Major political parties doubt the will of the leadership of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) to use biometric devices in the upcoming presidential election to ensure transparency in the process, arguing that the devices purchased from Germany are “not working” properly.
Members of the parties said the IEC members have failed to abide by the decisions and recommendations of the political leaders of the country and have tried to manipulate the election, an allegation which has been dismissed as false by the Afghan government and the election commission.
“The devices which have arrived have paved the way for a major fraud in the [parliamentary] elections [last year]. This helps people to vote for hundreds of times in one center so that millions of repeated votes can arrive in the center and then the officials say that the main servers have the ability to detect millions of votes,” said Humayun Jarir, member of Jamiat-e-Islami party.
“The election commission has wasted the time while we had the opportunity to identify that which device can be helpful for Afghanistan,” said Sughra Saadat, member of Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
A presidential candidate, Noor Rahman Liwal, said a big amount of money has been “embezzled” in the purchase of the biometric devices from Germany.
“Regarding the biometric system, I want to clearly say that there are circles within the government who have a share in the German company and have embezzled big amount of money,” Mr. Liwal said.
Presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the Afghan government is providing technical support to the election commission.
“We are only providing the resources in support of the process that the election commissions need,” Mr. Sediqqi said.
But the head of the IEC’s secretariat said that biometric devices which will be used on election day have been purchased based on a common understanding between the election commission, political parties, presidential candidates and representatives of the civil society.
“If any of our partners in the election have any question, we are ready to address their questions till the last day of the process,” said Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang, head of the IEC secretariat.
The presidential election is scheduled for September 28.