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Ghani’s No Show at TV Debate Sparked Strong Reactions

(Last Updated On: October 1, 2019)

The moment millions of people inside and outside Afghanistan were waiting to watch the biggest live TV debate between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, Mr. Ghani stepped back.

A dedicated team of Ariana News worked for nearly a month to organize a presidential debate between two rivals and two partners in the National Unity Government (NUG) who have always accused each other for being incompetent.

The countdown began and the Presidential Protective Service (PPS), Ghani’s security guards, were busy on their routine security check at the Bayat Media Center in Kabul when Ghani’s close aides announced that Mr. Ghani has refused at the last minute to take part in the presidential debate with his main rival.

It was a surprising decision for everyone why Mr. Ghani back out of such a publicized and much anticipated televised debate.

Abdullah Abdullah appeared at the stage and described the move as Ghani’s “first escape”. He added that “his second escape will happen after the election”.

An advisor to President Ghani said that the debate has been suspended because Mr. Abdullah has no plan to talk about.

The move caused widespread reaction among Afghans especially in social media.

Media activists said Ghani’s refusal shows his disregard to the freedom of speech and long awaited questions raised by millions of Afghans from across the country and the world.

Mohammad Rafi Rafiq Sediqi, Director of the IEC’s media committee said that Ghani’s disregard to media reflects his disloyalty to the Constitution.

On Tuesday, the Stability and Partnership electoral ticket led by Abdullah Abdullah released a statement, saying that Ghani insulted media and public opinion by cancelling the debate.

A couple of days ago, Shah Hussain Murtazawai, Ghani’s senior advisor on cultural affairs sarcastically wrote on Facebook that Mr. Abdullah will step back from the debate at the last minute but it became opposite.

By: Hesamuddin Hesam

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