Monday, October 19, 2009

Afghanistan - A Run-off election or Power Sharing Arrangement

A run-off election or a power-sharing arrangement in Afghanistan—what will it be? Reportedly, this is what is occupying our national security folks; a matter they must decide before our government can discuss any surge in military personnel.

To no one’s surprise, President Karzai will dig in his heels and refuse any national election between him and the runner-up, Abdullah Abdullah. The latter, a Tajik-Pashtun, has the ethnic-tribal affiliations that would serve him well in leading his people out of the Taliban embrace. Furthermore, having served as a close advisor to Ahmed Shah Masood, the Tajik hero, would add significantly to his credibility and electability. Could this be the reason that Karzai had expelled Abdullah from his cabinet?

And so the likely outcome will be a decision to go for the power-sharing option. In my opinion, this would be a grave mistake. First, Karzai would remain as president—a president who won in a fraudulent election. As president, he is certain to insist on retaining control of those governmental ministries and agencies that really count. Plus, he would retain the power to install his people as governors in the most significant regions. Second, we have to look at the power-sharing arrangement of another country where the president won by fraudulent means—Zimbabwe. Even after achieving a power-sharing arrangement, the runner-up, Morgan Tsvangirai, has failed to achieve a true sharing of power with President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai, the country’s prime minister, from the very beginning, has been unable to resolve disputes with the president. Furthermore, the internal security forces, under Mugabe’s aegis, continue to arrest Tsvangirai’s supporters on bogus treason charges.



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