Afghanistan Today - 03: Democracy, Afghan Style

26.10.10 06:16

03: Democracy, Afghan Style
by Ahmad Sayyed , Kunduz Recently, the Ministry of Culture and Youth established a National Youth Council in Kabul. Besides the 19 permanent members, there is provision for two representatives - a young man and a young woman - from each of the 34 provinces. Their job is to make sure that the needs of young people will be taken into consideration in political decision-making. So far so good. On 1 October about 70 young people met up in Kunduz to elect the two representatives from our province. Earlier blog entries Even before the meeting officially began, there were heated discussions: Who can stand? Who can vote? And who ##related## decides the rules? The disputes over these questions were so vehement, that the meeting had to be postponed for two hours. When the head of the Department of Youth in Kunduz finally explained the voting procedure, there was uproar again. Only representatives from youth organisations, who are registered at the Ministry of Justice, have the right to vote, he said. That’s unfair, many people argued. There are many who are active in youth work, but aren’t registered. It’s madness, made up on the hoof, they complained. The head of the provincial council tried in vain to calm everyone down. A woman asked to speak: men are hot-headed and will always create problems, rather than solve them, she said, and pointedly left the room. After a lengthy discussion, the vote was postponed to the following day. But the same thing happened that day too. Each time, instead of a vote, there were only more discussions about voting procedures. On the fourth day, the organiser promised that this time there really would be a vote. But it wasn’t to be. The mood turned nasty, and everyone started shouting at each other. An activist accused the head of the Department of Youth of being corrupt, another called him a nationalist and said he only worked in favour of Pashtuns. People shouted insults at each other; a participant threw a chair into the crowds, another pulled out a pistol and threatened the employees of the Department of Youth. Since then, no more meetings have been called. Presumably, no-one would have turned up anyway. The National Youth Council will, for the time being, have to do without the two representatives from Kunduz.

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