Political Landscape

Elections 2014 (36): Some key documents


As an annex to AAN’s election reporting, please find below the text of two letters that the Abdullah camp sent to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on 25 June 2014, as well as the IEC’s answer the next day (annex 1) and the transcript to some of the main recordings that have been released by the Abdullah camp, indicating a possible direct involvement of senior IEC, government and security officials in organised electoral fraud (annex 2).

ANNEX I

Abdullah’s letter to the IEC, dated 25 June 2014

To the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan

The Reforms and Convergence Team is sharing the following points regarding the second round of the presidential election. We are very unfortunate for massive fraud happened in the second round of election. We believe that with the removal of one of the key personal who committed the systematic fraud, and with a strong will and using its professional capacity, the IEC can investigate the systematic fraud.

The following legitimate demands, which are in accordance with the laws, past practices and internationally accepted standards, are presented to IEC.

In our view, these points constructed the massive fraud in the second round of the election:

  • The opening of imaginary polling centres
  • The opening of additional and unnecessary polling stations and polling centres in remote, insecure and uncontrollable areas
  • Imbalance in the allocation of polling centres and the sending of ballot papers and the misuse of this
  • Not taking into account the population census, the number of voters and the level of participation
  • Removal of IEC employees without reason and recruitment of new employees who support one specific camp
  • Sending ballot papers under the guise of contingency to certain provinces and ordering the use of all of them in an illegal way
  • Not allowing observers and monitors on election day to observe in certain areas and not requiring the observers’ presence and signatures
  • Pre and post-election day ballot box stuffing
  • Absence of [polling station] journals and [lists of] voter cards numbers, or inaccurate voter cards numbers, in some of the polling centres
  • Exaggerating the level of turnout in the election’s second round
  • Sending additional ballot papers from the IEC HQs in contradiction to its own polities
  • Limiting the number of ballot papers in crowded urban areas and sending insufficient contingency ballot papers at the end of election day
  • And other issues that have been shared to those responsible during election day.

Legal and practical solutions for the revival of the election’s legitimacy

In our opinion the following legal and practical solutions for the revival of the election’s legitimacy must be implemented:

1. The former head of the IEC Secretariat was directly involved in the organised fraud and tried to engineer the fraud in the run-off in favour of a specific candidate. Based on our view, there are a couple of provinces where the vote was specifically engineered. Therefore, we suggest the prosecution of former head of the IEC Secretariat for national treason, and the re-conduct of the election in those provinces that have been criticized by either of the electoral teams and where massive fraud happened for either candidate.

2. Among the measures that the former head of the IEC Secretariat implemented to allow massive fraud, the following two specifically facilitated the fraud:

  • Creation of additional polling stations in different areas in the second round in order to commit fraud
  • Creation of contingency polling stations to commit fraud

Therefore, all votes from the additional polling stations and the contingency polling stations should be removed from the vote counting process and invalidated.

3. In the second instance, both camps should identify the polling centres that they consider suspicious. All these polling centres should be audited under the direct observation of authorised candidates representatives, observers and monitors. The following points should be considered when the audit is performed:

  • The checklist with the “seventeen indicators” that was used in the past, should be used as criteria for the audit
  • The presence of observers from both candidates during the audit is obligatory
  • New auditors should be hired
  • National and international monitors and observers should be present during the whole audit process
  • The employees involved on the audit should be trained

4. The new head of the IEC Secretariat should be hired with the agreement of both camps

5. In order to bring transparency to the process, one special representative from both camps should be included in the process and be present during all proceedings and decisions taken

6. After implementation of this plan, a new mechanism should be agreed for the better handling of the electoral complaints by the IECC.

Conditional on the acceptance of these solutions to revive the legitimacy of the elections, the Reform and Convergence team will restart its cooperation with the IEC.

Copy to the UN

Regards,

Haji Nasrullah Baryalai Arsalai

Head of the central campaign team

 

Abdullah’s ‘technical’ letter to the IEC

To the leadership of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan

To revive the legitimacy of the presidential election of June 14, to restore its fairness and for more study and research of the widespread fraud which took place in this process, the Reform and Convergence electoral team needs the following information and explanations:

  1. The total number of ballot papers that were sent to the provinces for the June 14 election (with indication of their serial numbers or barcodes)
  2. The explanation for the (total) number of used and spoiled ballot papers (with indication of their serial numbers or barcodes)
  3. The list of unused and remained ballot papers of the June 14 election (with indication of their serial numbers or barcodes)
  4. The (total) number of existing ballot papers in the IEC’s HQ and its provincial offices (with indication of their serial numbers or barcodes)

It worth mentioning that the information on the ballot papers’ serial number and characteristic with indication of its polling centres, has been requested from the IEC earlier, but still we did not receive any response.

Therefore, considering the sensitivity of the issue, we repeatedly insist to send the above mentioned information very soon to this team and make us thankful.

Regards,

Haji Nasrullah Baryalai Arsalai

Head of the Reform and Convergence campaign team

 

Response from the IEC (1179) dated 25 June 2014

To Dr.  Abdullah’s Campaign Team

We are happy to receive the Reforms and Convergence team’s concerns with regards to the second round of the presidential election. The IEC would like to assure you that the IEC and its members will take every step according to the valid laws and regulations to answer to your questions, complaints and objections which have been addressed to the commission, as is our duty in open political atmosphere and national obligation.

Therefore, I would like to provide you the required and comprehensive answers to your questions as follows:

1.     Re-conducting of elections in some provinces of the country

According to the provision in article 77 of the electoral law, “If any member of the Wolesi Jirga, provincial council, district council, village council or municipality is killed, the election will be re-held on the level of the respective constituency, provided the remaining term of office is at least one year. If a mayor is killed, the election will be held on the relevant constituency level.” In such a case, the IEC may hold the election for the second time. However, the re-conduct of the election for the Presidential election in some of the constituencies (a number of provinces) will have no legal ground under any circumstances.

2.     Increase of polling stations

The IEC, taking into consideration requests by the respective candidates in the second round of presidential elections and taking into account the fact that some of the eligible voters claimed they had been disenfranchised as a result of ballot shortages in the first round of the elections and a lack of access to polling stations, opened a number of new polling stations under the following criteria:

a)     The polling stations which were considered for the second round of the presidential election should remain as they were.

b)     The polling stations that were deducted from the 2010 polling centres should again be added to the polling centres.

c)     The polling stations which were considered for specific polling centers in the first round of the presidential elections should be included in the main polling stations in the second round.

d)     In the second round of the presidential election 5% should be added to the polling stations in each province.

e)     The increase in the number of polling stations in the second round of the presidential elections should be more in the polling centres where there were complaints about the shortage of ballot papers in the first round.

The contingency polling stations were added to the previous polling centers and this measure was welcomed by the two respective candidates of the second round of the presidential elections. List of the polling stations is attached.

3.     Audit

The IEC carries out the audit process in accordance with the already approved procedures, as follows:

a)     The IEC has approved a specific checklist, which will be used for audit in each polling station.

b)     The IEC welcomes the presence of observers from the two respective candidates in each round of audit. The presence of candidates’ observers in this process will assure us that the audit process is taking place in a systematic and controlled manner and that the procedures are applied impartially throughout the audit process. In case the observers of one of the candidates are not present in the audit process, this process will continue.

c)     The auditors of the IEC will be comprised of staff of the provincial offices as well district field coordinators (DFC’s). According the decision by the IEC, teams from the IEC headquarters will also be sent to the provinces where the audit is taking place to ensure the correct implementation of the procedures as well as the full training of the auditors. The audit of polling stations is a systematic administrative process during which each ballot box will be audited, precisely under the same procedure. The purpose of the presence of the observers and monitors is make the process transparent and acceptable to all parties concerned. Having said that, it is not appropriate to replace our provincial staff (who are implementing the audit process) with new staff. The IEC will make sure to invite the observers and monitors to each audit process.

d)     The IEC considers the presence of monitors (national and international) in each audit process necessary and will make sure to invite and ensure their presence in this process. The IEC will invite the observers of both campaign teams and monitors (national and international) to each audit process. Therefore, if these observers and monitors refuse to participate in this process, the IEC will continue with the process.

e)     The IEC will make sure that the staff who are working as auditors receive more training so that they can implement the process with better understanding. As mentioned earlier, the presence of staff from the IEC headquarters in the audit process will ensure the training and full understanding of the procedures by the provincial staff. The audit procedure and its checklist is on the IEC website and is accessible to the relevant stakeholders.

4.     New Head of the Secretariat

The IEC, in accordance with article 16 of the law on structure and duties of the IEC and IECC will take its decision with regard to the appointment of the Head of the Secretariat. However, taking into consideration the shortage of time, the IEC has no intention to appoint a new Head of the Secretariat and will make sure that the roles and responsibilities of the Head of the Secretariat are undertaken by the IEC Chairman.

5.     Observers of the electoral campaign teams and IEC

The doors of the IEC will always be open to the respective electoral campaign teams for discussion and consultations on improving the transparency of the electoral process. The IEC, in accordance with the provision of the law will have open sessions when discussing issues relating to the election results, in the presence of observers, monitors and the media.

6.     Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC)

This point should be discussed with the IECC by your respective electoral campaign team.

In conclusion, the IEC considers the Reforms and Convergence team an important stakeholder of the second round of the 2014 election and hopes that this document responds to all their concerns. The IEC avails this opportunity to renew its highest consideration.

Regards,

Dr. Ahmad Yusef Nuristani

Chairman of IEC

Copy:

Electoral Campaign Team of Change and Continuation

United Nations Assistance Mission Afghanistan (UNAMA)

 

ANNEX II.

Translation of (some of the) recordings released by the Abdullah team

[] indicates information supplied by Abdullah team in their translation

() indicates AAN information.

 

Tape 1 – published as an annex to this post

Tape 2

1) Audio recording, telephone conversation allegedly between an un-named ANA Commander and the governor of Wardak, Abdul Majid Khogiani, purportedly “around 12 June 2014”, ie two days before the run-off.

Governor: Salaam, commander

Commander: Wa alekum al-salaam, Mr Governor, how are you, how are things?

Governor: Mr commander, I sympathise with the AAN and especially you. (inaudible) from the ANA have taken off their uniforms and are made standing firm at the sites (edit). Sit together with the district governor and another person and solve (?) the issue. You know well the bad situation of the Pashtuns, these days. They are in war, in problems. You are a Pashtun and I sympathise with you. I have received a call from the IEC (beep on the line). Do you hear me?

Commander: Yes I hear you.

Governor: I told the caller, no, he’s an army man, he’s a military man, he  sticks to his duty (edit?) He has ordered his uniformed people to enter polling sites and (inaudible) I said no, it’s not true. Whoever has reported to you… I don’t know, you’re my brother and you’re an ANA officer and, in order that this province does not get a bad reputation and you don’t get a bad reputation – God forbid – and there is no problem for you from the government side, my hope is that you create a cover (purdah) together with them and bring honour and carry out the election. Is that understood?

Commander: Of course, Mr Governor. I’ll do whatever you say to me because of my respect for you. But (with the condition?) the ANA and the ANP in places where ballot boxes have been delivered to the sites and people are coming to vote, should remain 1 kilometre distant and if ballot boxes are being stuffed inside the district headquarters for a specific individual and the district governor and police chief have taken money to work for a specific person, in that case, the ANA has the authority to prevent that. There is fraud going on here. (inaudible) Whatever instructions come from you, I will do.

Governor: I told you that the rule that you mentioned that suggests your interference is not needed, be it in the site or in the district (HQ), this is the job of the observers and of the IEC. Every person should stick to his duty (inaudible) and in any case, what you should do is sit with the district governor and clarify things between you both and find an honourable way. This is the issue.

Commander: I was sitting with the district governor, the district police chief and the district security chief yesterday and the day before yesterday and they have decided that both the candidates are Afghans and we should give both a share of the vote so the district does not get a bad name, nor the police. (inaudible, possibly, nor the district governor or the army).

Governor (interrupts) Such details on the phone are not discussable. I’ve told you to create a cover I’m a Pashtun and a Muslim and neither of the two makes a difference to me so you create an honourable way and sit together and solve your problem.

Commander: However you instruct me, I will act. I don’t have a problem any more, so it’s up to the battalion (liwa) you and (inaudible).

Governor: Solve your problem. (mentions Kalimzai – MP from Wardak, part of Ghani campaign in second round, but inaudible)

Commander: No, nobody has spoken to me, yet. It was only the district governor. They were doing their own job.

Governor (interrupts): Mr Kalimzai will also talk to you. Do you have his mobile number?

Commander: No I don’t have it.

Governor: He will pass it to you. Talk to my secretary.

Commander: OK. No problem. We will do as you want us to do.

Governor (inaudible – mentions telephone). Solve your problem. Take Mr Kalimzai’s number and talk to him. Tell him the governor told me to talk to you. Or he will call you himself. OK?

Commander: OK, no problem.

Governor: You’re a Pashtun. Look you’re a Pashtun, a Pashtun.

Commander: OK, thank you. I understood all that you said and will do as you instruct.

Governor: OK, goodbye.

Commander: Goodbye.

 

Video 1: [In the office building of one of the districts of Wardak, the night before the second round of the election] Picture of open ballot boxes

Don’t worry from my side. I am a Pashtun and I don’t have many words. I have one word (ie I’m independent) I do what I want.] Don’t mention the district governor to me, or anyone else either.

Other person: OK, OK.

These two people are with you. (inaudible, but mentions Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah) And then you know your job and report to us in the morning.

Other person: who holds camera v close. Our own words are also being recorded here. If we do this issue ‘so-and-so (dagho kru; a fill word) and you are not convinced, we will be referred to the attorney general’s office and this video will also go with us. Do you understand?

 

Tape 3

Audio, allegedly a telephone conversation involving: the governor of Paktika, Mr Muhibullah Samim, Paktika’s chief of police, Mr Nabi Jan Mullahkhel, MP, Nadir Khan Katawazai,  Zia ul-Haq Amarkheil, Adam Khan Sirat, Paktika’s head of IEC (unnamed)

IEC provincial head: Salaam alekum brother, give the phone to the director/boss.

Sirat: He’s busy on the phone.

IEC head: OK, listen. I’m talking to you about one issue. Tell the director that here, the governor, police chief and Mr Katawzai are sitting (here). They are saying salaams. There’s no other way (edit), they have revealed it to the media, the ANA commander has already revealed it. Whatever the requests made to these people in order to give up on this issue, in return for however big financial (sounds like mali, ie an adjective) he asks for, we would offer. But they are firm in their position..

Sirat (interrupts) Which commander? The Burmal commander, who has done the job?

IEC provincial head: Oh yes (slow). His name is Ayub. (speed fast).

Voice in the background: Where is he from?

Sirat: Where is this Ayub from?

IEC provincial head: He’s Sharay from Nuristan, a man of Hazrat Ali. The only solution now is to call a press conference and say the NDS has beaten them and forced them to fill the boxes to give a bad name to the process. The observers are our own people – that’s not a problem. I’d pass the phone to a competent person who would introduce the organiser.

Sirat: (inaudible, but mentions the director) Call my other number

IEC provincial head: I will call.

Amerkhel: Have you contacted your staff or not?

IEC provincial head:  Yes, I’ve been in touch with them.

Amerkhel: What did they tell you?

IEC provincial head: The issue is that something has happened and the good thing is that I’m now sitting with the governor and police chief and they have tried a lot to talk to the ANA commander to convince him about something, but the ANA corps commander said I have already talked about that  The only way now is our organisers have been beaten. They have cast 12,000 votes in 20 ballot boxes, so have completely filled them and then they recorded a video of it and want the video to be aired on Tolo TV, today. Now I have to tell a press conference that they were beaten and are resorting to such activities in order to give a bad name to the campaign and the commission. There is no other way.

Amerkhel: Or they say they did it by themselves.

IEC provincial head: Yes, they have done it by themselves. Talk to the governor.

Amerkhel: OK, give it to him.

Governor: Amarkhel sahb, salaam alekum. How are you?

Amerkhel: Hello, how are you?

Governor: Brother we’re facing a problem.

Amerkhel: Yes, that’s a really big problem. I am really upset about it too. I’m seriously sad.

Governor: The only way is to blame it on the ANA commander of the army corps and say the commander has forced the boys and the boys would say that.

Amerkhel: Have the boys confessed to that?

Governor: No, no, the boys have said nothing to them, yet. But they say they are ready to say that. Because they have revealed this issue.

Amerkhel: You mean the ANA has revealed it?

Governor: Yes. They are ready to say this, accusing the ANA. This is the only way, to blame them for it because they (ANA) have started disturbances in other districts as well. They are telling lies. They want to give the election a bad name.

Amerkhel: (inaudible)

Governor: Tell this to the director and we will blame this on the ANA.

Amerkhel: Yes we will do that on our part and you should also help him.

Governor: Yes, we are all together.

Amerkhel: OK, do something. Thank you. Pass the phone to my director.

Governor: Take it, Mr Director.

Amerkhel: Do you hear me brother? Talk to your staff.

IEC provincial head: They’re all our own people, I have hired them.

Amerkhel: Such a bullshit shouldn’t have happened.

[IEC provincial head]: laughs.

Amerkhel: Given they’re our employers, your people, is it proper work that they’ve done? (mentions election, the work) as I have told you such things shouldn’t be done. Contact all of them now (inaudible). The whole process would suffer. Talk to the staff. Call them and say the ANA has forced us to do this (inaudible)

IEC provincial head: OK, I do that.

Amerkhel: The ANA has done it, itself. For defaming the… If the commission calls you, reject it, that it’s been done by our staff. Say it’s been done by force upon our staff. And if some one calls from the Commission, reject this and say our staff has been forced to do this.

IEC provincial head: OK, OK

Amerkhel: say, I’m not personally there, but it’s according to what the staff have confessed. Talk to them for a minute. I’ve told you repeatedly to work properly and be cautious.

 

Tape 4

Audio allegedly involving Amarkhel, Sirat, and Jawed Kotwal, secretary to Karim Khuram, Chief of Staff to President Karzai and purportedly taking place after the run-off

Kotwal Tell… can he come by at 4:30?

Sirat: 4:30?

Kotwal: At 5, we have a meeting.

Sirat: Wait a minute. He’s just come (murmurs). Talk to him.

Amarkhel: Yes.

Kotwal: hello sir.

Amerkhel: How are you doing? I was busy on the phone.

Kotwal: No problem, no problem. Do you recall the sort of paper in the hand of Adam.

Amerkhel: Yes.

Kotwal: Is such a thing possible by 4:30?

Amerkhel: No, it’ll take a little bit of time

Kotwal: So when is it possible? By this evening?

Amerkhel: Not really brother, we can’t do anything today.

Kotwal (inaudible) is it based on estimation?

Amerkhel: Yes it an estimate. I’d work on something, but don’t rely on it much.

Kotwal: If it’s not 100%, can it be 80%?

Amerkhel: Yes, it would work for 80%.

Kotwal: so, I’m waiting for that, sir. There’s a meeting at 5.

Amerkhel: 5 o’ clock?

Kotwal: Oh if you can prepare it by 4:30.

Amerkhel: By 4:30? Send your driver to me. At the gate, I would hand him something in a packet. And he will bring it to you. Province-wise or overall?

Kotwal: No overall, overall. But whatever is easy for you is OK. Overall would be better

Amerkhel: I would write to you about the overall to show how the situation is. The situation is completely good. It is reversed, to say the truth. (inaudible)

Both laugh

Amerkhel: I was just talking to Mr Nuristani now. I asked him if he gives a press conference (inaudible). Give a press conference and ask the president. Mr Nuristani has given an interview today to Kabul News. I’m preparing (inaudible) so that he does it. He lashes the man. It is better that the chief of the commission does it instead of me.

Kotwal: OK, don’t leave it. So when should the person come?

Amerkhel: Tell him to come by 4. I will have prepared something.

Kotwal: Thank you. Something like that. OK?

Amerkhel: OK. He needs something like to say, how is the situation?

Kotwal: Yes, to show the overall situation.

Amerkhel: Like the other time, it would be like this or that and it is estimated to be like this. OK?

Kotwal: OK, salaam.

 

Audio recording, allegedly of Sirat and an the IEC provincial head (province and person un-named)

Phone rings

Sirat: Hello, are you ok, everything OK?

IEC provincial head: OK thanks

IEC provincial head: Is everything going well?

Sirat: Sure

IEC provincial head: Has the issue from last night worsened?

Sirat: No, we are not leaving it.

IEC provincial head: Really?

Sirat: We are after it.

IEC Do you have some support?

Sirat: Sure, brother.

IEC provincial head: Sure, really. (inaudible

Sirat: As long as I’m alive. There is one million votes from three provinces, do you know?

Paktia, Khost and Paktika have got one million votes.

IEC provincial head: Bravo.

Sirat: Yeah, yeah.

IEC provincial head: I hope there’s no problem in transport.

Sirat: There will be no problem. Trust in God.

IEC provincial head: Pay attention to that.

Sirat: Do you know the overall picture?

IEC provincial head: it is something like 60%

Sirat: Is it going over 60?

Sirat. Yes

IEC provincial head: How is it in Kabul? Is it thin or fat?

Sirat: 55%

IEC provincial head: Thin?

Sirat: Mmm. The Patans have done the job.

IEC provincial head: Well done.

 

Another tape on Tape 5 on the Hazara vote was released 28 June 2014 (not translated)

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Thematic Category: Political Landscape