By Halim Fidai, former Governor of Wardak Province
It is ample clear the 2014 election is fair, transparent and independent beyond expectations than all previous Afghan presidential polls. The real winner is the Afghan nation who participated in the democratic exercise in large number amid growing insecurity, looming threats and fraud allegations. As a result, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai made a clear victory over his rival Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.
The people of insecure areas have always been deprived of their rights to vote. This time, when they fully exercised their right to vote then they are being questioned that why they came in such a large number. This is really strange question by Dr. Abdullah camp. We should have worried by low turn-out and not large turnout.  Afghan people throng to polling stations in such a large number due to following reasons.
1. The lessons learned from first round, Dr. Ghani camp has focused primarily on different targeted groups in a move to woo more and more voters. The targeted groups included such as traditional agents of change; heads of family, tribes, village, religious scholars, youth, women, business community, investors, special groups such as disabled, widows and family of martyrs, sportsmen, youth clubs, universities and academic class etc.
2. Develop a practical and comprehensive both horizontal and vertical observation and monitoring strategy to stop fraudulent vote and mobilize people to vote. He has hired 50,000 observers across the country, with only 8,000 for 2,770 poling centers in Kabul. He explored measures to increase observation on government officials and tasked parliamentarians to visit their own constituency in each province to mobilize people and spearhead campaign. 
3. The house-to-house campaigning by young men and women such as in Kabul. Dr. Ghani has hired 580 young male managers at least one per each polling center and 575 female mangers per each site to mobilize and monitor the process. 
4. The mosque-to-mosque campaign by traditional agents of change such as prayer leaders, congregational prayers leaders and religious scholars. On average, each village has at least one mosque and larger village has more than two mosques.
5. The provisions of all types of facilities for the campaigners, observers and voters such as transportation, communication, mobiles, food, prayer place within the polling stations, gifts and appreciations tokens for the observers/monitors. For example allocating 2,500 buses for 14 districts, 19 Nahias in addition to provision of fuels for private and personal cars of the volunteers, monitors and voters. 
5. The threatening and war messages being delivered by Dr. Abdullah with having no program to present to the public while Dr. Ghani has printed, distributed and presented the first ever well designed 245-page manifesto in Pashto and Dari to the general population, academia, universities, private schools and institutions, journalist community and analysts. The manifesto was published on the social media. Dr. Abdullah agenda was that of 1992 while his rival Dr. Ghani was for continuity and transformation. 
6. Dr. Abdullah strived every time to escape himself from radio and television debates and hide himself from people and could not address the concerns of the people. This portrayed him as the weakest candidate before the public. In addition, Dr. Abdullah attacked Dr. Ghani’s physical appearance and was making a mockery when Dr. Ghani focused on the program agenda and always respected Dr. Abdullah and his team. For example, Dr. Abdullah said that Dr. Ghani has half-plastic made stomach and his deputy, the famous warlord Muhaqiq, said that Dr. Ghani is so weak and dubbed him as Qaqroda (dried intestine, referring to a cancer disease he successfully treated). They were likely unaware that programs and governments are run by a thinker and knowledgeable person, not by stomach and intestine. Such mockery and humiliating statements turned Dr. Abdullah as a common leader of a bazaar. Moreover, Dr. Abdullah's pictures are still hanging on poles in Khost province which is a 100% pro-Ghani constituency while Dr. Ghani’s posters and pictures were either not allowed or torn apart by Dr. Abdullah camp in areas where he had more support. This made Dr. Ghani a leader of national unity and tolerance while Dr. Abdullah stood on the opposite side. 
7. The Wolsey Taroon (social contract) which the tribal leaders agreed and implemented to ask men and women to vote. This contract helped opening of many polling sites which were closed in the first round in insecure areas and people made easy access to vote in the nearby polling centers. 
8. The fatwa (religious decree) by over 3,000 religious leaders of Sunni, Shia and Ismalia sects in support of Dr. Ghani declared voting as a legitimate religious duty and this converted every mosque to a campaign office for Dr. Ghani. Such fatwa from religious scholars mobilized the whole national against pro-Russian regimes and now pro-Ghani camp.
9. People of insecure areas got fed up with the day today explosions, bombings, suicide attacks, killings, raping and other kinds of violence by insurgents prompted people to defeat terrorism through ballot not bullet. The high turnout in the election is ample proof that men and women defeated anti-democratic forces through casting their vote.
10. Dr. Ghani has multifaceted personality in terms of qualification, capability, free of corruption and transparent background, multidimensional achievements as a former finance minister, dean of Kabul University, founder of National Solidarity Program, transition process from NATO to Afghan forces and others.
11. Ashraf Ghani has his focus on programs and having clear solution to problems of domestic and international nature. He did not focus on his rival but focus on explaining how his team will run the country and on which standards. Dr. Ghani had clear messages for all segments of society. He used traditional and modern channels required and needed for each target audience such as radios, social media, websites, CDs, DVDs, direct mails, focus group meetings, question and answer sessions, debates, editorials, articles, booklets, brochures, mosques, Hujras, schools and universities, which were accessible by people. Dr. Abdullah’s focused on his Jihadi agenda and mostly “ideal slogans” while Dr. Ghani agenda was “genuine with solution to the ongoing problems.”
12. Dr. Ghani ticket represents the real national unity and major ethnic group. Ghani’s plan to change the triangular (Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara) ticket to a square of (Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara) one was a major to step to assure all ethnicities and tribes that they will be dealt in transparent, just and equal way.
13. The continued suffering particularly in Pashtun-dominated areas and the huge concerns among investors and business community made Dr. Ghani “the angle of salvation” in the eyes of Afghan nation while Dr. Abdullah and his team the continuation and inherent of the civil war.
In sum, the combination of the modern and traditional mobilization, communication and observation mechanism, and provision facilities, national unity team and the negative and agonist attitude of the competitor increased the voter’s turnout. We do believe that clean and fraudulent vote must be separated through legally authorized institutions such as the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaint Commission (IECC).
Dr. Abdullah did raise the issue of fraud because this was his only pre-planned tactic to apply if he can continue the old policy of being in government and in opposition. However, Dr. Ghani camp has registered 1,800 complaints against frauds committed by Dr. Abdullah’s allies, supporters, government officials and IEC members.  The audio-tape records first can be indicators for trying to commit a fraud. Second, these allegations have been publically rejected by the ex-IEC Executive Director. Third, all cases of fraud should be resolved within the Afghan legal framework and not on the streets of Kabul. One of the major mistakes of the past 13 years was that there was no distinction between the ruling team and the opposition.
This time people made a history and made that distinction, but unfortunately the illegal and beyond the law wishes of Dr. Abdullah to remain in power will damage the trust of people on the hard-won democratic system. If right of the people is not respected or protected and deals are made, and if these rights are hijacked by giving weight to the fake allegation of the losing party, then this will be the final nail in the coffin of democracy in our country.
Let people rule, not the dealers!
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Pajhwok Afghan News’s editorial policy.