Three former officials of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission on Tuesday criticized the United Nations for not laying a good foundation for the country’s elections despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent over the last 17 years.
According to the former election officials, the UN had the means to ensure a foundation for transparent and standard elections, but it did not do so, and Afghanistan is paying the price for it now.
“The United Nations was directly involved in its execution. If the foundation was good, the problems would not have emerged,” said the former head of the Independent Election Commission, Daud Najafi, who added: “Even now, the United Nations has an “expert role” within the Election Commission. Why doesn’t it clarify for the people what happened with Dermalog (a German private technology firm), and what has happened with Afghanistan’s elections?”
Another former official of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Zia Rafat, said the United Nations was preoccupied with contracts rather than holding a transparent election.
“This organization, like other international organizations, is caught up in corruption. It happens in two ways: First, it is part of the system. Second, expenditures are not done properly,” Rafat said.
The former head of the Independent Election Commission, Fazl Ahmad Manawi, said that some former government officials were not interested in holding a transparent election, and he suggested that they manipulated the UN:
“The international community’s resources for the elections have been used improperly and most of the expenses are through the international community—at the top is the UNDP (the UN Development Program),” Manawi said.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Tuesday responded to accusations of poor management of the elections—despite having millions of dollars of donor funds—in a statement to TOLOnews:
“Presidential elections in Afghanistan are run and managed by Afghan electoral authorities” and the “the UN is not running, managing nor observing the electoral process.”
The statement went on to say that UNAMA is aware of “various criticisms of the UN” and respects the “right of citizens to voice their views, even when the views may not be particularly well-founded.”