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In Kabul, voter registration remains listless

In Kabul, voter registration remains listless

Jun 16, 2019 - 11:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): People’s participation in the voter registration process remains sluggish as a result of problems in the location of centres and lack of public awareness.

Earlier, the Independent Election Commission (IECinfo-icon) announced launching a 20-day voter registration process for the Sept 28 presidential election.

The drive was launched to document eligible voters who had not registered before, those who reached the legal voting age recently or had not attached stickers to their identity cards.

Voters are being listed at 700 registration centres – 35 of them are in Kabul. For the past one week, Pajhwok Afghan News reporters visited some centres in Kabul.

They found that people’s participation in the process remained lackluster due to lack of awareness and problems in finding locations of some centres.

Location of some centres

A voter centre was supposed to be set up at the Malika Suraya High School in the limits of the 4th police district but it is yet to open.

Tahira, a resident of the area, arrived at the school to register but there was no voter registration centre there.

A Pajhwok reporter visited the school to file a report, but one of the teachers said the registration centre had been shifted to the Nasir Khesro High School. But there was no centre there either. Instead it was active at the Tajor Sultani School.

Hashmatullah, in charge of the centre at the Sultani School, disclosed: “We have opened the voter registration centre two days back because of disagreements between the principals and teachers of Malika Suraya and Nasir Khesro schools.”

He said three to 15 individuals, including womeninfo-icon, were visiting this centre for registration on a daily basis.

Soma, a worker of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) at this center, acknowledged the participation of people stayed sluggish.

A Pajhwok reporter also went to the 5th police district and visited a registration centre at the Mohammad Ismael Hassanzai High School.

One of the officials at this centre said on the condition of anonymity it was 10:30am but only one individual had referred to the, for registration.

He said there were two registration counters at the centres (male and female) and eight workers from IEC were on duty from 8:00am till evening.

Workers of another centre in the 3rd police district at the Afghan Technology Institute, who also declined to be named, said this centre had been open for the past three days but only 10 people had arrived for registration.

One of the staffers said the centre was located in the middle of buildings and it was difficult for the people to access it.

Lack of awareness

Samiullah, 67, an inhabitant of the Mirwais Maidan area of Kabul, told Pajhwok: “I am unaware of the voter registration campaign and its importance.”

Mohammad Idress, hailing from Khoshal Khan area, was aware of the voter registration’s launch. However, he had no idea about the location of the registration centre.

Ali Ahmad Jaffari, a resident of the 3rd police district, believed the IEC had made a hasty decision on choosing registration centers.

He suggested the commission should have launched a public awareness programme and chosen accessible areas for voter registration centres.

Meanwhile, officials of the poll panel refused to share their views on the issues.

On Thursday, IEC Secretary Habib Rahman Nang blamed the Ministry of Educationinfo-icon for not helping in identification of polling stations in a particular area.

He alleged the security forces had also failed to supply important materials to the polling sites. As a consequence, the process was marred by delays in most of districts.

He said since the launch of the registration process, 15,000 people had had been listed as voters, including 9,358 men, 4,500 women and 113 Kochis.

Nang said political parties, civil societyinfo-icon groups and media should spread awareness among the people regarding the importance of registering as voters.


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