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Canada should protest Karzai’s latest slippery move fast


 

UPDATED BELOW

A well-informed source tells me that Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai apparently plans to use a presidential decree today to eliminate foreign participation from his country’s vitally important Electoral Complaints Commission.

This would be an outrage. It was the Electoral Complaints Commission’s foreign members, led by Canadian Grant Kippen, who insisted on careful investigation and reporting on fraud in last year’s Afghan elections. Experience leaves little doubt that the Afghan members of the commission, appointed by Karzai’s government, on their own would not have been an adequate check on cheating.

Only recently, Karzai’s main political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, credited the ECC, and Kippen in particular, with giving Afghans hope and preventing even worse political turmoil in Afghanistan. If Karzai is indeed moving to gain control of that important institution, then the Canadian government should protest in the strongest possible terms and quickly. Perhaps there’s still time to reverse an entirely unacceptable development.

Along with the prospect that the commission would lose all credibility without foreign members, there is a serious worry that its staff—recruited and trained by a body whose independence was its appeal—will be fired or quit if it becomes a tool of the regime.

Karzai’s plan to move against the commission was reported recently by the Washington Post. For background on the commission’s Canadian connection, here’s my profile of Kippen from last year.

UPDATE:

Late this afternoon Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon’s office said Canada’s embassy in Kabul has been meeting with “key interlocutors” to discuss what’s happening to the commission. However, Cannon’s office hasn’t been able to confirm exactly what action, if any, Karzai has taken. According to Cannon, the Canadian government is “concerned by early reports that [Karzai’s presidential] decree diminishes the level of expertise of the Electoral Complaints Commission.”


 

Canada should protest Karzai’s latest slippery move fast

  1. Hearts and minds, people, hearts and minds!

  2. Yes, it's vital that this organization remain credible so it can expose corrupt election practices, preventing elections from being stol-uh…electoral fra-well, maybe…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

  3. That's a tough one.

    After all, if don't intend to colonize Afghanistan, at some point we have to recognize that they have not only a right, but likely a duty, to get foreigners out so as to chart their own course.

    The question comes down to the timing. When is "some point", and do we simply trust that we know better than them when that might be? Or that when that time arrives it'll be clear to both of us? What if the course they want to chart isn't the one we like — it'd be pretty easy at that point to suggest that the time isn't right yet.

    Personally, I'd go with getting out of their government, but following up with an external, international group watching their elections to report on the fairness — and perhaps resorting to the McMillan Tac50 to suppress corruption.

  4. That the West still believes that it can convert Afghanistan to a model-like democracy free of corruption is just plain laughable. We can't even free our own govts of corruption.

  5. And for his next rick, banning girls from attending school!

    At this rate, its only a matter of time.

    • Interesting read. Some background to the area I hadn't seen before.

    • Interesting post to say the least!

  6. This move by Karzai has to be stopped ! Canada was the only hope we had for an international link to this election commission ! Canada and Kippen gave hope that at least someone would listen to the calls of fraud. If Karzai gets his shady way no one will be watching this dictator! No election will be free and fare ……he'll stuff every ballot box just the way he did last August. THIS MAN is dangerous and so is this law he just signed. Who is the more foolish the fool (Karzai) or the fools that follow him

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