Afghan Youth Debates: Optimism About Elections

دری

A civil society activist in Kunduz province says people are generally optimistic about Afghanistan's coming election, an IWPR debate has heard.

Mohammad Naem Rahimi, director of the Majma Advocacy Association, told a December 5 meeting with students at Kunduz University in northeastern Afghanistan that he believed the war-weary nation understood how crucial April's vote was to establishing a more prosperous future.

"We are optimistic [about the election] because the people of Afghanistan have learned from their experiences over the past 12 years," he said. "In my view, the only major challenge to our elections is the security problem. We can have a sound election this time."

Rahimi told the debate that civil institutions had a crucial role to play in the success of the election, and urged organisations to work alongside the IEC to help monitor polling day and prevent fraud.

"Unless all segments of a society participate in the elections, their legitimacy will be undermined," he said. "We cannot claim an election is democratic if only a small number of people have participated.

"Civil society institutions must perform their duty and work alongside other pillars of the state like the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. They must help to give broad legitimacy to these elections."

As well as Rahimi, the panelists at the Kunduz University debate included religious scholar Maulavi Ashraf Tawhidyar; Hamidullah Baluch, deputy head of the Independent Election Commission in Kunduz province; and Ghulam Hussein Qorban, a spokesman for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Muzhda Zharf Yusufzai is a student at Kunduz University and an IWPR trainee.

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.

Muzhda Zharf Yusufzai is a student at Kunduz University and an IWPR trainee.

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.