News / Africa

Analysts: Coming Elections in Sudan Perilous for the Country's Present, Future

David Dyar

As Sudan's opposition parties go back and forth over whether they will participate in next week's general elections [April 11-13], analysts in the United States say little good will come of the vote.

Low voter registration in many parts of Darfur, which still is experiencing fighting despite a ceasefire, a flawed census that has led to only partial voter rolls, accusations of fraud and near total media control by the ruling National Congress Party are only some of the challenges ahead of next week's elections.

Opposition parties in Sudan have started dropping out of some contests, including the presidential race, and they are asking that three days of voting, scheduled to begin on Sunday, be delayed.

"It will be extremely difficult to hold elections that can be regarded as a credible election.  And so the election could well spark a further crisis in Sudan," saud Terrence Lyons, a Horn of Africa expert at George Mason University just outside Washington, D.C.

The presidential, legislative and local elections already have been delayed for two years because of the difficult implementation of the peace agreement between north and south Sudan.  The accord ending more than two decades of war is supposed to lead to a referendum next year.


Related report by Paul Ndiho

Abubakr Elnoor from Darfur, a graduate student in the United States, says that like many opposition parties, he would have preferred that the elections be delayed further. "I do not want to have bad elections.  I would rather prefer not to [hold them] because this election is going to give the government legitimacy to say, 'Hey, you have been arguing since 1989 that we came by coup d'etat, and right now we came by elections.'  So I do not want to give them that legitimacy," he said.

Mark Davidheiser, who heads the U.S.-based Africa Peace and Conflict Network, says the elections are a missed opportunity for Sudan.  But he adds that there are dangers in postponing the vote. "That can be actually kind of incendiary.  That can really lead to outbreaks of violence and tensions can get so heightened by that.  However, the opposite is also true with having an election that is widely acknowledged as bankrupt, or felt to be bankrupt.  That undermines this whole institutional building project and breeds such cynicism, it sows seeds that can be dangerous in the long term," he said

J. Peter Pham is director of the Africa Project at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, a New York-based group that promotes U.S. foreign policy interests.  He says that despite last minute efforts by the international community, the elections could lead to more instability in Sudan, particularly in the southern part of the country. "Despite the wishful thinking on the part of some western capitals, including Washington, I think the election itself, the fiasco that it is going to be, is probably going to drive the momentum to push for independence and it will raise questions over whether a referendum can be held or whether independence is simply declared," he said.

Analysts say that this month's election will test the democratic credentials of semi-autonomous southern Sudan, which is run by the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement.  In the run-up to the vote, dozens of arrests of supporters of independent candidates in the region have been reported, as well as several raids against radio stations and widespread intimidation.

Many opposition politicians across Sudan say they hope successful elections will help save the unity of their country.  The electoral commission and the ruling party say the vote will begin on Sunday, and they deny allegations of tampering with the electoral process.  U.S. officials, who also have been pushing for progress on a peace deal for Darfur, say they are talking to many sides in Sudan, pushing for a free and fair vote.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs