KABUL (Pajhwok): Some presidential candidates have acted against the election campaign rules by using harsh and abusive language against their rivals instead of deliberating upon their plans and priorities after winning the polls, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.
The election campaign began on July 28 and would continue until September 25.
Lair, killer, mad, Chinaki Paz (a cook of special rice dish called Chinaki), Chelak Andaz (an individual who interrupts and meddles in the affairs of others), Ashrar (one who spreads evil), traitor, brainless, fraud, cheater and others were words used by election candidates against each other during their campaign gatherings.
Presidential hopefuls uttered such words against the Election Law and Principles for Election Candidates Behavior that stresses preservation of dignity and honor of candidates.
Article 76, clause last of the Election Law says: “The method of electoral campaigns will be regulated through a separate procedure.”
In addition, part A of Principles for Candidates Behavior, announced by the Independent Election Commission (IEC), stresses respect for election rules and regulations, personalities, principle of sincerity, political freedom in the limits of laws.
Part B of the Principles for Candidates Behavior stresses over: “Prohibition of collective campaign in public places, prohibition of campaign against others, prohibition of spreading horror and fear against others, prohibition of encouraging supporters to act illegally against others, prohibition of election campaign in military places. ”
At the end, it says: “All the countrymen and women, media outlets and election watchdogs are requested to inform the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) and register their complaints in case of violation of rules by the candidates so that the violators are dealt with accordingly. Political parties and rival election candidates could register their complaints with supportive documents in central and provincial IECC officers.”
Election candidates who campaigned against principles:
Mohammad Hakim Torsan, a presidential candidate “who believes in action than slogans” as his team’s motto since the time of his registration as a presidential candidate, used harsh language against President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.
At the launch of his election campaign, he told 1TV: “If I won the election, I will even not get the CEO and presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah and President and Presidential Candidate Ashraf Ghani as trainees for Chainaki Paz — a cook who prepares special rice dish called Chinaki.”
On July 22, he told his election campaign gathering that if he succeeded, he would put the current and former government officials on trial.
Torsan in his election gathering on August 29 told President Ashraf Ghani: “If you think this time you will win by fraud, you will take this dream to your grave because the people are clever now and they will never be deceived by your lies.”
Referring to peace talks, he said: “When Ghani is asked where the peace talks have reached? He acts like mad people and says I don’t know anything while he is aware of all the issues and is deceiving the poor nation.”
It was not only Torsan who used harsh language against his election rival, but some other candidates also went after their rivals during their election campaigns.
Mohammad Ibrahim Alkozai, another presidential candidate and leader of Promise and Action Team, while referring to a suicide bombing against a crowd and security forces, said: “I want to call on the Supreme Court of Afghanistan that President Ghani is a killer. He should be imprisoned for life. He can’t be the leader of the people of Afghanistan because he fueled differences between Tajik and Pashtuns. I can’t ignore his disastrous acts.”
Syed Noorullah Jalili, a presidential candidate and head of Mother and Country Team, while not mentioning any candidate’s name, said: “These traitors were part of government in the past 18 years. These traitors again shamelessly nominated themselves. Don’t allow these dual nationality holders to rule over you again.”
“We should not lie to our people. If something was good today, Ashraf Ghani would have been the most popular person in this country,” he said.
“In the past ten years, he lied to us, he made many promises but honored none. Ghani said no Afghan is preferred over another Afghan, we observed it was a lie, he said he would improve the livelihood of Afghans, it proved a lie. He said he would improve trade, but all companies left the country and offered contracts to Turkish and foreign companies. He pledged to implement Islamic morality but you can hear about vulgarity,” he maintained.
But this is not only Jalili who dubbed Ghani as a liar but other candidates also leveled similar accusations.
Dr. Abdullah, the leader of Stability and Partnership team in the upcoming presidential polls, also termed Ashraf Ghani as a liar and said Ghani did not honour his promises.
In his election gathering, Abdullah mocked his rival and said: “Mr. Ghani traveled to Saudi Arabia and prayed for the betterment of Afghanistan. I hope like his earlier trips to Saudi Arabia, he would not turn his back to Kaaba and pray for Afghanistan but would turn his face to Kaaba and pray.”
In another gathering, the CEO mocked Ghani and his first vice presidential candidate Amrullah Saleh and said: “This team Stability and Partnership is not the one, in which the first vice president nominee was asked why did you join them, he replayed as the presidential candidate is an elderly person, he will die after three months and I will become the president.”
President Ghani and his State Makers election team also verbally attacked other candidates. Ghani in his television interview said: “The Chief Executive Office has turned out to be a Chelak Andas (an instrument or individual often interrupting and meddling in others affairs).”
Some election candidates not only in their election speeches but also on their social media networks attacked their rivals and used harsh and aggressive language.
Use of harsh and aggressive language on social media:
Mohammad Omar Daudzai, head of President Ashraf Ghani’s election campaign team on his Facebook page wrote about Rahmatullah Nabil and Abdullah: “Share your plans with the people and stay away from writing letters to Tokham Jangi — pelting boiled eggs with at each other — something mostly done by free people.”
Another social media post of State Maker team said: “Unsuccessful candidates with no agenda shall sing and dance on stage instead of backbiting and accusations. This will attract public greatly. People will carefully decide this time, they don’t trust warlords, evil spreaders even if they wear the most expensive dress they are brainless and full of virus.”
Another post of State Maker team wrote: “Political campaign is you right, instead of backbiting and meaningless statements, explain your programs to people. They know you very well, there is no need to talk about your sincerity and pledges.’”
Another Facebook post of the State Maker team uploads the jihad time photo of Abdullah and writes: “Respectable candidates and deals on public vote.” Another post says: “Vote to criminals means destruction of future.”
Also a video clip being circulated in social media regarding President Ghani while campaigning in Herat province: “I broke plastic wings of powerful individuals.”
Gen. Dostum during an election gathering in Shiberghan, said: “Ashraf Ghani! These are not plastic wings that you will break them. Are you capable to break them?”
Dostum, the supporter of Stability and Partnership team, in response to Ashraf Ghani’s election slogan “Oh! My country I will make you” wrote: “Don’t be deceived by the slogan, it is not a State Maker team, it is a coffin maker team and is deceiving the masses.”
Presidential Advisor Shah Hussian Murtazavi on his Facebook page referred to Stability and Partnership team and joked: “Instead of death, let’s think about life, instead of burial, let’s think about building and instead of insult, let’s debate.”
Earlier Mohaqiq on his Facebook page warned Murtazavi and wrote: “An individual told me why you cracks jokes and jokes. I told him, I will bury you with these jokes.’’
Common people termed such campaigns as indecent and said the use of such words shatter people’s trust in politicians.
Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi, a former top interior ministry official, on his twitter wrote: “The secrecy of words should be respected during campaign and harsh and disrespectful words that give confidence to the enemy shall be avoided during campaign.”
Farozan, a resident of Kabul, said: “Do your campaign, but strictly avoid bad things to others. The enemy will get strengthen from accusing one another. Candidates should only talk about their positive aspects and programs during election gatherings. Saying bad things against Ashraf Ghani is boring, please say something new.”
Ahmad Zia Rahimzai, writer and journalist, said election campaign was underway in Afghanistan with old traditional manners. Election candidates have little innovation and talk little about their future programs.
“Instead of explaining their manifestos, candidates mock other rivals in their gatherings. Disrespect and insult is something against humanity and democratic principles.”
A number of experts believe that most of presidential candidates have so far failed to make the best use of their campaigns if present their plans to woo voters over the past one month. Most of them only traded blame.
Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) head Yousuf Rashid told Pajhwok Afghan News that the runners should unveil their future plans and participate in debates and gatherings to show the masses their intellectual prowess and political vision,
“Unfortunately, in our country, there is still no proper definition of the election campaign and most of the leading runners have failed to announce their plans to the public. This is very big weakness,” he remarked.
Most of the wannabes and their supporters used harsh and insulting words against their rivals. At times, they raise non-issues and trade allegations without solid evidence, a denigrating practice spurned by the community and a large number of people, Yousaf said.
He recalled the allegation by supporters of one candidate at a gathering that there some circles in the Presidential Palace were involved prostitution — a claim that hurt the reputation of women working in President Ghani’s office,
He asked the two election commissions to register such abusive things and dealt in accordance with the law with the people leveling wild allegations against their opponents.
“People don’t know who theu should to vote for because the candidates have talked less about their plans at election rallies,” he added.
Shahla Farid, a teacher at the Kabul University, said: “I have been following the election campaign to know which candidate has good plans and deserves my vote. Unfortunately, most runners are mocking, humiliating and insulting one another at campaign gatherings.
“Lack of respect is a wrong practice, while should be banned as and it is a violation of the law. Some respected runners, however, are acting against election riles,” she lamented.
Shahla Farid urged both IEC and IECC should monitor the campaigns seriously and should not allow candidates to violate Islamic principles and political ethics.
Election bodies’ views:
Mohammad Rafiq Sidiqi, the IECC media committee head, admitted such cases were yet to be registered. “I urge all citizens and the media to share election law violations with IECC,” he said.
Humiliating exchanges were not only a clear violation of the law but also a question of dignity. Measures must be taken to curb the unwanted practice,” he stressed.
According to Article 27 of the Election Law, those violating their rivals’ right to dignity be brought to justice. He confirmed such a complaint had not been filed yet with the commission.
Mohammad Qasir Ilyas, the IECC spokesman, held a similar view.
Comments from election teams:
Presidential runner Mohammad Hakim Torsan said about his remarks against President Ghani and CEO Abdullah: “I have not yet spoken much about them. Look at the situation of the people; they have done nothing for the masses.”
He charged: “They (Ghani and Abdullah) have forced us to use such words against them and the pain of our people forced me into making such statements. Otherwise I have no enmity with them.”
Faridoon Khwazun, speaking for the Stability and Consultation team led by the CEO, insisted: “We have been respecting all principles and rules. We respect all candidates, including President Ashraf Ghani and never want to insult anyone.”
Asked about CEO Abdullah’s statement at a campaign meeting that he hoped Ghani would keep his back away during hajj virtue, he said: “It was just an election joke. Ghani had taken a selfie while performing the ritual last year.”
Mohammad Shafiq Khwati, speaking for the State-Maker, said his team highlighted its plans and priorities in most of campaign events.
He added the State Maker team always tried to keep the dignity of individuals and not to insult any candidate. But their team was being insulted by some candidates, he charged.
When asked that Ghani, in an interview, called the CEO office an “interference office”, he replied they had been insulted many times but the president’s words were not that slighting
Najibullah Manawi, spokesman for the Mother and Homeland team, said that they were respecting all candidates.
He branded President Ghani a liar: “It was the right of every candidate to evaluate the work of President Ghani. Our assessment is that Ghani has not kept his promises because the people of Afghanistan still face difficulties.”
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