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Articles and Analysies «Š’›Õ… «Šŕ—»Ū… Last Updated: Apr 19, 2010 - 10:44:20 AM

Sudan Elections 2010: Defective beyond repair! By Arman Muhammad Ahmad

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Sudan Elections 2010: Defective beyond repair!





 By Arman Muhammad Ahmad




  T he Sudanese are a peaceful, polite and tolerant people: so, it was only natural that the elections proceeded as peacefully as they did. However, the electoral commission, which acts as a puppet for the ruling NCP, was clearly incompetent in managing these elections. A number of technical, logistical and administrative problems occurred during their implementation. Of course, some errors were accidental, but most were deliberate acts of fraud perpetuated by the NCP.


In previous articles I have firmly maintained that these elections are a pure formality that can only keep in power a corrupt dictatorship. I should like to thank all those who sent me e-mails expressing their constructive and valid points as well as their support and solidarity.



The complications inherent in the voting process were used as a tool to aid the electoral fraud. Those who had never voted before were asked to complete 8 ballot papers (in the north) or 12 ballot papers (in the south) to elect the president, the   head of the southern government, and individual governors, as well as members of national and local parliaments, at one and the same time. Even some highly educated individuals said that they were unable to vote properly.   The head of the SPLA made a mistake when he was voting and started again! If the leading political elite was unable to vote correctly, how on earth would ordinary citizens fair?  As expected, the observers from the EU and the Carter Centre have already declared these elections to be below international standards.



Chaotic elections


Chaos prevailed from the beginning until the last day of this farce. Some candidates, including those for the presidency, could not find their electoral symbols in the ballot papers. Many voters found that other people had voted on their behalf, using bogus IDs issued by the popular committees affiliated to the NCP. Secret ballot stations existed, equipped with different versions of the electoral register. Various irregularities such as unregistered voters dipping their fingers in non-permanent ink and additional names in the electoral registers were noted regularly. It was reported in one of the satellite channels that a female citizen had registered over 120 times in the same constituency. Thus, the increased participation of women seemed to be used, not for the sake of women's political rights, but in the cause of electoral fraud. The names of many dead people (some of whom had passed away decades ago) appeared in electoral registers in many constituencies. In fact the instances of irregularities, discrepancies and fraud were uncountable.


The NCP affiliates and the Election Commission apologised for this failure by suggesting that they were not unusual errors, that they could occur in any elections, and that there was no such thing as a perfect election! These nonsensical statements are only the latest in a long line of feeble attempts to cover up the immense fraud that taints these elections. The ruling party's spin-doctors have made regular media appearances in an effort to convince the public that this was a normal state of affairs.   Others went so far as to compare the electoral problems which occurred in all areas in Sudan with the situation that occurred in the USA during the Bush v Gore elections in the state of Florida!  These naive attempts by NCP cadres to justify the Commission's consistent failure fell on deaf ears. Eventually, the Electoral Commission was forced to abandon the voting process in many constituencies with promises to begin again in the near future. An NCP official said that anyone who disputed the elections results could go to court. But since the military coup in 1989 by the current leader of the NCP the judiciary has not been independent.




Before the elections some foreign observers suggested they should be postponed until the Commission had completed its preparations. But the NCP presidential candidate, who has been charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICC, declared that they would not be postponed for an hour. He forgot that, at the time, he was just a candidate and had no right to speak on behalf of the Commission.  In addition he expressed anger and over-reacted to this suggestion, saying that the observers would be dismissed if they tried to intervene in Sudan's domestic affairs, that he would tread on them and that their hands, noses and necks would be amputated !   Can you imagine a president who intends to lead a transformation to democracy using such inappropriate language?!


I have repeatedly stated that there was no need for foreign observers because the election was a forgone conclusion. Fraud was committed during the population census and the subsequent compilation of the electoral register, when more than 10 million false names were added.   Despite its insistence that the elections were well organised, the commission was forced both to extend the scheduled time for two days and to restart the election in many constituencies.  But it is the sheer scale of irregularities and discrepancies that makes these elections defective beyond repair. No doubt its results are the product of the NCP's deliberate electoral fraud. We need only to look at a 2009 report by Transparency International to know that that Sudan, under the NCP government, is one of the world's least transparent countries.


Electoral Jihad!


The fact of the matter is that the NCP believes itself to be engaged in a holy war with the rest of the world and with Sudanese society itself. It sees itself as justified in any crime it commits. As long as it is engaged in a jihad against the infidels, it believes that this war can be won by tricking the enemy. Hence, the elections were carried out in the context of this 'trick theory'!  


The NCP's dishonesty with the Sudanese people is a well documented fact. For example, NCP President Omar Al Bashir admitted that he had lied to his commanders in the army when one of his fellow conspirators (who was an army doctor) helped him to fabricate a medical report so to help orchestrate the National Islamic Front (NCP) military coup. Another example of Bashir lying to the Sudanese people was when he confessed to being a member of the NIF after previously having denied the link. The Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak convinced the rest of the Arab leaders to accept Bashir's military coup in its early aftermath. But shortly afterwards it became apparent that the new rulers were Islamists who harboured terrorists such as Osama bin Laden. The new terrorist regime tried to assassinate Mubarak during his visit to Ethiopia to attend the African Unity Organisation summit. Mubarak said that he had been hoodwinked (''I have to admit it, we have been tricked''). Even today the NCP regime is on the American list of rogue states that harbour terrorism.           


An international farce?


Before the declaration of the results, some of the NCP leaders offered jobs and offices to their opponents (including those who dropped out of the elections) in the new government. This is almost certainly a bribe, as  it is too early to make such confident offers to other candidates. But the NCP cleptocrats are clearly sure of their victory in these shambolic elections. Though they are not confident about its legitimacy, despite the proclaimed people's mandate given to them to carry out their own policies!   Why did the NCP offer to form a coalition with the opposition parties that boycotted the elections and dismissed it as fraudulent? In reality there are many questions waiting to be answered in the aftermath of these 'elections'. Among these, could any honourable body recognise such blatant falsehoods; and should any respectable member of the international community accept such a farce?


The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) aims to implement a real and lasting peace through a democratic transformation in Sudan. To state that this farce will implement such a peace is absurd. If the south were to achieve secession, the conflict with the theocratic dictatorship of the north would be almost inevitable. Real peace in Sudan can only be achieved through free, fair and democratic elections that genuinely provide the groundwork to lay down the fundamental rights and freedoms for all Sudanese people.


Arman Muhammad Ahmad






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