With only a few days left before Afghans go to the polls to elect a new leader to replace President Hamid Karzai, who has been in office for the past 13 years, the country is vacillating between trepidation and enthusiasm. For the first time since 2004 (the date for the first post-Taliban general election), there is a groundswell of political excitement building up across the country. But the spectres of intimidation, meddling and uncertainty are acting as spoilers. These could become serious barriers to realising a relatively fair and free ballot that will determine the level of credibility and legitimacy needed to assure a more stable and prosperous future.
Although rigging is a prime concern for most political actors across the country, security has become a major worry since the beginning of the year. Kabul and a number of high target provinces have experienced a spate of suicide attacks and assassinations after the Taliban leadership issued one of its signatory statements earlier this month promising to “use all force” possible to disrupt the presidential elections.
But the reaction by Afghans across ethnic and socio-economic lines has been one of defiance. Realising that peace talks between Pakistan and the home-grown TTP (Taliban of Pakistan) may be intended to facilitate the Taliban’s ability to disrupt the Afghan elections, there is growing Afghan civil resistance, especially due to the news that many attackers are Taliban students being deliberately discharged from cross-border madrassas.
Pray for that sense of hope and expectation to be energized by the Spirit of God, to bring breakthroughs against the forces that would want to stop the election process, destroy a sense of hope and monopolize power in the country.