KABUL: Presidential runner Mohammad Ibrahim Alkozai says the role of people is vital in maintaining security and peace and resolving the current crisis.
If elected, he will form a democratic and inclusive system of governance. Head of the Ijma-i-Milli Mardum Afghanistan, he is one of the failed Wolesi Jirga hopefuls from southern Kandahar province.
Also former chief of the Alkozai tribal grand council, Alkozai jumped into the presidential race with promise of change. His first deputy is Khadija Ghaznavi and second Syed Same Kiyani.
President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah, Hanif Atmar, Rahmatullah Nabil, Zalmai Rassoul, Noorul Haq Ulumi, Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Faramarz Tamana and Gulbadin Hekmatyar are in the battle for the presidency.
Latif Pedram, Ibrahim Alokozai, Ghulam Farooq Nijrabi, Hakim Torsan, Syed Noorullah Jalili, Mohammad Shahab Hakimi, Noor Rahman Lewal and Enayatullah Hafeez are also in the run for the September 20 ballot.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Alkozai slammed the current government as the weakest in the past two decades, having failed to eliminate differences and resolve crises.
The government in its initial days promised improving the economic situation and the overall situation of the masses, he recalled. But the rulers could not keep its promises, he alleged, saying the people had been deprived of bread and butter.
While criticizing the current government, Alkozai said: “All words and promises of President Ghani remain hollow slogans. The president has miserably failed to honour its pledges.”
He added Afghanistan was home to all Afghans, whose role in ensuring security, peace and crisis resolution was vital. He vowed to address all existing challenges in consultation with people.
Alkozai called peace a longstanding desire of the Afghan people. If his team wins the presidential election, peace and reconciliation will be his priority.
“We will create an enabling environment for peace in consultation with the ulema, tribal elders, civil society groups and youth,” he announced.
Peace was impossible without sacrifices, he said, asking the government and Taliban to put aside preconditions in the interest of lasting stability in the country.
Domestic, foreign policies
About internal and external politics, he said: “We want good ties with our neighbours. We will not allow anyone to harm Afghanistan’s neighbours from our soil. “I will make a decision on foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan through a Consultative Loya Jirga in accordance with the current security and economic situation,” he continued.
It was too early to say anything about the foreign forces’ drawdown, Alkozai believed, promising to prioritise the demand of the people.
CEO, PM posts
Alkozai opposed CEO and prime ministerial positions, saying he would continue with the presidential system in case of success in the elections. Creation of the CEO post had pushed the country into a crisis and created a host of challenges. All administrative powers have been shared between the president and the CEO.
“As the term of the National Unity Government is ending, the culture of acting heads in governmental institutions remains intact,” he said.
The candidate said he would not join any electoral team at all. Other runners, however, could join his team, Alkozai said.
Role of foreign countries
Responding to the question whether foreigners played any role in the president’s election, he said: “The US is a strategic partner of Afghanistan and has cooperated a lot with our country.”
“As much as I know, the international community has no role in electing the president and I’m confident the global fraternity, including the US, will respect the people’s verdict,” he added.
Optimism over changes
Alkozai said former members of the electoral bodies were fired and put on the ECL for misusing their authority and committing corruption in Wolesi Jirga polls. He hoped the new members would do their best to ensure transparency in the presidential vote.
About the selection of new members of the electoral bodies, he said: “The newly-appointed members have assured presidential candidates that they will conduct the polls in a transparent, fair and impartial manner.” He hoped they would honour their commitments.
Concern at possible fraud
“Like the incumbent president, some other candidates are also trying to rig the elections. But we will not allow any election team to influence the vote. We will not accept fraudulent votes,” he concluded. (Pajhwok)