Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grant Kippen On The Slow And Steady Struggle For Afghan Democracy.

“Our decisions are not driven by issues by tribe, ethnicity or language, but only by law.” - Fazel Ahmad Manawi, Chairman of Afghanistan's Independent Elections Commission.

Thanks to our good friend Andrew Potter at Macleans Magazine, you can read an assessment of recent developments in the struggle for Afghan democracy by Manawi's predecessor, Grant Kippen, who served as chairman of Afghanistan's IEC in 2009 and 2005:

Afghans should take pride in the words of Chairman Manawi and the accomplishments of the IEC this year for their actions signal renewed hope for the long-term prospects of the electoral process and representative democracy in their country. Donors should also pause to reflect on this achievement knowing that against the backdrop of the myriad challenges facing Afghanistan some positive progress is taking place. It is not all doom and gloom in the country.

. . . Electoral reform is desperately needed in Afghanistan in order to address the significant shortcomings that played out so publicly in the 2009 and 2010 elections. This should be the first priority of the incoming Parliament (Wolesi Jirga) and the international community needs do everything it can to ensure that the mistakes made between the 2005 and 2009 elections are not repeated.

Now is the precisely the time for Canada to renew and redouble our efforts in this area by working with Afghans as they continue to build their nascent democracy. Let’s use the momentum that the IEC has created so that the next elections are less fraudulent, more inclusive, credible and transparent than has been the case to date. . .

This is exactly what Canada should be concentrating on in Afghanistan. We've got the decision about the Canadian Forces' troop-training role behind us. Canada's non-military contribution should now focus on building up the embryonic institutions of Afghan democracy - the best ways to do that should be where the Canadian debates should focus, in the streets, in the news media, and in Pariament. But to have that debate fully and honesty, Canadians will need to openly confront some unwelcome truths about fraud, duplicity and corruption in Afghanistan, and in Canada.

In Afghanistan: Khomeinist agents secretly poured millions of euro into the recent Afghan parliamentary elections to stack the lower house with their favoured candidates. “They were spending so much money, they literally went to people with bags of it. Very ordinary candidates they have paid $30,000 and they have paid some lots more. It was going to the north, to the south, to the east even. It had an impact.”

In Canada: Khomeinist front groups, propagandists and apologists have effectively captured the so-called "anti-war" movement, from the leadership of the Toronto Stop The War Coalition to the umbrella Canadian Peace Alliance, turning it into their primary organizational vehicle in this country. It's long past time we started paying attention.

More on Grant Kippen here and here.


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