Paktya leaders call for communities to participate in upcoming elections

28 Aug 2018

Paktya leaders call for communities to participate in upcoming elections

GARDEZ - The active participation of communities in the upcoming elections is crucial for building a more peaceful and stable country, said participants gathered at a UN-backed event in the south-eastern province of Paktya.

At the symposium in Paktya’s capital city of Gardez, civil society members, women’s rights advocates, electoral officials and government representatives underlined the importance of communities across the country, along with all political parties, exercising their civic duty to make the upcoming elections inclusive and credible.

The IEC’s outreach officer in Paktya, Sher Ali Faizi, spoke at the event about the Commission’s work to deliver a successful election, and urged Paktya community leaders to help ensure a credible and peaceful polling process.

“Voting centres will be available for males and females, and we will provide opportunities for the political parties and candidates to send their representatives and observers to strictly monitor the election day voting process,” said Faizi.

Following the overview of the electoral process offered by Faizi, the symposium’s participants engaged in discussion about the elections and made several joint recommendations to increase voter turnout and ensure safety and security on elections day.

Asil Zazai, the director of local media outlet Jond Radio, underlined the importance of providing the public with accurate information about the elections, which he called the national obligation of all Afghans.

“By providing accurate information about the process, the media can encourage eligible people to cast their ballot when elections day arrives,” said Zazai, noting that Jond Radio has been broadcasting programmes about the electoral process.

Qari Khowajadine, a member of Gardez’s council of religious scholars, offered similar views, and added that religious leaders should play a productive role in the elections. “I’ve asked religious scholars to speak in favour of elections and encourage people to participate,” he said.

Ahmadullah Ahmadi, head of a youth advocacy group in Gardez, explained how he has had several meetings with elders and other community leaders in Gardez to encourage them to urge their communities to actively participate in the elections.

“Conducting inclusive and credible elections is the foundation for the democratic process in a country,” he said.

The event, organized by UNAMA’s Gardez regional office, was recorded by Radio Jond and the provincial branch of Afghanistan’s state-run RTA network, and later broadcast to an estimated audience of 800,000 people in and around the provincial capital.

The United Nations, with other international organizations, is actively supporting Afghanistan’s electoral process, recognizing that the success and the credibility of elections is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders, including political parties, media, civil society and voters.