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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More