News / Africa

    Analyst Sees Potential Problems With Sudan's April Elections

    Fouad Hikmat of the Crisis Group says the National Congress Party's control of the electoral commission and lack of representation for Darfur could be problematic

    Leading candidates in Sudan's first multiparty presidential election, from left, Yasir Arman, Omar al-Beshir and Sadiq al-Mahdi (file photos)
    Leading candidates in Sudan's first multiparty presidential election, from left, Yasir Arman, Omar al-Beshir and Sadiq al-Mahdi (file photos)

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Fouad Hikmat of International Crisis Group spoke with Butty

    James Butty

    Campaigning for Sudan’s first multi-party election in 24 years is underway after kicking off over the weekend. 

    Twelve candidates are running for president in the April 11 election, including longtime leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur.

    Fouad Hikmat, the International Crisis Group’s advisor on the African Union and Sudan, said while the April elections are important for Sudan’s democratic transformation, the outcome could be problematic for a number reasons.

    “Very clearly Darfur is not being able to play a role in this election, and therefore I will see that the solution for Darfur after this election is going to be problematic,” he said.

    Another problem, Hikmat said, is the fact that President Bashir’s National Congress (NCP) controls the national electoral commission.

    “There is a lot of accusation that the environment is not free and fair given that the National Congress Party is controlling the National Electoral Commission and it will bring about a majority of a government that has been part of the conflict in Darfur. And therefore the election might not bring stability. On the contrary it might bring a sort of a continuation of violence and grievances after the election,” Hikmat said.

    President Bashir of Sudan
    President Bashir of Sudan

    Hikmat said President Bashir would like to win the election to send a message to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    "Specifically Bashir, he’s being accused by the ICC, and that’s why it is extremely important for him to win the elections to give a message that if I was a person that committed crimes against humanity, my people wouldn’t have chosen me,” Hikmat said.

    However, Hikmat said President Bashir would be making a false assumption about his legitimacy following the election.

    “If he regains his legitimacy based on those grounds, then he would have got an argument to some an extent, although that argument whatever it is, it is not going to wave away a judicial process, and that is the process of the International Criminal Court,” he said.

    Hikmat said Bashir could also use the results of the election to legitimize himself over his political opponents, including the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

    “For the SPLM, it is very concerned that the re-legitimization of the NCP which is not based on a fair and free election, might jeopardize the implementation of the remaining provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement,” Hikmat said.

    He also said a re-legitimized President Bashir could also have repercussion for Darfur rebel groups.

    “As far as the Darfur rebel groups, they think that the re-legitimization of Bashir, given that he is going to argue that look I have been re-elected and therefore what happened in Darfur is not true and might give a sort of legitimate grounding for Bashir to continue not finding a settlement to the Darfur problem,” he said.

    Hikmat said if this happens, it would mean that the violence in Darfur would continue because the grievances and root causes would not have been resolved,” he said.

    He said if the April election happens in an atmosphere of illegitimacy, the new government and institutions which will be developed to continue the negotiations might not be acceptable by Darfurians, specifically the internally displaced.

    At their last meeting in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, African leaders reiterated their request for the United Nations to invoke Article 16 which allows the UN Security Council to suspend the ICC prosecutions for a period of 12 months so as to give peace a chance in Darfur.

    Hikmat said the African Union’s Panel on Darfur led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, recognizing the lack of an independent legal system in Sudan has recommended the establishment of a hybrid court system in Darfur.

    “As far as the ICC (is concerned), that is up to the Sudanese to deal if they could reach a peaceful agreement somewhere in the future for a truce and reconciliation. But still that will not wave the request of the ICC which is to bring Bashir and other culprits into the process for international judicial accountability,” Hikmat said.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora