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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid