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Feature Stories - September 26, 2019

False promises: Ghani, Abdullah lose supporters

KABUL (Pajhwok):  President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Dr. Abdullah have lost a number of important supporters, including former campaign heads, due to their failed promises in the 2014 electioneering. Their former allies have now joined the opposition.

Abdullah supporters join Ghani:

Prof. Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf, Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, Amarullah Saleh, Gul Agha Sherzai, Abdul Hadi Arghanidwal, Eng. Mohammad Khan, Zalmay Rasool, Mirwais Yasini, Faridoon Mohmand, Eng. Qarar, Amanullah Gozar, Haji Amanullah Khairi, Maulana Farid, Ahmad Ali Hazrat, Nangarhar provincial council chairman, and Javed Faisal were big supporters of Abdullah in the 2014 presidential election.

But now they have announced lending support to the State Builder electoral team led by President Ashraf Ghani. With the presidential election set for Saturday, the change of loyalties is seen as a setback for the CEO.

Dr. Hadid, the Balkh provincial council chairman and a number of Wolesi Jirga, Atta Mohammad Noor and his supporters have also joined the Ghani camp. In the previous vote, they stoutly backed Abdullah.

Ghani backers defect to Abdullah:

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, Haji Din Mohammad, Karim Khalili, Eng. Waheedullah Sabawoon, Haji Habibullah Ahmadzai, Maulvi Qalamuddin, Omar Zakhilwal, Anwarul Haq Ahadi, Hamayoon Hamayoon, Zahir Qadir, Syed Mansoor Naderi and Zmarai Ahmadzai were supporters of Ashraf Ghani in the 2014 presidential ballot. But now they have vowed to support the Stability and Partnership team led by Abdullah.

Impartial figures:

Former president Hamid Karzai, Mohammad Hnif Atmar, who opted out of the presidential election a few days ago, Atta Mohammad Noor, former Balkh governor, Yunus Qanuni, Ismail Khan, Hektmat Karzai, Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani and Hazrat Ali have said they will stay neutral.

Experts:

Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political commentator, says he knows a number of figures, who previously supported Ghani, have announced their support for the ‘Stability and Partnership electoral team. He says some people who supported Abdullah in the past have now joined the Ghani camp.

He accused the two leading candidates of failing to keep the promises they had held out to their supporters. Both leaders failed to give allies the promised posts, he claimed. As a result, their supporters have changed loyalties in the 2019 presidential election.

Haqyar added neither Ghani nor Abdullah had any fundamental plans to address key economic, livestock, peace and security issues. This failure is another reason for their supporters partying the ways and joining the rival camp.

He said some supporters of Ghani had joined Abdullah’s team because the president was unable to implement his promises. Abdullah is faced with a similar situation and a number of his supporters have swung behind Ghani.

Saifuddin Sehoon, another political observer, agreed such figures have divided into two categories and the major reason was supporters of one team, has another team.

He said, “The first group people had personal demands who did not appoint their family members on high posts during the past five years thus joined the opposition side this time.”

He said the second group’s people no longer had any trust in the candidates who could not honour their promises or plans.

Why some former strong supporters of Ashraf Ghani are currently his fierce oppositions? 

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum leader of of Hizb-i-Jumbish Mili Afghanistan was First Vice-President in Ashraf Ghani electoral team in back 2014 and widely campaign for Ghani in northern part of the country.

According to a video clip on Tolo TV, Dostum alleged in the previous presidential campaign “Dr. Abdullah is a Tajik. Whatever he may be, he is an incapable person with a negative reputation among my people.”

Where differences erupted:

Differences between Dostum and Ghani surfaced after the VP was accused of ordering his loyalists to abduct, beat and rape a political opponent named Ahmad Ishchi in Shiberghan in 2015.

The Junbish-i-Islami Afghanistan leader quietly left Kabul for Turkey after being accused of rape and torture by Ishchi. Dostum returned to the country and was welcomed at a special ceremony at the Kabul Airport after spending 14 months in Turkey.

Junbish-i-Islami spokesman:

Bashir Ahmad Tanij, spokesman for Dostum’s party, explained why the ex-VP had joined the Stability and Consultation team. He told Pajhwok Afghan News: “It is clear President Ghani did not jeep the promises he had made in the previous election campaign. Ghani cares only about himself. Therefore, we have parted way with him.”

Eng. Wahidullah Sabawoon, leader of the Hezb-i-Islami Naween Afghanistan and also advisor to the president, jointed Abdullah’s team recently.

He said: “We supported President Ghani in the previous election because we thought he is educated, not involved in the civil war, has good plans and will resolve Afghanistan’s problems. Unfortunately, the security situation has deteriorated and poverty increased. Je has not kept even one of his promises.

“Another reason is that Ghani is not working for national unity, does not listen to the advice of people around him and many of his actions prompted his supporters to leave him high and dry,” he added.

Sabawoon claimed Omar Zakhilwal, Maulvi Din Mohammad, Qalamuddin, Karim Khalili, Mansour Naderi and dozens of others had ditched Ghani.

In a video clip, State Builder’s campaign chief and his deputies in Jawzjan announced quitting the electoral team and joining the Stability and Consultation ticket.

By the same token, Abdullah’s supporters have also walked on him for different reasons. Maulana Abdul Fareed, a member of the Jamiat-i-Islami Afghanistan, was a big supporter of the CEO in the 2014 election. But he recently announced support for the State Builder team.

Fareed said: “One of the good things Ghani has is his belief in democracy. If anyone can change his ways, I too have changed my way. This is the beauty of democracy.”

About parting ways with Abdullah, Fareed said: “Actually, I was unemployed. I had no office but only collected salary.” He added currently he was senior member of State Builder team.

Amrullah Saleh was also a strong supporter of Abdullah but currently he is the deputy head of the State Builder team. He took great pains to defend his decision.

At a campaign rally in northeastern Badakhshan province, he said: “Vote for the State Builder that has good plans. Do not vote for a team that has always been joking.”

Electiral team spokesmen’s response:

Syed Baqir Kazimi, spokesmen for the State Builder, told Pajhwok: “Naturally, it is democracy and anyone can support his/her favorite team. This freedom of choice is a democratic principle.” His team has been trying to win as many supporters as possible.

Regarding the failure of some programmes, he acknowledged some of their plans had not been executed. “Therefore, we have announced implementing our unfinished agenda. We want the nation to give us a chance to implement all our plans in the next five years.”

He alleged some of the president’s promises could not be implemented because of intervention from Chief Executive Officer Abdullah.

Fraidoon Khwazoon, spokesman for Stability and Consultation team, said: “On line with democratic norms, everybody reserves the right to choose one’s way. We respect our previous supporters who are currently with the State Builder, We hope they don’t regret their decision.”

He claimed Dr. Abdullah had made no promises in the 2014 presidential election campaign in his personal capacity. About the non-implementation of promises made by Abdullah, he insisted such claims were baseless.

Zarghona salehi

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