Govt officers not allowed to participate in electioneering even out of duty
Feature Stories - September 9, 2019

Govt officers not allowed to participate in electioneering even out of duty

KABUL (Pajhwok): Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) say procedures of the election commissions totally restrict government officers’ presence in election campaigns.

Despite the participation of government officials in election campaigns is banned based on electoral law and procedures, Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC) recently asked civil services officers of the government not to work or use government resources in favor or against any candidate during their official time.

According to the electoral law, no government worker is allowed to work in favor or against any presidential candidates, but a number of government officers appear in electioneering programs and support or propagate against some specific candidates on social media.

Electioneering bill:

According to the fifth article of the election campaigns bill, candidates, political parties and political coalitions should not pave the ground for participation of military officials, judges, prosecutors and other government workers.

The article seven of the bill asked government officials and workers not to campaign in favor or against any candidates, political parties and political coalitions during electioneering of candidates. They are also restricted from participating in election campaign gatherings.

Electoral law:

According to the article 98 of the electoral law, any type of campaigns in favor or against any candidates by government workers and using government resources in electioneering programs are violations and the offender is fined from 10,000 Afghanis to 80,000 Afghanis.

Article 10 of the electoral law says, “No one can to interfere directly or indirectly in election affairs or use any resources of the government in favor or against any candidates, equal use of government resources and facilities are allowed in favor of all candidates according to the law which is an exception,”

Election watchdogs:

Yousuf Rashid, head of Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FFEFA) said that government officers had some political and civil rights the same as other citizens of the country.

About IARCSC’s decision regarding government officer’s engagement in election campaigns, he said, “The problem with this decision is that government departments do not track who and where their officers attend election events, it would had been better if they made the decision in coordination with election commissions,”

Election Commissions:

The IEC refrained from commenting on the statement of the IARCSC in which the employees of government had been stopped from participation in the election campaigns of candidates.

But Mohammad Qasim Ilyasi, deputy spokesman of the Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC) said that in line to the rules and regulations of the election bodies a government official has no right to do campaign in the favour or against any candidate.

When asked that if the government employee has the right to participate in election campaign after his official time he said: “The law clearly stated that government employee cannot take part in election campaign.”

Exercising its authority, the IEC has fined Deputy Presidential Spokesman Shah Hussain Murtazavi 15,000 Afs and deprived him from casting vote in upcoming presidential election on over misuse of authority and his involvement in election campaign in the favour of President Ashraf Ghani.

The decision was taken by the IEC Kabul office on September 2, in compliance to article, 7, 5 and 98 of the election law.


Presidential Decree

Last year the president issued a decree in which neutrality in elections was stress specially while being a government employee. The decree stressed the need for being neutral in election campaign, not to use government position to favour any candidate or use of government resources in the interest of one and against another. The decree, however, stressed that government machinery could be used but if equal opportunities provided to all.

The president last year ahead of the Wolesi Jirga polls asked all government employees, members of the parliament and judiciary not to interfere in the election related matters.

Reaction of election teams:

Javid Faisal, spokesman of the State Maker team headed by President Ashraf Ghani, told Pajhwok Afghan News: “Our team has chalked out a plan and decided not to include government employees in campaign, if anybody from government take part in election the IECC should act against them in line to the law,” he said.

“We want the media and other watchdogs to record scenes if they could find government employees taking part in campaign,” he said.

FaridonKhwazon, spokesman for the Stability and Consolidation team lead by Abdullah said: “”No government employee took part in campaign and they were committed to all election rules and regulations,” he said.

He demanded all other election teams to remain committed to the election rules and refrain from violating them.

Azizullah Hamdard

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