News / Africa

Analysts Say Sudan Elections Have Only Losers

David Dyar

As vote counting begins in Sudan's week-long general elections, analysts are giving the dire assessment that there will
be no winners, and only losers in the process.

Sudan experts at a panel discussion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace this week in Washington were unanimous in their harsh criticism.

They said what they viewed as a botched election could mark the beginning of the end for all political parties in Sudan, instead of the country's first successful multi-party vote in 24 years.

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Herman Cohen said northern opposition parties made a huge mistake in boycotting the process. "Do not boycott because rigging, (the) rigging, will be seen.  If you boycott, they do not have to rig, so it is important to participate and make sure that the rigging is documented and therefore making the winner even much less legitimate," he said.

John Prendergast, the co-founder of the Enough Project to end genocide and crimes against humanity, said even worse, they announced their boycott just days before the voting started. "Either you get in and fight it out or you get out early because it was clear early on that this election was going to be stolen. The census, the registration, national security laws, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and the gerrymandering, all these factors months before, the actual electoral process, the electoral event actually occurred indicated where this was going.  They did not do either.  Instead, they waited until the final minute. Confusion reigns. Everyone loses sadly from this process," he said.

Gerard Prunier, a French researcher and member of the Academic Council of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, said that by not participating, the opposition parties showed they will have no role in the future of Sudan.

Prunier says they were afraid of the results they were going to get. But he says the ruling National Congress Party, known as the NCP, is not faring much better. He says it has become the party of elites in the capital Khartoum, but nowhere else.  He says general disappointment in these elections will show its weakness. "Democratizing a totalitarian system is extremely difficult and the danger of cutting off your own feet in the process is very high," he said.

Prunier is also afraid of what will happen when oil-rich southern Sudan votes for independence in a referendum scheduled for next year or declares unilateral independence. "The danger is trying to occupy militarily the oil fields to secure the cash cow (no-rish money making method) of the government and militarily it is feasible so it is tempting and it is going to be a debate inside the NCP.  Some pragmatists will say no, do not do it, it is too dangerous, and some guys will say let us do it because otherwise, we die, and we do not want to die," he said.

Prendergast said the international community which pushed so much for the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005 ending more than two decades of war between north and south Sudan had abandoned its implementation, such as enforcing border demarcation and figuring out oil issues.

He said south Sudan and the international community would be paying for this for years, if a conflict breaks out. "We will be paying billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping forces for the next 40 years in southern Sudan," he said.

J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Project at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, predicted the government in Khartoum will use outside rebel groups, like the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), to destabilize the south, potentially creating a regional nightmare. "Whether it be reactivating or resupplying the LRA or other movements which will then spur a vicious cycle of the other governments saying well we are being meddled with so let us return the favor," he said.

Pham said President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has no choice but to stay in power since there is an indictment against him at the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur.

The panelists said very few people in Darfur voted, since they were too afraid to do so or were never registered, and that the peace process there was going nowhere, even as rebels seem to be on the decline.

They also expressed disappointment in election monitors who they said were not being critical enough, as well as current U.S. diplomatic efforts, which they said were falling short.

They agreed China, which is the main importer of Sudan's oil which runs through northern pipelines and an important international ally of the government in Khartoum, may be the key player in averting a future disaster.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has been one of the monitors of the election on the ground. He has acknowledged problems, but reserved judgment until vote counting takes place. "I would not say, in advance, that the integrity of the election has been destroyed, but I am not going to make any comment about that until after the election process, the vote tabulation is complete," he said.

Mr. Carter defended the importance of the election, and said it was one step in a process that will lead to the southern referendum.  He has also warned that if the north-south peace agreement falls apart, there would be another outbreak of war.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid