A member of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Sunday confirmed shortcoming in public awareness campaign ahead of September presidential elections in Afghanistan, saying that the “inattention” could be a major defect.
Sources have said that at least $23 million has been allocated for public awareness campaign on elections.
“There are no plans for public awareness plan and it has not been approved by the commission. It is a big defect and we are evaluating reasons behind inattention in this regard and we will fill the gap,” election commissioner Mohammad Abdullah said.
Elections observers said the problem is rooted in the “poor leadership” of the election management body which is already under public scrutiny in the wake of last year’s parliamentary elections marred by serious allegations of fraud and poll irregularities.
Observers accused the IEC of engaging in political bargaining and mismanagement in the process.
“Public awareness campaign is a major concern. Based on our findings, most of the people, particularly, election campaigns are not aware that when this process will be started, how many centers are there and where they are located,” said Naeem Ayubzada, head of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan, a Kabul-based electoral monitoring organization.
“They should hire employees for awareness campaign on [voter] registration, voting, and other processes,” said Sediqullah Tawhidi, member of the Special Commission on Reforming Elections.