Rift widens between IECC officer, governor
KABUL (Pajhwok): The differences between Independent Election Complaints Commission (IECC)’s regional office and the provincial administration in western Herat province over election-related issues have deepened.
Governor Syed Fazllullah Wahid has accused ECC regional chief Abdullah Sherzai of negligence in duty and inefficiency.
In response, Sherzai says that the governor is getting involved in issues not related to him. The differences surfaced after the ECC invalidated more than 100,000 votes polled in Herat.
Wahidi has accused the electoral watchdog of irregularities in the vote-tallying process, saying justice has not been done in the vote count.
He has said declaring such a great number of votes as invalid shows the judgment by the electoral panel is unfair.
“The Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the IECC should sack its officials accused of fraud to ensure the runoff vote is transparent,” he says.
However, the IECC regional chief said the votes were thrown out in the wake of evidence provided to them and “if anyone is interested to know about the evidence, I will fearlessly provide that.”
He said: “At the IECC regional office, we have done our job well. We respect the IECC leadership’s decisions, however, we do not agree with their judgments they made recently.”
He said their decision to invalidate the votes had been acknowledged by the IECC’s headquarters, which later apparently succumbed to pressure from presidential candidates.
Earlier, IECC officials had told the media that some of the invalidated votes were credible and had been entered into the data system.
Sherzai said: “The governor is getting involved in issues for which he is not responsible. The negligence in duty and poor management by the governor and the police chief paved the way for widespread fraud in Herat.”
He said the governor and the police chief were high-ranking officials and were responsible to minimise the possibility of electoral fraud, but they did not discharge those responsibilities in a proper manner.
He urged President Karzai to sack Governor Wahidi and the police chief if he wanted transparent and impartial elections in Herat.
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