News / Africa

    Former Top U.S Official Urges Improved Security, Freedom of Assembly in Lead-Up to Sudan Poll

    The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs says Sudan’s upcoming April general elections remains an integral part of the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) .

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

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Ambassador Jendayi Frazer, director of the Center for International Politics and Innovation at the Carnegie Mellon University spke with Clottey

    Peter Clottey

    The former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs says Sudan’s upcoming April general election remains an integral part of the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) .

    Jendayi Frazer who is currently the director of the Center for International Politics and Innovation at the Carnegie Mellon University said there are many challenges for a credible free and fair vote.

    “I think it is going to be a difficult process, but it is a process that one has to get through because it’s a step on the road to realizing the vision that is set out in the CPA. But that said, I think there are many challenges for a credible peaceful and fair election,” she said.

    In a speech recently in Accra, Ghana, Jendayi Frazer called on African leaders to professionalize election management in their countries with institutions that would help reduce electoral conflicts by providing accountability, justice and transparency.

    The former State Department official, together with Ghana’s Center for Democratic Development (CDD), organized a three-day conference this month on “Preventing Electoral Violence and Instituting Good Governance”. The meeting attracted ministers and election administrators from countries including Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Kenya, Ghana and Liberia.

    Ambassador Frazer said the conference also focused on upcoming elections in Africa.

    “We had one of the major case studies be Sudan along with Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Uganda,” she said. “And we were able to really delve into what is necessary to create that fair playing ground and to have elections act as a preventive measure to conflicts. I think the Sudan is far from really being in an ideal situation today.”

    The general election scheduled to be held April 11-13 is Sudan’s first in 24 years after decades of civil war between the north and the south.

    Several opposition parties have accused President Bashir’s National Congress Party (NCP) of plotting to influence the National Electoral Commission to rig the vote - - a charge the NCP denies.

    Ambassador Jendayi Frazer
    Ambassador Jendayi Frazer

    But Ambassador Frazer said the NCP is undermining the credible voting climate ahead of the election.

    “The first problem in terms of a credible vote is the environment in which the vote is taking place.  The National Congress Party continuing to harass the opposition [by] using security legislation to basically prevent freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. That’s part of the problem. It’s the political constraining of space that is being undertaking by the National Congress Party that is problematic,” Frazer said.

    She said there need to be sufficient security and safety in the Darfur region to permit the voting population there to fully participate in the election.

    Ambassador Frazer said it is unfortunate the elections are being managed by national authorities and that the UN is not playing a stronger role. She said she hopes the international community will learn a lesson from the April polls.  That lesson, she said, is that the world body should play a larger role in ensuring a free and fair vote in next January’s referendum that will determine whether the south becomes independent.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora