With Afghans voting this Saturday for a new parliament, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) highlights the need for elections free from fraud, and encourages anyone seeing or suspecting fraud to file a complaint with the relevant Afghan authorities.
“All citizens should play an active, informed and constructive role in rooting out fraud. Afghans deserve elections that are inclusive, credible, transparent and free from any activity that could taint the results,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
UNAMA in a statement said the UN Mission notes that the Afghan electoral authorities have put in place numerous anti-fraud measures to detect fraud. The introduction, for example, of a voting system in which voters can only cast their ballot at a single polling station at which they are registered is arguably the most significant step taken towards mitigating fraud. The planned implementation of a biometric voter verification system should also contribute to deter and identify fraud.
The statement further added that candidates also bear a major responsibility to prevent fraud and have an obligation to ensure that their supporters do not commit fraud in their name.
“Fraud amounts to stealing the vote of a fellow Afghan citizen. This is unacceptable,” Yamamoto said. “Fraud is not in the interests of candidates; they will be associated with stealing votes and will have the credibility of their support undermined, so supporters should be clearly warned against this by the candidates themselves. No Afghan should tolerate fraud.”
Any citizen suspecting or witnessing fraud has a civic obligation to file a complaint with the relevant Afghan authorities, especially the Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). As another new fraud mitigation measure, ECC officials will be present in every polling centre. Where credible allegations are made, Afghan law enforcement agencies should investigate expeditiously and, where appropriate, detain and prosecute those responsible.
The Mission also notes that the presence of up to 400,000 observers and candidates’ agents, as well as political parties monitors, at the polling centres is crucial to ensure the transparency of the elections, and calls on observer organisations, political parties, and campaigns to play an active, informed and constructive role in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process.
Afghanistan is slated to hold parliamentary elections on 20 October.