So, Abdullah Abdullah has quit the run off and there is every indication his supporters will now have to put up with a power sharing arrangement where their man gets to rule alongside “the thief”. Power sharing is, a new political phenomena and one, that surely seems to be scoring high on popularity than democracy itself – in most countries.
Nowadays, the trick seems to be, get to rig viciously and if your opponent challenges the result, stick to your argument of having had a slightly free and fair election and the result will be a power sharing deal – which, in most cases, favours the incumbent.
First was Kenya, then Zimbabwe and now Afghanistan. It all, but goes to prove that democracy as is understood by Western democracies can never work in banana republics. First, for it to work, young democracies must realise the importance of functional institutions which by the way MUST be independent and manned by competent people. Having electoral commissioners appointed by ruling go governments, as we have come to realise, only exacerbates the situation. It makes them directly or indirectly answerable to the person who appointed them thus affecting their impartiality.
Abdullah Abdullah’s case is even more interesting. While he is very right to walk out on the run off and might have actually preferred forgetting the whole process, the International Community sees him as the only beckon of hope if Afghanistanis to have a slightly credible government, one that the US and allies want to use to defeat the Taleban.
Already, there is indication that the International Community is willing to convince him to sign a deal with President Karzai because they see this as the only way forward in an increasingly unpopular war.
Whatever happens in Kabul in the next few months will go to show that elections are not really the fulcrum of democracy in most countries. Another Zimbabwe some will say and may be they are right. Like one of my friends put it to me the other day when i asked for his opinion, “election, election, election stupid. Looks like election is becoming a dirty word in democracy”.
But is it an excuse good enough?