzai.
But the Presidential Palace (ARG) on Thursday said government’s decision to fire Ahmadzai was a positive move.
Ahmadzai also accused some members of the IEC of having political and ethnic affiliations.
This comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani fired his own hand-picked Independent Election Commission (IEC) chairman despite being only nine months away from scheduled parliamentary and district council elections
The news broke on Wednesday night after the Presidential Palace released a presidential decree calling for a replacement to be found for Ahmadzai.
“On the basis of the decision dated 21 Aqrab (12 November) and the demands of the Independent Election Commission about the dismissal of Najibullah Ahmadzai from the membership of the commission, it is hereby directed that the concerned institutions introduce new candidates to fill the vacant post of one of the commission members,” a presidential decree issued from the presidential palace reads.
“Mr. Ahmadzai was fired on the basis of the decision of the independent election commission, the presidential palace has asked the responsible institutions to introduce a new list of candidates to pick one person from amongst them. The elections are a nation process, therefore the presidential palace wants the process to be organized on time and in transparent manner,” said president Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi.
Meanwhile, Ahmadzai said one of the reasons that led to his sacking is that he never bowed to the illegal demands of the Presidential Palace.
In addition, Fazel Ahmad Manavi, former chairman of the IEC, has said government tries to appoint weak individuals in the structure of the election commission.
“Election is something different from governance, if there are weak individuals who do not have the ability to commit, then they cannot do anything, now they have realized their mistake, I hope that they (IEC officials) act better,” he said.
On October 22, the Head of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) fired five of its members for a range of indiscretions including manipulating attendance records, ignoring a presidential decree, not doing their work and administration violations, IECC said in a letter sent to the media.
This was followed by document, seen by TOLOnews a few days ago, where five commissioners from the Independent Election Commission (IEC) called for Ahmadzai to be fired over a range of issues including poor performance and misuse of authority.
According to the document, the commissioners blasted Ahmadzai for his poor management skills and warned that if he stayed on as head of the commission, the election process would not move forward as planned.