According to some classified papers obtained by TOLOnews, three separate letters have been sent to the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan (IARCSC) with requests to hire a deputy secretariat for the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
The independent election observers believe that the hiring process of the employees is one of the key reasons for discord between the chairperson, members, and head of the IEC secretariat.
Observers claim a member of the IEC had physically attacked the leader of the commission’s IT department, and had made disparaging remarks, warning that if the commission does not take steps to mend its internal issues, the credibility of the election will be in jeopardy.
According to reports, the post of deputy head of the IEC for finance and administration, which is currently headed by Abdul Ahad Rishtya, is the main source of tension between members of the IEC and its secretariat.
Mr. Rishtya has held the post for one year.
According to information in the documents, on July 28 the IEC chairperson Hawa Alam Nuristani issued a formation notification asking the IARCSC to process the post of deputy head of the IEC’s secretariat. But Esmatullah Mal, the deputy head of the IEC, and the head of the IEC secretariat, in separate letters to the IARCSC, asked the body to postpone the process of hiring a new person for this post until the end of the presidential election.
“There is a very unstable situation in the election commission. A serious crack has been made between the commission’s leadership and the secretariat. The secretariat works in a manner that is not responsible to anyone, and it does not take directions from anyone. This situation can pose a very serious threat to the election,” said former IEC chief Fazel Ahmad Manavi.
The election monitoring organizations have said that members of the election commission are working for their personal interests rather than working to manage the elections.
“The leaks that have been made indicate that there is helplessness in the institution and there is no capacity to overcome the internal issues or find a logical way to do it,” said Mohammad Yousuf Rashid, head of the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA).
“We are concerned--we are aware of all of these issues. The rivalries and the war which is going on between the commissioners and the secretariat should be avoided or else the organization itself will attract suspicion. They shouldn’t sacrifice the process, and a transparent election,” said Mohammad Naeem Ayoubzada, head of the Free and Fair Election Forum of Afghanistan (FEFA).
At the moment, members of the election commission face severe criticism by the Afghan public and by observers. A major accusation is that the commission has failed to bring the necessary changes to their working procedures to ensure that the election is credible.
Observers have suggested that the presidential election be delayed for twenty days to resolve these issues.