Articles and Analysies
Ten Reasons Why 2010 Elections will be a Waste of Time for The South Sudanese By: Magol Gabriel Alueth, South Sudanese
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Jul 20, 2009 - 1:20:04 PM

Ten Reasons Why 2010 Elections will be a Waste of Time for The South Sudanese

By: Magol Gabriel Alueth, South Sudanese

Since the independence of Sudan in 1956, South Sudanese all over the world have been hoping that one day, in the land of Sudan, a peaceful coexistence between African Christians in the south and Arab Muslims in the north will prevail.   In 2005, something of the sort came into existence but at a lower percentage; perhaps 30% in form of the CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement), and a lot more hopes, including miraculous democratic change in Sudan and maybe the presidency as well, in the general elections, were thus generated among South Sudanese .

Well, 2011 is now approaching, and the fate of the CPA is still in the dark due to lack of its major clauses’ implementation. In addition,   the general elections that were supposed to be held in September this year   are now in “coma” and will subsequently be considered dead by February next year, because of the following ten reasons .

1) Wrong Belief from Northerners: When people look back on the historical records of Sudan, starting from the moment colonialists’ left Sudan up to the time Bashir took power in 1989, it becomes inevitably clear who the winner for the Feb 2010 election is, before   the results are out.   Since its inception in 1956, there has been some sort of a belief that Sudan is an Arab state; thus, the government has always been run by an Arab as a leader but not southerner and not even a Darfurian for that matter. Most attempts in the south and west (Darfur) of Sudan, focused almost entirely on sharing political power and wealth with the northern regime but these have always failed due to aforementioned belief .

In fact, all of the northern regimes that have come and gone ruling Sudan generally focus on Khartoum politicians, and Arab and Islamic identity. They believe that Sudan as being about the northern-dominated regime in Khartoum whether military or parliamentary, politically or economically, religiously or racially. Apparently, the sovereign state of Sudan has chosen over the past fifty years to move the country towards Arabised-Islamised Middle East culture and as a result they have been failing to respect our traditional African identity from the southern and western regions of the country .

This rhetoric that the Sudan is not a land of many peoples, but country that belongs to those with two identities: Muslims and Arabs, is a sharp fact that still exists at present and is deeply rooted in the minds of many NCP leaders currently, hence, it is therefore a waste of time for the south Sudanese to vote during elections when their votes aren’t going to make any difference. In fact, it is necessary to mention that the current regime of Hassan Omar al Bashir has been the most aggressive and worst regime Sudan has ever produced since independence .

2) Rigging of Elections: There are two forms of rigging: One has already been accomplished by the NCP and the remaining one will be executed during the actual day of voting. The completed rigging was done in the form of census. When we reflect on how the 5th census was conducted, and what the south Sudanese authorities have done in relation to their outcome combined with the SPLM inability to fixing apparent problems at the right time; then one automatically believes that it would be wise to sit back at home instead of going to the polling station and casting a vote that is already stolen .

This is what I am talking about; according to the recent census results, the overall population of Sudan stands at 39,154,490 people including 8,260,490 south Sudanese. Among south Sudanese population, less than half of 8.2 million is believed to be in the category of the voting age and that means, less than 4 million ballots will be transported to south Sudan during election time.   The fact is, the population in the south is not 8.2 million people; instead 8.2 million is the actual number of people that are in the voting age category and should have been reflected in the numbers of ballots that south Sudan needs during election. As of now, every south Sudanese should be aware that more 3 million ballots that should have been belonging to them are already stolen-period .

The second type of rigging which is currently underway will be voter disenfranchisement and stealing of votes using technology. The implication is that, politically or financially motivated NCP hackers and programmers will steal the remaining votes from our corrupt, lazy, and incompetent election officials from South Sudan -of course in their present- like the way census was stolen and nobody will complain. In addition, the few south Sudanese and SPLM members in the north of the country will highly be subjected to NCP intimidation during election. Some of them will not be allowed to vote, while others will be told by force to vote for the NCP .

3) SPLM Weakness: Day by day, a lot of deficiencies grow within the main south Sudanese party –the SPLM. Of course, in any election it is obvious that a candidate with an excellent political background and charisma is usually chosen by the party members to unseat an experienced incumbent, at a time when more people felt more need for a better change .

However, considering what is now happening within SPLM party, it becomes obviously clear that we are not yet prepared to go into 2010 elections .First of all, the party hasn’t until now chosen their candidate and this is a very unfortunate situation that should have been accomplished   as we entered the CPA period. Secondly, the SPLM party hasn’t until now developed any major campaign strategies that are needed at this time; no website for campaign, no definite numbers of members secured, no secured fund, etc.   Lastly, the SPLM party is suffering from lack of support internally and externally, as a result, there have been some defections from the party (i.e. SPLM-DC) but the reverse is never happening .

4) Lack of Campaign Funds and Resources: Elections all over the world cost money to win; however, the pipe through which money is pumped to south Sudanese is generated via the NCP- the ruling Islamic party in Khartoum. As the launch of the electoral campaign draws nearer and nearer, the NCP has deliberately decided to gradually block this pipe so that the SPLM and other south Sudanese would have no access to campaign money, and as a result, the SPLM secretaries for elections in all southern ten States are complaining about lack of state funding and difficulties to finance their campaigns .

With just months remaining before the election period begins, some states are accusing the government of ruining the chances by blocking media access to areas that have a high concentration of SPLM members .  

On the other hand, it is obvious that southern Sudanese parties would not be able to raise money in the amounts necessary to sustain, not just a campaign in the northern and western sectors of the country, but a campaign across the ten states of south Sudan .

5) Insecurity During Elections Time: Firstly, the continued insecurity along tribal lines which is mostly catalyzed by NCP elements in south Sudan does not only constitutes a threat to the lives and property of the people living in the area but may also become problematic as these people who are fighting are the ones in the category of the voting age that would be needed the most during elections .

Secondly, the Darfur conflict is a huge advantage to the NCP during election. The NCP knows very well that a peaceful Darfur has higher chances of collaborating with the south Sudan during election, hence giving a landslide advantage to south Sudanese. Apparently, the NCP isn’t ready to accept peace with Darfurian rebels before elections. In fact, they are going to intensify their aggression towards Darfurian during elections so that the majority of voters are scared from voting .    

6) Lack CPA Implementation: Although the CPA is already in an acute paralysis, the issue of border demarcation is a necessary condition that should have been given “intensive care unit” before elections in 2010. Until now there is no clear boundary between the north and the south and this is a deliberate attempt by the NCP to undermine CPA and our right as south Sudanese .

Moreover, the issue of Abyei is already overdue and should have been completed before we go for elections. Worst of all, there are also reports that a gradual southward migration of NCP/NIF forces is taking placing as we speak. Of course, this is not only a gross violation of the CPA by the NCP among others, but it also constitutes building up of forces for a possible war with the south Sudanese should they gain upper hand during elections .

7) Lack of Voting Orientation: When I talk of voting orientation people shouldn’t get confused about it. It simply means two things: firstly, most southern Sudanese of the voting age has never voted in their lives and it would be hard for them to vote accordingly during the elections. That is to say, they will not vote based on the initial preference an individual might have in their minds before voting, but their voting will be influenced by the circumstances each one will find in polling stations during the actual voting time .

Secondly, a considerable number of people in the south do not actually know the importance of their individual votes. In fact, most people, especially southern Sudanese, will not waste their time on long lines and at 40°C sun heat, just to cast their votes during election time .

8) Lack Of Unity Among South Sudanese Parties: For the sake of South Sudanese and their political survivability in the long run, SPLM and all other south Sudan parties should have established an overall developmental planning framework for 2010 election. They should have formed a coalition party that represents the overall view of all south Sudanese throughout the country, however, that seems to be out of the box right now. In fact more parties are still coming up as we approach elections, i.e. SPLM-DC .  

There is a lack of unity of among all these parties in the south and all of these don’t even realize that not only are they still in the early stage of setting up their long-term operations in the country, but they are also going to be crashed and controlled by the NCP in the upcoming elections should they decide to operate independently .

9) Support from Arabs Nations: Since the independence of Sudan on the 1st of Jan 1956, Khartoum government has been receiving a lot of supports mostly from the Middle East and many other Arabs nations just because of their Arab and Islamic identity. Other Arab nation such as Egypt wants neither south Sudanese independence nor a south Sudanese leading the Sudan as a whole. This is deeply rooted in the belief that an independent south Sudan or a south Sudanese leader in Sudan, is highly likely to collaborate with other African countries like Kenya and Uganda and block the source of Egypt prosperity- the River Nile waters .  

10) Lack of Regional and International Support: The hopes of southern Sudanese over the last eight years have been largely dependent on the US under the Bush administration.   While Barack Obama’s election as US president has generated significant enthusiasm in the country and in particular south Sudan, this has now turned into predication on the desire for his administration to break with Bush-era policies and make serious efforts to improve relations with the NCP, hence ignoring the voices of the south Sudanese .

In fact, not only has the US largely ignored the struggle for southern Sudanese, which has a storied history and continues to struggle valiantly against the brutal regime led by Omar al-Bashir, but it has also mostly failed to grapple with the Darfur conflict as a whole, not to mention the other issues plaguing Sudan such as the ICC warrant of arrest against El Bashir .

On the other hand, China is now becoming a new colonizing power in the Sudan and is generally willing to ingratiate with Khartoum government (NCP) for access to oil in the south, among other economic benefits. As a result the Chinese government will always do anything to keep the current Khartoum regime in power as long they want because they do not want to give a vacuum to south Sudanese, as this would mean their expulsion from the country and a replacement with an equally pernicious US influence in the country .

With the exception Uganda and Botswana, the other African countries are just but monopolies of the Arabs leagues and AU which are both controlled by Arabs nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa. In fact, I am even wondering as to why these Arab countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco are still considered African states since their geographical dimensions have changed dramatically in recent years. For example everyone remembers the famous “Cairo speech by Barack Obama” a month ago.   Nowhere in the speech has he mentioned Egypt as being an African state .

In addition, when Obama was in Moscow, the reporters were saying that “Obama first leg in Africa will be Ghana” after G8 summit in L’Aquila Italy. While giving his speech in Ghana, Obama himself repeated what the reporters had reported earlier by stating that “my first visit to sub-Sahara Africa as a president”. This however, translates and explains that Obama never came to Africa when gave that speech in Egypt; he was rather in the Middle East which is of course not part of Africa according to the recent change of geographical dimension .

The world has changed, but the majority African leaders have not yet changed; hence, failed to realize that Arabs nations in the northern Africa are no longer part of Africa but part of Middle Eastern countries whose work is to take Sudan along with them despite our opposition from the south and the west (Darfur ).

In short, most African countries do not care about their brothers in Darfur and in south Sudan like the way Arabs care about their brothers in the Northern Sudan;   apparently, it is important to note that their support is not guaranteed should the NCP rig elections in 2010 .

Can We Do Something To Reverse The Situation? “YES WE CAN

All south Sudanese parties should form one coalition party that represents the voices of south Sudanese in general .

The SPLM should work hard so that the ‘Doha comprehensive peace process’ between the NCP and the Darfur rebels is achieved as soon as possible. In addition, the SPLM and Darfurian rebels groups should form alliance and work towards peaceful resolution in the region .

The CPA clauses that have not been implemented until now should first be implemented before going for election, i.e. the issue of Abyei and border demarcation .

  The SPLM together with other south Sudan parties should bear in mind that the efforts of registering new voters and getting them involved don’t really count towards the project of getting all voters better informed so that they can vote with oriental minds during the actual voting hours, since vast majority of southern Sudanese in the category of the voting age are also illiterate. In short, all south Sudanese registered voters should therefore be oriented on the importance of their votes and how they should be voting during elections .

  GoSS officials must stop corruption and use the little money they receive from oil revenue and taxation to fund for their campaigns .

All the ten states of south Sudan should do their own internal census accurately and present their finding back to Khartoum government before elections .

Finally, if all these possibilities are attempted and the NCP is the only impediment that is sabotaging, blocking or rejecting those issues, the SPLM must not give up; instead they should rise up strong and keep the pressure on the NCP by using different tactics and actions and use all events of the period for their advantage. It is this that will cause the NCP to realize that Sudan doesn’t only belong to Arabs Muslims but to all who live in Sudan; including South Sudanese and Darfurian, and that we mean long lasting business. The last and major premise of action should be the UNILATERAL DECLARATION OF SOUTH SUDAN INDEPENDENCE by the SSLA with the assurance from SPLA. Although, there are some foreseen consequences, they will all be felt equally this time by both sides, and most importantly, it is worth to die in search of our independence than to die treated like slaves in our country .   

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