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

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs